Speaker Wire Opinion

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin Simon, Jan 8, 2002.

  1. Kevin Simon

    Kevin Simon Extra

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    Hello. I am faced with an issue, call it a problem, that I have a few options to resolve. I would appreciate your opinion. Please excuse my narrative if lengthy:
    Current Situation:
    I have wiring under the carpet for my CSW Movieworks 5.1 Surround Speakers. Unfortunately, this wire is only 3 feet in length at the BACK WALL where the surround speakers were originally thought to be placed. Additionally, this wire is only 18 gauge.
    Proposed Resolutions(s):
    I have read on this forum about "flat speaker wire" from AR. This wire is like tape, and I could run it up the front wall, across the ceiling and to the surrounds. Now I realize 18gauge wire sucks, but it is the only option to get the thinnest (like a tape) wire. The total distance up the front wall, across the ceiling, and to the speakers would be ~20-25 feet.
    I can’t believe I am even proposing this, but I could splice another 18-gauge speaker wire to the existing wire to lengthen it. I have done so, albeit as a test, and it works. But just the thought of it...argh!
    I guess my questions are as follows:
    first:
    Is 18gauge sufficient for the distance and the mere fact that these are surround speakers?
    second:
    Is the wiretape a joke. Could it be any wore than the 18 gauge wire already there?
    third:
    finally (and excuse me for getting off topic for the forum) I have read so much about where to place surrounds; Many conflicting opinions. Would it be so wrong to place them on the back wall and slightly to the sides of the users? Would it be better to place them low and behind, or high and directly to the sides? What about high and behind? Once again, my surrounds are CSW Moviework with both a BioPolar and DiPolar setting, if that makes a difference.
    Thanks for your patience...I am truly embarrassed by my issue and suggestions.
     
  2. AlexKay

    AlexKay Extra

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    Kevin,

    I'm a little confused with your guage(awg), and lengths your talking about.

    You have 3 feet of 18 guage coming out of the wall to your surrounds? Or is there 25 feet under the carpet then going into the wall with a 3 foot whip coming out? If it's the second, can't you just pull it to where it has to go, or just re-position it, and re-run it?

    Next, you want to get AR tapewire that is 16awg? If so, 16awg would definately be better than the 18awg you mentioned. In other words, where you said " Now I realize 16 gauge wire sucks", that's better than the 3 feet of 18awg you mentioned. Also this AR flat wire is designed for speaker applications too. I personally never used the stuff, so I can't help you there from a user standpoint on the product...

    "I can’t believe I am even proposing this, but I could splice another 16-gauge speaker wire to the existing wire to lengthen it."

    I would definately not do that as a permanant install. You have 2 different wire guages, and that is going to cause resistance problems etc without getting too technical.

    Your best bet is to buy some fresh, new, 16 or 14 awg wire, and run all new lengths and terminate the ends accordingly.

    "first:

    Is 16 gauge sufficient for the distance and the mere fact that these are surround speakers"

    YES it IS!

    "second:

    Is the wiretape a joke. Could it be any wore than the 16 gauge wire already there?"

    DON'T know about wiretape, perhaps someone else that has used it could help you out? In any event, 16awg is 16awg!!

    "third:

    finally (and excuse me for getting off topic for the forum) I have read so much about where to place surrounds; Many conflicting opinions. Would it be so wrong to place them on the back wall and slightly to the sides of the users? Would it be better to place them low and behind, or high and directly to the sides? What about high and behind? Once again, my surrounds are CSW Moviework with both a BioPolar and DiPolar setting, if that makes a difference. "

    I am NOT familiar with CSW, but any direct radiating speaker should be at ear level to the listener, in order to obtain the full frequency response, whether surrounds or mains. Dipoles radiate from the sides at the angles they were designed at, and thus should be mounted slightly higher. Subs on the other hand, are non-directional, and placement in you room depends on the room acoustics etc. That gets more complicated, and you have to experiment... The corners of your room are the best place to start. Hope this helps???
     
  3. Kevin Simon

    Kevin Simon Extra

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    Alex: Thanks for your reply. I knew I would confuse everyone, especially when I make a few mistakes in my own original post. I have edited it, but here is the basic change:

    -The current wire under the carpet is 18-gauge, and I was considering splicing more 18-gauge, not 16-gauge, to the end of it. I could pull it from the back wall end, but then I may shorten it at the front wall end where it connects to the source.

    -I wanted to know if 18-gauge was sufficiant (not 16-gaguge) for the distance/surrounds.

    -Currently, the wires extend under the carpet, from the front wall where the tv is to the back wall. The distance from front wall to back wall is aprox 12 feet. Then, at the back wall, there is three feet of wire that comes up.

    -My 'flat-wire proposal' was to run new wire up the wall and accross the ceiling (to replace the exisitng under carpet wire). This would still be 18-gauge wire as they do not have 16-gauge in the tape like thickness, that I know of.
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    If you are using 8 ohm speakers and don't play the sound too loud and your ear is not extremely critical to distortion, you can get by with 18 gauge wires. But for the distance you say (just over 20 feet) the experts say you need 14 or thicker gauge wire.
    If the wiretape conductors are copper (not aluminum) and the gauge is truthfully stated, then wiretape is equal to ordinary copper wire of the same gauge.
    Splicing wire is OK, soldering is best. Everyone recommends that splices not be under the rug because they might come apart if not soldered, also they increase wear on the carpet, floor and themselves because of lumpiness. Wwell spliced wire of different gauges results in a connection better than a continuous run of the smaller gauge and not as good as a continuous run of the larger gauge.
    City electrical codes do not permit wire splices sealed inside walls and ceilings.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  5. John Sully

    John Sully Stunt Coordinator

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    I would not try to splice the wires w/o soldering. The joint will corrode over time and affect the performance of your speakers.

    I just got through running new wires for my surrounds (new surroundings for me). I used some THX approved wire from Monster. It is 16awg for each conductor and has four conductors -- 2 pair, one for the right surround and one for the left surround. I used 9/16 insulated staples for the run up to the point where I split the left/right channels and then used 9/16 wide crown staples to complete the task. The wire is an eggshell white and is paintable, so it hides quite nicely.

    --John
     
  6. Kevin Simon

    Kevin Simon Extra

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    John- So, you are just "over the hill" ... to Santa Cruz that is, LOL!
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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