Quick speaker wire question - does wattage affect AWG? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-24-2012, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Curious if wattage has any impact on wire gauge; does more wattage/current require thicker AWG?

I'm running a TX-NR809 (135 Watts/ch - 2 driven marketing drivel, etc.) and according to the Russell chart, 18 AWG wire can be run at 16' max for 4ohms - my front and center runs are much shorter, think 4' - 8', so I think 18 AWG is fine, just looking for confirmation. Also, my rears are only about 25' runs and at 8 ohms, so I will get some 16 AWG just to be safe for the rears. Please let me know, because I've always just used 14 AWG, but I don't think it helps in this instance at all and is a waste of money.

One last thing, banana plugs (sewell deadbolt) should work just fine with smaller gauge wire, yes?

Thanks! smile.gif
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post #2 of 26 Old 12-24-2012, 11:18 PM
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Instead of buying multiple sizes I just buy a 100 ft. spool of 14 AWG wire from monoprice and be done with it. Sewell deadbolt banana plugs are great (my favorite) and will work with any of those sizes. Nice design and no screwdriver needed with them like many banana plugs.

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post #3 of 26 Old 12-25-2012, 07:00 AM
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Agree with XStanleyX - it would probably cost more money to buy different lenghts of what you need. Just go to Monoprice and get a 100' spool of 14 gauge and use that for all your runs. 14 gauge costs only $6.00 more than a 16 gauge spool.

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post #4 of 26 Old 12-25-2012, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss07 View Post

Curious if wattage has any impact on wire gauge; does more wattage/current require thicker AWG?
Watts no, current yes, though it can be confusing separating the two; what really should be considered is volts, amps and ohms. This calculator does give a warning if the gauge is insufficient for the current draw:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf

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post #5 of 26 Old 12-25-2012, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the thoughts... and I do not disagree with the sentiment, but I should have clarified that I intend to buy from Monoprice - their 18 AWG spool of 100' is $15 cheaper than a 14 AWG 100' spool. Whilst I have always just gone bigger, as I stated above, pinching every penny today is a necessity, and there's no reason to go 14 AWG for the front 3 channels at this time; I think I have my answers in that it won't (or shouldn't) adversely affect sound/quality for such short runs up front and the Sewell's will work with the thinner gauge. Good to hear about the Sewells, as they were very reasonable priced and seem like an excellent build (I have generic screw ones now and I've always hated messing with them). I'll look deeper into the 18 AWG and ask about strand count and pattern before going so thin.

Again, thanks for the input
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-25-2012, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss07 View Post

If you want to save money don't use plugs. If you're in the habit of removing the wires from your speakers and/or receiver on a regular basis the cost may be worth it from a convenience aspect, but otherwise they serve no purpose. Neither do strand count or pattern, for that matter.

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post #7 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Convenience is exactly the issue with the plugs, so they are part of my cost consideration - as for wire that's unnecessarily thick, I think I'll leave that out this go around and try the 18/16 (especially given strand count/pattern not mattering). Thanks for all the help - that one drive calculator is pretty neat, and I think 18/16 will suffice just fine here. Hopefully it sounds as good as I want since I plan on resurrecting some old CVs to wire up the second HT (that'll be a different post wink.gif)
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 09:32 AM
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18 gauge IS NOT NOT NOT just fine!!! It has too much resistance for anything over 3 feet.

Your amplifier power has absolutely nothing to do with it. The ratio of speaker wire resistance to the speaker impedance is the ONLY thing that matters.

The wire size is chosen so that the wire has far less total resistance than the lowest speaker impedance at any frequency. The rule is that the speaker wire resistance should be no more than 5% of the nominal speaker impedance. This ensures that nearly all of the power is delivered to the speaker and not dissipated significantly by the resistance of the wire.

If you do the math, 14 gauge is what you need for most runs of under 30 feet with most speakers. 14 gauge copper speaker wire of high quality is so cheap that there is no reason to use anything smaller.

For over 30 feet, 12 gauge should be used.

A 100-foot roll of Monoprice 14-gauge is only $25. Very cheap! Get it and throw the smaller wire in the trash. Product #2791.

Banana plugs work fine with ANY speakers and any wire, as long as they fit securely, are soldered to the wires or very securely attached and are not loose at all in the binding posts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ss07 View Post

Curious if wattage has any impact on wire gauge; does more wattage/current require thicker AWG?
I'm running a TX-NR809 (135 Watts/ch - 2 driven marketing drivel, etc.) and according to the Russell chart, 18 AWG wire can be run at 16' max for 4ohms - my front and center runs are much shorter, think 4' - 8', so I think 18 AWG is fine, just looking for confirmation. Also, my rears are only about 25' runs and at 8 ohms, so I will get some 16 AWG just to be safe for the rears. Please let me know, because I've always just used 14 AWG, but I don't think it helps in this instance at all and is a waste of money.
One last thing, banana plugs (sewell deadbolt) should work just fine with smaller gauge wire, yes?
Thanks! smile.gif
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post #9 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 09:54 AM
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I'd just buy a spool of 14ga and be done with it. Then you don't have to worry about anything because it'll cover all the distances you're looking at.

At a minimum use 16ga all around. 18ga wire just looks so thin.

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post #10 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 11:12 AM
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If you really need to cut corners then buy this 100 foot spool of 16 ga wire from Walmart. Then you don't even have to pay shipping as you can have it shipped to store.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/RCA-16-Gauge-Speaker-Wire-100/16829782

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post #11 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 12:56 PM
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I know you are trying to assist the OP but I would not touch that RCA stuff if it was free. The RCA wire, as well as GE Pro, is CCA, Copper Clad Aluminum, and far less conductive than pure copper.

SS07, just use 14 gauge Monoprice that has been continuously recommeded to you. It is pure copper and outstanding wire for the money. In other words, while not the cheapest it is the best VALUE. At just $25 for 100' spool, why short change your system???

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post #12 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 01:10 PM
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I agree.

Stay away from copper-clad aluminum wire.

Monoprice 14-gauge speaker wire is pure copper wire.

A 100-foot roll is $25. Compared to the cost of other parts of the system this is ridiculously cheap.

Why quibble about a few dollars, for chrissake?

That seems kind of silly to me...lol.
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post #13 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

18ga wire just looks so thin.
It looks plenty big to electrons. eek.gif

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post #14 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 01:41 PM
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The internal wiring of your speakers is probably 18 guage (they are in my klipsch), so there's that. I went ballistic and got full stranded 12 guage because I can get underground deals from a coworker. If you're seriously stressing out about a $15 difference between 18 and 14, maybe this hobby isn't for you. j/k
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post #15 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
The internal wiring of your speakers is probably 18 gauge (they are in my klipsch), so there's that.

probably true but those are only inches long, not up to 25-30ft.

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post #16 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 04:24 PM
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And you can use this code INCENTIVE to save 20% off your next order from Monoprice. Expires 12/31.

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post #17 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 06:19 PM
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I just got some 14g Raptor speaker wire from Amazon. It looks like one strand is copper and one strand is aluminum.

Should I send it back and get all copper? (I often look at amazon first because I get the free shipping via Prime.)
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post #18 of 26 Old 12-26-2012, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

I just got some 14g Raptor speaker wire from Amazon. It looks like one strand is copper and one strand is aluminum.
One is copper, the other is tin plated copper. That's so you know which is which for wiring with correct polarity.

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post #19 of 26 Old 12-27-2012, 02:42 AM
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^^ Thanks.

Pardon my ignorance on this one ... So does that mean it's ok to use? I.e. the tin plated copper doesn't have the same issues as the CCA?
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post #20 of 26 Old 12-27-2012, 05:50 AM
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^^ Thanks.
Pardon my ignorance on this one ... So does that mean it's ok to use? I.e. the tin plated copper doesn't have the same issues as the CCA?

Tin plated copper is fine.

Forget about the plating; think about the main cable. Tin plated copper is copper (with some tin on it). Copper clad aluminum is aluminum (with some copper on it).
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post #21 of 26 Old 12-27-2012, 06:04 AM
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CCA, Copper Clad Aluminum, and far less conductive than pure copper.
...


While true, if using a larger size fits the system connections and such, upsizing to the next gauge will provide essentially the same overall resistance.

16 ga copper ~4 ohms per 1000 ft
14 ga aluminum ~4 ohms per 1000 ft

With the copper plating the 14 ga cca could have a slight advantage.

Point being, if every penny counts and cca is less expensive, it could be a more cost effective solution.

Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you should turn it.
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post #22 of 26 Old 12-27-2012, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paraneer View Post

I know you are trying to assist the OP but I would not touch that RCA stuff if it was free. The RCA wire, as well as GE Pro, is CCA, Copper Clad Aluminum, and far less conductive than pure copper.

I agree on the Monoprice, but out of curiousity, is there a way to tell which are CCA? I checked out GE Pro and couldn't see anything that mentioned CCA or Aluminum. That said, the label is pretty entertaining: "Premium extruded multi-stranded wire construction for deep bass and clean highs". biggrin.gif
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post #23 of 26 Old 12-27-2012, 08:28 AM
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It can be misleading. I once seen some 14 gauge GE Pro wire at Home Depot that looked attractive. I thought I could save time by getting it instead of waiting for Monoprice to ship. I reserached it first by googling it and came across many reveiws stating that it was CCA. Same was true to the RCA stuff. I backed away and waited for the Monoprice order to arrive.

Since sometimes you really do not know what you are getting, this is why I stick with speaker wire that clearly states OFC, Oxygen Free Copper. Not because there is some magical property to OFC, but because I know I am getting the real deal - pure copper. Monoprice is OFC and pure copper and so attractively priced, why settle for anything less. It is a great value for your money.

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post #24 of 26 Old 12-27-2012, 08:54 AM
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Gotcha. Thanks.
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post #25 of 26 Old 12-27-2012, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

Tin plated copper is fine.
Forget about the plating; think about the main cable. Tin plated copper is copper (with some tin on it). Copper clad aluminum is aluminum (with some copper on it).

Got it - thanks!
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post #26 of 26 Old 12-28-2012, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

I just got some 14g Raptor speaker wire from Amazon. It looks like one strand is copper and one strand is aluminum.

Should I send it back and get all copper? (I often look at amazon first because I get the free shipping via Prime.)

I'll bet money that the silvery strand is tin coated, which has no effect on conductivity. They are trying to make your life easier, don't penalize them.

As far as CCA goes, if it has the right conductivity and makes a solid connection the guts of the wire don't matter.

There is even an argument that says that CCA is less susceptible to skin effect (never a real issue but just talking) than pure copper.

Always judge audio components based on performance, not whats in the box.

Audio gear is like sausage or laws, you really don't want to see how it is made.

The first example of this I saw were the original AR speakers. They looked good on the outside and they had trend-setting sound quality, but if you looked inside they were put together very haphazardly and the drivers especially the woofers looked like junk with pressed metal baskets etc.

The competitive JBL speakers looked a lot nicer inside with cast, wrinkle finish frames and neat little crossover boxes and nicely dressed wiring.

However one speaker had real bass and the other one that was the same size didn't.
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