What speaker wire type and size should I buy? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to decide what gauge of speaker wire I should get. They will be run behind the drywall so they will be in-wall rated. I haven't decided on the speakers yet, but I will get something "above average" because sound quality is very important to me. Should I be buying the largest gauge speaker I can afford? What's the gauge that most ppl would use here your speakers? 14? 12? 10? Does wire going into the sub have to be bigger than those going to the other speakers?

Also, please suggest some good speaker cable brands/vendors, as well as good speakers. Thanks.
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 03:51 AM
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I would recommend monoprice for the speaker cable. Most run 14 to 12 gauge, I ran 12 everywhere for my build. If you buy your cable from anywhere else you will probably pay too much. Stay away from Monster it us just too overpriced IMHO

Subs usually run on rca cables because most have amps. Look for those on monoprice as well.

As for speakers, what is your budget?

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post #3 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 05:13 AM
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How long are your runs? 12 is quite thick for surround speakers.

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post #4 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 06:59 AM
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I also ran 12 throughout, and didn't have any issues connecting to any of my speakers (including surrounds). IIRC, my longest runs were around 35-40'. Also take into consideration the impedance of your speakers. My speaker impedance is 4 ohms, so I was more comfortable with the thicker gauge wire. Probably could have gotten by with 14, but 12 made me feel better. This site has some really good info as well.

Speaker Wire

Definitely agree with RT. Monoprice is a great place for cables of any kind. All of my cables have come from there (speaker, sub, HDMI). Really can't go wrong with Monoprice.

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post #5 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 07:45 AM
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+1 on the above comments. I used 12 gauge from www.bluejeanscable.com and am very happy with the quality of the cables. (10 gauge for the sub wire, but it's a long run of 50+ ft.) I think the majority of the people here either go with Monoprice or BlueJeans. And yes - for the sub you may wish to run both speaker wire and an RCA/balanced connection to accomodate any powered or unpowered sub you may own in the future.

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post #6 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Yup, I've been going with Monoprice for all my cable needs in the past, so I'll look to them first. Never tried BJ Cables so I should check them out as well.

Looks like most of you guys run 12Ga so I'll do the same. Might grab some 10Ga for the sub. Thanks for the tip about the subs possibly running on RCA cables, I never knew that. Are they just the regular old-school RCA cables?

GWCR, you mentioned about the relationship b/t speaker impedance and cable gauge. What is the idea behind it and what should I be concerned of? I would need thicker cable if using speakers with higher impedance? What might happen if I don't use thick cables on those speakers?

My room is 18.5' x 14.5'. TV will be on the long wall. Here's the actual diagram (http://www.avsforum.com/t/1459255/where-should-the-components-rack-go-plus-some-other-questions-layout-diagram-provided), except that I've decided to get a low profile, long cabinet that will sit below the TV instead of a standing components rack sitting in the corner). So it looks like my longest speaker cable run would be no more than 40' (from cabinet to RL speaker on the wall). Like I mentioned, I will be running all speaker wires behind the baseboard and drywall, and they will come straight out from the wall through 1/2" wall bushings at outlet level that I already bought. I hope 1/2" is wide enough for 10-12Ga CL2 rated wires!

I still need to decide whether to place the sub in the front or the back of the room. What do you guys think?

Finally..about the budget...I'm not gonna say I don't have a budget. But I have not started researching into which speakers and brands are of the "higher than average" performance type yet, so I'm not sure what the price range for them will be. I will have to spend as much money as necessary to obtain that level of performance. And they probably have to not look too awkward with my existing room decor. lol.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lnong View Post

GWCR, you mentioned about the relationship b/t speaker impedance and cable gauge. What is the idea behind it and what should I be concerned of? I would need thicker cable if using speakers with higher impedance? What might happen if I don't use thick cables on those speakers?

I am by no means a speaker expert, and there are too many complicated formulas out there for my taste, but here is my layman's understanding of the relationship.

You want to have as low resistance as possible in your speaker wire with respect to your speaker impedance. The lower the speaker impedance (4 ohm vs 8 ohm), the greater the power needed for the speaker. Heavier gauge speaker wire has lower resistance, and allows more power to flow down the line to the speaker. So for longer runs especially, you will have less resistance (lose less power) with a heavier gauge speaker wire, and therefore will not be as susceptible to volume variances at the speaker. So as I understand it, a 4 ohm speaker needs a heavier gauge wire than an 8 ohm speaker for maximum performance.

There are way more technical discussions about this out there if you care to get into them (I don't rolleyes.gif). Here are a couple more links that helped me understand it a bit better.

Choosing the right wire gauge

Selecting proper wire size (PDF)

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post #8 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 12:16 PM
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The rule of thumb I use is that the speaker wire's resistance should be 5% or less than the speaker's nominal impedance i.e. if your speaker is 8ohm rated then the maximum resistance that your wire should contribute is 0.4ohms.

Here's the 'cheat sheet' from this page: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm



Use any oxygen free copper based speaker cable. More important to me is that the cable pulls easily through the walls and is easy to strip. I like getting cable in boxes rather than on reels. Unless you have or want to knock up a reel rack then cable on reels is a pain to pull.


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post #9 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 12:40 PM
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Yep. That's the chart I initially used.

I actually liked the cable on a reel. My reel rack was a broom handle between two folding chairs biggrin.gif. Nice easy pull through the conduit.

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post #10 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 01:34 PM
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So why is 16 AWG standard for most whole-house audio systems? Lower quality, variations not audible?

Copper pipe through milk crate makes a good reel.

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post #11 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 02:04 PM
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This is just a guess, but I would say primarily because it is cheaper.

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post #12 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 07:01 PM
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^^^^^^^Ding, ding, ding.......plus that and J6P doesn't know better because the bulk rolls at Lowes/HD are 16 gauge.

You asked earlier about speaker recommendations, I asked about a budget and you said you did not have a budget so to speaks so I will offer some suggestions.

1. Klipsch - You are familiar with the sound, and it only gets better sounding as you move up the line.

2. Axiom Audio - Several members here have them in various forms and really like them.

3. Aperion Audio - Ditto above statement.

4. Ascend Acoustics - These are what I have (the towers) and I love them. Great speakers for the price point.

5. Polk - These also have a big following here and there upper end speakers get high marks from owners.

6. Emotiva - Excellent speakers and good bang for the buck performers.

7. Procella Loudspeakers - Too rich for my blood, but they have a rabid following and are awesome performers

8. Seaton Sound - Again too rich for my blood, but I have heard these babies and they can rock with the best of them.

9. JTR Speakers - See above posts about Procella and Seaton.

I'm sure others will chime in with their suggestions, ideas, and favorites of the speaker field.

You can get into the 7.1 field with 1k or 50k

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post #13 of 13 Old 03-21-2013, 08:11 PM
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Don't think you can go wrong with any of the speakers on RT's list. I researched Klipsch, Axiom, Aperion and Emotiva. Ended up with Emotiva and absolutely love them. Also picked up the HSU Research VTF-3 MK4 sub. The combination of all those makes me do this biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

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