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  1. #1

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    Default Rat Shack 18AWG Wire???

    So I was in Radio Shack today picking up a PC board and saw the "solid core hook up wire" I hear so much about. My question is how long of a run can (or should) I make with this stuff? I'm am planning on trying this on my 2ch rig. I'll be running the LSi9's on my 55w/ch tube integrated. My speakers are only about 5 feet from the amp. Will I have to double it up? Or will that defeat the purpose of it being solid?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
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  2. #2

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    According to this table, it's feasable
    http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

    However, even though it may be solid core, it's still an 18AWG cable, although, I don't really see a problem, if you've got the cash, try it. :)
    Last edited by Mjr7531; 11-30-2005 at 11:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjr7531
    According to this table, it's feasable
    http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

    However, even though it may be solid core, it's still an 18AWG cable, although, I don't really see a problem, if you've got the cash, try it. :)
    Thanks for the info! It just doesn't seem that cable that small could handle the load. Well I guess it's time to give it a try.

    Thanks Again.
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    How much is it? Ask for electrical wire at Home Depot or Lowes if you want to comparison shop.

    I like to use 10 awg on my sda's but have only tried the stranded for now.
    Last edited by candyliquor35m; 11-30-2005 at 11:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by candyliquor35m
    How much is it? Ask for electrical wire at Home Depot or Lowes if you want to comparison shop.
    I think it was $4 for 60ft. At that price how could anyone resist trying it?
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  6. #6

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    Waste of $4, IMO.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  7. #7

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    So you've tried it then Jesse?
    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut
    Waste of $4, IMO.
    Why? Have you tried it?
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  9. #9

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    Of course he hasn't, give it a whirl.
    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.

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    If I had tried it I wouldn't have added "IMO", now would I!?! There are some things in this hobby that one doesn't have to try because logic and knowledge are more than enough. So Russ, have you wasted the $4?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Great advice Russ. You know better, so why encourage him to waste his money?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Maybe I'm lost, but who is raving about this solid core hookup wire to begin with??

    BDT
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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut
    Great advice Russ. You know better, so why encourage him to waste his money?
    I'm not concerned about the $4.

    Quote Originally Posted by TroyD
    Maybe I'm lost, but who is raving about this solid core hookup wire to begin with??

    BDT
    It started quite some time ago when believe it or not stereophile gave it a favorable review and added it to their recommended components list. Now normally I don't much care what stereophile does or does not recommend. I mean you can't help but wonder how much their pockets are lined by many manufacturers. But I figured in this case, Radio Shack probably isn't a big money maker for them. I have also seen mention of it here and on other forums. And besides......It's only $4 freakin' dollars to find out.

    Maybe I'll have time tomorrow to try it.
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  14. #14

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    JHC, it's not even shielded!
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    I've got a bunch of rat shack wire.

    Really makes those Pioneer CS-88a's SING.

    It's basic wire. Nothing more nothing less.

    BDT
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    The wire in question sounds very good IMHO. If you can get some red and some black of the same stuff it works real well. If you can't it just isn't as easy. This wire is a single run and you'll need to double it up (1+/1-). I also suggest that you add an extra 10-15% and twist them. It's easy to do if you just put the ends in a drill. This will create a sort of shielding in that any interference will cancel each other. Most speaker wire don't really require shielding anyways,unless they are very long or laying on your power cables.
    Make it Funky! :)

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    For $5.46 you could get 2 7' strands of 12guage belden speaker wire from Blue Jeans Cable. (Heck for $8.26 you could get 10 guage) I am not saying it is gods gift to wire, but at least you won't have to ask if it will work for your speakers or not. :)

    Michael

    Edit - I know its not the question you asked, but still just wanted to point out you can get something decent for not alot of dough. I know you said the $4.00 didn't really matter that much but if you are going to test solid core, get some electrical wire from home depot or lowes and test some decent guage that is shielded. - i.e. if I wanted to test out stranded wire and purchased 18guage lamp cord to do it with, I may not like it either compared to whatever I was running.
    Last edited by McLoki; 12-01-2005 at 07:48 AM.
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    I love the concern over his wasting of FOUR dollars. Four HUNDRED, I could understand, but four? Of course I've tried it. Various solid core, cat5 braided, etc, etc.

    IMO? I understand it's your opinion Jesse, but based on what? Actual experience? A peer's experience? Just because it doesn't make sense how it could possibly sound good? Something you read on the internet?

    My thoughts on it? I'll let him form his own conclusions, afterwards, if he would like, I'll happily share my thoughts. He's got an open audio mind, I'll support and encourage that - it's all too rare these days.

    Cheers,
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  19. #19

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    Give the RS a shot. If you want, twist a pair or 3 together per post, just strip the last inch or so of insulation on each length, twist them into 1 conductor, connect and enjoy.

    You have to admit that anytime the snobs at Stereophile are willing to give the "nod" to a $6 roll of wire---there's something to it.

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  20. #20

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    gidrah, McLoki, RuSsMaN, steveinaz

    Thanks for the support guys! :)


    I don't expect this to be the best cable in the world. In fact I have my serious doubts that it will be better than the Monster Z (aka Poo) I have now. But sometimes I really enjoy seeing how much performance I can get out of budget items. For example I have an older pair of energy exl-16 bookshelf speakers that retailed for only $300 new. Yes, I have graduated to bigger and better, but sometimes I can't help but hook them up and be amazed. Do they sound better than my LSi's??? Hell No! But there is one thing they are amazing at.....Imaging. Those little guys set a soundstage that is stagering. They don't have the overall detail, response, or refinement of the LSis, but I still love to hear what they can do FOR THE MONEY!

    One of my favorite things about this hobby, besides the music, is the learning how it all works. Which usually means going back to basics. In fact tomorrow I should be receiving all the parts I need to build 3 headphone amps (total cost $70). All this so I can learn more about opamps and different circuits. I am also looking forward to making my Ipod sound much better, but I sure don't expect it to sound like a Musical Fidelity X-Can either.

    All I'm saying is.....just becuase I may ask about some low end equipment or cheap tweaks from time to time.....this doesn't mean I'm another newbie freak who wants to run my home theater system off of a car audio amp, battery, and a set of jumper cables.

    Ok sorry. That kinda turned into a bit of a rant. But I think that makes my point. For some of us there is more to the hobby than just getting the best sound.

    Thanks again guys!!! :D ;)
    Dave
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  21. #21

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    Nothing wrong with trying to get the most bang for your buck---hell, I live by it!

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    Sure there's nothing wrong with trying different stuff, however I stand by my comments on this one.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Anybody ever try standing thier center channel on it's end? I hear that works wonders!

    thank you, BDT

    (there are a few oldtimers that will get this)
    Last edited by TroyD; 12-01-2005 at 01:43 PM.
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    solid conductor wire does not have the current carrying capabilities of stranded wire of the same gauge.

    the "skin effect" of electromagnetic theory dictates that the majority (well over 50%) of any given signal's current travel's along the outer "skin" of a conductor. That being said, 18 gauge wire of many many many very very thin strands will give you more cross sectional area for conduction of current than a single solid conductor piece of 18 awg.

    The skin effect is especially present with AC signals of high voltage (relative). While it is present at DC, it is not as important. None the less... high quality, high current DC power line is still made up of as many as 5,000 strands of oxygen free tinned copper -- if only to avoid trouble.

    "Rat Shack" as you so aptly name them - does sell wire of oxygen free copper - it's not virgin copper, but it's not dog **** either. However, the problem with most radio shack stranded speaker wire is that the strands are somewhat thick. There may only be 5 or 7 strands inside a piece of 18 gauge, if that. A better quality wire such as Esoteric Audio will have at least 30 to 50 strands inside a piece of 18 awg, thus providing lower DCR, higher current carrying capability, and more flexibility within the line. Often, better grades of copper are used. Virgin copper will cost you $$$ though. There is no need to shield speaker wire provided that you are not running it along the path of AC Wall Outlet power lines. The high voltage of the amplifier output to the speaker is strong enough to resist most any interference (20 to 30 volts will not be muddied up by a 0.1 v insurgence of noise). However, as stated, running it next to power lines is a no no. Even with a shielded speaker wire, that's a no no. Sometimes you're stuck tough and have "gotta do what you gotta do". I suppose thats why anybody even makes a shielded speaker wire.
    Last edited by PoweredByDodge; 12-01-2005 at 03:05 PM.
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    Thanks for the tech refresher. I remember some of this from circuit analysis class in college. I loved this class because it often turned into an audio discussion. We also had a debate going for awhile regarding solid core vs. stranded speaker cable. There was some question as to whether the electrons transfering from strand to strand in speaker cable would effect the sound. (I'm sure many here have had the same discussion) I can't say that we ever completely settled the debate. However the majority were in the solid core camp. Unfortunately we never got around to doing blind tests. I guess I might have to have a friend over to conduct some. Maybe I can settle this once and for all......at least in my mind. :)
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  26. #26

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    you wanna energize them speakers with something different? i say, "more power to ya!" ... pun intended!!!

    give us an update when you get things going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PoweredByDodge
    the "skin effect" of electromagnetic theory dictates that the majority (well over 50%) of any given signal's current travel's along the outer "skin" of a conductor. That being said, 18 gauge wire of many many many very very thin strands will give you more cross sectional area for conduction of current than a single solid conductor piece of 18 awg.
    I don't think this works exactly like you are thinking. Multi stranded wire will be able to transfer slightly more current than solid guage but not much.

    Think of 20 pipes bound together. Current will only travel where the outside of a pipe meets the air. (not another pipe) The entire outside will conduct current as well as the small space created where the pipes almost touch but due to them being round rather than square they do not. Shrink that down, and you have your stranded speaker wire.

    To have the effect you are thinking of would require insulated strands and would be accomplished by many of the DIY cables created using cat-5 network cable.

    Michael

    Edit - I am not saying there will or will not be a difference in sound between solid core wire and stranded, just that your description of skin effect could be misinterpreted.
    Last edited by McLoki; 12-01-2005 at 09:07 PM.
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    stranded wires are not vacuum sealed, that is to say that there exists air space between each conductor - not 100% area, but a good amount... see diagram.

    indivudual conductors are not flat, they are round, and no matter how small it may appear to the naked eye, the phenomenon demonstrated in the diagram occurs on a tiny tiny tiny scale with each and every individual strand within a stranded piece of line. This is why 3 strand wire is not really any better than single conductor. However, hundreds, even thousands of the little buggers work wonders.

    None the less... when you get down to it, stranded or solid, there are but 2 things to worry about. 1) voltage loss along the line. 2) induced noise.

    so keep it away from noise inducing things, and use an appropriate gauge. its just that with a high strand count (say 50 to 70 strands for 14 gauge), you can carry significantly more current without suffering any appreciable voltage loss.

    debate it all you want, but inductors induce hysterisis (spelling is probably wrong on that), and a simple stranded wire is far far far far from an inductor.
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    I just did a side by side comparison of 10 awg stranded vs 10 awg solid core which isn't as good as a blind comparison but I closed my eyes ok. Also I used the left channel vs the right so I wasn't exactly comparing apples to apples.

    The stranded was louder which makes me believe it carries more current but the solid won my ears over very quickly. The clarity, preciseness and instrument separation blew me away. It was much easier on my ears than the loud boomy jumbled sound coming from the stranded and man did it make my sl2000's dance.

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    Thanks for the input. I have been too busy to try a comparison myself. Maybe one of these days.
    HT
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