View Full Version : What is up with different colored speaker wire?

06-04-2001, 02:29 PM
I'm setting up my home stereo, and am in the process of deciding what type of wire to buy. I notice that the individual wires in some of the cheaper speaker wire cables appear to be made out of different metals. For instance, one wire is silver colored and one wire is copper colored. Does that make a difference in the sound quality? I would think you would always want the same types of metal instead of different types? Also, does a more expensive speaker wire actually make a noticeable difference to the average person?

Locutus of Board
06-04-2001, 02:30 PM
One goes to negative, the other to positive

vi edit
06-04-2001, 02:31 PM
I thought that was just to help us idiots out with lining up the red plug with the black plug on both ends :confused:

06-04-2001, 02:33 PM
Bigger wire is better;)

06-04-2001, 02:38 PM
So..... is sound quality sacrificed for the ease of +/- wire hookups because the wires are made out of different types of metal?

06-04-2001, 02:48 PM
This helps get both speakers the same polarlity. If you get them wired differently one speaker will be sucking while the other is blowing, that will degrade your sound. On your amp there should be two differnt colors (perhaps red & black) for each speaker, on your speaker there should also be two colored terminals (say blue & White), be sure to get the same color patterns to both speakers. Red->white and Black -> Blue, this is an example, your colors or markings may be different what is important is that both speakers be wired the same.

06-04-2001, 02:54 PM
I understand the whole concept of hooking everything up, and why the wires are different colors, but I was wondering if having speaker wires composed of two different types of metal compromise sound quality?

06-04-2001, 03:00 PM
not really, one is copper, other is lead or alumminum, two very good conductors. Anyways, they are in series with the speaker and therefore don't interfere with the sound quality, it may change the resistance of the system slightly but for the distances we run it doesn't matter much.

06-04-2001, 03:03 PM
there are many types of speaker wires composed of many different kinds of materials.

just look in any advance audio store and you'll see speaker wires ranging for $0.10 to $25.00 per foot.

and yes, you will notice a sound quality difference with better wires. (assuming you do have a nice system that could output such detail)

06-04-2001, 03:04 PM
If youre speakers are crappy (sub $150 level), dont even bother getting the "better" stuff.

06-04-2001, 03:06 PM
One thing to keep in mind is the phase of the speakers. If you have two speakers in the classic set up of facing in the same direction on a shelf, then you should have them "in phase". You do this by having pos connected to pos and neg connected to neg on both speakers. You can actually get good sound if you have speakers facing each other accross a room. In this case you set them up "out of phase" by having one speaker neg to pos and pos to neg.

When in phase speakers are facing the same direction the woofers move in the same direction at the same time which produces optimum quality sound. When speakers face each other and are out of phase they still move in the same direction at the same time.

*edit* - and to answer your other question, better speaker wire primarily improves bass response (from the ear's perspective). I suggest running the "biggest wire you can hide". The small Monster cable is good stuff. If you have a sub, you can run bigger cable to it and smaller cable to the speakers.

06-04-2001, 03:33 PM
Man, skrew the Monster cable. What a waste. I refuse to propagate the scam that is Monster cable. I'd buy Evian water before I bought monster cable. Just go to your favorite hardware store and buy some bulk electrical cord. It's much thicker and may even be cheaper than cheap speaker wire, and you usually have a few choices in the color of the insulation. The wire is copper on both sides, which is a slightly better conductor than aluminum. The insulation on one side is ribbed and the other is smooth, so you can hook it up in phase.

06-04-2001, 03:35 PM
Garfang is right.

/me tucks the monster cable under the carpet :o

06-04-2001, 03:39 PM
I'm going to be hooking up my Pioneer Elite TZS700 speakers I got from ubid last week. They retail for $3500, so I thought it would be best to try and get some good speaker wire for them. I also have a pioneer receiver that isn't too fancy, but it gets the job done well enough.

06-04-2001, 04:01 PM
<< Garfang is right.

/me tucks the monster cable under the carpet :o >>

/me *Chuckles*

$3500 speakers. . .

/me raises an eyebrow.

At least you put some money in right place (the speakers). I offer thee a challange: use electrical cord on the left, and monster cable on the right. Let us know if you can hear the difference.

06-04-2001, 04:17 PM
I paid a little above $750 for the pair after shipping and tax from ubid. The retail of $3500 is crazy, and I don't think I will ever pay that much for a pair of speakers in my lifetime, unless I win a few million dollars(keeping fingers crossed).

06-04-2001, 04:36 PM
Well, I didn't think you paid $3500, but I knew you didn't cheap out. There's a lot of mark-up in high end audio, so nobody should ever need to pay retail.

06-04-2001, 05:17 PM
well, one is copper, and one is tinned copper.

beats me which is ground, i have no clue.

more expensive speaker wire = higher grade copper (oxygen free) and shielded.

06-04-2001, 05:17 PM
i saw some $10000 speakers the other day. um, ouch.

hurt my wallet and my ears =D

06-04-2001, 05:31 PM
I was reading an article in a high end stereo magazine awhile back, and they said that some kind of ultra cheap electrical cable that you get from a hardware store like Ace Hardware is just as good as really high end speaker wire. I forgot exactly what kind of cable they were talkin about though.

Whenever I buy speaker wire, I buy the kind for CAR audio. It is all black (with a white stripe denoting the positive half) and it works realyl good, and it's cheaper than a lot of stuff.