Tweaking Home Theater Pt. 8 - Cardas Wire For Front Stage Speakers
One thing leads to another. The sonic improvements from the recent replacement of my SDA SRS 1.2TL's stock internal wire with Cardas litz wire caused me to wonder what could be gained for using higher quality wire. The 1.2TL's Cardas wire was replaced with AudioQuest GO-4 hyper-litz speaker wire and the Cardas wire was installed in the SDA SRS's in my home theater system. The SRS's interconnect cable was replaced with Cardas 9.5 AWG litz wire. The former IC was made from Monster Cable Z2 reference 12 AWG speaker cable.
There was a noticeable difference in clarity between the SRS front speakers and the LSi9 center channel speakers. Balance was restored when the LSi9's internal wiring was replaced with Cardas 15.5 AWG litz wire. The stranded wire jumpers of the SRS's and LSi9's were replaced with AudioQuest GO-4 speaker wire.
Figure 1. Rewiring SDA SRS's with Cardas 15.5 AWG litz wire.
Figure 2. Completed left SDA SRS.
Figure 3. Cardas 9.5 AWG litz wire for the SDA SRS interconnect cable.
Figure 4. Completed Cardas SDA SRS interconnect cable with Neutrik XLR connectors.
Figure 5. Jumpers were made from AudioQuest GO-4 solid core speaker wire terminated with AudioQuest
BFA banana plugs.
Figure 6. AudioQuest jumpers installed.
Figure 7. I had enough leftover Cardas 15.5 AWG to rewire the LSi9 center channel speakers.
Figure 8. LSi9 ready for reassembly.
Figure 9. The LSi9's also received new jumpers made from AudioQuest GO-4 speaker wire.
Figure 10. Listening evaluation of rewired LSi9's. They sounded so good that I didn't want to relegate them
back to center channel duty!
When I replaced the Cardas litz wire in my SDA SRS 1.2TL's with AudioQuest GO-4 solid core hyper-litz wire, the Cardas wire was moved to the SDA SRS speakers in my home theater system. During listening evaluations of the rewired SRS's in stereo mode, I heard the same spatial, detail and clarity improvements as with the SDA SRS 1.2TL's. In five channel home theater mode, the previous coherency of the front stage was diminished due to the increased clarity and weight of the front speakers. This was particularly noticeable when sounds panned from side to side.
Fortunately, I had enough leftover Cardas wire to rewire the LSi9 center channel speakers. The LSi9's 9 AWG stranded copper/silver coated copper jumpers were replaced with jumpers made from 3" lengths of AudioQuest GO-4 hyper-litz speaker wire. Rewiring the LSi9's improved the clarity, detail and sonic weight of the LSi9's and brought the front stage back into coherency.
Bear in mind that the electronics in my home theater system are very modest in resolution compared to those of my two channel system. The electronics, source component and cables are as follows:
Pioneer BDP-09FD Blu-ray/DVD/CD player.
Sony TA-P9000 5.1 channel analog preamp.
Adcom GFA-5500 power amplifier.
Monster Cable Z2 reference speaker cables.
Monster Cable Z100i interconnects.
PS Audio Statement SC power cords.
I expected improvements in the LSi9's clarity and detail performance. I was very pleasantly surprised at the spatial improvements: increased depth and width of the sound stage. The LSi9's sounded "ok" in their stock form, sounded great with improved crossovers and now sound excellent and very "high-endish" with the Cardas wire replacement. I don't attribute all the improvement to just the Cardas wire. I think the Cardas wire was the synergistic "missing link" that facilitated all the other improvements meshing together. The LSi9's provided Such Good Sound in stereo mode that I was reluctant to put them back into center channel duty. There was a small audible and measurable improvement in clarity when the left LSi9's tweeter was disconnected.
The replacement of the SRS's interconnect cable with one made for 9.5 AWG Cardas wire resulted in a widening of the sound stage on each side by 2 feet and in further increases in clarity and detail in stereo and five channel mode.
Cardas Wire Makes No Difference?
From Roger Russel's website:
"If I don?t believe that expensive speaker wire makes an audible difference, why is it used inside the IDS-25 speaker system? The answer is very simple. IDS is out to sell speakers and not everyone believes in ordinary wire. The explanation is the same as what McIntosh found at shows and is described in the section above. Cardas wire does not sound any better but it may help to sell speakers to those who are concerned about wire and are not convinced that ordinary wire is just as good. The increase in cost is negligible compared to the drivers, enclosures and equalizer."
The LSi9's are the third pair of speakers I have installed Cardas wire in. In each pair of speakers, every aspect of the speaker's performance was improved. The differences are easily heard when one speaker is wired with standard wire and the other is wired with Cardas. The improvements in spatial properties is striking when both speakers are rewired with Cardas. I have never heard the $18,000 IDS-25 speaker system. It could very well be that Cardas wire provided no audible improvement over ordinary wire in the IDS-25. However, if Cardas wire provided easily audible improvements in the LSI9, which are speakers of moderate resolution costing $1,150 per pair and used with moderate resolution electronics, I would expect Cardas wire to provide similar and greater improvements, particularly with the high resolution, high end equipment I would expect an $18,000 speaker system to be used with.[/QUOTE]