Can I run two sets of wire to get 12 gauge?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by james vaughan, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. james vaughan

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    I recently purchased some speaker wire for my back surrounds. The salesman at best buy told me it was 12 gauge and in my excited haste to connect the plugs and get the wire run I did not closley examine the wire to see if it really was 12 gauge. AS I was stripping the wires and looking more closely at it it became obvious that it was more like 16 gauge. Anyway I have enough of this supposed 12 gauge stuff to run to lengths to each speaker. Would that be the equivalent to a single run of 12 gauge? It is about a 60 ft stretch.
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    If you’re asking what will two runs of 16 gauge wire end up being, the rule of thumb is that doubling any gauge equals a three-number increase. So, two 16 gauge runs will be the equivalent of 13-gauge wire.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Just return the wire, and while you're there give the salesman a good slap.
     
  4. james vaughan

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    Return an open package of wire? One roll already has been cut into two lengths. Oh well half the time these guys do not know what they are talking about and I should have looked more closley am not that new to this. I will just double up the runs.
    Thanks again
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Here’s what I don’t get:
    Does the packaging or labeling on the wire identify it as 12 gauge? If so than it probably is. You can’t always tell by looking, because wire with a multitude of tiny strands will be physically fatter than wire with fewer strands. Installation-grade speaker wire will typically be more like the latter.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. james vaughan

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    It didnt say on the package so like a fool I took the proffesional advice of best buy[​IMG] Looks like 16 gauge. If I can double the run to each speaker and get close to a 12 gauge than that will do. It is only for surround back which I am not sold on completely yet.
     
  7. KeithMoechnig

    KeithMoechnig Stunt Coordinator

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    return it with proof that it's a 16 gauge wire(with a wire stripper tool) and trade it in for the highest-quality 12 gauge for no charge. As long as you sound really mad, you will get the best 12 gauge wire.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    48ft is the max for 16ga wire with an 8 Ohm speaker, so you shouldn't use it in your application. There should be a very noticable difference between 16 and 12, so if it definitely isn't 12 (make sure first), I'd take it back too.
     
  9. james vaughan

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    So even if I double up the run, running two sets of 16 gauge from each amp output to each speaker input that wont do it?
     
  10. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    James,

    Yes it will. Running two sets of 16g wires in parallel, will be close enough to your intended 12g.
    If the runs of double wiring aren't too inconvenient: why not do it?

    Just make sure it really stays parallel and not get cross-wired. [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Sorry, yes, you do increase the AWG of the wire by running two, but if the guy sold you the wrong thing, why have two runs of wire to do what the right AWG wire should do in one?
     
  12. james vaughan

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    Feel like its my falut on the wire and I do now better than to take some yahoos word for it from a store like that. I looked at the package for the size of wire didnt see one so asked the dude in the aidio area if this was 12 gauge and he said yes it was. So I blame myself for the poor choice making and will just run two runs of wire and live with it. I t really will not be to difficult so I dont mind. It just bugs me to be mislead by somone selling a product that they should know about. After all he was in the home theater department and not by the washers[​IMG]
     
  13. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    are your speakers "bi-wirable"?

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    (might as well)
     
  14. james vaughan

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    Yes they are bi-wirable.
     
  15. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Then, please, don't use that option.

    You would have a wire that's too thick to the tweeters and one that's too thin to the bass/mid section. By simply connecting two wires in parallel, like you suggested yourself, you will have a total number of strands similar to a thick wire to both together.


    Cees
     
  16. james vaughan

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    that does make sense. Yes the cable is to thin for a bi-wire. I'll jsut double it up.
     
  17. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    oh i betcha that 16ga would work just fine. i'll even suggest that 16ga will work fine in your situation as a single-run, traditional speaker connection that is not biwired. so certainly it'd work for biwiring.
     
  18. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Scott,

    IF the wire would be enough, i.e. can be considered an almost zero impedance connection, bi-wiring is 100% nonsense anyway.
    Just draw a simple diagram to verify that.

    Here's an excellent overview of bi-amping and bi-wiring (by Vince Maskeeper) in our Primer.

    If, however one has reason to think that a 16 gauge wire could be insufficient (given its length), then wasting a second one to feed the tweeters is a poor choice.


    Cees
     
  19. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    i understand what bi-wiring is and the caveats involved.

    if i understand the argument against biwiring correctly, then it shouldn't matter what gauge wire is used for the tweeters or woofers, as the amp and speakers will only "see" a net gauge of wire when biwired.

    in other words, if the argument against biwiring is correct, then connecting the speakers by biwiring them should be absolutely identical to connecting them conventionally by doubling up the same speaker cable, no matter what gauge wire we're talking about.

    if i were considering doing what he's considering doing, and had speakers with biwireable binding posts, i'd just go ahead and use 'em for convenience sake.

    capeche?
     
  20. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    No, I'm afraid you don't understand it correctly.
    It is only absolutely identical if the wire is thick enough. So the gauge value makes all the difference in the world.

    Note that bi-wiring involves removing a shortcut at the side of the box. This is indeed a no-op (only) if two very thick wires are then connected, who are also connected together at their other ends (the amplifier end) - mimicking the shortcut.

    People who oppose to the concept of bi-wiring argue (correctly IMO) that it only makes sense if the wire was too thin in the first place and the result would still be sub-par, therefore. They point out that perceived improvement by people who did bi-wire is most probably caused by the slightly bigger total diameter of the wiring and could improve much more if they just chose wires with a lower gauge value.

    As I said before: in James's situation, he would only add a relatively thick wire to feed the tweeters, while not relieving the wire that would be feeding the lower freq. speakers, the way he wished to do.


    Cees
     

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