Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › Audioengine A2 & A5 - Upgrade the Wire/Cables?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Audioengine A2 & A5 - Upgrade the Wire/Cables?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I own a pair of A2s and a pair of A5s and I wonder if upgrading the wire and cables will result in a noticeable SQ improvement? I'm using the stuff that came packaged with the speakers: 16AWG speaker wire and generic 1/8" audio cables. I've heard both sides of the coin; some recommend upgrading while others are certain it's not worth it. Can't seem to reach a consensus. Any thoughts?

post #2 of 7

I did upgrade the RCA cables I use to connect my A2s to my DAC because one of the originals was not connecting tightly and I wanted something more durable. I haven't noticed any SQ improvement, but I am not as worried about the cable coming loose now. I wouldn't think a speaker wire upgrade would make any difference, but I haven't tried. I am curious about upgrading the A5 RCA to mini-jack connection, as I'd like a shorter cable.
 

post #3 of 7

Assuming there would be noticeable improvements, if you upgrade the speaker wire technically only one speaker would get the upgraded sound, since the amp is in the Master speaker and it only runs a speaker cable to the Slave.

Unless of course you open up the Master speaker, then install the upgraded speaker wire inside. If you'd go that far get a speaker cable that has the least resistance and use it for both, that way you won't need the same length in each speaker. In which case I suggest you test the included cable first against what you might upgrade to; for all you know they already factored that in aside from just cost-cutting the end user buying their product.

 

As for the input cable, feel free to experiment, but primarily just get a cable with, at least, believably more durable plugs* and good strain relief. Basically, upgrade for durability, and it shouldn't cost you all that much. Set a ceiling well below the price of the speakers, and just get one set first, then try it with the other. If you like the result get another one; otherwise, you still have the stock cable as back-up if the one you're still using craps out.

 

 

 

*I don't know if it's the climate in my country but all bundled RCA plugs I've used shed their plating at some point; also, while you can otherwise prolong the service life by avoiding unplugging too often, you might as well have something that grips better for a longer period of time.

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needles View Post

I own a pair of A2s and a pair of A5s and I wonder if upgrading the wire and cables will result in a noticeable SQ improvement? I'm using the stuff that came packaged with the speakers: 16AWG speaker wire and generic 1/8" audio cables. I've heard both sides of the coin; some recommend upgrading while others are certain it's not worth it. Can't seem to reach a consensus. Any thoughts?

 

Big sound improvement going from stock cable to Audioquest Sydney via 3.5mm mini-to-RCA from source to speaker.  Probably the best / smartest upgrade on planet earth.  It will show you the potential of the A2 speakers.

 

The stock cable works FINE.  Sounds good.  But with Sydney cable the location of the instruments being played changes significantly.  The stock cable you hear 3 instruments played. With Sydney you hear 5.  Very easily noticeable with nearfield listening.

 

As for the speaker wire upgrade, I haven't done that yet so I can't tell you the results.  But we know the left speaker (where the amp resides) sounds a bit more powerful and a bit clearer than the right speaker.  This is due to the mediocre speaker wire...  Speaker wires are so expensive.  Please go find a descent one and try for yourself and reply back.


Edited by goodolcheez - 10/13/12 at 11:28am
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodolcheez View Post

 

Big sound improvement going from stock cable to Audioquest Sydney via 3.5mm mini-to-RCA from source to speaker.  Probably the best / smartest upgrade on planet earth.  It will show you the potential of the A2 speakers.

 

 

That will depend on one's budget; aren't the 1meter sets almost $200 a pair? He could just get a new DAC (maybe even with a preamp output) with that kind of money, and at the very least he'll be getting better digital decoding and a more proper analog output stage sending the signal to the speaker's amplifiers.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodolcheez View Post

 

As for the speaker wire upgrade, I haven't done that yet so I can't tell you the results.  But we know the left speaker (where the amp resides) sounds a bit more powerful and a bit clearer than the right speaker.  This is due to the mediocre speaker wire...  Speaker wires are so expensive.  Please go find a decent one and try for yourself and reply back.

 

If the sound is noticeable like that Audioengine must have really tried to save money off of the bundled cable. The pre-terminated, 4-conductor, bi-amp cable that Swan bundles with its speakers now look so durable I'm not thinking of replacing the ones that came with mine (and really made the older, clip-terminal versions look really cheap) and there's no audible channel imbalance either. IMO this is for the most a downside to having just two boxes and one power cable, but if you can confirm and isolate the cause of an audible channel imbalance to be the speaker cable, that's annoying if it's audible.

post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

That will depend on one's budget; aren't the 1meter sets almost $200 a pair? He could just get a new DAC (maybe even with a preamp output) with that kind of money, and at the very least he'll be getting better digital decoding and a more proper analog output stage sending the signal to the speaker's amplifiers.

1 meter runs $170... 1.5m $200.

I have tried the dedicated DAC (Audioengine D1) with Bettercables RCA (run from DAC to A2 speakers) before this but sounded awful, too fatty and absorbent. There was a loss of detail compare to the generic cable without the external DAC.

Going with a $200 Sydney cable alone obliterated the D1 DAC + BetterCable RCA (mid-level copper) setup..  I am pretty confident that a two or three hundred dollar DAC with via USB or Fiber Optic will not be able to compete the Sydney cable alone.  I am so glad I got rid of the budget level external DAC....   Sydney cable proved to be a huge improvement in sound.  I also have the solid silver PSS Angel cable which gives me a small improvement over the Sydney.

 

 

Quote:
If the sound is noticeable like that Audioengine must have really tried to save money off of the bundled cable. The pre-terminated, 4-conductor, bi-amp cable that Swan bundles with its speakers now look so durable I'm not thinking of replacing the ones that came with mine (and really made the older, clip-terminal versions look really cheap) and there's no audible channel imbalance either. IMO this is for the most a downside to having just two boxes and one power cable, but if you can confirm and isolate the cause of an audible channel imbalance to be the speaker cable, that's annoying if it's audible.

Just like any other audio manufacturers, they can't put much money on supplied cables to minimize cost... they just in there to get you going as temporary.

But yeah, you could be right that the imbalance of the two channels might not be speaker cable related....   The aftermarket speaker wires are very expensive, and I don't have money for that yet...  hopefully someone who has nice speaker cables can confirm if it helps with the balance of the two channels on the A2 speakers if any.


Edited by goodolcheez - 10/15/12 at 6:53am
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needles View Post

I own a pair of A2s and a pair of A5s and I wonder if upgrading the wire and cables will result in a noticeable SQ improvement? I'm using the stuff that came packaged with the speakers: 16AWG speaker wire and generic 1/8" audio cables. I've heard both sides of the coin; some recommend upgrading while others are certain it's not worth it. Can't seem to reach a consensus. Any thoughts?

 

No, the 16awg is sufficient to the signal requirements. There is no reason to think there will be a noticeable improvement, especially since these are active speakers, so the wire is not an active part of the circuit. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › Audioengine A2 & A5 - Upgrade the Wire/Cables?