Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eddie Ras, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. Eddie Ras

    Eddie Ras Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 15, 2002
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    per the boards advice i went to radio shack and home depot- unfortunately RS was not much help, so i turn to my brethren here.

    i'll have runs of about 25 - 30 feet for my rear surrounds-- can i use 16 gauge (from Home Depot). they had two kinds, one was 'digital' and was $25 for 50'. the regular one was $13 for 100'. which do you recommend? do i need digital?

    also, the guy at RS said i couldn't use coax for the sub- but i know it's been recommended here. can you guys lay out exactly what i'll need to do this? name/type of cable, connectors, etc..

    thanks again!
  2. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    Audio cable (a kind of coax) is used for low level runs, usually with RCA jacks, to amplifier-speaker units such as powered subs, gauge is not relevant. Speaker wire or a reasonable facsimile is used from high level speaker outputs (4 ohm, 8 ohm, etc.) with screw terminals. Everyone recommends 12 gauge or thicker (lower number) for runs about 30 feet and up. If you don't play the sound exceptionally loud, you can get by with 14 gauge. Get stranded wire with at least 20 strands per conductor, otherwise it will be quite stiff.
    High level speaker outputs never "need" "digital" cable. For low level connections, unless the connection is digital, you do not need "digital" cable. Even some digital connections don't need digital cable but you need expertise (about bandwidth) to determine this.
    Very cheap audio sytems sometimes use RCA plugs and jacks for speaker output lines. It is possible, although not often seen, to use 12 gauge wire between the RCA plugs for this.
    Video hints:
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Eddie: a long run of speaker wire will "slant" the sounds. The means it will not reduce the lower frequencies much, but the higher frequencies (where your ear is more sensitive), will be reduced a lot more.

    Is this a HUGE difference? No

    To reduce this problem, some speaker sites recommend thicker speaker wire for longer runs:

    1-10 feet: 16 ga

    11-20 feet: 14 ga

    20+ feet: 12 ga

    But since quality 12 ga wire is inexpensive, most of us use 12 ga for every speaker.

    The wire from Home Depot should be the bulk 12 ga wire sold by the foot for about $0.50 /ft

    Sub Cable: (I'm assuming you have a self-powered subwoofer with a RCA jack for the input)

    Just go buy some of the Radio Shack CATV coax (RG6 prefered) with the "F" connectors already installed. Radio Shack also sells some "F-to-RCA" adaptors, get the Male ones and screw them tightly to the ends: Instant subwoofer cable.

    (There is another way to hook up a sub with speaker wire, but thats not as nice/conventional for HT systems.)

    Does this help?

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