Best Gauge on speaker wire?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by NickC, Jul 31, 2002.

  1. NickC

    NickC Second Unit

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    What is the best gauge on speaker wire? And where is the best place to get it? is it better to use end plugs on the wire also?
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    For relatively normal lengths, 12 gauge should work adequately. Terminations at the end are at your discretion. If your speaker takes spades and you're not going to be constantly removing the wire, I'd opt for those. They make a nice secure connection. Where to get 12 gauge? If you're happy with clear then SoundKing, PhoenixGold are available from www.partsexpress.com otherwise consider HomeDepot, Lowes, the Shack. If color is an issue, KnuKonceptz has a lovely shade of blue at 0.40/foot for 12 gauge. Knock yourself out.
     
  3. Louis C

    Louis C Supporting Actor

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    I find ordinary 16 GA from Radio Shack is excellent for most any speaker setup.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Several speaker sites recommend the following based on length of run:
    1-10 ft: 16 ga
    11-20 ft: 14 ga
    20+ ft: 12 ga
    So you see, the longer runs need the thicker cable. This is because a long run of speaker wire will affect the upper frequencies a bit, but pass the lower frequencies with little change. (Kind of like pushing the sliders on an equalizer all the way up, then pushing them down at an angle). A thicker wire reduces this effect.
    Hint: Most of us just buy a spool of 12 ga and use it everywhere.
    If you have audiophile grade speakers, they may be sensitive enough that the speaker wire makes a noticible change in the sound. There are many makers of exotic cables for this caliber of equipment. (Since I'm not a fan of expensive copper, I'll leave it to others to recommend brand names).
    But I do suggest you follow the 10% rule: Budget 10% of your speaker's price for wires.
    This will keep you from spending $200 on botique wire for a $500 HT speaker set.
    Connections: The Audiophile view is that bare-wire is the superior connection. And I agree with this to a point. My system is wired with the dual-banana plugs from Radio Shack (xxx-308). Go buy a set for $5 and bring it home to check that your receiver & speakers will accept the spacing. If not, the single bananas (xxx-306) work well. These things make it easy to wire up the thick 12 ga wire to everything and keep the job neat.
    Note: It's very important to NOT leave stray strands of copper poking out of your connectors. If they bridge, they cause a short which can damage your receiver. This is where neatness counts.
    Hope this helps.
    Hope this helps.
     

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