Speaker Wire Gauge? (Newbie Question)

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Glen Marcus, Oct 6, 2003.

  1. Glen Marcus

    Glen Marcus Auditioning

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    Hello All. Please forgive a newbie question.

    I just ordered a new 5.1 Surround Sound System. It's a JVC model DS-TP380. 100 watt, 5 speaker plus sub woofer.

    My question is about choosing the right speaker wire gauge.

    I'm planning on tucking the speaker wires between the carpet and the baseboards. The longest run of wire will be approximately 40 feet (for the right rear speaker.)

    The question is, should I buy 12 gauge wire, or 14 gauge? Or does it really matter at only 100 watts?

    Thanks in advance,

    Glen
     
  2. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    No prob -

    Longer = fatter, and there's a rule of thumb around here somewhere.

    It's something like
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  4. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Just note that your 100watt x 5 reciever probably cannot output 100 watts to all five channels at one time. What it really means is "100 watts to any of 5 channels while playing a 1Kz tone".

    Your realistically only looking at about 17 to 20 watts per channel max. However, due to todays highly efficient speakers, you are unlikely to need to use even 20 watts at a time, unless you have a large room, or are trying to make yourself deaf.

    On the note of speaker wire: I use a spool of RadioShack 14ga. wire and have no problems with it (no Home Depot near here), you will probably not notice a night/day difference to the thinner box wires, but at least the larger, higher quality stuff is less likely to fray, or even break (should you, for example, trip over it).
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Glen,

    Naturally everyone prefers 12 ga. wire whenever possible, but in your situation, hiding it between the carpet and baseboard, there maybe physical limitations.

    If you will only be running one wire between the carpet and baseboard, you can probably get away with using 12ga., although it may be a little hard to maneuver around corners.

    However, if you will be running two wires along the same baseboard, then 14ga. is probably the largest you will be able to use. For a lower profile at the baseboard, check into some flat speaker wire, like this #278-1273 from Radio Shack.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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    Glen,
    Welcome to the forum. 16 gage will work just fine, will be easier to work with and will be less expensive.
     
  7. Glen Marcus

    Glen Marcus Auditioning

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    The HTIB came with 20 guage speaker wires!

    The speaker clip terminals are pretty small, and definitely will not allow for 12 guage. But I think they will accomodate 16 guage.

    I'll check tonight.

    20 guage?[​IMG]
     
  8. Jarek

    Jarek Auditioning

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    Hey guys, I'm in a similar predicament.. I'll be hooking up a pair of Athena ASB-1 for surround and since I have to run the wire along the ceiling, no carpet, I was looking at the 16ga white wire at Radio Shack. The run will not be that long, maybe 25 ft at the most. Can I get away with 16ga for the surrounds? My receiver is the Denon 1603.
     
  9. Glen Marcus

    Glen Marcus Auditioning

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    I wound up using 14 ga from Fry's. 250' for $40.

    I tried the system out with "The Abyss." It adds an incredible dimension. Too cool.
     

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