Speaker wire 12gaug vs. 16 guag

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Joseph_Jackson, Jan 29, 2004.

  1. Joseph_Jackson

    Joseph_Jackson Auditioning

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    Hello Guys & Gals, I had a question about speaker wire. Lets say you had a media room 13'x18' 8'clg. Speakers at one end and receiver and amps at the other end. Would there be an audible difference going with 16 vs. 12.

    Receiver: Denon 3803
    Speakers: Bos. Acous. Vrm90's main
    Vrmc center
    Vrm50's surround
    Vrmex back middle
    DVD Player: Denon 2900

    Thanks,

    J^4
     
  2. JohnGil

    JohnGil Stunt Coordinator

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    Plenty of people will say that 16 is big enough to carry the current. Personaly I would go no less than 14 and would prefer 12. I run In wall 14/4 (2)14's coupled is 11 may be over kill but it was free from a friend who does custom installs.
     
  3. keoni

    keoni Agent

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    I did 16 in wall for my runs under 10 feet and 12 for the others. I never had long runs and it worked perfect. Of course I am not that picky and dont have thousands invested, but if you had the money, I would just go the extra mile with the thicker guage.
     
  4. Stephen Weller

    Stephen Weller Stunt Coordinator

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    Only you can answer that. In my case, no. I don't have "golden ears."
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    A lot of this depends on the sensitivity of your system.

    Some inexpensive bookshelf speakers for the rear sounds from a DVD is a very different issue than ElectroStatic panel speakers with 200 wpc amps being driven by a high-end SACD transport.

    One system the thickness of wire makes little/no difference. On the other with a recording you are very familar with - different story.

    My advice: if you are running in-wall, go with 12 ga. Your labor to install is much more expensive than the wire. You can get good 12ga in-wall wire from www.partsexpress.com.

    Hint: Make sure to run 3 runs to the rears so you are set for the rear-center speaker in the future.

    If you are running wires above ground, go with the 16 ga stuff.

    A speaker site once recommended the following gauge based on run-length:

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

    Since they were trying to get the speakers to sound good and not selling wire (at that time), I tend to trust their recomendation.
     
  6. Nick.H

    Nick.H Stunt Coordinator

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    12 gauge! You know you don't have to worry then... otherwise it will be in the back of your mind the whole time.
     
  7. ken nomimashita

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    LOL. no. no. no.
     
  8. Don__C

    Don__C Extra

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    Purchased some 12 gauge low voltage outdoor lighting wire from Lowes. Can this be used in wall?
     
  9. ken nomimashita

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    ^umm why COULDNT it? of course it will work. wire is wire... some is just bigger or more flexible...
     
  10. Gary Wolfe

    Gary Wolfe Auditioning

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    I recently have been reading various things online about speaker wire.

    About in-wall wire, one person said that the jacket is designed to be harder to burn, so that if your house catches fire, the wire doesn't act like a fuse. I have no idea, but it is something to think about.

    As for 16 vs. 12, the longer the run, the larger you want the wire. For surround speakers, though, they are just not as demanding as the fronts, so my personal opinion is that it's really not worth obsessing about. (For example, surrounds are typically bandwidth limited by the source material, particularly by Pro Logic if you're listening to a 2ch source.) So, I currently am running 16 gauge across my floor. For in-wall, I'd probably try to do larger, because of the longer run, if nothing else.

    I have fancier cables for my main speakers. :) I have no idea what gauge they are.
     
  11. SeannO

    SeannO Auditioning

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    I recently installed a pair of VR-MX surround using in-wall wire. There are building codes specifying CL rated wire be used because of the aforementioned "fuse" factor. I had runs of 20 and 35 ft and used 14 ga. wire bought at home depot for $.22/ft. It sounds as good as the 12 ga. wire I had used before the in-wall installation. You would probably be OK with 16 ga, except for the VR-90. I would go with the 12 ga, or 14 ga (4 conductor), in-wall wire. Nice speaks.
     
  12. Stephen Weller

    Stephen Weller Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes but don't.

    Ask your home-owner's insurance underwriter.

    Better still, cunsult with a licensed pro about your local building codes.
     
  13. StanG

    StanG Extra

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    The 12ga inwall wire is obviously pretty thick and little PITA to work with - i.e. when attaching connectors, etc... I would say stick with 16ga or possibly 14ga, but that's about as big as you will ever need to go.
     

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