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The wire conundrum: as it were

Ask The Advisors about Wire

We get a ton of questions about “Wire” at Ask the Advisors,

and there is a lot of confusion out there regarding wire so here will be some facts from the world according to Ron regarding wire.

One of the most interesting questions we get a lot is “does wire actually make a difference?” This is one of the easiest questions to answer in the entire Audio / Video industry. Of course it does! If you think about this for even a moment you will realize that wire has to make a difference. First consider that ALL of the Audio and Video information has to travel through not one, but several wires getting from your source, to your control, through your amplification and finally out to your speakers. Wire is also very likely to be the only passive element in your system; it is not powered or amplified and has no controls of any kind on it. So if you think about it; the only thing wire can actually do is screw things up! It does not have the ability to fix things does it?

So based on this very simple hypothesis, wire has to make a difference.

The only problem is that according to my theory wire has to make a difference; and the only difference it can make is to make things worse! So when you are buying wire what you are really doing is trying to buy wires that screw things up less. I imagine you have never thought about wire quite like this before have you?

So let’s take my hypothesis and go one step further shall we?

If we agree that wire, as a passive element in our system, and one that every single bit of Audio and Video that we are going to see and hear will have to run through, can really only be counted on to screw things up; will better wire make a difference? Again the answer is of course! A better designed wire will transfer our sacred information with less errors, it will screw things up less. Wow what a backwards sounding goal that is! But it really is not, it is just that the industry has advertised and sold wire as a way to fix things and as a way to make things better for so long that looking at it the other way just seems… well…. odd.

So now that we have turned the wire industry on its head lets go on to the next step.

“Will I be able to see and or hear improvements if I buy better wire?” An adamant yes once again. You see when you get better wires, you do screw the signal up less, and that means you get real visible and audible improvements. There is no if, and, or but to this sentence; better cabling equals better picture and sound. In some cases the improvement for the dollar spent can be one of the best bargains in the A/V Industry. Just think about it, you have a very good pair of speakers and a great amp at home and they are hooked together through some scrap of lamp chord you found in the garage. You stop in here at Ask the Advisors, we ask you a few questions about your setup and recommend a new pair of speaker wires from Straightwire or Transparent Audio and away you go. You will indeed hear a marked improvement, or you will bring the wire back for a full refund. How simple is that?

The next part of our discussion now should be about balance.

You would not be likely to buy a Porsche and go get re-treaded tires to drive around on any more than you would buy a used Escort and put high performance track tires on it. Wire and cable decisions like so many things are about balance. You cannot make a bad system a lot better by putting incredible wire on it, there is no way to fix a bad signal with cables. The opposite is also true; you should not buy great gear and then scrimp on the interconnects and speaker wires, that is like driving the Porsche on re-treads. So where does this balance fall? I have always used a very simple calculator to see where we should be; you should spend between 10% and 20% of what you spent on your system on the cables and wires to connect it all together. So if you are spending $5,000.00 on your gear plan to spend $500.00 to $1,000.00 on the wires. This will almost always put you in a good place, making sure the wires are good enough to match the gear, and not having the wires be overkill.

We are so sure that the improvement will be noticeable and of value to you that we absolutely guarantee it. If you do not hear or see the improvements in the cabling we recommend to you…just bring them back and get a full refund. We cannot be any clearer on the importance, or make it any easier for you to decide whether it is worth your money.


Ask Ron About Wire

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