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Speaker cable gauge question?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaveJJ, Mar 1, 2001.

  1. DaveJJ

    DaveJJ Well-Known Member

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    What is the ideal gauge for speaker cable? I am a using 18 gauge right now for my speakers and my receiver output is 100watts.
    DaveJJ [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Have Fun Guys! My HT
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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  3. Eric S

    Eric S Active Member

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    Dave: I've found a few differences using heavier gauge wire. Heavier wire has less resistance than an equal length of thinner wire, so heavier is better for longer runs. Another difference I've noticed is that heavier wire provides somewhat better bass response. If your speakers are only duplicating 80Hz and up (for example, they are used with a subwoofer), you might not notice a huge difference with heavier wire... On the other hand, if your mains are full range, there may be audible benefits for you.
     
  4. DaveJJ

    DaveJJ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks the reply, Pat and Eric. This leads to another question about speaker cables. Will I get a overall improvement in sound quality from music and video? My cable length is about 10 feet. Thanks for any comments!
    DaveJJ [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Have Fun Guys! My HT
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Dave, you're opening up a huge can of worms with that question. Some will vehemently fight to the death and depend that wire matters, others scoff at the notion that unless a wire is unacceptably skinny, any wire will perform adequately. Only you and your ears and wallet can decide if upgrading your wires makes a major sonic difference.
    ------------------
    PatCave ; HT Pix ; Gear ; Sunosub I + III ; DVDs ; LDs
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Well-Known Member

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    Personally I'm a believer in good quality 12g wire. I recently changed from 16g to 12g in my rears and to tell you the honest truth I couldn't tell you whether it made a difference or not. [​IMG] But it makes me feel good at least. [​IMG]
    www.spidergear.com sells reasonably good 12g wire at good prices. I'm running that stuff to my rears right now.
    ------------------
    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!
     
  7. Greg Monfort

    Greg Monfort Well-Known Member

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    Assuming you don't want the wires to be another form of filter (EQ) in series with the amp, which are what designer boutique wires are, then all that matters is permissible voltage drop (dB) in the wire for the application.
    Using the formula:
    I = [W/R]^0.5
    you can calculate ~ max current capability of the amp.
    To determine wire size required:
    Circular Mils (CM) = (2*L*I*10.8)/VD
    Where:
    L = length of wire in ft
    I = max current of circuit
    VD = voltage drop
    Some CM values:
    24ga = 404CM
    22ga = 640
    20ga = 1024
    18ga = 1624
    16ga = 2580
    14ga = 4109
    12ga = 6529
    10ga = 10384
    8ga = 16512
    Using your specs, and assuming nominal 8ohm speakers at various voltage drops:
    100W/8 ohms, wire run (one way) = 10ft
    (100/8)^0.5 = ~3.536A
    2 x 10 x 3.536 x 10.8/1 = 763.78CM or 20ga
    2 x 10 x 3.536 x 10.8/.5 = 1527.55CM or 18ga
    2 x 10 x 3.536 x 10.8/.25 = 3055.1CM or 14ga
    2 x 10 x 3.536 x 10.8/.125 = 6110.2CM or 12ga
    A 1V max drop in 20ft (round trip) represents a loss of:
    (100W*8)^0.5 = 28.28V - 1V = 27.28V
    20*log(27.28/28.28) = -0.313dB max drop/100W
    so 20ga suffices, assuming non-corroded wire with a good electro/mechanical connection. You can run larger wire, but the only potential difference you may hear will be due possibly to a better connection, or slightly corroded Vs new wire since our hearing is too coarse to hear such a slight loss.
    GM
    ------------------
    Loud is beautiful, if it's clean
     
  8. Steve Hanna

    Steve Hanna Active Member

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    I ran across some 8 gauge speaker wire at the local surplus store. I got 50' to run to my subs for $35. What the heck, it can't hurt.
    "Max Phase Referance Series 8 gauge oxygen free copper speaker cable by Sound Quest" [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    I've never ran across anything larger than 10 gauge in the audio shops, online or morter and brick.
    Steve
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    Steve Hanna
    Audioaficionado
     
  9. Greg Monfort

    Greg Monfort Well-Known Member

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    This is battery or welding cable! [​IMG]
    GM
    ------------------
    Loud is beautiful, if it's clean
     
  10. Steve Hanna

    Steve Hanna Active Member

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    This is battery or welding cable!
    GM
    _____________
    It's the biggest honkin' speaker wire I've ever seen @ $0.69/ft. I'd better go back and get another 50' before they sell out. [​IMG]
    ------------------
    Steve Hanna
    Audioaficionado
     
  11. Josh Davidson

    Josh Davidson Well-Known Member

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    I also have used 8 guage speaker wire. Mine was manufactured by Sound King.
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    Me
     

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