Speaker Wire Connections

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Andrew S., Dec 28, 2004.

  1. Andrew S.

    Andrew S. Auditioning

    Dec 28, 2004
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    I am new to the home theater scene. I just purchased an Onkyo HT-S770 system. I need to run my rear speaker wires roughly 30 to 40 feet from the reciever. Will that lenght of wire effect the sound quality. I am assuming no but wasn't sure and will it effect the sound quality if 2 speaker wires are spliced togehter to get that lenght. And if i can slpice the wires to together what kind of connecters can be used. Also what quality of wire shoild I use. Thanks
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Hi Andrew. Welcome to HTF! [​IMG]

    A speaker website, (not selling wires at that time) recommeded the following gauge of wire based on run length:

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

    Most of us buy a spool of 12 ga and use it everywhere. The Sound King Brand from places like Parts Express is inexpensive and well respected.

    It wont affect the sound to splice the wires, but it's not a good idea. Any breaks in the wire exposes the copper to the air which will corrode.

    If you must splice, put 6" of the two wires together next to each other and tape them together. This will give you slack later to trim and re-splice every 2 years or so.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    I would not discourage you from splicing wires, if you can make the connections good and tight. I would not throw away good but too short wires and replace them with new just to avoid splicing, except due to less attractive appearance.

    Soldering the splices (and also soldering the wire ends to banana plugs if you use the latter) is the best way to make connections. Properly soldered connections last forever. You can also use those cone shaped twist on "wire nuts" that electricians use, or even ordinary bolts and nuts with washers, to hold the wire ends together tightly.

    (Note: do not have splices of any kind inside a wall.)

    One expert recommends separating the two conductors in the speaker cable for several inches and having the two splices a few inches apart, so that prior to wrapping electrical tape around them for insulation, the spliced areas let alone any bare copper areas do not touch by themselves.

    Video hints:
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Aug 19, 2002
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    If you are going to splice wires, a better method than even the solder/electrical tape method is solder and heatshrink tubing. Electrical tape will unravel, can split and the adhesive can dry out. Go to Radio Shack, they have a heatshrink tubing variety pack for about $3.00. Separate the two wires (+ and -) about 4" on each side. Place a length of heat shrink that will cover the splice plus about 1" on either side (if you want to be neater and thorough, place a larger piece of heatshrink around the whole wire pair, so you can bind the two wires together after the splice). Solder the splice together, remember to heat the wire, not the solder and let the solder flow into the splice, not just on or around it (use flux). Then slide the heatshrink over the splice and heat it with a heat gun or use a lighter (be careful with the flame, use it sparingly). After doing both splices, slide the bigger piece of heatshrink over the two wires and heat that up to bind the wire pair together. Much neater and safer than electrical tape and it won't come apart. This is how I wire splices in car stereo systems and I have not had one fail yet (unlike wire nuts and/or electrical tape).

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