"The Best Speaker Wire designs -
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• MIT ORACLE V4 -15ft pair for front stereo speakers = $3500.00 USD
• MIT Shotgun 10ft pair for rear surrounds = $800.00 USD
• MIT Shotgun single for center channel speaker =$400.00 USD
The theory for my patent was that products such as the Tara Labs Zero and Nordost Valhalla used ‘air’ as their dielectric.
And I would follow suit, but use even more air and have less insulation contact. The Nordost Valhalla design is claimed to have an 80% air and 20% contact between the Teflon thread and the conductor. The Nordost Valhalla is considered to be one of the best speaker wire systems on the planet.
No claims of air to dielectric contact are known for the Tara Labs Zero as far as I know. But from what I have heard they are thought superior to the Nordost Valhalla.
While developing the patent my objective was to eliminate as much of the insulation surrounding the conductor as possible.
Tara Labs Zero and Nordost Valhalla are probably the best speaker wire sets and are extremely expensive. They are basically audio jewelry with silver plated conductors and other design elements that I don’t intend to go into here. Last I checked the Tara Labs Zero 8ft per pair speaker cables retailed for around $12,000.00 USD.
My patented speaker wire design had a 95 to 97% air to dielectric contact ratio. This leaves about 10 to 12% less contact than the Nordost Valhalla. And in this case less is more. So from an engineering standpoint from the air dielectric perspective my patent should have been superior. Obviously, there are other factors at work here too so I can't claim that my design is superior. I wouldn't be so bold!
Here is what I do know about this DIY speaker Wire:
There are tons of white papers available from different cable manufacturers that supposedly prove their design is the best speaker wire. I make no such claims.
I had measurements made of my cable designs in 2005 but I don’t know where they are, and honestly it’s not worth it to me to dig them up.
What I do have are the test results of these cables in direct comparison to cables from MIT that I listed above. This is my story of how I learned about the best speaker wire I have ever owned and how you can build them for yourself.
listed below were the same length and of the same diameter unless specified otherwise. The best speaker wire and DIY speaker cables that I made were all solid core, non stranded wires.
DIY speaker wire 1: Bare copper 14 gauge wire (no insulation, complete air dielectric) 8ft pair
DIY speaker wire 2: Nylon Insulated copper house construction wires 14 gauge 8ft pair
DIY speaker wire 3: Virgin Teflon insulated copper wire high purity (4-9’s) 14 gauge 8ft pair
MIT ORACLE V4 15ft pair
MIT Shotgun 8ft pair
I did some double blind tests with a guitar player friend of mine to confirm. We took turns switching out the cables while the other person went into the other room. Listening was done with the lights off so the listener could not see what cable was hooked to the system. We used numbers to name the cables.
At the end we compared our notes and then did some final listening while knowing which cable was hooked up. Our results were nearly identical and just confirmed what we heard during the blind tests.
Test #1: I started the test using the nylon insulated wire and compared it to the MIT ORACLE V4.
I was shocked that they sounded so close in performance. But I had to give the nod to the ORACLE V4. It was better. Better bass and smoother. Less grain too.
Test #2: Then I compared the nylon insulated wire to the MIT shotgun. The nylon insulated 14 gauge was almost indistinguishable from the MIT shotgun. We never could decide which of these two we liked better. Our results were inconsistent to say the least so we decided to call this a tie.
At this point I was pretty upset. Those MIT Shotguns cost me over 800 bucks. I bought them new in Columbus OH in 2003 thinking they were the best speaker wire I could afford at the time. It was hit or miss for either me or my musician friend to notice a discernible difference between them.
Test #3: Next I compared the bare wire to the MIT shotgun. The bare copper wire was actually noticeably better than the MIT shotgun. There was less grain with slightly more articulate bass. The sound of the bare wires was very good, and very musical! We made the decision to come back to this match in Test#6.
I began wondering how much of a difference the insulation was playing a role in the results of the best speaker wire.
Still, I decided to continue before staging the best against the better to see which the winner was.
Test #4: The virgin Teflon went in against the MIT shotgun now. The results were close to the same as against the nylon insulation wire.
The virgin Teflon scored just slightly better than the nylon insulated copper wire. Before we finished with the Teflon we concluded that the air dielectric or non insulated version was still easily better than any wire which used insulation in this test other than the MIT ORACLE V4.
Our last two tests were to use the bare wire against the MIT ORACLE V4 and against the MIT Shotguns to rule out the placebo effect of our best speaker wire test.
Test #5: Against the MIT ORACLE V4 the bare wire lost, but not by much. The bare wire was just as musical but gave up a bit of bass weight on the very bottom end. The treble and midrange was as identical as I can imagine.
Test #6: The bare wire easily beat out the MIT Shotgun in all discernible areas. The bass was more authoritative and articulate. Our final notes on this comparison were that the midrange was more musical and the treble was less grainy. Test #6 was a double check from test #3.
The bare wire that was used in this test was a construction grade 14 gauge house wire from Lowe’s. This is the kind of stuff that you wire a home with. Construction grade wire!
I stripped off all of the insulation and propped the wire off the floor with pieces of glass to keep the positive and negative terminals from touching one another.
The other nylon insulated cables were the same type with their insulation left on them.
The Teflon coated wire was a 14gauge solid core with virgin Teflon insulation that was special ordered for this test.
Although, I do believe the air dielectric idea has some merit. I do not think that it is necessary to spend more than a few hundred dollars on a set of the best speaker wire and interconnect cables for your entire audio system.
There are countless tests and data that prove the science behind the ‘cable is cable’ theory. There are even articles about using coat hanger for speaker wires, although I’m not suggesting this to get the best speaker wire.
Here are some practical ways to get the best speaker wire into your home theater audio system
for less money. Rest assured that these are excellent sounding home theater speaker wire solutions:
1. Get some 14 gauge wire from a home supply store.
2. Cut the wire to the length that you need plus add 1 ft for every 8 ft you will need. (Braiding shortens the overall length)
3. Leave the inner black and white nylon insulation on the wires unless you want to try an air dielectric version based on my patent. (See # 3 below)
4. Rip off the outer protective PVC shield and inner paper to expose the black and white inner wires.
5. Braid the black white and bare ground wires together. Don’t use the ground wire.
6. Clip off the ground wire about 1 ft from each end and tape the ends of the ground wire so they don’t stick through the protective braiding.
7. Stretch some nice braiding over it and terminate the ends with some nice shrink tube. You can even buy some of those audio jewelry ends that WBT makes if you wish but the bare ends will work just fine too.
You may wish to terminate the cable ends with some good Connectors - Parts Express has one of the largest selections of connectors online for home audio. I use them myself.
1. Get some 14 gauge wire from a home supply store. Here is an example of theseDIY speaker cables and how to build them another way.
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2. Cut the wire to the length that you need plus add 1 ft for every 8 ft you will need. (braiding shortens the overall length)
3. Remove the insulation from the wire down to the bare copper.
4. Polish the copper with some steel wool.
5. Insert the copper wires into polyethylene tubes make 3 tubes for each speaker cable.
6. Mark two of the cables on each end as positive and negative. Make sure the marks will not rub off.
7. Braid the wires together. Don’t connect the third wire; it merely acts to complete the braid.
8. Clip off the ground wire about 1 ft from each end and tape the ends of the ground wire so they don’t stick through the protective braiding.
9. Pump about an inch of silicon caulk into the end of each tube so that it makes a seal between the inside of the tube and the wire itself. This will seal the air inside of the tube.
10. Stretch some nice braiding over it and terminate the ends with some nice shrink tube. You can even buy some of those audio jewelry ends that WBT makes if you wish but the bare ends will work just fine too.
How to Build the Best Speaker Wire using the Patented Cable Plans:
Use the patented plans and make a set of 95% air dielectric cables that were created as a result of the experiment above.
"These are some of the best speaker wire sets that I have owned."
Update: One of our readers has found a different way to build these cables - Balsa Wood
"I built your wire suspension apparatus from Balsa Wood; the noise floor, transparency, and articulation was taken to a new level in my music system":
I haven't tried the balsa wood suspension. I had at least one reader that had trouble machining according to the plans. Other's seem to do fine with balsa wood. There might be some difference as to the grain and consistency.
Balsa wood offers an even lower dielectric constant than PTFE Teflon.
1. Get some 14 gauge wire from a home supply store.
2. Cut the wire to the length that you need.
3. remove all of the insulation from the wires
4. Install the wires into the insulation system described in these plans based on the . Read more about the best patented speaker wires now.
5. Install a layer of shrink tub over the cable apparatus and shrink it per the supplied instructions. If multiple runs are used braid them together using a dummy tube for the 3rd cable.
6. Stretch some nice over braiding onto the assembly and terminate the ends with some nice shrink tube. You can even buy some of those audio jewelry ends that WBT makes if you wish but the bare ends will work just fine too.
a. I will warn you that these will take a while to build (20 to 30 hours) and you will need a small drill press and some expensive Teflon rods plus lots of shrink tube and nylon over braid in addition to the other material on #1 and #2.
b. Overall, this DIY speaker cables set will not be cheap because of the quality of materials used. But they should outperform nearly anything on the retail market regardless of price -or at least be very competitive.
c. For most consumers suggestion #1 will do just fine. If you have a high resolution audio system you may want to consider option #2. The parts list is included with the plans.
You can find cable parts at Wire & Cable - We carry a large selection of bulk reels to completed cables in every style and length.
Get The best speaker wire patented cable plans now: Go to the Speaker Wires page to see price.
I would also recommend any of the these speaker cables as internal speaker wiring for building the best speakers.
Depending on the amount of watts you push through the cable will determine the size or speaker wire gauge that you should use. I'll discuss this in a later article. Go to this page to learn about hiding speaker wire..
If DIY is not the way you wish to go, then Go to Parts Express Wire & Cable department - they carry a large selection of bulk reels to completed cables in every style and length.
To order these plans to to: the Patented Speaker Wires order page.
Learn about audio cable connectors and which ones you need. Find connectors here!
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