# Mixing hots & grounds

Have I understood correctly that I can (at least feasibly try to) mix different conductors for the signal and ground of speaker cables IF they have the same impedance? Other considerations? Tell me everything.
Some companies do this, very scientifically oriented companies even, so why not commonly experiment with this?

From what I understand the all-important signal whose preservance we want maximized, travels into the speaker via the hot conductor.
The signal then gets reactively modulated by the crossover network, then releases onto the ground conductor - this is where Iâ€™m stuck - do we need the return signal as integrally preserved along the ground leg as we do for +?
I get the dirty idea that as long as the ground leg adequately does its job of not impeding the circuitâ€™s current flow and isnâ€™t reactively terrible, itâ€™s okay to use a better quality wire for the signal leg and â€śskimpâ€ť on the return wire (but make it adequate!)
Well, â€śbetter qualityâ€ť, maybe the wrong term, rather choose at least the conductor material to match the jobâ€¦ Would be interesting to audition a speaker cable with pure gold signal leg and pure silver return leg. Gauges adjusted for matching impedance.

Tell me how Iâ€™m wrong. I want to know it all, even what comes to the amplifierâ€™s loading, etc.

Basic thought - current file in a circuit is equal in all points in the circuit.
Therefore â€śreturn conductorâ€ť is as important as the â€śpositiveâ€ť.
Also bear in mind that we are talking about ac, so current doesnâ€™t flow out of the amp from the positive and back through the negative, itâ€™s reversing all the time.

1 Like

I know itâ€™s reversing but it does have an absolute directionâ€¦ Riiight?
Have I been embarrassingly wrong all this time when thinking the zigzag does its zigzagging all the while moving towards ground potential in an absolute directionâ€¦?

And yes, of course the return conductor is just as importantâ€¦ But should it necessarily be identical to the signal leg in material and geometry if its impedance is matched accurately?

Also isnâ€™t it noteworthy that most often crossovers are not symmetrical, as in having the passive components for both legs. There is talk of symmetrical crossovers being beneficial.

hmmm. current flow is all about charge carriers moving in a conductor. potential difference is always relative to somewhere else.
so even if the â€śnegativeâ€ť is actually â€śearthâ€ť i donâ€™t think it makes a difference.
i get what youâ€™re getting at, i donâ€™t think itâ€™s correct, but i donâ€™t have definitive proof (yet!) just my â€śgut feelingâ€ť (like everything i do ).
interesting thought experiment though:)

1 Like

extra thought - a current source is usually described as being able to â€śsource or sinkâ€ť current, because it flows in or out. from the perspective of a speaker (which doesnâ€™t have a ground reference, just two wires from the amp) it is just a reversing current flowing one way then the other way. the average being zero (hence the use of rms to measure ac voltage)

Well you are convincing me that speaker cable should have identical â€śsignal and returnâ€ť conductors, well, unless we want to change the sound signature by mixing different conductors. Only as materials adjusted for gauge though - having dissimilar geometry or dielectric would make half the speaker-side circuit reactively different and might not be idealâ€¦

1 Like

Cerious Tech uses a proprietary carbon microfiber conductor for the positive leg and a thick silver for the returnâ€¦ Apparently for a wanted sound signature.
They are VERY well regarded cables, check audiogon for superlative commentary. Interesting construction, liquid ceramic for minimizing resonance.