Home Depot wire

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Aubrey, Jan 11, 2002.

  1. Aubrey

    Aubrey Extra

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    I recently upgraded my speaker wire. I didn't have a lot of $$ to toss around, and had read on the forum that people were satisfied with the Home Depot 12 ga wire for basic systems.

    While I am pleased with the performance improvement I got from the wire, I found it to be very rigid and inflexible and hard to work with. The wires tend to arc out about 4-6 inches from the back of the speaker as they drape towards the floor. This tends to make the pin connectors I am using want to pop out of the back of the speaker, and since I only have spring clips on my speakers, I can't really do anything more to secure them.

    I was in radio shack the other day, and was looking at their 12 gauge wire. It seemed to be much more flexible, with more strands and "oxygen free" which I understand is a bonus.

    Is it worth the upgrade to the more expensive rat-shack(or comparable) wire?
     
  2. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    You have two other options:
    1) Use the Sound King wire ($0.35/ft in 100ft rolls) from www.partsexpress.com and other places. Much higher strand count and more flexible than the HD stuff. Physically the same as Monster's Original Monster Cable and RadioShack's 12 awg Megacable but 1/3 the cost. I don't understand the popularity of the HD stuff when the Sound King is available for virtually the same cost and it's a much better cable, at least in terms of flexibility.
    2) Use RadioShack's flat pin connectors. They should work better than the round pin connectors - more surface area for the spring clips to grip on to.
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    The Home Depot 4x16 gauge at $0.24/ft. is also a good value. This basically works out to 13 gauge putting pairs together.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    The Radio Shack 12 ga is reported to be made at one time by Monster, but it runs $1 /foot the last time I looked.
    A stiff outer jacket is not a bad thing. The copper strands do break as they get bent back and forth so the stiff jacket actually provides a lot of mechanical protection.
    But I have/do use the Radio Shack stuff and I do like the solid red stripe on one of the wires. This makes it easier to tell Pos/Neg while squatting down behind the equipment rack.
    So all things being equal, we are getting to the second-order issues around speaker wire: Stiff for protection vs rubbery softness for astetics, Bold outer markings vs little white letters, 0.30 mail order vs "wire in hand" vs $1.00 /ft instant gratification. Hummmm.. decisions, decisions [​IMG]
     
  5. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Home Depot wire hard to work with?
    Are you sure you got stranded wire? Home Depot sells a variety of solid conductor wire for house wiring which functions sonically just as well as name brand speaker wire of the same thickness but solid wire is much stiffer. If you want to nitpick, there is stranded wire with about ten strands that is more flexible than solid wire but somewhat stiffer than stranded wire with more than 20 strands.
    Cut your speaker cables one or even two feet longer than needed. It is a good idea to take apart and re-do all the connections and any unsoldered joints every three years and you will probably have to slice off the used bare wire ends and re-make them, shortening the entire cable in the process.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Al: several speaker sites (not wire sites) recommend the following to make their speakers sound good:

    1-10 feet: 16 ga

    10-20 feet: 14 ga

    20+ feet: 12 ga

    So that 10 ga wire is a bit over-kill, but would only be justified for the rear speakers.

    Try this: take a favorite DVD, disconnect the front 3 speakers, turn off the TV and just sit in the room and listen to the ammount & quality of sound from the rear speakers. Do you think it deserves long runs of 10 ga wire?
     
  8. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I agree with you that it might be overkill on the rears. Then again, I'm running 12 gauge wire on the fronts, as well, and I noticed quite a difference over the 16 gauge wire I'd previously used (and this is cheap Home Depot stuff). And if it is an improvement - even slight - it's a pretty cheap tweak considering the low price of that Sound King wire! [​IMG]
     
  9. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    I have a friend who switched from 12 awg Monster to Kimber's 10 awg Monocle-X. He swears he hears a difference - primarily better, less muddy lows, more definition in the highs. Don't know if it's due to the construction (I think Kimber's are braided) or the extra thickness. I haven't heard his system so I can't confirm it. As far as overkill for the rears, I think that would depend on if you had full-range rears. Anyway, 10 awg SoundKing is only $0.64/ft in 100ft rolls. For 2/3 the price of RadioShack MegaCable, it's cheap enough to try out.
    Why don't you try it and tell us how you like it? [​IMG]
     

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