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Will I see an improvement going to 12 awg cable?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joe Koenig, Jul 10, 2001.

  1. Joe Koenig

    Joe Koenig Extra

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    Currently I am using cheap RCA brand 16 awg speaker cables. My receiver is rated at 60w @ 8 ohms (Denon AVR1601) but my speakers are a nominal 6 minimum 4 ohm load, so I am pushing 90-120w through them. For purposes of this discussion, I'm talking about my fronts and center only - they are Image 2Bs and Image 8c, respectively.
    For a bit under $40 I can get Pro series oxygen free cable from AR in a 50 ft spool. While I do not believe in paying $3/foot for cable, I had a hard time believing that speaker wire has absolutely no effect on sound, as some people suggest.
    Will going from this 16 gauge to 12 gauge give me a noticable improvement?
     
  2. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I think it's impossible to give you a for sure answer as to whether you will have a "noticable improvement". I would tend to think so, but that's just my opinion. Everyone hears things differently.
     
  3. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    will you see a difference? not likely [​IMG] You should hear a difference though esp if you are talking about longer runs (ie not a couple of feet). If you have a home depot or costco nearby you might want to check there first since they both should have quality 12 guage cable cheaper then the AR stuff...not that theres anything wrong with AR I love their cables just might be able to save a little cash
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  4. FredHD

    FredHD Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe,
    I picked up some 12 AWG from Home Depot this weekend and ran it to my surround speakers (25 & 30 ft. runs). Previously I had 16 AWG. I heard a little difference. The sound from the rears became a little clearer and more pronounced, so there is a good chance it could improve your sound. IMHO as always.
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  5. Joe Koenig

    Joe Koenig Extra

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    Jackson -
    What speakers did you have as your rears?
     
  6. FredHD

    FredHD Stunt Coordinator

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    My rear speakers are DCM DCM6s. Most people probably don't think much of DCMs. Right out of the box they don't sound well. But after breaking in, they sounded as good as my Polks. BTW, they are made by Carver.
    Here's a link:
    http://www.dcmspeakers.com/cabinet/dcm6.cfm
    [Edited last by JacksonWright on July 10, 2001 at 11:32 AM]
     
  7. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    I'd say go for it. 16 gauge is adequate, but 12 gauge might make a difference in sound.
    I am in Plano and might have some speaker cable laying around if you want to try it. I know I have some monster flat cable but I am not sure what gauge it is. I think it's 14 gauge. Bring me beer and it's yours!
    I am using the AR 12 guage stuff right now and have no problems or complaints with it. I have been thinking of replacing it and making some nicer looking belden or canare speaker cables.
     
  8. FredHD

    FredHD Stunt Coordinator

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    As I seem to remember from another post a while back, Joe isn't old enough to bring you beer. [​IMG]
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  9. Jody C Robins

    Jody C Robins Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe
    A few years back, I had 14 or 16 guage high quality speaker wire running to my mains (Paradigm Titans) and I tried out Home Depot 12 guage wire. I noticed a fairly significant difference. Definitely give it a shot, esp since HD wire is so cheap.
     
  10. Joe Koenig

    Joe Koenig Extra

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    Jackson -
    In the state of New York I am.
     
  11. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Some high-end speaker web sites recommend the following size of wire based on the length of run:
    < 10 feet: 16 ga
    10 - 20 feet: 14 ga
    > 20 feet : 12 ga
    So for your fronts, I doubt you would notice any improvement.
    Here is the issue: a long run of speaker wire will affect the higher frequencies more than the lower frequencies. Using a thicker wire will compensate somewhat.
    This is why some people can hear a slight difference when re-wiring the rears with thicker wire.
    Hope this helps.
     
  12. Joe Koenig

    Joe Koenig Extra

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    Crap. Why do the longest runs have to have the most expensive cable [​IMG]
    Also, is there any difference between Home Depot wire, and AR wire? Is all this "oxygen free" stuff just marketing?
    The AR stuff would be around $.80/foot
     
  13. FredHD

    FredHD Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Home Depot brand (.34/ft) and it seems fine to me. I don't think it's oxygen free, but if you have access to a soldering gun, you can "tin" (coating the bare wire with solder) the ends of the cable. I do that on the speaker end and use banana plugs on the receiver end.
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  14. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    Here is what I just did this past weekend. Now y'all don't laugh TOO hard. [​IMG] I just got some Home Depot 12ga, and doubled it up. I wrapped the 2 wires in electrical tape, so it would stay together. I put the ends in banana clips, and hooked them up. To me, it sounded better. Now, I only did this for the front L/R. I will do this when I replace the rears sometime soon. I am hopeing to make some CAT5 speaker wire. But, that might take me a little while. [​IMG]
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    Jeff Blair
    OK, I need a new sig. [​IMG]
    My DVD's
    [Edited last by Jeff Blair on July 10, 2001 at 03:41 PM]
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    imo, you should upgrade the wire. i think the thickness counts more than the brand. i always hear/use the garden hose analogy - the thicker the hose, the more water that can pass through it. the same goes for speaker wire - the thicker the wire the more current that can pass through it. (kinda explains why battery terminal wire in your car is so thick...)
    i've done a couple of informal tests and in both cases, there was decent improvement.
    in one case, the improvement was extreme...
    i don't remember this guy's gear, but it was decent stuff (nakamichi amp (i think), top-of-the-line consumer jbl speakers, etc). he was using the stock cables that came with the system. i couldn't believe it. he almost took everything back because it sounded so bad. once he told me what was going on, i became really excited because i knew this would be a good chance to test the whole "quality-cable" theory.
    i went over to his house and listened to his system as is. it definitely didn't sound like it was worth the money he spent. i tried to get a good feel for what it sounded like. then i had him spend about 300 bucks and upgrade all his cable. he didn't get top-of-the-line stuff. i think he bought the Esoteric brand from circuit-city.
    anyway, i went back to his house, rewired everything and the sound change was truly dramatic. the bass hit harder, blah, blah, blah.
    right there and then i became a convert. no one can tell me that decent cables don't make a difference. now i only use radio-shack stuff myself, i can't hear a difference between them and monster or kimber or nordost, etc. but i definitely can hear a difference between radio-shack and the standard supplied crap.
    what the h*ll was i talking about?...oh yeah...go get some thicker wire.
    [​IMG]
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