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DIY Cable Faceoff - Results and Conclusion

By Thomas Goldsworthy

Speaker Cable Face Off II previously conducted by Audioholics provided a lot of meaningful information, but no clear idea of which was best. While we are waiting on Gene to finish his cable analysis in Face Off II, I thought I would assign ranking based on his measurements using my linear interpolation method. So, here before you, I give you my opinion on which of these cable is the best. Granted, my opinion is worth is weight in copper (I would have said gold, but the resistance is too high, definitely not silver as it tarnished too easily). All of those ranking numbers contained in tables 2-5 are put to use right now. But first let us discuss weight factors. I have measured three electrical parameters of each of these cables (Resistance, Inductance, Capacitance), and know from first hand experience how much each cable cost me to make. So now we (in the royal sense) decided which factors are the most important based on an educated estimation their impacts may have on system stability and frequency response variation. Under different circumstances, each parameter measured may rise in importance. For very long cable runs all three may be of equal importance, but I think we should just consider normal runs of less then thirty feet (since the longest cable I measured was 26 feet). Based on this, we assigned rankings for each metric with a certain weight function based on perceived importance. Therefore, Resistance is weighted at 41%, Inductance is weighted at 32%, Capacitance is weighted at 27%. These technical factors are weighted at 60% and Cost is weighted at 40%.

RESULTS BASED ON RANK FACTORS


Manufacturer

Model

Weight Factors

Final Weighted Ranking Number

Technical Rank

Final Rank

0.41

0.32

0.27

0.6

0.4

R

L

C

Technical Weighted Ranking Number

Cost

CAT 5

V1

9.161

9.162

5.997

8.30704

9.985

8.97822

1

1

CAT 5

V2

8.336

8.264

6.805

7.89959

10.000

8.73975

3

2

CAT 5

V4

9.797

8.432

4.395

7.90166

9.943

8.71820

2

3

CAT 5

V3

9.824

9.587

1.713

7.55819

9.923

8.50411

7

4

Sound King

V1

9.850

4.810

7.771

7.67587

9.722

8.49432

4

5

CAT 5

V5

9.736

10.000

1.000

7.46176

9.948

8.45626

8

6

Sound King

V2

9.808

4.327

8.103

7.59373

9.712

8.44104

5

7

Sound King

V3

9.808

2.641

10.000

7.56640

9.501

8.34024

6

8

Generic (Lowes)

10/4

9.870

2.582

8.824

7.25542

9.140

8.00925

9

9

Sound King

V4

9.884

1.000

8.131

6.56781

9.244

7.63829

10

10

Woods

HD

8.232

5.493

3.893

6.18399

9.768

7.61759

12

11

Parts Express

100-768

5.742

4.489

7.670

5.86160

9.939

7.49256

14

12

Generic (Lowes)

12/4

8.345

1.208

8.896

6.20993

9.300

7.44596

11

13

Carol

12/4 T1

8.322

2.592

6.161

5.90493

9.756

7.44536

13

14

Carol

10/3

10.000

2.393

3.439

5.79429

9.756

7.37897

16

15

Monster

MCX-1S

1.000

5.340

3.909

3.17423

7.992

5.10134

17

16

Alpha

85104CY

9.858

4.332

1.364

5.79630

1.000

3.87778

15

17

TABLE 6

MUDCATS CABLE FACE OFF FINAL RESULTS

Editorial Note
The 1-10 scale ranks the overall score of the cable regarding technical and final rankings. The lower the #, the better the cable scored with respect to the test criteria, where the technical ranking is based solely on performance and the Final ranking also factors in value.

Surprisingly the Monster Cables performance was outclassed by extension cord. For ease of construction, I preferred the 10/4 cable from Lowes with techflex and banana plugs resulting in a nice looking, large diameter garden hose – err speaker cable. of the technical tidbits (Resistance, Inductance, and Capacitance) and does not include any cost factors.

For your continued enjoyment, I've included a table comparing all the cables I tested and all the cables from Audioholics two previous cable face-offs. If you do not like the results, change the weight factors.

Brand

Model

Source

Weight Factor

Overall Final Weighted Factor

Technical Rank

Final Rank

0.41

0.32

0.27

0.6

0.4

Resistance

Inductance

Capacitance

Technical Weighted Ranking Factor

Cost

CAT 5

V5

Mudcat

9.191

8.220

8.893

8.800

9.995

9.278

1

1

CAT 5

V3

Mudcat

9.246

7.963

8.958

8.758

9.993

9.252

2

2

CAT 5

V1

Mudcat

8.845

7.696

9.347

8.613

9.998

9.167

3

3

CAT 5

V4

Mudcat

9.228

7.237

9.202

8.584

9.995

9.148

4

4

CAT 5

V2

Mudcat

8.347

7.126

9.421

8.246

10.000

8.948

9

5

Cobalt Cable

10 AWG

CFO

9.518

5.705

9.621

8.326

9.654

8.857

7

6

Axiom Audio

Speaker Cable

CFO II

8.174

7.856

9.018

8.300

9.677

8.851

8

7

Sound King

V1

Mudcat

9.257

4.957

9.508

7.949

9.975

8.759

14

8

Sound King

V2

Mudcat

9.238

4.663

9.539

7.855

9.974

8.703

16

9

Tributaries

11 AWG

CFO II

8.940

7.084

8.140

8.130

9.501

8.679

11

10

AVCable

10 AWG

CFO II

9.075

5.209

9.586

7.976

9.707

8.668

13

11

River Cable

Starflex

CFO II

8.759

7.522

9.002

8.429

9.000

8.657

6

12

Sound King

12 AWG

CFO

8.467

4.974

9.694

7.681

9.988

8.604

20

13

Monster Cable

Original

CFO

8.533

5.047

9.550

7.692

9.948

8.594

19

14

Monster Cable

Navajo

CFO

8.068

5.429

9.625

7.644

9.930

8.558

21

15

Woods

HD

Mudcat

8.281

5.380

9.156

7.589

9.979

8.545

23

16

Sound King

V3

Mudcat

9.238

3.597

9.711

7.561

9.955

8.518

24

17

Avic

SC1100

CFO II

7.687

7.839

8.949

8.076

9.130

8.498

12

18

Generic (Lowes)

10/4

Mudcat

9.275

3.551

9.604

7.532

9.923

8.489

25

19

Carol

10/3

Mudcat

9.352

3.431

9.115

7.393

9.978

8.427

26

20

Cardas

Crosslink 1S

CFO II

7.495

7.298

9.225

7.899

9.119

8.387

15

21

Alpha

85104CY

Mudcat

9.262

4.654

8.926

7.697

9.195

8.296

18

22

Sound King

V4

Mudcat

9.281

2.567

9.541

7.203

9.932

8.294

27

23

Carol

12/4 T1

Mudcat

8.339

3.560

9.362

7.086

9.978

8.243

30

24

Parts Express

100-768

Mudcat

6.771

4.755

9.499

6.863

9.994

8.115

33

25

River Cable

Flexygy

CFO II

8.324

5.991

9.082

7.782

8.585

8.103

17

26

Generic (Lowes)

12/4

Mudcat

8.349

2.687

9.611

6.878

9.937

8.102

32

27

Stealth

Premier II

CFO

10.000

5.678

9.842

8.574

7.204

8.026

5

28

Acoustic Research

Speaker Cable

CFO II

8.986

2.447

9.898

7.140

8.991

7.880

29

29

Audience

Maestro

CFO II

7.536

9.042

6.020

7.609

7.896

7.724

22

30

Goertz

MI-2 Veracity

CFO II

8.524

10.000

1.000

6.965

8.710

7.663

31

31

Monster

MCX-1S

Mudcat

3.903

5.288

9.158

5.765

9.820

7.387

34

32

Cardas

SE 9

CFO II

8.738

9.262

2.201

7.141

6.548

6.904

28

33

Empirical Audio

Clarity 7

CFO II

8.284

8.925

7.379

8.245

1.000

5.347

10

34

Stealth

Fine Ribbon

CFO

1.000

1.000

10.000

3.430

7.969

5.246

35

35

TABLE 7 - Comparison of all Cables from the 3 Speaker Cable Face Offs

Editorial Note
The 1-10 scale ranks the overall score of the cable regarding technical and final rankings. The lower the #, the better the cable scored with respect to the test criteria, where the technical ranking is based solely on performance and the Final ranking also factors in value.

Conclusions

So, now that I went and did all this, who does it benefit? You I hope. For those with the most remote DIY capability, the path to a really thick, large diameter cable to impress the ego and neighbors, and performs as well as super high tech, expensive, snake oil laden (or even snake oil free), speaker cables is contained herein.

Hopefully, this will generate a lot of discussion, and I hope Mr. Escallier backs me up instead of insulting my mechanical engineering background. For my part, I think I'll try a blend of Cat 5 and the Sound King next.

P.S. Anybody want to buy some Monster MCX-1S speaker cables? I've got a couple of pairs to get rid of.

figure-14.jpg

 
FIGURE 14 - Finished Lowes 10/4 Cable, TechFlex Braid, and GLS Locking Banana Plugs

 

Audioholics would like to thank Thomas Goldsworthy for his Herculean efforts in writing this article, constructing the cables, and testing them. In future cable articles we will be implementing the Linear Interpolation method that Thomas established for ranking cables.

 

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