Expensive Speaker Cable

There are some very expensive cables around these days, but are they any better than much cheaper alternatives?

Marketing to HiFi Fans’ insecurities is a profitable enterprise IMO ….

Anyway here’s a little story, which is true….

In the 1970’s, when I lived in Bolton, I had a friend who had a specialist HiFi shop ….

He sold good gear for the time, Quad, Fons, Tandberg, Tannoy etc….

He became fixated on the speaker cable issues, which cost wise were at the start of the process….

So he built a 4 way switch box on the output of a Quad 303 that could connect, in stereo, the signal to the same pair of speakers by means of 4 different types of cable.

He used 1) Household Mains Twin & Earth 30amp 2) Bell Wire 3) An expensive cable at the time 4) Standard HiFi cable …

He then invited customers to listen and compare …

He was astounded that most preferred the Mains Cable and some even the Bell Wire…

Something to think about when you get your Bank Card out ….

Cheers Paul


Oh goody, an invitation to reopen Cable Wars. It’s like going back 30 years.


I’m an oldie, but a newbie to the forum ….30 years ….I’m going back 50 !!!


Sadly, 50 years is not that long here…


I can add another 26 :blush:

As can most of us!

Anyway what about the cable ( allegedly ) rip off …??

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I did start with a windup HMV gramophone, does that count for anything?

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So the 4 sets of cables were all connected at the same time and could each be selected at the flick of a switch? If so, that sounds like the system might be somewhat compromised.


I don’t believe you.

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I dunno. Somebody had to live there…


Pic from nordost

One day I will get this :laughing:


That’s your prerogative, but I can assure you it is true…the shop was called Stereolectrics, St George’s Rd

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Possibly but not to any extent that would make much difference and of course if it were compromised then that compromise would be same for all 4 options….so even if the final audio experience had deteriorated, it would still be possible to differentiate between the 4 types of cable

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I went to Bolton once……they won.

Edit: come to think about it, I went again the following season. Some folks never learn….they won again!

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To be fair here, Hifi, and in particular the cables used these days are so much more resolving than back in the '70s. Now, I love the Quad 303 (I have at least 3 of them, maybe 4, but lost count a while back) but when used with its natural partner the 33, it has such a sweet, warmish and cuddly old-style valve-like sound that there really isn’t much point going crazy on the speaker cable front. Bandwidth and serious insight aren’t really on the menu here. Solid core cabling actually seems to tighten the sound up a bit, so I guess that so many preferred the T&E is perhaps not so surprising. And “high end” cable back then was usually the ghastly LC-OFC stuff. It’s no surprise that QED 79 strand came as such a breath of fresh air, and then of course NACA4 (and all its close relatives/clones) which became the de facto standard for a while at the time, both with Naim and with just about anything else.


I remember replacing my bell wire for mains cable soon after buying my first system in 74. My dad did wonder why one of the longer extension cables was not so long. My system did to my ears sound better though.


My mate went to watch Bolton Wanderers the other day. It cost him 15 quid.

“15 quid ?” I said to him, “You could have got a woman for that !”

“Yeh”, he replied, " But not 45 minutes each way and a band playing in between"…

RIP the great Bolton comedian Bob Williamson :grinning:


Sorry for thread crap, but couldn’t resist one of Bob’s great quips…


I am certainly not a great believe in expensive speaker cable. My experience is limited to -

  • ‘Mains Cable’ - supplied free by my Linn/Naim dealer
  • Naim NAC A4 - bought new, for £1 per metre, in 1982 (based on a listening test)
  • Naim NAC A5 - bought ‘pre-loved’, for about £9 per metre, in 2022 (bought ‘blind’)

If I were to buy speaker cable ‘new’ now, I would be likely looking at Linn K20. Think its about £6 per metre…?

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Have you seen the price of bell wire these days ?
Now more expensive than Nordost.