View Full Version : Speaker Cable
04-15-2003, 02:08 PM
I have a question regarding speaker cable. I have picked up some newer Monster XP speaker cable, just because I know its definitely better sounding than the generally cheaper Radio Shack variant. Especially from previous experience with both. The real question is, is thicker wire better than thinner? Or single strand better than multi-stranded type cable? These are a couple of question I was curious about.
I have a pair of Monitor 7 series II, I am going to use with a Marantz 2225 receiver. And hopefully a better grade of CD player. And a Marantz 5030B cassette deck. This is a modest audiophile system and it gives me room to dream and listen on a conservative budget. The Marantz 5030B I've had since 1980 and it still sounds great, but the ancient dolby suppression is inadequate. Can anyone advise of newer or older noise suppression systems? Such as dbx etc...any comments would be appreciated.:D
04-15-2003, 03:17 PM
Welcome to the forum, I'm sure you noticed how many members have read your post, and not responded. It's because I think most of us no longer use cassettes or noise reduction. When the CD players arrived they took over, much as the DVD is doing to the VHS tapes. The extended dynamic range, and ease of use were no match. Keep searching perhaps someone will be able to assist you. I didn't want you to think we didn't get your question. Most of us however, don't have the answer.
04-15-2003, 03:32 PM
As far as the speaker wire goes, That is, and will remain, an on going discussion here on the forum. For me a rule of thumb is "you can only get out what you put in". Each and every componet is important. I think each should complement the other.
What's most important is that you listen to different types, and decide which it is that you enjoy. Good Luck
04-15-2003, 04:03 PM
I don't see anything wrong with the speaker wire you have. It should be fine. I still use my cassette deck (Sony K707ES), and I always use my "Dolby S" noise reduction. That has the least amount of distortion.
04-15-2003, 04:07 PM
Tape decks aren't easy to find anymore, but here is one of the best......http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.pl?misccass&1053561497
As stated, the speaker wire debate goes on and on and on.......
04-15-2003, 04:15 PM
I would never spend $750 for that. It doesn't even have Dolby S or HX Pro. Here's some info for you w/ regards to the diff't types of NR.
DOLBY B, C, AND S NOISE REDUCTION SYSTEMS (http://www.dolby.com/cassette/bcsnr/stype.html)
04-15-2003, 04:37 PM
NAK Dragon sets the standard back in late 70's early 80's. I used to own one back in the 80's. Very capable unit, expensive to repair, and definitely had passed its time. Nevertheless, it was the SCD-1 equivalent of today's cd. I am surprised somebody still has one in working order after all this time...
04-15-2003, 08:44 PM
Hey Polkatese The Dragon Rocked....Tandberg was also a top shelfer.
Wade in some part answer to your question...Xp for me in my opinion and in my taste was a good starter wire, but you will notice a difference everytime you use a different wire and upgrade.... I personally have read several reviews lately on speaker wire and what I was reading is that too much wire can bog down your system or come off sounding dull or lifeless...Case in point I recently purchased a pair of Kimber 4tc's which reviews were out standing overall...then there is a version of the same wire by the same company I believe it might of been the 8tc that is just the 4tc doubled up...several overall reviews found it to be somewhat flat and not as open sounding.
You will find though that every wire will sound different with different amps and speaks.
Good Luck..Enjoy Stuff
04-15-2003, 09:05 PM
yes, Tandberg was the other one! Those are the standards of Audiophile...
MonsterXP is definitely a good starting point. As a general rule for me, thicker is better and multi-strand is the way to go. I upgraded from XP to Monster Custom biwire R4-CL, to SignalCable biwire. The biggest noticable improvement was from XP to R4-CL, from there to SC the main improvement difference is increase soundstage and more defined low ends. Don't ask me why or how since I won't be able to scientifically explain them. At this point, I have decided to stop at SignalCable for my speaker cable/IC/PowerCord needs, at least for the next few years till I am ready to move up to the Martin Logan class....
04-15-2003, 11:49 PM
The Dragon is still a sweet machine and still worth the money.
04-16-2003, 01:52 AM
Harmon Kardon made some really nice 20 - 20K tape decks in the '80s.
Dolby B - didn't care for it. Cut off too much of the highs.
Dobly C was better than B and what I used the most because you could play it in other tape decks without distortion.
Dolby DBX was very dynamic but sounded too "fake" to me. Plus if you recorded in DBX and tried to play back on a tape deck without DBX it sounded terrible.
Dolby S I never experienced because at the time it was getting popular I started buying cds (circa 1986); I had an older model Technics that was 25 - 18,000 hz and the Dolby C suited me fine for the time.
Dolby S was supposed to be the best though from what I can recall.
Whew!!! tape decks. how the world has changed! I never owned an eight track though.
04-16-2003, 02:32 AM
Thanks for the replies, I am learning. I had tried a lengthier reply but it got wiped when I posted it. Must've hit a wrong button. Oh well, I'll attempt another repost of the reply later.
04-16-2003, 07:18 AM
Wade Spradley (if that is in fact your real name)...
First off Welcome... youíll love growing your system here.
As for the speaker wire part of your question thatís gone wanting, multi-strand's big advantage is resistance to breakage, but that aside go with your ears and your budget.
As for your tapes, a new deck is not going to help the sound of your old recordings significantly and its too late to add an external processor to help them. If you're still recording, then do look at Dolby S and HX Pro decks as many have suggested. I bought a 3-motor/ 3-head AIWA AD-S950 a few years ago that's got it all including killer spec's. No idea what they go for nowadays, but they weren't that much new. Great value...
IMO the best thing you can do for your old Marantz deck, and your current tape collection, is to buy it a dbx dynamic range expander. These were coming across ebay pretty steadily a couple months ago, and there are several there now of various models including 1bx, 2bx and 3bx of different series as well as a DS or two. Just run an ebay search on ďdbxĒ.
I own the 3bxIII, which added impact restoration to the mix, and it does great things to old tapes by itself, and damn near miraculous things when combined with a decent equalizer. Expect to pay $150-250 for the 3bxIII depending on condition and competition, which is still down some at present. Most of the other models should go cheaper, but I have little data on them. Thereís one 1bx thatís out of line at ~$160, Iíd pass by.
04-16-2003, 12:49 PM
I want to say thanks again for the responses. The Polk board gremlin has hit again. My response was wiped. I guess its down to composing in word before I place my response to the board.
04-16-2003, 02:21 PM
That used to happen to me. My connection kept timing out while I was composing my reply. One remedy is to exit the last open window and after a few seconds a window comes up and asks if you wish to stay connected. If you hit yes then the timeout is much longer. At least that is how mine works. Welcome to the polk site!
04-16-2003, 04:50 PM
If I have put alot of time into a post I'll simply select my memo, go to edit and then copy before hitting the submit reply button. 1 simple step first can save 15 minutes of effort.
Welcom to the Forum.
04-17-2003, 01:13 AM
Hello to all,
Thanks for welcoming me to the board.
Yes, my name is as stated. I did not realize I could have an alias when I signed up, so Iíll keep the current one, itís the one my parents gave me.
As for cassette decks, I confess I have another one itís a 3 head, YAMAHA KX-390 ($350 at the time and $450 downtown, I purchased it at an Audio Video fair at Hickam AFB, Hawaii when I was stationed there as well as the Polk 5jrís at the base BX for $225/$250pair if I remember right).
The Yamaha deck I purchased it in 1991, with my first pair of Polk speakers the 5jrís, which I still have. Currently the Yamaha and speakers are under a mild workout at my parents, with my dadís early 1970ís Kenwood 50 watt receiver. The Yamaha, has dolby B/C, and almost makes you want to think itís a CD when used in dolby C. At least to my ears that is.
I am definitely interested in the 3bx idea, to augment and enhance the use of the Marantz 5030B cassette deck,
there is something about those piano keys and VU meters that make you feel good and go with the music. Its retro styling make you notice it, not to mention its size.
A question about the 3bx, is there a series, Iíve noticed references to 3bx series II, and a 3bx series III? In my research on the web about them.
04-17-2003, 02:30 AM
Originally posted by Wade Spradley
Yes, my name is as stated. I did not realize I could have an alias when I signed up, so Iíll keep the current one, itís the one my parents gave me.Just messing with you a bit... Number of real names in use here ;)
Originally posted by Wade Spradley
I am definitely interested in the 3bx idea, to augment and enhance the use of the Marantz 5030B cassette deck,
A question about the 3bx, is there a series, Iíve noticed references to 3bx series II, and a 3bx series III? In my research on the web about them. There are at least three series in the dbx 3bx model. The series III added the impact restoration. I'm not sure if there is any real difference between the original 3bx and the series II beyond cosmetic (slide pots vs. rotary).
All have controls for expansion factor and the level at which the expanding occurs. They are very easy to set and very effective, if not abused. As with an Equalizer you can over do it and get an unnatural sound.
As for the model numbers, 1bx, 2bx, etc., they all refer to how many different frequency ranges are individually expanded. They actually made 4 and 5bx models as well. Price goes up with the number, but the expansion factor is controlled by one knob in all models.
I mentioned earlier that paired with an Eq they can really bring old tapes to life. Years ago I demoíd the 3bxIII with their then top of the line computerized Eq (I think it was the model 3030, but am not sure). Source was an old tape recorded on my original Sony dolby B deck. Tape was rolling off at ~12k and dead above 15k except for a low hiss. They boosted the high end with the Eq to the point of being unlistenable and then kicked in the 3bx and it was just amazing. Put the 3bxIII on my buy list in about 2 seconds flat.
Let me know if you have more questionsÖ
04-17-2003, 09:14 AM
i have a yamaha tape deck and you can use dolby b or c and it has a thing called play trim (trick circuitry) and when you kick in the dolby you can turn the knob to bring the treble and mids back out--
04-17-2003, 01:10 PM
Well, I visited a pawn shop this morning and saw a Dbx 1bxIII for $50.00. With knobs. They had some other dbx items but I did not pay too much attention to them. I am still looking around but the IIIbxIII sounds like the way to go though.
04-17-2003, 01:17 PM
I still have a dbx 1bx-ds dynamic controller, not using it anymore, but it can cure underperforming tape source quite significantly...but it can be fatiqueing to listen to.
04-17-2003, 05:19 PM
If that 1bxIII is in good condition I'd suggest you snap it up. It'd be a great intro to the technology and should be resellable for what the pawn shop is asking... of course I'd negotiate with them on the price, but $50 isn't that bad, if it's in very good shape.
I'm not familiar with the ds series and just starting to notice them on ebay. Did they follow the III's? From what I have read on them, I can't see what they offered that the III's did not. Can you shed some light here?
04-17-2003, 09:28 PM
honestly, a good friend of mine (an audioholic too) gave this to me about 7 years ago, initially not quite sure what it does, so I hooked it up, and boy, it was great. What it does is allowing you to adjust dynamics, impact recovery, and ambience. Since I don't have the manual, I was just experimenting with it. It's a 1-band dynamic range controller. I'll take a pic tomorrow if you like. It allows me to make the low-ends tighter, Especially with satellite speakers.
04-17-2003, 11:14 PM
Think you've partially answered my question. Looks like the ds's added ambience to the mix (whatever that is).
I own a 3bxIII.
If you can explain the ambience function, that'd help me.
04-18-2003, 12:59 AM
I think I will go look at it again this weekend, they have some other dbx items there to at $50 ea for about everything they got. They have a dbx controller there if I remember right and a couple of other curious dbx additions that look interesting. If I am ambitious enough maybe I can get a deal on a couple of items. I figure its worth a try, especially if the item work. So I'll check them out.
04-19-2003, 08:05 PM
I went to the pawn shop and came back with the DBX II Model 128 Dynamic Range Enhancer Noise Reduction System, and a DBX 200XG Program Route Selector for a whopping $85.00. I thought it was a pretty reasonable purchase. The 1bxIII did not look too appealing when I looked it over. There was a plain 1bx there as well, an earlier version I believe. The also had the DBX 224 Encoder and Decoder which I passed up. Saw another one in another pawn shop just looking around today.
On another note while I was about looking around I found at the good will a Teac AN-60 Dolby Noise reduction unit. I paid the astronomical high price of $5.00 for it. Almost broke my pocket book. Luckily I had change in the wallet. At least it will give me something else to play with and compare note's. But I feel that the DBX stuff will win hand's down though. Not much info on it on the web. Same with the DBX II Model 160, just a few note without going out and purchasing the manuals.
04-20-2003, 06:38 PM
Great let us know.
I am especially curious about the 128. I am not familiar with that model. I was thinking that it is one of their systems designed for tape recording and playback.
04-20-2003, 08:45 PM
From what I can tell online, the 128 is used for that, as describe on this page
Also here is a picture of it,
The one I have has the classier wood paneling on the sides.
Its going to be a little while until I get my Audio gear together. Itís a 10+ hour trip to my parents and a weekend jaunt is a little taxing. But I will be taking a vacation in the near future and will have to report on it then. After I have gathered everything together. And will have to post some pictures later as well.
I have really enjoyed this. I am watching for that Dbx 3bxIII.
04-20-2003, 09:07 PM
Thanks Wade... sounds to be the equivalent of the 1bx. Hope it fills the need you were describing.
04-20-2003, 09:51 PM
IMO, as far as tape decks go, the best deck I ever owned was an Onkyo Integra TA-2600. On a good metal tape I could get a recording very close to CD sound, from a CD source of course. The guy I sold it to still owns it and won't part with it for much anything. Dang, shouldn't have sold that........
04-21-2003, 02:03 AM
Well the Yamaha Deck I own will do metal tapes, but metal tapes are next to impossible to find now. But the Marantz 5030B will do chrome. And that seems to be the best tapes it will play with next to pre-recorded tapes. Forget the cheaper stuff it (5030B) eats them for breakfast and doesn't think twice about it either. From what I understand the best deck a person owns (practically applies to anything) is the one you put the most money in because it was the best you could afford at the time. I've been there and done that with speakers. I had a pair of early 80's Sansui's each with a titanium horn tweeter and 13 inch woofer (a five speaker four way type) that I sold just because they were not being used, since I had them in storage. Little did I know I would be moving off base later, and the person I sold them too did not want to sell them back either. But they had the sound too and you did not have to apply much volume to hear them either. But I find I really enjoy my Polk's.
04-21-2003, 10:35 AM
yes the onkyo dose sound close to cd
im surprize how good
got a onkyo ta-440 with dolby a-b, nr, hx pro filters.
hi wade, keep the monster cables
you got monster speaker cables and do you have monster interconnect cable to
04-21-2003, 12:21 PM
I have some of the less expensive monster interconnect cables, but they fit pretty tight to the RCA connectors on some of my equipment. So I tend to use them carefully. Right now I am working on getting re-setup. Since my stuff is in storage. And playing around with some of the older audio gear is fun. I've had a few freinds that had some Onkyo stuff and they swear by it. But this was in the early 90's. It wasn't too bad either from what I remember. Just more expensive than what I was budgeting for at the time.
05-01-2003, 10:31 AM
i got a older onkyo integra tx- ds-939 receiver, ( thats a keeper.) i have it in my bedroom system with the onkyo tape deck
05-01-2003, 12:29 PM
You aren't going to be able to extract a better signal off of a tape than was originally laid down. If you made tapes on the old Marantz, there is a definite limitation on how good they can sound now, regardless of new signal processing or dynamic expanders or anything else. You can't create a 20-20k response off a tape that has was recorded at 30-16k. Plus, recorded signal on a cassette simply wears out and the sound starts to degrade.
If you want to play old tapes on the Marantz that were recorded on the Marantz, probably the BEST thing you can do is to have the heads aligned... and if you're really concerned about it and can find a tech to do it, "align" the heads with the old tapes you want to play. THAT will squeeze the last bit of performance out of the tape as it is. Replacing rubber parts of the drive would also be a good idea. All that goes for the Yamaha, too.
The "better" high frequencies some people think they hear with Dolby B rather than C, or when playing encoded tapes with no unencoding, is illusion. Unless of course you *like* listening to tape hiss and construing it as high frequency response.
Dolby HX Pro, in my opinion, was what gave cassettes an extra few years of life.
I've used Dolby S.. never been impressed. Same with the standard DBX systems built-in to decks.
If you want to make NEW 'tapes' for some reason, and are going to play them only at home, I recommend using a hifi VCR as the audio tape deck. Audio response blows away cassettes... plus you get a MUCH longer tape length. I've used a VCR as my "editing" cassette deck for years and years (such as when taking songs off cassette to put ultimately on another cassette), because you get MUCH lower degradation when copying.
I think Aiwa, hands down, made the best bang-for-the-buck decks in the 80s and early 90s.. until they faltered and started using inferior parts (I think Sony started supplying). I really like Onkyo stuff, but their 80s/90s cassette decks didn't match the Aiwas... nor did the Yamahas or HKs or Teacs or pretty much anything except a few Nak models.
Bottom line.. if you want to listen to old tapes on the same machine that made the tapes, get a tech to set the heads appropriately for those tapes. NOT the best set-up if you want to make tapes to play on other players, but the best thing you can do if the tapes stay at home.
I own a 3-head/dc Aiwa deck (my second) and we have a 3-head/dc Sony deck that I ended up with after buying a cheaper Sony deck... had problems.. repairs.. problems.. bitching.. replacement with an upgrade.
05-01-2003, 02:09 PM
Agree with what you wrote brudette, excepting that if you've never heard what a good equalizer and a dbx dynamic range expander, like the 3bx, can do to an old dolby B tape.. you need to.
While it's no substitute for CD, it can make irreplaceable old tape recordings very listenable.
05-01-2003, 02:56 PM
I haven't heard it.. so I'll take your word for it. The vast majority of my music used to be on cassette. I still have a lot of stuff *only* on tape that I don't listen to THAT often and would never consider buying on CD. MOST of the MP3s I've downloaded are songs I like, have on tape, but not on CD. Back in the day, even after CDs came out, yet cassettes still had some strong life left, I enjoyed making tapes (from either LP or CD) that sounded BETTER than the prerecorded version you could buy. That used to blow people away. With a good cassette, a good 3-hd deck, Dolby C and with HX Pro, it wasn't hard at all to make a tape that the vast majority of people could not tell from the original CD. And as I said, the prerecorded tape didn't stand a chance.. like comparing AM to FM radio.
Anyway.... sort of fun to talk tape decks. Even though I hardly EVER use either one of ours, there is still something hanging on from my younger days that feels good about having a nice deck.
Actually.. I sing with a group of men, and one of my decks has found new life recording our rehersals (to work on the mix) and then recording the performances just to have a copy. One of the guys is a retired radio station owner, and he dropped the dough a couple of years ago for us to have mics, speakers and an amp... and then suddently we have to worry about levels and mixing...
05-01-2003, 07:00 PM
the only reasion i got the onkyo tape deck is that at that time i had a car that had a tape player in it, and i copied cd music for the tape deck thats in the car, and there is a lot of folks that still do that
and i was impressed with recored taps that the onkyo made. yes that whats bad about the recorded taps they deteriate fast. but you can just make more, and in a car you cant here all the distortion thats on a tape like you can at home.
i had a kenwood deck yrs. ago thats wend the frist cassets came out it was an improvement over fm radio, at that time i aways wanted a reel to reel tap recorder but didnt get one
05-02-2003, 02:14 AM
Thanks for the insight.
I have used a VCR for making music tapes and it definitely was an improvement. But, call it what you may, I have had this Marantz deck for a while, and it has not really been used so I figure its due. Its been in storage a long time, except for the occasional time I have pulled it out to check it functionality with a tape or two. It was my first real piece of stereo equipment that has made it through too many moves to count. Especially with my dad having been in the service and now I am too. It was bought used in Dec 1980 at the Ramstein AB BX in West Germany, and is dual voltage. I got it for Xmas. Being a 17 year old teenager at the time.
You might call it a teenage relapse of not getting to use the equipment you dreamed of. Because I did not have the money to afford what I really wanted to get. I listened to plenty of tapes through the headphone jack of the deck, and did not really get to hear it from a speaker standpoint. So I am assembling a modest vintage stereo system on a budget. Due to being in an apartment that has thin walls I can only play it at a moderate level when I finally get it assembled.
When I get the system set up it will consist of the following components.
Polk Audio Monitor 7 series 2 speakers
NAD C521i CD Deck
Marantz Model 5030B Cassette Deck
Marantz Model 2225B Stereo Receiver
JVC SEA-80 10 Band Graphic Equalizer
DBX II Model 128 Dynamic Range Enhancer Noise Reduction System
DBX 200XG Program Route Selector
Monster XG Speaker Wire
Monster Basic Interconnects
While modest, it should prove entertaining until I can get some digs where I can expand the volume a bit more.
05-04-2003, 01:03 AM
I used to use my hi-fi VCR as well for audio. Other than cueing, it's pretty cool. The spinning drum produces a remarkably high effective recording speed, even when the transport is set to EP. Easily the equal or better of 7.5 ips for the old reel to reel.
Have actually thought of recording hours of the digital music channels I use as background while on the 'puter, etc. Then can edit down to cassettes or CDR's for "hits" listening... beats Time Life... :)
05-04-2003, 01:28 PM
What's fun about the use of VCR recording, especially TV shows is that, I like to record the intro to Star Trek and Babylon 5 onto cassette tape, before recordable CDrom was available. Making a compilation tape to listen to the differeant intro's from each season. Which made it fun having conversations with friends about it too. Not to mention mixing some of the favorite tracks from soundtrack cd's in there too.
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