When running ~ 2K watts + to a subwoofer - what gauge speaker wire should be used? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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So I've seen recommendations all over the board on this and am curious what some of you guys have found with some of your more extensive projects!

I've searched and read articles that say I should be using anything from 2 or 4 gauge jumper cables to other articles that say I should be using 12 gauge or 14 gauge and be fine. The complication is that most, if not all, of these articles aren't really advising someone on running a basically ridiculous 2,500 watts specifically to a subwoofer.

I need a 25 foot cable per subwoofer run. I'm using a Crown XLS 5000 amp with two JTR Captivator Pros each wired to 2ohm. The crown is rated at 2500 watts x 2 in 2ohm stero.

I've currently been using either

1) Seismic Audio 12 gauge speakon 25' cables that seem of good quality from a place called seismic audio and are unreasonably cheap.
http://www.seismicaudiospeakers.com/...w12s25pair.htm

or my first set of speakon 25' cables

2) Monster Cable Pro Preformer 500 (14 gauge fancypants marketing wire)
http://www.monstercable.com/productdisplay.asp?pin=2317

I can't tell the difference between these two wires sonically on my Inuke DSP 3000 or EP4000, so I've just been using the Monster Cable (which I actually got for DIRT cheap at closeout ~ the same price as the seismic audio cables).


From what I can read at a place like this:
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable
I should be actually using 12 gauge at minimum for a 2 ohm load at 25 foot (which is why I bought the seismic audio 12 gauge cables), but this site doesn't even list wattage ratings?!?!?!


Then you've got places like this car audio site that read like I should be using 4 gauge wire. (2500 watts/120 volt (modified formula for house voltage) = 20.83 amps at 25 feet = 8 gauge at minimum, or 4 gauge recommended on chart.) Heck that won't even fit into a speakon connector.
http://www.hifisoundconnection.com/S...e_Speaker-Wire


Then you can read whitepapers like this that state bass gets 'mushy' if you don't have adequate wiring. See text excerpt below...
http://procosound.com/education/99-white-papers

Is the actual performance of the amplifier degraded by long speaker cables?
There is a definite impact on the amplifier damping factor caused by cabling resistance/impedance.
Damping, the ability of the amplifier to control the movement of the speaker, is especially noticeable
in percussive low-frequency program material like kick drum, bass guitar and tympani. Clean, "tight"
bass is a sign of good damping at work. Boomy, mushy bass is the result of poor damping; the
speaker is being set into motion but the amplifier can't stop it fast enough to accurately track the
waveform.



Anyway...all these questions have bubbled to the surface again because I have this new crown xls5000 amp just waiting to pleasure the Captivator Pro pair and I want to make sure I'm not shorting the whole setup by having too thin of subwoofer wire.

Experts - sound off!

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #2 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 09:31 PM
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I'm very curious about this as well as I will be running cable through a wall for my subwoofer and would rather not set my house on fire.
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post #3 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Then if you want to further complicate the matter - everybody gets in on the game.

Now Speakon adapters are available if you want to drive more than 1000 watts per channel you should buy these new gen three connectors!?!?!

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=092-190

Well what about all the connectors they sold previous? I know the population of crazies into this level of subwoofer/audio for home use is limited, but surely > 1000 watts was used on the old style speakon cable connectors at nearly every big venue the world over! Heck Jeff of JTR speakers uses a 7,200 watt peak amp and he is using a standard speakon set as far as I know?!?! Are these concerns all snake oil?

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #4 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

Now Speakon adapters are available if you want to drive more than 1000 watts per channel you should buy these new gen three connectors!?!?!

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=092-190

Quote:


• Rated current per contact: 40 amp RMS continuous, 50 amp audio signal (50% duty cycle)

Hummm....50A x 12V = 600W

Based on this chart, you'd neew to be running 1AWG (2500W/12V = 208A)
http://www.cablesandconnectors.com/wiregauge.html

edit - BTW, I think 12AWG would be fine [shrug]


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post #5 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miahallen View Post

Hummm....50A x 12V = 600W

I'm talking all home audio stuff - so 120 volt (rather than 12 volt car audio)

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #6 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 09:55 PM
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current varies with frequency depending on the impedance peak of your driver in enclosure.

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post #7 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 09:55 PM
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It depends on how long your wire runs are but 12awg is the sweet spot.


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post #8 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

I'm talking all home audio stuff - so 120 volt (rather than 12 volt car audio)

duh sorry, you can ignore me


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post #9 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 10:22 PM
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If you have a DMM, or anything that can accurately read DC resistance, use it to see how many ohms you're getting with your 12ga cables. Nevermind. Long story shor...deleted, if it were me, I'd look at 10ga. I've seen some pretty good deals on ebay.

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post #10 of 68 Old 01-30-2012, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

I'm talking all home audio stuff - so 120 volt (rather than 12 volt car audio)

That's wall power. Rail voltage is lower. I'm actually quite curious what it really is with these amps, but I'd bet it's no more than 100V, and probably down around 70-80V.

My 12/2 SJ is rated for 25A and I'm going with it. I don't think I could fit much larger wire in the terminals inside the Speakon connector. 10AWG at the most. And that would be with some finesse.
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post #11 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 05:33 AM
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Taking a stab here...

Assuming 2 ohms impedance with 2500 watts = ~70.7V = 35.3A

DC wire resistance from first Google result online calculator:
12ga = .00532 ohms/meter
10ga = .00334 ohms/meter

50 feet (two runs of 25) of 12ga = 0.081 ohms, 50 feet of 12ga = 0.051 ohms

12ga wire will use 0.081/2.081 = ~4% of total power = 100W
10ga wire will use 0.051/2.051 = ~2.5% of total power = 62W

35A seems too high for 12ga even if it is only for very short time periods. I'd look into 10ga. I don't know short term amp ratings of wires so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

As for damping, I'm not sure if/how that would affect things.
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post #12 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 05:54 AM
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Stranded 10ga from Depot or Lowes, cheap stuff and carries tons of current


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post #13 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 05:56 AM
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My cable runs only only about 10ft long, but I'm running 12awg and using the speakon adapter you linked above. I have 8kw+ going to each cabinet.

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post #14 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 06:06 AM
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I've asked this question before, way back when. Stepdad taught industrial electricity for 20 years at a state school, grandpa was an electrical engineer for Harris designing aviation and defense communication systems (and speakers in his spare time). Both said the same thing: 10ga at that distance and amperage. 12ga would probably be fine, but it's on the edge.


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post #15 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukeamdman View Post

My cable runs only only about 10ft long, but I'm running 12awg and using the speakon adapter you linked above. I have 8kw+ going to each cabinet.

You are running in bridged mode though with 2 subs in series for 8 ohms, correct? 8kw for 8 ohm load would be 253V (!!!) and 31.5amps, less than he would with a 2 ohm load.
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post #16 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 06:13 AM
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Sh*t.

I'm using 14 guage and my runs are pretty long, one of them is over 30 feet. I have 4 sets of wire running so I can run my subs nearfield or up front in the corners. I really don't want to have to pull back the carpet again and have to cut more of the carpet pad, but if it really makes a difference I might have to.


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post #17 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haanjamin View Post

You are running in bridged mode though with 2 subs in series for 8 ohms, correct? 8kw for 8 ohm load would be 253V (!!!) and 31.5amps, less than he would with a 2 ohm load.

Amps are 120v, and yes, I'm running them bridged into 8ohm.

BTW, it wasn't easy getting stranded 12awg to fit into those adapters. There's no way 10awg would fit.

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post #18 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 06:26 AM
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Use this:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/spe...rassistant.swf
With regard to damping factor read the appropriate section in the Roger Russell link. Or save yourself time and just accept that it doesn't matter except to those trying to sell you something you don't need.

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post #19 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 06:29 AM
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http://www.roger-russell.com/wire.htm#wiretable


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post #20 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I can't quite wrap my head around the idea of using lower gauge wire (<12 gauge) for the two 25' speaker cables, but still keeping in mind that the whole amp is serviced off a 12 gauge power wire (both channels)?

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #21 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

I can't quite wrap my head around the idea of using lower gauge wire (<12 gauge) for the two 25' speaker cables, but still keeping in mind that the whole amp is serviced off a 12 gauge power wire (both channels)?

Someone else can explain this better than me, but I'll take a stab at it.
It has to do with the voltages involved.
If the exact same gauge wire is used to power the amp and to connect the speakers--and they are all the same length--you will drop approximately the same amount of voltage across the wire itself.

Sorry, but I don't know what a typical voltage is for the output of a power amp, so I'll make something up. Let's say 25 volts coming out of the power amp.

If you drop 5 volts on the amp's line voltage wire, you went from 120 volts to 115 volts. You haven't really lost a whole lot (some might successfully argue otherwise, but let's not miss the point).

If you drop 5 volts on the speaker wire, you went from 25 volts to 20 volts, which is a pretty big loss. This is why PA systems in stores and other commercial installations use a high voltage output from an amplifier for long speaker wire runs and the voltage is stepped down at the speaker through a transformer.

My example is poor and I'm sure it can easily be torn apart, but I think the basic idea I attempted to convey is correct.

Either way, I got my Flame-Suit on and I am ready. Flame away, boys.
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post #22 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 08:59 AM
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PI, that's right and also what power stations do - run high voltage to the house and use a transformer to step down the voltage.

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post #23 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 09:25 AM
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I'd run 10 gauge, or move the amp a bit closer and use 12. 10 is a pain to work with, even with Speakons.


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post #24 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukeamdman View Post

BTW, it wasn't easy getting stranded 12awg to fit into those adapters. There's no way 10awg would fit.

I went back and looked. The SpeakON shows AWG of "12 / 10". This is 12 stranded / 10 solid.

I absolutely agree with this. Not going to get 10 AWG stranded in the terminals.
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post #25 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PassingInterest View Post

Someone else can explain this better than me, but I'll take a stab at it.
It has to do with the voltages involved.

It has to do with current, not voltage. Wire has no voltage limit, though the insulation around it does. Wire has a current limit. Where voltage enters the picture is that the lower the voltage for a given power level the higher the current. 100 watts from the wall at 110 volts is 0.9 ampere. That same 100 watts into an 8 ohm speaker is 28.3 volts at 3.5 amperes.

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post #26 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

It has to do with current, not voltage. Wire has no voltage limit, though the insulation around it does. Wire has a current limit. Where voltage enters the picture is that the lower the voltage for a given power level the higher the current. 100 watts from the wall at 110 volts is 0.9 ampere. That same 100 watts into an 8 ohm speaker is 28.3 volts at 3.5 amperes.

Ah, that's much clearer now. Thank you. And thanks for being decent about it. Looks like I didn't need the Flame-Suit this time after all. Not everyone is this decent about correcting an error.
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post #27 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukeamdman View Post

Amps are 120v, and yes, I'm running them bridged into 8ohm.

BTW, it wasn't easy getting stranded 12awg to fit into those adapters. There's no way 10awg would fit.

You for sure used the NL4FX connector and 10 guage definately won't fit? It states 12/10 on the website. A previous poster said the 10 gauge rating is for solid wire, and the 12 gauge rating is for stranded.
http://www.neutrik.com/en/speakon/spx-series/nl4fx

They have different types of speakons is the reason for my verification, and it seems like the NL4FX connector is a bit bigger/more robust than the standard connector - the NL4FC, which is only rated at 12 AWG.
http://www.neutrik.com/en/speakon/sp...ors/fc-series/

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post #28 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 12:00 PM
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I got my 10 gauge stranded into speakons... it's not easy at all. IIRC I ended up trimming some errant strands away for a better fit. Not an issue with my 750W setup. I should have gone 12 gauge.


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post #29 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drisco Z71 View Post

I'm very curious about this as well as I will be running cable through a wall for my subwoofer and would rather not set my house on fire.

what type of wire exactly are you running inside your walls??

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post #30 of 68 Old 01-31-2012, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Is any of this measurable with a multimeter or would I need an oscilloscope?

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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