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What a difference between 16 gauge and 12 gauge wire with my JBL N24II's! (1 Viewer)

John Pine

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I just wanted to share my recent experience of changing the wiring for my surrounds. Two weeks ago I purchased some JBL N24II's and was pretty happy with them except I noticed they tended to be a little "boomy". Even before the purchase, I had been planning to replace the wiring to my surrounds. I've had the Home Depot 12-gauge SKU:#551893(fat)clear wire sitting in a closet for a couple of months. I've been putting it off because it involves climbing up into the attic. My surround runs are 50 foot each and I've read on this forum that 16-gauge wire can cause roll-off with lengths that long. Well I replaced both runs yesterday, and let me tell you working with this cable is a major pain in the ass! With the jacket on this cable it's the equivalent of working with 10 or 8-gauge wire. Anyway, I immediately noticed a difference with the low end on the surrounds. It's much more natural and the "boominess" is gone completely! To be honest the difference in the high end is not as dramatic. But, I probably don't have the educated ear that a lot of guys on this forum have. I never would have thought that replacing the wiring could make THAT much of a difference! It's was $34 dollars well spent! Because of this forum I am NOW very pleased with my new surrounds! Thanks!
 

Alf S

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Now here's a tweak I can really believe in!

A run of that length defenitely could use some thick gauge wired to help keep the receiver from struggling (resistence etc).

I did a similar thing when I added my rear center, went from 18g to 16g (surrounds aren't as far back asJohn's though). Can't say I heard a big change, but lowering the resistence between receiver and 3 rear speakers couldn't hurt...don't need to fry a new receiver!

Alfer
 

John Pine

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Alf, I didn't even consider that the fatter cable could allow my receiver to run cooler(less resistance). Makes sense, I'll check it out.
 

Bob McElfresh

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I didn't even consider that the fatter cable could allow my receiver to run cooler(less resistance).
Actually, Less resistance in your speaker wire causes heat, more resistance prevents it. (Think of a short circuit - zero resistance. Zero resistance means lots of current resulting in heat.)
And the thicker wire reduces the UPPER-FREQUENCY roll off. By itself, the thicker wire should make no difference to the lower frequency sound.
So...its a mystery! :)
A couple of questions:
- Go to your receiver where you can setup your speakers as LARGE or SMALL. How do you have the rear speakers defined?
- Do you still have the old 16 ga wire? Look at the exposed copper wires. Are they a dull-brown or shiny copper colored?
- How have you attached the wires to the receiver & speakers? Bare wire into the binding posts? Banana plugs, spring clips?
My current theory: Your old wires are somewhat oxidized and/or had a loose connection. Either one can have an effect on the sound, and low-frequency sounds seem sensitive to tight connections.
This is why a yearly trim of the speaker wires and re-tightening of the wires & cables can make a difference.
Let us know if you please.
 

John Pine

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Bob thanks for the input!

* Rear and center are set to small.
* Both runs of old wire are "shiny copper colored".
* Bare wire into binding post at speaker and receiver. Connection at speaker was only a few weeks old, not so at other end.

I know it's not my imagination, the N24's were "boomy" in the upper bass range. I've used multiple sources, but have been unable to duplicate that sound characteristic. Good riddance!
 

Adil M

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Is it really Improved or just different?
Did you use standardised DBT protocol?
Was everything positioned the same?
Was the wiring placed in the same manner?
What did you eat for lunch that day?
Was the sun out?
What's your mom's name...
sry got lost in the crap. :D
 

John Pine

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Adil, my N24II's are two weeks old. So I've had two weeks to listen to them on the old wiring. I've played every source I had, from 19 year old pre-recorded metal audio cassettes to DTS DVD's. All sounded very good but a few of the sources were a little "boomy" in the 80-120MHz(just guessing)range. Also, I've noticed the speakers now sound slightly brighter, but not much. All I did when I replaced the wiring was loosen the speaker bracket O-rings and connect to the binding posts at the new speaker. No change in mounting hardware or direction. I used Avia and a RS meter to setup speaker balance to 85dB when the new speakers were installed but no change after that. Due to the layout of my house I had no choice but to run the wires the same way. The run goes under and across the sub-floor of my living room, up through the pantry into the attic and then to opposite sides. Then down from the attic(thru the wall)into the corners of my living room for the connections. All you see are the surrounds mounted up about 7 feet high, no wires! The only thing different is the new wiring is now crossed in a TIGHT serpentine in my pantry area from the floor to the ceiling(approx. 8 of the 50ft)and then separated in the attic. I did not intend for this to happen but, while trying to do minimal cutting(pantry floor & ceiling)the wire was so difficult to work with. The insulation jacket is extremely heavy so I do not anticipate any interference problems from this. I would like some feedback if anyone disagrees on this point!

p.s. You'll have to clue a newcomer in, what's "standardized DBT protocol"?
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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And the thicker wire reduces the UPPER-FREQUENCY roll off. By itself, the thicker wire should make no difference to the lower frequency sound. So...its a mystery!
It’s actually not that great a mystery, Bob!

As you probably know, a speaker’s “rated” impedance is nominal. Actual impedance varies with frequency, and with some speakers that variation can be drastic – from below 2 ohms to more than 30 ohms, depending on the frequency.

Thus it could very well be that John’s JBLs drop to very low impedances at certain bass frequencies. If this is the case the resistance factor of the speaker wire could indeed make an audible difference in the way the speaker sounds in the lower registers.

Also, many speakers with an 8-ohm nominal impedance use 4-ohm drivers; these are, of course, more sensitive to the gauge of speaker wire used than say, 8-ohm or 16-ohm drivers would be.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

John Pine

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Mark: Oh! "Double Blind Test", OK I got it!

Chu: Good read, thanks for the link.

Wayne: Question? Why would a manufacturer use a 4-ohm driver in a speaker rated 8-ohm nominal?
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Wayne: Question? Why would a manufacturer use a 4-ohm driver in a speaker rated 8-ohm nominal?
It would take someone better versed in the art of speaker building to tell you “why,” but it’s quite common, actually. The speaker’s nominal impedance is determined as much by the resistors used in its crossover network as it is the drivers.

In fact, with many speakers you can actually disconnect one of the drivers and the measured impedance at the speaker terminals will not change.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

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