Can cheap speaker wire damage your speakers?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by james e m, Nov 15, 2003.

  1. james e m

    james e m Second Unit

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    Stupid question and I think I know the answer but I wanted to check just in case. At this point I can't afford the speaker wire I want so I have to buy some dirt cheap cable until I can afford the good stuff. I need about 150 feet for my whole set up and I was thinking of buying the home depot stuff. I'm hoping to find that much cable for under $30.

    Thanks,
    James
     
  2. Johnny Ayala

    Johnny Ayala Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't think it will damage anything, but when and if you do upgrade to maybe 12 gauge wire, I'm sure you'll tell the difference. Good Luck [​IMG]
     
  3. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

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    No it won't damage anything. What gauge speaker wire are you getting? If its 14 or better, and your speaker runs aren't more than say 40 or 50 feet, I doubt you'll ever hear any difference no matter what wire you get.

    - Jack
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'm a sucker...what's good speaker wire and what makes it good?
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Large-gauge speaker wire is good, because it’s large. C’mon, Chu, I thought you knew that! [​IMG]
     
  6. JamesCB

    JamesCB Second Unit

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    Doesn't a higher retail price make a better wire? Just buy the most expensive you can afford and be done with it.
     
  7. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    In general you pay not only for heavier speaker wire but also for good looking speaker wire. Inexpensive single conductor 12 gauge wire from Home Depot works just as well but may be of a garish color like bright red or blue and the two single conductor wires are more likely to get tangled than one double conductor cable with more subdued gold and silver colors.

    Also the less expensive wire is more likely to be stiff, being solid or with just a few strands in each conductor.

    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  8. james e m

    james e m Second Unit

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  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I can appreciate that. My kid likes to dress up the inside of his engine compartment.
     
  10. james e m

    james e m Second Unit

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    Honestly though, good for me doesn't equal expensive. I don't really buy into all of the cable hype. It was either the Ultralink or Sound King. I'm basing my cable choice on this article:

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...le-5-2003.html

    I have my front three runs finished but I can't afford the extra money for the back speakers this month. [​IMG]


    James
     
  11. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I didn't think so james, recalling some past postings from you. Will you be running this in-wall to get to the rears?
     
  12. BarryL

    BarryL Auditioning

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    Good speaker wire need not be expensive. As others have mentioned, you are often paying for asthetics and buzz words. Much of the talk around speaker wire is total BS. The first consideration is the length of the run. Simple physics says that the longer the run, the more loss of signal you will have, hence the need for heavier gauge wire. Using good quality 14 gauge will do in most circumstances. The second issue is interference. Avoid close parallel runs to power cables and cross them at 90 degrees when necessary. Over longer runs, the wire should have a twist every several inches, especially in areas with other electronics that emit radio frequencies. This prevents the wire from acting as an antenna and picking up interference. Most wire that is designed to go behind wall is twisted in the protective jacket. The final consideration is termination. Gold has excellent oxidation characteristic, hence, connecting gold to your copper wire helps insure good conductivity. You can purchase descent gold connectors on ebay for very short money. Of course you can purchase $900 cables if you like, however, in numerous blind tests, less than 50% of the audience, including the proffesionals, can discern the difference between decent $20 cables. Speaker wire may be one of the most over hyped things in the audio world.

    Regards,
    Barry
     

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