SPEAKER gauge and its importance.... - AVS Forum
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:27 AM - Thread Starter
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ok i decided to open a topic that is very important but no discussed officially that much: wire gauge (AWG);

After getting my pioneer 5.1 set up i discovered after 6 months that my supplied cables were not 1.5mm² like i believed....but rather 22awg....0.35mm² eek.gif


It seems that the 22awg is given from manufacturers in 95% of cases......and after reading many many posts it is recommended in the majority of cases to use 14-16 gauge wires that translates to europe as 1.5mm²-2.5mm²;

1- Will i really benefit from buying new cables as opposed to the supplied 22awg ? please note that my cables are less than 3m long for the fronts and 10m for the backs (so NO long distances....)

2- has ANY of you guys swapped the inluced cables in HTIB or cheap speaker sets for new and better ones ? what will i gain ? i am currently not that satisfied with my speakers (pioneers S-hs100...granted they are mediocre....); as i understand the only thing that MIGHT get better is loudness: thicker cables need less power to achieve the same volume as thin ones.....but does this REALLY matter ???

Dunno if this topic will take of but wire gauge is a subject that really needs a TOPIC here

thanx for any clarifications as i am really confused by what to to...and this might help many more people that don't even know what AWG is biggrin.gif
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:45 AM
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Good explanation and guideline table for optimal results...
http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/speaker-cable-gauge
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenito2k View Post

Will i really benefit from buying new cables as opposed to the supplied 22awg ? please note that my cables are less than 3m long for the fronts and 10m for the backs (so NO long distances....)
Use this:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf

22 ga 3m cables have an insertion loss of 0.67dB with 4 ohm speakers, 0.34dB with 8 ohm speakers. You can't hear less than a 1.0dB loss. The concern is current capacity, 3m/22ga with 4 ohm speakers is only good to 20 watts. 16ga is OK for 250w.

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Old 08-01-2013, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Avgass View Post

Good explanation and guideline table for optimal results...
http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/speaker-cable-gauge

thanx but i had seen that plus wikipedia etc....

i was aiming to get answers FROM real reviewers....like normal "people"....i don't wan't to be victim of placebo effect.....

one comment that i enjoyed on another forum is that 22AWG is ideal....for doorbells smile.gif so that is what i wanna know from fellow members here...a change in cable will bring...better performance of not...and according to what parameters: speakers, room, AVR ??? i just want any info....that might help me or others
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:12 AM
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Read the post before you, you should upgrade at least the surround speaker wires to something like 16awg.

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Old 08-01-2013, 11:23 AM
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Just the fact that 22awg speaker wire is so thin is a reason not to want it. That's dental floss. tongue.gif

I generally use 14ga all around. I do have some 12ga also which works very well. 14ga or 16ga is usually good for most applications.

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire.htm

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Old 08-01-2013, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Use this:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf

22 ga 3m cables have an insertion loss of 0.67dB with 4 ohm speakers, 0.34dB with 8 ohm speakers. You can't hear less than a 1.0dB loss. The concern is current capacity, 3m/22ga with 4 ohm speakers is only good to 20 watts. 16ga is OK for 250w.


interesting site thank you smile.gif

Just some quick questions: (i have 8ohms speakers....forgot to mention that)

1- the current power output of my pioneer amp is 130w per channel (on website) and total power of 415 watts...so really the power output is 415/5 right ? = 80 w more or less ; (if so here are the results with 80w)

so if i fill in the form i get

current flow: 3.16
speaker wire resistance ohms: 0.28
voltage output at speaker on amp: 25
voltage drop: 0.9
voltage at speakers: 24.4
power delivered to speaker: 74w
decibel loss: 0.3


the conclusions says: wire is too small to meet the 300.....that is for the FRONTS

For SURROUNDS i use 10m cables and the test says:

current flow: 3.16
speaker wire resistance ohms: 1.02
voltage output at speaker on amp: 25
voltage drop: 3
voltage at speakers: 22.4
power delivered to speaker: 63w
decibel loss: 1.05


Conclusion: The loss in output due to the wire size may be audible. Use a larger wire or a shorter length of wire + wire is too small to meet the 300 etc....



can you be kind and tell me WHAT elements are critical ? and what they do mean for me the average listener ? What are the ones that might have influence on quality ? decibel loss seems no issue....so why does everyone say get at least 16AWG ? i am confused: thanx in advance biggrin.gif:D:D

as i understand it for now...i don't need to change all the cables....i can keep 22awg for the fronts and just buy 16awg cables for surrounds....???
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenito2k View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Use this:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf

22 ga 3m cables have an insertion loss of 0.67dB with 4 ohm speakers, 0.34dB with 8 ohm speakers. You can't hear less than a 1.0dB loss. The concern is current capacity, 3m/22ga with 4 ohm speakers is only good to 20 watts. 16ga is OK for 250w.


interesting site thank you smile.gif

Just some quick questions: (i have 8ohms speakers....forgot to mention that)

1- the current power output of my pioneer amp is 130w per channel (on website) and total power of 415 watts...so really the power output is 415/5 right ? = 80 w more or less

so if i fill in the form i get

current flow: 3.16
speaker wire ohms: 0.28
voltage output at speaker on amp: 25
voltage drop: 0.9
voltage at speakers: 24.4
power delivered to speaker: 74w
decibel loss: 0.3


the conclusions says: wire is too small

can you be kind and tell me here what is critical ? decibel loss seems no issue....so why does everyone say get at least 16AWG ? i am confused: thanx in advance

We don't size wire for high quality audio systems based on power loss. Instead we are worried about the wire adversely affecting the frequency response of the speaker. Basically we want the wire to have the speaker cable resistance equal to 1/20 or less of the speaker's minimum impedance. Don't know what brand and model they are but a reasonble worst case estimate would be that their minimum impdeance would be 3.2 ohms, so we would like to see speaker wire resistance less than 0.16 ohms or close to it. 12 gauge should be OK.


BTW smaller gauge number equals more copper in the wire per inch. 12 gauge wire has almost half the resistance per foot as 14 gauge. The actual proportion is doubles/halves every 3 gauges, so 15 gauge has twice the resistance as 12 gauge.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:31 AM
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Because if you read this post

"The concern is current capacity, 3m/22ga with 4 ohm speakers is only good to 20 watts."

Your wire can not deliver adequate current over that long a stretch (even with your 8ohm speakers). You need a higher gauge wire to do so. Go to www.monoprice.com and grab 50 or 100 feet of 14/16awg wire.

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Old 08-01-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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basically all SUPPLIED cables with speakers are the SAME 22awg from what i understand !!!!
It seems to be dirt cheap and all manufacturers include it.....
i read a comment of a fellow who got a DENON 5.1 setup....and when he got a new good cable....he SWORE the sound was better even on his cheap speakers....he insisted in NEVER using the included CABLES on any system !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, thanx for these clarifications....will have to get some cable than....

anyone FEEL free to post any comments regarding GAUGE speaker cables here....as i think this thread should be kept "alive"; i will update my comments here, when i buy my new cable and run various tests...hopefully i WILL hear a difference even on 3 metres....

i will post back in a few weeks, as i will be doing painting in my house etc...tongue.gif
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:56 AM
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i will update my comments here, when i buy my new cable and run various tests...hopefully i WILL hear a difference even on 3 metres....
You won't, I already explained why, unless you want to, in which case placebo effect will take over and then you will think that you hear a difference. As I also already explained your wire is only good to perhaps 20 watts per speaker, and running significantly more than that isn't a sound issue, it's a potential safety issue.

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Old 08-01-2013, 12:00 PM
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Because if you read this post

"The concern is current capacity, 3m/22ga with 4 ohm speakers is only good to 20 watts."

Your wire can not deliver adequate current over that long a stretch (even with your 8ohm speakers). You need a higher gauge wire to do so. Go to www.monoprice.com and grab 50 or 100 feet of 14/16awg wire.

24 gauge wire has 84 milliohms resistance per foot, or twice that for a 2 conductor cable. 3 meters is about 10 feet, so we are talking 1.68 ohms series resistance per cable which is way too much fopr use with 4-8 ohm speakers.

I can't find an actual NEC current rating for 24 gauge wire, but by extrapolating I get 3 amps. 3 amps into 8 ohms is 72 watts average, so with a minimum music crest factor of 6 dB, I get a maximum safe power handling rating for undistorted music of 288 watts.

I therefore question that the problem is safely handling adequate current, but rather that the problem is that the proposed 3 meter 24 gauge speaker cable has so much resistance that it could audibly change the frequency response of the speaker over the length of the wire.
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenito2k View Post

ok i decided to open a topic that is very important but no discussed officially that much: wire gauge (AWG);

After getting my pioneer 5.1 set up i discovered after 6 months that my supplied cables were not 1.5mm² like i believed....but rather 22awg....0.35mm² eek.gif


It seems that the 22awg is given from manufacturers in 95% of cases......and after reading many many posts it is recommended in the majority of cases to use 14-16 gauge wires that translates to europe as 1.5mm²-2.5mm²;

1- Will i really benefit from buying new cables as opposed to the supplied 22awg ? please note that my cables are less than 3m long for the fronts and 10m for the backs (so NO long distances....)

2- has ANY of you guys swapped the inluced cables in HTIB or cheap speaker sets for new and better ones ? what will i gain ? i am currently not that satisfied with my speakers (pioneers S-hs100...granted they are mediocre....); as i understand the only thing that MIGHT get better is loudness: thicker cables need less power to achieve the same volume as thin ones.....but does this REALLY matter ???

Dunno if this topic will take of but wire gauge is a subject that really needs a TOPIC here

thanx for any clarifications as i am really confused by what to to...and this might help many more people that don't even know what AWG is biggrin.gif

Under the "dirty tricks" department, you can design speakers with attached or supplied speaker cables to operate correctly even though the cables would otherwise appear to be too small.
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

You won't, I already explained why, unless you want to, in which case placebo effect will take over and then you will think that you hear a difference. As I also already explained your wire is only good to perhaps 20 watts per speaker, and running significantly more than that isn't a sound issue, it's a potential safety issue.

i see, i did not get it the first time....but for surrounds in my situation there is over 1db loss...so it should be audible if i swap cables...you said it right ? your advice would be to buy 16awg only for the rears and keep the 22awg for the fronts ?
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

24 gauge wire has 84 milliohms resistance per foot, or twice that for a 2 conductor cable. 3 meters is about 10 feet, so we are talking 1.68 ohms series resistance per cable which is way too much fopr use with 4-8 ohm speakers.

I can't find an actual NEC current rating for 24 gauge wire, but by extrapolating I get 3 amps. 3 amps into 8 ohms is 72 watts average, so with a minimum music crest factor of 6 dB, I get a maximum safe power handling rating for undistorted music of 288 watts.

I therefore question that the problem is safely handling adequate current, but rather that the problem is that the proposed 3 meter 24 gauge speaker cable has so much resistance that it could audibly change the frequency response of the speaker over the length of the wire.

I am just reiterating what Bill had said earlier; following that calculator linked, if we assume 50 watts at 30 feet (10m run to his surround speaker) @ 8ohm, he needs a bigger wire.

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Old 08-03-2013, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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@BILL & @Transmaniacon

aside from my 22awg...there is also an interesting question that is debatable:

many cannot afford pure copper speaker cables anymore as prices have gone way high....mostly in europe with the ridiculous taxes !!

So i will get CCA cables....

now from what i read for example 16awg CCA cable is the equivalent of a 18 CU cable ??? does that mean i have to get 14 or 12awg CCA to have the equivalent of the minimum 16awg needed ??? a little confusing...

is aluminum neutral too ?
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:24 PM
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@BILL & @Transmaniacon
many cannot afford pure copper speaker cables anymore as prices have gone way high....mostly in europe with the ridiculous taxes !!
Buy once, cry once. As for the taxes, google what we did about that in 1776.
Quote:
is aluminum neutral too ?
What does 'neutral' mean?

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Old 08-03-2013, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Buy once, cry once. As for the taxes, google what we did about that in 1776.
What does 'neutral' mean?

well...dunno about cry once, mostly because it has NOT been proved that cables are worth investing in...the debate has been going on for years and most people can't hear a difference...
in my case my total 5.1 set up costs 1000 euros....so no way i am investing in expensive gear...as i will not hear a difference at the end of the day (conclusion of this same topic I opened...)

by neutral, i was asking if CCA cables do not change the sonic signatures of the original sound...

AS i understand the best wires are SILVER one as they offer the most pure sound..?(many disagree....still !), then pure copper, then CCA....

what is your view
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:41 PM
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well...dunno about cry once, mostly because it has NOT been proved that cables are worth investing in...the debate has been going on for years and most people can't hear a difference...
True. But pure copper is not expensive. Example:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023902&p_id=2748&seq=1&format=2
Quote:
AS i understand the best wires are SILVER one as they offer the most pure sound..?
Unless defective cables do not alter the sound character. As for silver, it has 5% lower resistance than copper. That means to get the same result with copper it must be 5% heavier in gauge or 5% shorter in length than silver. Considering the price of silver it's not a wise investment as cable, though it may be in commodity futures.

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Old 08-04-2013, 03:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

True. But pure copper is not expensive. Example:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023902&p_id=2748&seq=1&format=2
Unless defective cables do not alter the sound character. As for silver, it has 5% lower resistance than copper. That means to get the same result with copper it must be 5% heavier in gauge or 5% shorter in length than silver. Considering the price of silver it's not a wise investment as cable, though it may be in commodity futures.


well is the US prices have always been incredible !!!!!! you guys can buy anything for baically free ! In europe the cheapest one i found in FRANCE for 50M (that is what i need) 70 euros....100 USD ! ridiculous...i will keep looking; thanx for the input....and it seems you do not favor CCA cable for speakers....
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