What speaker wire should I use?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Shawn.G, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. Shawn.G

    Shawn.G Second Unit

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    I have Polk R40 floorstaning mains and I need some good speaker wire. They are five feet from the receiver, so what is the best size? Is Monster Cable the best to use? How about other wire, like from PE? Thanks.
     
  2. george.Legeza

    george.Legeza Stunt Coordinator

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    I was using the lower-end Polk R20s for a while with generic Radioshack speaker wire (16 gauge) and they sounded fine. I eventually upgraded to Monster speaker wire and didn't notice much of a difference despite a pretty big cost increase. There was a difference (I switched wire a few times to be sure I wasn't imagining it), but neither one sounded better or worse. They didn't even sound different enough where I preferred one over the other.
    Might have just been because I was using relatively low quality speakers at the time. Oh, and if it makes any difference they were about 5 feet from the receiver as well.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Several speaker sites recommend the following based on run length:
    1-10 ft: 16 ga
    11-20 ft: 14 ga
    20+ ft: 12 ga
    But most of us buy a spool of 12 ga and use it everywhere.
    Monster is good, but a bit over-priced.
    Remember that HT sound is both highly compressed and highly artifical. You really dont get much improvement with expensive copper for movies.
    If you are into DVD Audio/SACD/High Bit CD's - the speaker wire has a larger impact.
    But remember: it's like drinking wine from a coffee cup, a plastic wine glass or Waterford Crystal - the wine is the same. The container DOES change the experience a bit.
    A good, get you 90% of the way wire would be the Sound King brand from www.partsexpress.com . Great quality, low price, outstanding for HT and good for music systems. Use this as your 'baseline' and after several months, you can audition some more expensive/exotic speaker wires if you want.
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Shawn.G

    Shawn.G Second Unit

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    I am mainly 90% music. Does that make a difference?
     
  5. Scott_Jua

    Scott_Jua Stunt Coordinator

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    I never would have thought that wire would have made such a difference before but...
    When I bought all my gear back in 1993-4 I also bought some Monster XP wire that I used for my mains, and used some cheap RS wire for the surrounds for many years. My receiver is pretty weak these days and my surrounds have never been beefy so I never cared to have decent wire running to them. When we got the house I decided that I would eventually step up my HT equipment since after 9 years it's all getting long in the tooth, my room is much bigger and will need better stuff [​IMG]. Ok ok...to make a long story short I bought thiswire
    [​IMG]
    in a spool of 100ft and ran it to the surrounds.
    Recently (more than a year later) I decided to get off my butt and hide wires/organize cables better behind my AV stand. So I thought, why not re-wire my mains with the in-wall stuff I bought for the surrounds? So with just the intentions of having equal lengths of wire to hide better I re-wired the mains with that THX in-wall stuff. After I was done I turned it all on to make sure it was all hooked up and working right (at the same levels and source I had seen and listened to just before the undertaking)...and my sound quality increased so much from just the wire that it was amazing! I jumped up and said to my wife "DO you HEAR that!? Holy Crap...that's all from the speaker wire!" I was amazed that such a difference could be made by wire alone. Maybe my old Monster XP stuff was getting tired or something, because this new wire had increased clarity, volume, and made it sound richer overall. I was really taken aback. I had no intention to improve my sound but I inadvertantly did a GREAT little mod. [​IMG]
    I listen to Movies only in the house, so imagine what difference it could make with music. Now I'm not saying I buy into the idea of 300$ speaker cables...but I do know that I was more than surprised to find out that I improved my sound quality by switching wire.
    Just a little info from my experience. Not sure if it helps at all rally.
     
  6. Shawn.G

    Shawn.G Second Unit

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    Any other recommendations? Thanks a lot.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    12 gauge in whatever will be more than adequate...look at making a good, clean connection. myself, i like spades on the speakers and bananas on the receiver end, but if something else is more in tune, knock yourself out. i'd look towards possibly having a little extra wire just in case you find yourself having to reposition things.
     
  8. Shawn.G

    Shawn.G Second Unit

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    Is bare wire the best connection for not degrading the signal?
     
  9. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    I am glad to see most people here are not enamered with high end wire. I think what is most important as stated already is to size it correctly.
    I have told this story before but it bears repeating.
    I have a friend who auditions speaker wire and high dollar interconnects for a living, different places pay him to come and listen to their cables and wire. My friend (who shall remain nameless) uses SO cord 14 guage 4 conductor or 4 14 guage wires in a black cover, extension cord. He takes combines the 4 wires to make 2 out of them, a little heat shrink tubing and a nice spade on the end. Even has a printer that he can put any logo he wants on the wire, he drives a pair of 85K Danes this way and they will stand your hair up. Good enough for him its good enough for me especially for about 35cents a foot at Home Depot.
     
  10. Shawn.G

    Shawn.G Second Unit

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    I was just about to ask about the Home Depot speaker wire. Is it as good as the Monster XP or the THX in-wall(link above)? Also, is there a huge difference in sound between 12 and 14 guage wire? The monster is 14 guage, and the PE wire can go down to 12. Does Home Depot go to 12? Which would be better. I am using 10 feet to each of my 2 mains. Thanks.
     
  11. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    The wire I am talking about is not speakerwire per say it is the same wire you would buy for an extension cord it is called 14/4 SO cord or if you want 12 guage then 12/4 or 12/2, it is covered, easy to hide, flexable and with the correct terminators on the ends works very nice at about 1/3 the price of "cheap' speaker wire. The best place to get it is an electrical supply house.
    I have even used hard wire "Romex" but I dont recomend that,Too stiff among other things.
     
  12. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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