By Don Lindich
Week 6, 2017
Q. I just purchased a Pioneer Elite TX-MS09 speaker set, with six speakers and a center channel. The maximum wire run will be 35 feet, and I need about 180 feet total. What should I buy for speaker cables?
-Joe Picone, Santa Clara, CA
A. All you need is speaker wire with enough thickness for the speakers’ impedance (given in ohms) and the length of the run. In your case you have 8-ohm speakers, and 16-gauge speaker wire is adequate because it is good for runs up to 48 feet. There is a handy chart at http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm that is a great reference for determining what wire is required.
A 100-ft. spool of 16-gauge speaker wire runs about $12 online, so $24 will get you all the wire you need. Use a wire stripper to expose the bare wire cleanly, and adding banana plugs will make connecting everything easier. I recommend Mediabridge banana plugs, which are beautifully crafted and easy to set up. That will add another $30 or so to the total, but banana plugs are optional, not required.
I used to get wire questions very often. There is a lot of marketing hype about fancy speaker wire and connection cables, and it is all snake oil. You can spend several thousands of dollars per meter on speaker wire, but it has been proven time and time that it does not improve sound quality. There are some benefits to higher quality speaker wire or custom-made speaker cables, though sound quality is not one of them. What you get with pricier cables is better looks, better reliability from the custom-terminated connections, and it is easier to connect the components. If you are spending a lot on a system I can understand wanting something a little better looking than plain wire to connect it all together. If that is you, check out SoundPath accessories from SVS. They make an excellent product, price it fairly and market it honestly. https://www.svsound.com/pages/soundpath
Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven: One of the neatest things I saw at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show was the Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven. This unique appliance uses a combination of induction and infrared heat to quickly prepare chef-quality meals with a minimum of effort. Everything is done in a single, dishwasher-safe grill pan.
Just put the meat in the center with the potatoes and vegetables around it, program the oven and press start. The grill pan distributes the heat so the different ingredients are cooked properly and less than 30 minutes later you are treated to a perfectly cooked meal.
No preheating is necessary and the small interior of the oven circulates moisture as the food cooks to keep it from drying out and enhance the richness of the flavors. It can cook everything from a meal for several people to casseroles, side dishes, desserts and frozen pizzas. A cookbook is provided to get you started.
I had a 100% success rate using this oven. Everything I cooked came out perfectly and I didn’t even use my regular oven the entire time I had the countertop oven for review. I also found myself cooking for myself much more often and my monthly restaurant expenditures went way down. At $599 it may seem like a niche product, but as I used it I realized that single people like me as well as couples, retired folks, foodies, college students, and anyone who loves to cook would fall in love with it once they used it and realized the possibilities. Highly recommended!