Speaker Volume and Wiring

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by JohnEF, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    While tweaking my system with a radio shack sound meter it appeared that everything was in balance (center, surrounds and mains) except the right main which came in at 5 decibels less. I couldn't figure it out as my receiver indicated the same volume being pumped out for all speakers. I checked the wiring only to discover that the right main speaker wire was 16 gauge (everything else was 14). I tehn replaced the wiring to the right main and the problem was corrected. The moral is be sure to use the same gauge of wiring all around and use at least 14 gauge.

    John
     
  2. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What was the distance to your right main?

    - Cryo
     
  3. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The distance to the right main from the receiver was about 5-6 feet, same as the left main. From my seating position where I had the sound meter it was about 14 feet. If I was really obsessive about it I should rewire the left main with 16 gauge speaker wire and see if there is a slight drop off.

    John
     
  4. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Wow. 5db drop for only a 5-6 foot cable run? I wonder what the difference would be if you put 12 gauge wire instead of the 14 (i.e. point of diminishing returns). That still sounds weird though, I thought at 5-6 feet even the thinner wire would be nearly identical to thicker. Makes me want to experiment with mine (14 all around). I'd considered going to 10 or 12, but everything I read indicated the difference would be almost unnoticable.

    - Cryo
     
  5. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I wonder if there were any other factors I didn't account for such as left/right balance was slightly out of wack but when I had originally done a balance of testing all the speakers (5.1) the front right main was 4-5 decibels less. Only afterwards did I discover that I was using 16 gauge speaker wire to the right main which I then replaced with the 14 gauge. Any speaker expert out there who could tell us that there should be such a difference between 14 and 16 gauge speaker wire in relationship to sound decibels.

    John
     
  6. Aaron Gilbert

    Aaron Gilbert Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    How old was the 16 gauge wire? I suppose there's a possibility that some of the wire was oxidized, assuming you're using bare wire put into binding posts at each end. Just putting new 16 gauge might have had the same effect.

    There should be no audible difference whatsoever between a 5 or 6 foot run of 16 gauge vs 14 gauge wire, as long as your speaker impedance is normal (say 2 ohms or more).

    In fact, even on runs 10 times that far, the difference between 14-16 gauge is quite small, bordering on unmeasurable. It would take an extremely small wire to get a 5dB increase in signal level going to 14 gauge. 5dB amounts to over 3 times more power coming out of your speaker. To do that with cabling, you'd have to be starting with a wire that has twice the impedance of your speaker, and then go to one whose impedance is essentially nothing, highly unlikely.

    Something else is happening here.


    Aaron Gilbert
     
  7. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Now that you mention it the wiring for that particular speaker appeared quite old. It was bare wiring at the connects and there is evidence of oxidation. The problem is solved and the moral is to use consistent up-to-date wiring.

    Thanks for everybody's input.

    John
     

Share This Page