Bi-Wire Speaker Cable

$70.00 to $120.00



SKU: CBL-BW

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In Stock. Ships same day M-F if ordered by 2pm Central.

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Features

More Info

Bi-wiring requires that four conductors be run for each speaker. Two conductors provide the positive and negative for the mid and low frequencies, and another two conductors provide the positive and negative for the high frequencies. At the amplifier side, the two positive cables are connected together to the positive post on the amplifier and the two negative cables are connected together to the negative post. At the speaker side, the cables sending the mid and low frequencies are connected to the bottom pair of binding posts and the highest frequencies are connected to the top pair.



The only real benefit, aside from doubling the gauge of your cable, is achieved when different types of cable are used to maximize the subtle differences in the way low and high frequency signals are transferred from amplifier to speaker.



With our bi-wire cable, the highest frequencies travel across 252 indivdual strands of silver-plated, oxygen free copper with a total thickness of 14 gauge. Silver is a better conductor than copper, especially in the high frequency range. Some high-end cable manufactures use pure silver instead of silver-plated copper. While this is better than silver-plating, it is also about five times the price. And because electrons tend to flow along the surface of the cable, silver-plating yields the best performance to cost ratio.



For the mid and low frequencies, our bi-wire cable transfers the low and mid frequencies along a thick, 11 gauge cable that consists of 490 individual strands of 99.99% oxygen-free copper.



Bi-amping (as opposed to bi-wiring) requires one amplifier for the mid and low frequencies and a separate amplifier for the high frequencies. This type of connection achieves an even higher degree of separation but is also a much more expensive option. Only the most expensive home theater recievers include the ability to bi-amp. That said, some more affordable 7.1 receivers allow you to utilize a 5.1 setup and convert the sixth and seventh channel for use with bi-amping the front left and right speakers.

Specifications

  • High Frequencies:

    2 conductors (+ and -) for connecting one speaker

    14 AWG (American Wire Gauge)

    252 silver-plated strands of 99.99% oxygen free copper

    Conductors are color-coded in order to easily maintain polarity
  • Mid-Low Frequencies:

    2 conductors (+ and -) for connecting one speaker

    11 AWG (American Wire Gauge)

    490 strands of 99.99% oxygen free copper

    Conductors are color-coded in order to easily maintain polarity
  • CL3-rated outer jacket
  • Foil shield

FAQ

A powered subwoofer, by definition, includes an amplifier. The signal sent from the home theater receiver/processor to the subwoofer amplifier is therefore a "non-powered" signal that needs to be shielded from its surroundings. Shielding prevents unwanted interference, specifically a 60 Hz "hum" from nearby electrical wires, from being picked up and amplified. We offer a shielded powered subwoofer cable in lengths of 3 feet, 12 feet and 30 feet.

 

The other speakers in a surround sound setup (front left, center and right plus all of the surround speakers) do not have amplifiers built-in. Instead, they are powered by amplifiers in the home theater receiver. It is difficult for an amplified signal to pick up interference, so regular, unshielded speaker cable will do. Regular speaker cable is also what is run between the subwoofer amplifier and the subwoofer. We recommend 14 gauge cable because, in our experience, it is difficult to notice an improvement with even thicker cable. When running cable behind a wall or in the ceiling, most building codes will require that you use UL rated CL-3 cable which has a higher fire retardancy than clear jacket cable.

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HTD Multipurpose in-wall speakers can accept 14 gauge cable but 16 gauge should also work well for most installations where individual lengths are less than 100 feet. The High Defnition in-wall speakers can accept 10 gauge wire, but 14 gauge seems to be the point of diminishing returns for most listeners, i.e. you can spend more money for 10 or 12 gauge cable but you probably won't hear the difference. While clear jacket cable is suitable for most in-room speaker installations, if you are running cable behind a wall or ceiling, you need to use UL Class 3 rated cable to be in compliance with most building codes. Class 3 cable will not degrade in extreme temperatures because it uses an extra plenim sheath to protect the cable. The letters CL3 should be printed somewhere on the sheath.



Good cable will make a difference in the performance of your speakers but you shouldn't have to take out a second mortgage to get them. Most speaker cable is simple in design because it carries a hi-level or powered signal so it does not require much "shielding" to protect it from interference and hum. On the other hand, audio interconnect cables transmit a line level or non-powered signal from one component to another (such as from a DVD player to a receiver or from a receiver to a powered subwoofer) and are at high risk for interference and thus require a good amount of shielding.



Good speaker cable should adhere to the following three principles:



1. Oxygen Free Copper should be used. Copper of 99.9% or higher concentration is used in most speaker cable today, but to officially be considered "oxygen free", it should be 99.99% pure. Extra, and more costly, processes are used to get to this level which is one reason speaker cable is more expensive than typical copper cable. Look for the letters "OFC" printed on the cable or packaging. Poor quality copper will deteriorate fairly quickly and the conductivity can be reduced to the point that it is noticeable in the speaker's performance.



2. The thicker the cable, the better. A cable's overall thickness is measured by gauge. The lower the gauge, the thicker the cable. HTD recommends using 16 gauge or thicker cable. In general, the longer the cable run, the thicker it should be to minimize signal loss. While Level TWO and Level THREE cabinet speakers can handle down to 8 gauge cable, we have found that the point of diminishing returns seems to be around 14 gauge for most listeners. This means that it becomes difficult to justify spending significantly more on thicker cable for the tiny amount of improvement in speaker performance- an improvement most listeners won't detect.



3. The higher number of strands used to produce the gauge of the cable the better. Speaker cable typically consists of many small wires twisted together. Because electrons flow along the surface area of the copper wire, more surface area means less signal loss. And more strands means more surface area. Further, something called "gap flux" that occurs between strands needs to be minimized and the closer together the strands the smaller the gap flux.



HTD offers a complete line of quality speaker cable that excels in all three points discussed above.