Speaker wire: 16 gauge for 40'?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Alex_C, May 26, 2003.

  1. Alex_C

    Alex_C Stunt Coordinator

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    My dealer told me that I could run 40' feet of 16 gauge speaker wire to my rears without degredation. Now that I look around here I'm starting to wonder. . .

    Should I change gauge?
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Alex,

    People will often jump in on a question like this and say, “Yes go with 12 gauge wire to minimize signal loss,” etc. without even asking any questions, like if you’re using a budget HTIB or have expensive speakers and electronics. Obviously, cabling is not terribly critical if you have the former.

    Of course it would be nice to use larger-gauge wire if you have the option. But if you have already bought the wire and are stuck with it, don’t worry about it. Sure, larger gauge is generally better, but truth be told, if you were able to make a comparison of one vs. the other you’d probably be hard pressed to tell a difference.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. Alex_C

    Alex_C Stunt Coordinator

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    I just bought an H/K 525, Panny xp-30, Deftech bp2006 mains, bp2x rears and a 2300 center.
    I think that's a good setup . . ?

    Because I'd worry that I was missing something, I'd replace the wires immediately, except I had an electrician come over and route them through the ceiling. I could do it again myself, because the course of the cable is already set but it would be a big pain in the unowhat.

    I can change the fronts and center. They are each 16 gauge. Go for 12'?
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Some high-end speaker sites recommend the following:

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

    So it's likely not worth upgrading the front wires if they are already shorter than about 10 ft.

    It's not worth re-wiring the rears for the rear-speakers in a HT setup IMHO. The rear sounds are not that critical to worry about.

    If you were doing a 5-channel SACD system - different story.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    alex -

    welcome to the obsessive world of ht! [​IMG]

    i agree with bob that you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference if you went with a thicker gauge, especially for the rears, but...
     
  6. Koren T. Wolf

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    Alex,
    the thing to consider with going to 12 gauge wire, is you have a greater impedance and less signal loss. the problem though is you need to make sure your amp / AVR can push the amount of signal you need to go through 40' or wire.
    i run my rears and sides through 35' of 16 gauge using an Onkyo NR900. i made sure the 16g was going to do the job by going to my local shop and having them run 40' of 16g and 40' of 12g and then listened to spot if i (or a signal meter they had) could detect any dropouts through a similar receiver (onkyo's 898 AVR). the 16g worked fine for my needs, and there wasn't any signal loss that the equipment could pick up.
    good luck.
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Greater impedance with 12 gauge wire than 16 gauge?

    Impedance (Z) is related to resistance (V=I*R), so wouldn't the impedance go down with thicker wire?
     
  8. Kevin Deacon

    Kevin Deacon Second Unit

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    If you replace the wire and are running it in wall or through the ceiling, "make sure that it is rated for your local electrical codes". If your house burns down you may have trouble with the insurance company if the wire is plain old speaker wire. I went to Home Depot and tried to get 12 guage in wall rated speaker wire, but only found 14 guage. I guess it's better than 16, but I would prefer 12.
     

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