Can I use 14ga speaker wire on 35 foot runs

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Gerard Martin, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. Gerard Martin

    Gerard Martin Second Unit

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    And if so what sort of performance will it provide. Early reply sincerely appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. trey-m

    trey-m Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes.
    It actually depends on the impedance of your speakers, but for normal 8 Ohm home speakers, you can use 16 gauge for 35 feet. So, of course 14 gauge will work too, although it may be an unnecessary extra expense.

    And when you ask about performance, you're really asking the same question. Because if performance was sacrificed by a thinner gauge, then the answer to your first question would have been no.

    If you can't decide between 16 and 14, and have no means of doing a test first, then don't take my word for it, just go with the 14- because for the little bit extra cost, the peace of mind that you get will be worth it.
     
  3. Gerard Martin

    Gerard Martin Second Unit

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    Speakers are 8 ohm Klipsch, will go with the 14ga, thanks again.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I have a bit of a different opinion...

    There is a roll-off on the higher frequencies when pushing audio signals down long runs of speaker wires. Thicker wire reduces the effect, but does not eliminate it.

    One speaker site (trying to make it's speakers sound good and not sell wire) suggested this guideline on gauge based on run-length:

    1-10 ft: 16 ga
    10-20 ft: 14 ga
    20+ ft: 12 ga

    Many of us simply buy a spool of good 12 ga and use it everywhere. (Sound King brand from www.partsexpress.com is popular and inexpensive).

    Many higher-end installers, before good in-wall 12 ga was available, would run 4-conductor, 14 ga wire in the wall, but twist 2 of the ends for the positive side and 2 other ends for the negative.

    To get 'real world':

    If this is for the rear speakers of a HT system - you likely wont hear any difference between 12 and 14 ga wire. The rear speakers dont carry critical music/dialog so you would not notice the roll-off.

    It would be a different story for the L/R speakers of a music system. People who's opinion I respect have said they could tell the sound shift caused by 16 ga wire running to their high-end electrostatic speakers.

    Hope this helps.
     

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