Speaker wire

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Don:::A, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Don:::A

    Don:::A Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Need some advice on speaker wire....installing a 6.1 surround sound system with the wiring in the walls. I notice some wire is rated for in-wall usage, but what about "performance" speaker wires? I see some brands advertising better signal clarity, twisting/shielding that limits interference, etc. Is there any real difference, or should I shop on price?

    Also, what about wire gauge? The receiver is rated at 80W per channel, should I use a 14 AWG or is 16 OK? Can wire be too big? Saw a great sale on 10AWG in-wall speaker wiring ($99 for 250 feet). Will wire this big introduce too much resistance or siganl degradation?

    How much should I expect to pay for wire?

    Don
     
  2. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 1999
    Messages:
    2,713
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Running low-level electrical wires within walls falls under local and national electrical codes. If you ever wanted your house inspected (or if you decided to move and the potential buyer wanted an inspection) there may be some issues if you don't have in-wall rated speaker wiring. It all depends on how nit-picky your local inspectors are.

    I recommend 12 gauge speaker wire as it will give you less resistance over longer distances, and if you ever upgrade to an amp with more power you wouldn't have to pull your wire out and start over. If you are going over 35-40 feet then I'd look at 10 gauge speaker wire just to cover all your bases.

    You want to use oxygen-free copper, and possibly even higher grade than that to resist oxidizing.

    Using Monster Cable as an example, you would probably spend about $1.30 to $1.50 per foot for in-wall rated 12 gauge equivalent wire.

    Oh, and don't run speaker wire or audio video cabling close to regular ROMEX electrical wiring to cut down on potential interference.

    Dan
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 1999
    Messages:
    6,207
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    Wayne
    Quote:
    but what about "performance" speaker wires? I see some brands advertising better signal clarity, twisting/shielding that limits interference, etc. Make sure that stuff is rated for in-wall before you bring it home.

    Quote:
    Also, what about wire gauge? The receiver is rated at 80W per channel, should I use a 14 AWG or is 16 OK?
    Most of us here prefer 12ga. to minimize loss, but it won’t be the end of the world if you can’t afford it. I definitely wouldn’t go smaller than 16ga. though.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    FWIW, it's hard not to find OFC wire even when it's not specifically stated as such. Moreover, copper's rate of oxidation is unaffected by whether it's OFC or not.
     
  6. GraysonAng

    GraysonAng Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What about these wires?

    Teptronics.com has the following Pyramid speaker wire:
    12 gauge, 50 feet for 6.99 (teptronics.com/rsw1250.html)
    12 gauge, 100 feet for 13.50 (teptronics.com/rsw12100.html)

    This is considerably cheaper than home depot and sound king. From what I've been reading, as long as it's 12 gauge, it should sound comparable. Is this true?
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In terms of being able to discern an audible difference, there should be none between the two. I believe though, that the Teptronics stuff doesn't have as many strands which makes it a little less flexible. You might also want to look in your Yellow Pages under car stereos and see if it, or something similar, is available locally.
     
  8. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Quote:
    Also, what about wire gauge? The receiver is rated at 80W per channel, should I use a 14 AWG or is 16 OK? Can wire be too big? Saw a great sale on 10AWG in-wall speaker wiring ($99 for 250 feet). Will wire this big introduce too much resistance or siganl degradation?

    Actually, the lower AWG, the thicker the wire, the less resistance. Think of it like a water hose. The thicker the hose, the more water can go past a given point in a given amount of time. Ten AWG will have very low resistance, so with an 8 Ohm speaker you would not really need wire that thick with a run under a couple of hundred feet. With a very low-impedance speaker, it might be right for 100 feet. At extreme lengths, you also get into issues of inductance and capacitance which can roll off certain audio frequencies, though not necessarily audibly. Some suggest a maximum speaker-wire run of 50 feet.

    Here's a chart giving you lengths and AWG numbers that add no more than 5% to the speaker circuit. This site also has information about premium-priced wire which you'll find interesting.

    http://home.earthlink.net/~rogerr7/wire.htm#wiretable


    With an in-wall installation, it would make sense to go on the conservative side (erring in favor of lower AWG) to accomodate a possible change to lower-impedance speakers. You never know when you'll be getting those Magnepans.

    Naturally, conforming with legal codes may dictate certain approved products, installation by a licensed electrician, etc.
     
  9. Stephen Weller

    Stephen Weller Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This post finally spurred me out of lurking. [​IMG]

    Satisfying the building code should be your first and foremost consideration. If unsure, consult a licensed professional. Should you ever sell the place, you won't even need to give it a second thought. This should also answer the question of wire gauge. If the pro doesn't ask how much power you're pushing and at what impedance (Ohm's Law), find another pro.

    On the question of wire quality: Ask yourself one question. Can *I* hear a difference? It's an easy experiment.

    I've known people over the years who *swear* they can tell an amplifier routed with curved traces from one routed with right-angle traces. These are members of the "golden ear" crowd. I can't tell the difference. I doubt electrons can. My question to you is...Can you?
     

Share This Page