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Stupid Speaker Wiring Question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JasonMIL, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. JasonMIL

    JasonMIL Extra

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    Here goes. The setup of my rear surrounds (and my fiance's penchant for aesthetics over sound) recently required me to wire my rear speakers using AR's 18 ga MicroFlat. This stuff has an adhesive backing and can be stuck to the wall and painted over so that it is almost unseeable. I took someone's advice from this board and ran 12 ga soundking all the way to the base of the rear wall and only used about 4.5 feet of the Microflat for each speaker to run it up the wall.

    My question is, given that this wire is not made up of thin copper strands like normal cable, but is instead one continuous thin, wide flat piece of copper for each polarity, would it be worth my while (sound quality-wise) to use 2 separate runs of the Microflat (one right on top of the other) for each speaker, twisting the +/- ends together on each to give a lower gauge? So the + side of the rear left for example would have one cable all to itself and the - side another. Does this make any sense? Is it a good idea? Is there a technical term for this?
     
  2. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    I would be astonished if this made an audible difference.
     
  3. JasonMIL

    JasonMIL Extra

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    Fair enough, then here's my next question. Which would be preferable (or again, would it not make an audible difference): a continuous run of 16 ga. to the rears or a 12 ga run splices to an 18 ga. run?

    Just trying to get the best possible results here. I'm leaning towards the continuous 16 ga. unless someone here tells me otherwise.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Try this:

    Run 12 ga to the base of the wall. Then cut 2 12 ga splices and connect to the rear speakers. Cut 4 splices of the 18 ga and wire them together in pairs like you propose.

    Disable all 3 front speakers & sub, fire up a favorite DVD and sit back with a book and listen. Do this for about 10 minutes. Then power-off the receiver and install the 18 ga wires in place of the single 12 ga wire and continue listening.

    Do you hear a difference?

    My guess is you will notice 2 things:

    - You can hear little/no difference between the 2 wires
    - You will be suprised at how quiet the rear speakers are with only them in the mix.

    Just because you dont hear/notice a difference does not mean that none exists.

    If you really want to know, try this:

    Disable all 5 speakers and sub.

    Connect the L/R rear speakers in place of the front L/R speakers. Connect up the 12 ga jumper.

    Now fire up a favorite CD and sit back and listen for about 10 minutes. Then power off the receiver and install the 18 ga pairs and re-listen.

    (This test has a better chance of exposing a change in sound than the first one. The sound on a CD is much denser, continous, and more familar to you than the rear sounds from any DVD.)

    Do you now notice a difference?

    PS: You DID run 3 sets of speaker wires to the rear? That rear-center speaker is becoming popular so you may as well install for it now.
     
  5. JasonMIL

    JasonMIL Extra

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    Bob:

    Thanks for your always useful tips. I really appreciate your clear, detailed responses. Definitely good for someone like me who is just getting started in HT.

    I'm travelling alot for work right now so in the interest of time, I've decided not to do the tests that you suggested and just go ahead with one long run (only about 25-30 feet) of 16 ga. wire to my rears. I'm not going to wire for the center rear yet because I hope to be buying a new condo in the next 6 months and have everything pre-wired in there. I'm going to run the 16 ga that has a paintable jacket up my rear walls and then paint the jacket to blend in a little better. I think I'll be fine using double sided tape to get the wire to stick to the wall.

    I gather from your suggestions to do those tests that you don't believe I'll hear any appreciable sound difference with any of the options I mentioned above. Is that correct?
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    to know for sure, you really should do bob's test. that way you will know if you hear a difference.

    remember that sound is subjective.

    but, i also gotta say that it's probably going to make minimal difference.

    the only argument i can think of for full gauge is that dd/dts are full-signal to the rear speakers (unlike dpl) so if you have to have full gauge to the front, why not to the rear.

    okay, that's a pretty weak argument, but hopefully you get what i'm saying. [​IMG]
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I'm almost sure you will not hear a difference with the 2 wires with a DVD. You might hear a slight difference with a CD if:

    - You have very good ears
    - You have very accurate rear speakers
    - If you can tell the difference between a shift in the sound vs a slight change in over-all volume. (A slight increase in volume has frequently made professional reviewers say one amp/receiver/speaker is better than other during A/B tests. Louder is often perceived as 'better', but this is not usually true.)

    I understand about time. My advice is to just run the high SAF (Spousal Acceptance Factor) wire and enjoy.

    After a few weeks when you get used to the sound, check out the Primer (link at the top of the basics page) and learn how to level-adjust your speakers. Then you may be suprised at how much better/balanced your system sounds.

    Good Luck.
     
  8. JayDaniel

    JayDaniel Stunt Coordinator

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    Jason - You can find flat 16 ga. wire too. I've used RCA brand (Wal-mart - $15 for 50'). Rat Shack also sells it. It is very flat, and paintable. I've also seen 14 ga. flat at Parts Express or somewhere.

    Just some other options.
     
  9. Frans

    Frans Auditioning

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    I had the same problem with WAF. I just cut a hole in the wall and fished the wire through. It was pretty easy to do with minor patching and paint.
     

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