Advice on Belden 9497 Speaker Cable!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Bill Why Man, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Bill Why Man

    Bill Why Man Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Fellow audiophiles,

    I'm on the hunt for affordable speaker cable with a rich, vintage sound that will work well with my McIntosh MA5100 pre-amp/amp firing into my Klipsch KG4's. The scuttlebutt on the 9497's is that they have great synergy with SET tube amps and highly efficient speakers. My 5100 is an early Mac solid state, with a smooth, tube-like sound and my speakers are fairly efficient.

    The Belden cable seems like an affordable noticeable upgrade to some generic wiring my hifi guy put together for me, but I've never heard it.

    Therefore, I'm hoping for some sage advice and constructive criticism on the 9497's or even other suggestions of a similar vein, keeping in mind that I'd like to keep it under $100 for an 8-10' pair of speaker cables. I don't have access to soldering equipment, so I will be ordering with attached banana plugs. Many of these are nickel-plated. They seem as decent as gold-plating. Anyone have any experienced opinions on connector metals?

    I've looked on eBay, and I've noticed it sold on Tuneful Cable and Vince's Analog World. Does anyone have any experience purchasing from these online eBay stores (or any others that are particularly cooperative or dodgy?).

    Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Bill
     
  2. googlymoogly

    googlymoogly Forum Resident

    I have a pair of 9497 speaker cables I've been running for the last 3 weeks - I like them, and they are certainly affordable. I can't pretend to vast experience with cables, but so far, I've preferred the 9497 to the Audioquest and Blue Jean cables I've had in my rig before. You can buy a pair of them for under $50, 8 feet long or so. I have purchased from Vince before, and he's a solid guy.

    You've probably read about 9497 being a favorite cable with Japanese audiophiles; apparently, Ken Shindo was a fan, too.
     
  3. Bill Why Man

    Bill Why Man Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the tips vs. Audioquest and Blue Jeans. I've been mulling over the Blue Jeans, as they are a forum favorite. I appreciate the word on Vince, as well.

    I have been reading about Ken Shindo, et al. These guys all seem like straight-ahead pros using what they like regardless of price or looks, rather than shills or pretentious fellows pushing overpriced, stylized, and/or gimmicky products.

    I noticed you use the Belden 8402 interconnects; I'm likely heading in that direction, as well.

    Thanks, gm!

    Bill
     
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  4. Mike from NYC

    Mike from NYC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Surprise, AZ
    A rich vintage sound? Most of the wires I've tried out add little to the sound which is what they should do.

    Since most people back in the 'vintage' days used 16 or 18 gauge zip cord that's what I recommend.
     
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  5. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    I heard them between an older Creek integrated and some restored Snell type J speakers. They became really popular about 10 years ago apparently because they are loved in Japan. Its a tin plated copper, multi strand cable sort of the the popular W.E. cable and the new Duelund cable (which I have) with regular plastic insulator instead of oil and cloth. Really can't comment on the sound other than that I liked the system at the time. The guy that owned it is still running it with a VPI table and has always sworn by Belden and occasionally Mogami. He gave me my intro to Mogami cables and he has always maintained the Belden cable is as good as the W.E. cable.

    As far as tin plated copper goes I am a fan. I've never been a big cable guy and think super expensive cables are pure, unmitigated BS, but I have to admit I love the Duelund cables especially paired with the Belden interconnects. Warm, rich, and clear sounding.
     
    Bill Why Man likes this.
  6. Bill Why Man

    Bill Why Man Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I guess I could have written that better. I just want the wires to let the electronics perform at their richest.
     
  7. RiCat

    RiCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT, USA
    I use 8402 interconnects. Mike makes what is the most important point in my opinion about all wiring. It is not there to add anything. The tasks of the interconnects and speaker wires are to act as the medium for the signal path without adding any coloration of their own. If your system is overly bright or maybe bass heavy using some special wiring is not the way to go to correct it.
     
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  8. Bill Why Man

    Bill Why Man Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Russ,

    I came across one of your old entries mentioning your Duelund-Belkin setup. A link you posted initially sent me down the Belkin wire path. I'm finding it difficult to find this in speaker cable form. Do you use the DGA16ga? If so, where did you obtain it? I'm definitely interested if it's affordable. It's either that, or I'm leaning toward a 10' pair of 9497's from Vince's online.

    Thanks,

    Bill
     
  9. Mike from NYC

    Mike from NYC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Surprise, AZ
    I'm using tin plated 12 gauge 'zip cord' 2 runs per bi-wired side and I have yet to hear a major difference between these cheap wires and far far more expensive wires I bought and returned. While I did hear a slight difference it was really neither here nor there when it came to sound quality and in the end I couldn't justify spending $800 for wires that did little to make the sound sound different or better. Some wires did tamp down the treble a wee bit.

    I bought these cables to try out and while I couldn't hear that much of a difference they weren't terribly expensive either:

    Furez 12AWG 4 Conductor Speaker Cable Raw
     
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  10. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    That old Belden is almost like 16 awg zip cord -- it's not a parallel pair, it's a twisted pair, but it's 16 awg tinned-copper. Nothing special or esoteric.

    Personally, with tube amps and especially with SET tube amps -- with their relatively high output impedances -- I'd think that would be one application where lowest possible resistance speaker cables might actually help with the amp's ability to control the drivers. I'd go with 12 awg and the shortest possible runs of 'em or something like that vs. 16 awg. But that's just a theoretical notion, might in practice not make that much difference, depending on the speakers' impedance curve, the amp's output impedance, the length of the cable runs.
     
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  11. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    You're talking about nickel plated banana plugs? Nickel is not nearly as conductive as gold, and a lot of these plugs have brass bodies under the plating, which isn't a great conductor either. Best is some kind of copper body and gold plating, but copper is pretty soft so usually for something like a banana plug a more structurally hard metal like brass is necessary. Or are you talking about the tinning of the wire. Wire is tinned to inhibit corrosion and also makes for easy soldering, but tin also is not a great conductor. If you want 16 awg twisted pair, stranded wire speaker cable, you can probably find that pretty easily in bare copper and you could connect the bare copper to the binding posts and as long as the connections are tight and any bare copper exposed to the air from stripping is covered after installation, you ought not to have any kind of corrosion problem unless you live in a super humid environment. That would be your best from a conductivity standpoint. Better still, with SETs which have relatively high output impedances, going to a fatter wire like a 12 awg, with the shortest possible runs, might have a positive impact on the amp's ability to control driver movement, which maybe will give you tighter bass, but that's a small and theoretical possibility. Certainly the amp output impedance and the resistance of the wire together play a role in such things, but it also depends on the impedance curve of the speaker.

    For the most part I think 16 awg tinned-copper twisted pair is 16 awg tinned-copper twisted pair.

    Personally I've never experimented that much with speaker cables -- I've tried various gauges of zip cord and power cord but not some of the more esoteric geometries out there though now I'm using the 11 awg Cardas Litz twisted pair terminated by KAB which has the low resistance and a little lower inductance than zip cord or non-Litz I guess. Could I tell a difference between any of these cables? Maybe a minor one, but I heard much bigger differences when just cleaning contacts and things like that. I wouldn't go too crazy, especially if you're just buying something a prosaic as 16 awg tinned twisted pair.
     
  12. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    I do use their DCA16ga with the Belden 8402. I bought mine from Parts Connextion.

    Duelund Hook-up Wire

    It's 10 dollars a meter but you have to buy 2 runs per speaker. So for a 10 meter pair you have to buy 40 meters.

    Before I bought the Duelund I used the cable companies lending program and ended up with some Wire World cable after comparing a half dozen different cables. Then I ended hearing some Mogami 3103, which was better than the Wireworld and cheaper. Then I just said screw it one day and bought the Duelund. Sold the Wireworld and haven't looked back.

    I also use it with my single ended SEP amp. Best cable I've used.
     
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  13. Bill Why Man

    Bill Why Man Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm talking about the banana connectors. I've seen the Tuneful Cables Belden 8402 interconnects that have soldered nickel connectors. Frankly, I wonder if I could actually hear a noticeable difference. I wish I could solder some fancy connectors myself, but I don't have the gear or the proper time.

    I agree with you that most of the 16 awg tinned copper pairs are likely the same. I don't want to get too crazy with the cables, hence that $40-50 pair of 9497's I've been eyeing online.

    Thanks for the cogent advice,

    Bill
     
  14. Bill Why Man

    Bill Why Man Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the link. My curiosity is piqued by the Duelund, but at $10/meter with 3-meter lengths, that quickly becomes $120 (and I'm not even sure I'm soldered with banana plugs yet). That's not crazy expensive—especially if so satisfying—but over my budget as I'd like to grab an 8402 interconnect for my amp's tape out-tube headphone amp connection.

    I think I may just go with the 9497's, but I will keep an eye out for Duelunds to listen to in the future.

    Thanks again, my man!

    Bill
     
  15. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Des Moines
    I will second Duelund speaker wire. Great stuff for very little money.
     
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  16. googlymoogly

    googlymoogly Forum Resident

    I had my eye on the Dueland too, but like you, I don't have the skillset or stuff in hand to make up my own cables. For the price, the 9497 with decent Switchcraft plugs is a pretty easy-to-like deal. I was going to try the Western Electric cable, but couldn't find a supplier with ready-made lengths with bananas.
     
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  17. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    Pre-made Dueland with Deltrons, 16 or 12 gauge. Dueland RCA interconnects too.

    Not as cheap as DIY, but already assembled.

    I have not tried these myself yet, but I do like this shop and can recommend them.

    GHA Speaker/RCA Cables
     
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  18. I am using a 20 ft. run of Belden 9497 with my Harbeth P3ESR - Bryston 4BSST3 (and SST2) combo. Sounds great. I primarily use this setup w/ my projector for watching movies. I haven't compared the cable to my A23 and Straightwire yet.
     
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  19. Bill Why Man

    Bill Why Man Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Russ,

    I've been reading up on debates of bare wire vs. banana plugs, which has put the Duelund DCA16ga back in play, lowering the cost from $200-300 to $80-120. Your opinions on these matters are both knowledgeable and measured. How do you connect your Duelunds?

    Thanks,

    Bill
     
  20. beavis

    beavis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sayre, Pa. USA
    I have the 9497 and Auditorium 23....they are very close....the A23 may be a bit better all around but the 9497 is just so close....I alternate between the two.

    I got the 9497 from Vince....saw his on line video running Shindo equipment ( same as mine ) and the 9497 and bought some. Ken Shindo did everything for a reason so if he used the 9497 that works for me. I also have a First Watt J2 I run with the 9497....sweet!

    Strip enough insulation to leave about 1/2 an inch or a little more bare, but don't take the insulation all the way off the wire to serve as a mechanism to hold the strands together without soldering...then attach to amp and speaker posts with the insulation tip sticking out to serve as a safeguard against shorts.
     
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  21. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Hey Bill,

    I use my Duelund wire unterminated. I decided to go that route after experimenting with locking and soldered bananas and spades on my Mogami 3103 and found that bare wire worked the best.

    My Tool Shed Audio amp has the pure copper Cardas binding posts that except banana or spades or bare wire nicely. I started off using the 3103 with no terminations then tried bananas on the amp end and spades on speaker end. The spades we're the old thin pure copper Audioquest spades and a couple of pairs of their bananas for the amp end. What I noticed was a bit of a reduction in the bottom end and a less lively sound. The Audioquest bananas we're pretty old and heavy so after reading some articles on bare wire and low mass connectors being the best way to go I replaced them with a pair of light weight Multi Contact banana plugs, soldered them on and reconnected them and problem solved. Mostly I right the sound difference off to a poor connection offered by the old locking AQ banana plugs but you never know. The reviewers that really like the W.E. and Duelund speaker wire with Belden interconnects all seem to recommend the low mass connectors or bare wire. So, with that experience and those readings in mind, when I got the Duelund speaker wire I didn't terminate them. It's been a year and no problems. No signs of corrosion either.
     
  22. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I use Furez speaker cable, available here: Furez Products l
    Someone else already mentioned this product. I prefer it to Belden. I have also tried boutique cables, such as litz-braided Kimber Kable at 10x the price, and did not hear a difference. The 12AWG Furez is under $1/ft. and works great.
    I recommend solid copper or beryllium copper terminations. Avoid brass, which is durable, but has poorer conductivity vs. copper alloy.
    The Furez crimp-on solid copper lugs are good. The Furez copper bananas are a little soft.
    AudioQuest also makes silver-plated copper bananas that are very easy to install. No soldering required. They sell for $25-$30/set of 4 at BestBuy. I use them. Of course, as has been suggested, bare wire is still the simplest and best termination.
     
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  23. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Really good bananas with copper bodies, FWIW:

    Xhadow is more substantial, but are the best sounding connector I've ever used.
    vampire-wire

    These are even lower mass, but probably lack some durability:
    ELECAUDIO BA-30G Banana Plug Beryllium Copper Gold Plated (Set x4) - Audiophonics
     
  24. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Furez makes good stuff. I want to try their new Banana plugs with the elastomer inserts.
     
  25. J-Dub

    J-Dub Old School Rocker

    Location:
    USA

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