speaker wire question

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by vasia, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    I am figuring out which speaker wire to use for my new HT setup. According to Bob McElfresh's excellent post on this forum, I am considering getting Sound King 12 GA wire from Parts Express plus some banana plugs. However, I also found that assessories4less offer 10GA 15 ft Master Series AR cables with plugs for essentially the same final price.
    Here is my dilemma. I do not have any particular instuments and experience setting these things up, so I think factory assembles wires will be better than what I can put together myself. On the other hand, I do not need all 15ft of wires, maybe only 8-9 ft, so the rest will be just lying loose. Whaich would be a better option?
     
  2. David WS

    David WS Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are new to this hobby I wouldn't worry too much about fancy botique speaker cables quite yet. Many people will say the using terminations on speaker cable is not the ideal because you are breaking the signal path more. I'd just get a good quality 14 or 12 gauge wire cut it to length, strip the ends and twist the wires together and plug them in. Unless you plan on removing your cables frequently there really is no compelling reason to use banana plugs. Just make sure that you don't have any stray wires sticking out when you twist them and you will have one of the best manual connections possible.

    Since copper wire will oxidize over time, you can just cut off the ends, re-strip, twist and re-insert once every year. This will ensure a good connection.

    It's VERY easy to overspend on cables. In very high end systems, some recommend spending 10% to 15% of your entire budget on cables (speaker and interconnect) but only up to a certain point. Even if I had a $100,000 system, I couldn't imagine speding $10,000 on cables. Make sense?

    Dave
     
  3. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the reply. AR wires are pretty basic. They actually are 50$ for a pair and I am only getting the ones for mains and a center for a total of about 75$ and I hate putting those wire into the speakers, always drive me mad, so I would spend extra 30$ or so on the banana clips for that. Would extra 5-6 feet be a bad thing though?
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I'd go with the basic 12 ga for those short runs.

    The dominate reason for thicker cable is to reduce roll-off of the higher frequencies. But this only happens over longer runs. One speaker web site recommended:

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

    Rather than buy different thicknesses - many of us just buy a spool of 12 ga and use it everywhere.

    While 10 ga wire looks massive and is impressive you will have some problems:

    - Make sure the banana plugs can take 10 ga w/o stripping strands of copper out the sides.

    - Make sure your reciever is on the bottom shelf to minimize the physical strain on the plugs from the extra metal.

    If you go with the pre-terminated cables, just make sure to have the excess cable create lazy "S" shapes on the ground. Do not coil them tightly as this becomes a inductor and can cause some problems with the sound.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. Both will work.
     
  5. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies! I think I'll just get some 12 GA wire and some plugs at Radio Shack.
     

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