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Thicker subwoofer cable = less boomy bass?

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Thicker subwoofer cable = less boomy bass?

Old 11-17-03, 05:12 PM
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Thicker subwoofer cable = less boomy bass?

I own an Onkyo HT-660B system. I recently upgraded my subwoofer cable with a 15' Acoustic Research subwoofer cable. The one given with the system is flimsy and thin. This was is much thicker, with better shielding and connectors. It seems that the bass now is not as boomy. It's also a little quieter. Is this normal? Is this because now the bass response is tighter and more controlled, and that's why it seems more subdued?
Old 11-17-03, 05:38 PM
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No.
Old 11-17-03, 05:59 PM
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Maybe you hit the volume control accidentally.
Old 11-17-03, 06:08 PM
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Nope, the subwoofer volume is exactly the same. All I did was swap the old cable with the new one. I played a few DVDs and it seems the bass is the same/better in some instances, and in others it's not as steady. Example is in Blade 1 when the vampires are talking underground in the beginning of the movie.
Old 11-17-03, 06:13 PM
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I will accept 2 explanations:

1) The first cable was defective.

2) It's all in your head.


I will not accept that the subwoofer that comes with the Onkyo HT-660B is such a precision instrument as to allow you to hear the differences in the cables you are using to hook it up. Not to mention whether any subwoofer would actually exhibit the drastic changes you describe.
Old 11-17-03, 06:46 PM
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I think it probably was all in my head. I did have to plug/unplug my power cords. Out of curiousity, what levels do you have your subwoofer at, and on the receiver? For example, on the subwoofer do you have it set in the middle to 0, or do you increase it? Also on the reciever, should it be set to 0 as well?
Old 11-18-03, 06:33 AM
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Two possibilities.

Better shielding means the signal is cleaner and has less noise from other sources.

The connector on the previous cable was not tight or broken. That could have been introducing noise and hum into the signal.

Changing the cable itself should not have made this much of a difference.
Old 11-18-03, 08:16 AM
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Just as Brian Shannon said, it definetly wasn't the cable. A subwoofer, just like any other analog audio is simply passing a signal. There's nothing special about it, and all the marketing Monster Cable does to convince you a more expensive cable will give you "cleaner, fuller bass" is plain crap.

IMO, you should have your gain on your receiver sub level set to "0". Adjust the gain on the source directly since it is powered and has it's own controls.
Old 11-18-03, 09:16 AM
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I'm going to disagree with all the "no" votes and say "maybe." To pin it down, what is the nominal impedance of the speaker, what wire gauge is the old cable, what wire gauge is the new cable (and hopefully, what is the output impedance of the amplifier?

If the new cable has lower resistance, you have improved "damping ratio" and that may produce smoother frequency response.

All speakers are designed to be driven by a low impedance source. The impedance the speaker sees is the sum of the amplifier's output impedance and the resistance of the two wires driving it. The ratio of the speaker's own impedance divided by the drive impedance is called damping ratio.

This calculation is complicated by the fact the speaker's impedance varies wildly as a function of frequency and the amplifier's output impedance is unknown, and you can't do squat about it anyway. Most speakers are somewhere near their nominal impedance at the low end of their frequency response, and a higher impedance anywhere else. Practically. you can look at the speaker's nominal impedance (probably 4, 8, or 16 ohms). Divided by the wire impedance (remember there are two wires and the resistance is in series).

Damping ratio of 10-20 is probably OK for a low end system that isn't great anyway, 40 is a good target for a good system, and 80-100 is a good target for very high qualuity audiophile speakers. It won't hurt to go over 100 if you enjoy wasting money.

Lets say you have an 8 ohm speaker and want damping ratio of 40. Then total wire resistance has to be <8/40 or <0.2 ohm, each wire has to be <0.1 ohm. If you know the length, a wire gauge table will give you resistance per 100' or 1000' and you can determine the wire gauge required.

NOTE: All the above applies to an unpowered speaker driven by an amplifier. I just noticed one of your posts implies your subwoofer has its own amplifier, and your receiver only supplies signal, not power, to the subwoofer. In that case either first cable was defective or you are imagining it.
Old 11-18-03, 11:57 AM
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im disagreeing with all the no's as well. it could very well be the cable. cables make a system. monster isnt all that great, but there is other stuff out there. and most of the HTIB sub cables are an insult to say the least. adding a real cable could certainly improve the sound.
Old 11-18-03, 12:39 PM
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Depends how bad the stock cable was. If it was 18 or 20 gauge, then you could well be getting a better signal with a decent, larger speaker wire.

DrM (who feels no compunction to list his cables in his sig....)
Old 11-19-03, 10:26 PM
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thanks for the little comment. i feel like im back in junior high...

Originally posted by drmoze
Depends how bad the stock cable was. If it was 18 or 20 gauge, then you could well be getting a better signal with a decent, larger speaker wire.

DrM (who feels no compunction to list his cables in his sig....)

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