Is there a Difference in Quality Between

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Jay Foster, May 21, 2003.

  1. Jay Foster

    Jay Foster Stunt Coordinator

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    12 guage speaker wire and 14 guage speaker wire on a 50-75 foot run?

    The 12 guage wire that I have now was not shielded. The 14 guage wire that I am thinking of installing now is shielded.

    Which is better?
     
  2. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    Shielding doesn't really matter for speaker-level signals as they are on a magnitude that interference ... doesn't interfere with them (well, at least audibly).

    All other factors being equal, save your money and stick with the thicker wire.
     
  3. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Jason,

    That's not exactly true... 60Hz Line power can easily make
    it's way into a speaker cable and produce *you guessed it*
    a 60hz audible hum.

    But if you have to have a power wire near a speaker cable
    just keep them 90 degrees to each other and it won't be an
    issue.

    I run 14awg on my 30 foot runs to the surrounds with no
    issues. But 75 foot I think i'd go with 12awg for peace of
    mind. Also remember if it's going in wall it HAS to be CL2
    or CL3 UL Listed for In Wall instalation per Code..
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    are you sure that's shielded wire and not wire that's intended for in-wall installation?
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Short Answer: Since you already have 12 ga installed - leave it.

    Several speaker sites recommend the following gauge based on run-length:

    1-10 ft: 16 ga
    11-20 ft: 14 ga
    20+ ft: 12 ga

    The problem with long runs of speaker wire is rolloff. Compared to a short run, the higher-frequency sounds are reduced, but the lower-frequency sounds are not. A thicker wire reduces the effect, but does not eliminate it.

    Does rolloff matter?

    The only people who claim to be able to hear this effect are using higher-end panel speakers, 300+ watts per channel, high-end sources and music they are very familar with. The equipment and listener are very sensitive to changes.

    But the rear sounds for a HT system are not nearly as good/critical/important/used like the L/R speakers on a music system.

    Try this: disconnect all front speakers and sub. Fire up a favorite DVD and sit in the room with the TV off. Read a newspaper/book and listen to the rear-speaker sounds. My guess is you will only hear special effects (sometimes), and perhaps low-level music. No dialog, major music, etc. You may even forget a movie is playing because of how little the rears speakers are used (depends on the movie of course [​IMG] )
     
  6. Jay Foster

    Jay Foster Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu,

    I'm not sure if it is shielded wire or wire for in-wall installation. I've got a call into the guy that sold it to me and I'm waiting on him to call back.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'd suspect the latter. Legitimately shielded speaker wire with some kind of a foil or metal wrap would be peculiar. You can always look at the cross section. If it's all plastic likely it's inwall stuff. Works fine in or out though!
     

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