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Bohnsack 02-05-2014 11:02 AM

Hey Guys,

 

I'm looking for some ideas here on cable management. I have a 7.2 channel surround sound system, I have a wireless 10" Paradigm as my rear sub so that's fine, however for my rear and satellite speakers this leaves a lot of unwanted speaker wire running around my house. I also will use nothing smaller than 12 gauge wire (unless you know of something audiophile quality, yet smaller) so it is extremely noticeable. I live in an apartment so I don't have the option of running the wires through the walls. Any ideas?


Phil17108 02-05-2014 11:45 AM

Tack it to the base board and paint it but be careful it may cost your deposit, or move to your own place.

Transmaniacon 02-05-2014 12:09 PM

You can buy cable channel at Home Depot or Lowes, and it works great. Mine adheres to the baseboard just above the quarter-round and I can easily fit three of the 12awg monoprice in-wall wires inside the channel. It is shallow so against white baseboard you can hardly notice it.

Bohnsack 02-05-2014 01:05 PM

Phil, tagging to baseboard and painting? Is this amateur hour?

 

Trans, I have looked at those there's a great deal on a monoprice one on Amazon. I'll probably buy that. Also I just noticed in your signature, you are rolling with the EMP's? I've been looking at upgrading my fronts (Sony SS F6000s), my dream is the Paradigm Monitor 9's....just can't really spend 7000$ right now...I've looked at the EMP's just don't know anyone with a set. Would you recommend? How do they stack up against Paradigms?


jdcrox 02-05-2014 03:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohnsack View Post

Phil, tagging to baseboard and painting? Is this amateur hour?
Really? A member offers you an option for a question you ask and you respond with a sarcastic response? Way to ingratiate yourself to the community!rolleyes.gif

Patrick Collins 02-05-2014 05:59 PM

Bohnsack, technically, what is your reason for running 12 gauge speaker wire?

Bill Fitzmaurice 02-05-2014 07:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Collins View Post

Bohnsack, technically, what is your reason for running 12 gauge speaker wire?
Probably because he hasn't used this to find out what he actually needs:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf
Quote:
unless you know of something audiophile quality, yet smaller
There is no such thing as 'audiophile quality'. All you need is pure copper conductor wire of adequate gauge at the lowest price you can get it for. Anything more expensive won't work better.

Phil17108 02-05-2014 08:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohnsack View Post

Phil, tagging to baseboard and painting? Is this amateur hour?

Trans, I have looked at those there's a great deal on a monoprice one on Amazon. I'll probably buy that. Also I just noticed in your signature, you are rolling with the EMP's? I've been looking at upgrading my fronts (Sony SS F6000s), my dream is the Paradigm Monitor 9's....just can't really spend 7000$ right now...I've looked at the EMP's just don't know anyone with a set. Would you recommend? How do they stack up against Paradigms?

No its not amateur hour its advice from an owner, just about anything you do with the cable other than lay it on the carpet well damage, but a few staples would be over looked. Maybe talk to the owner if you can and they may allow you to bring in a "pro" to do a proper installation.

Transmaniacon 02-06-2014 04:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohnsack View Post

Trans, I have looked at those there's a great deal on a monoprice one on Amazon. I'll probably buy that. Also I just noticed in your signature, you are rolling with the EMP's? I've been looking at upgrading my fronts (Sony SS F6000s), my dream is the Paradigm Monitor 9's....just can't really spend 7000$ right now...I've looked at the EMP's just don't know anyone with a set. Would you recommend? How do they stack up against Paradigms?

They are fantastic speakers, very neutral sound with a well defined mid-range. The highs roll off a bit sooner than most, but I prefer this type of sound, and Audyssey can easily bump up the upper frequencies. I have not heard Paradigm in a long time, so can't really say how they compare. Check out www.audioholics.com for a good review of EMP Tek.

tezster 02-06-2014 06:11 AM

Just to echo what's already been said: cable channels/conduits should work well in your case: In my setup, I have a conduit running along the baseboards, around corners, a coat closet, up and over a door frame, to my wall-mounted surround speakers (about a 50' cable run), and it looks fairly unintrusive (it's not invisible, but it's neat). I also use them for my front height speakers.

Bohnsack 02-06-2014 08:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post


Probably because he hasn't used this to find out what he actually needs:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf
There is no such thing as 'audiophile quality'. All you need is pure copper conductor wire of adequate gauge at the lowest price you can get it for. Anything more expensive won't work better.


#1 I have to run a LOT of wire.

#2 Both my Rears, and Fronts have built in 6 1/3" Passive subs (higher AWG more power...)

#3 Did I say I spent a ton of money on it? No it was the bulk stuff my AV store uses for installations

#4 You may not notice a decibel decrease of less than 1 but when you're running a 7.2 surround set up not only for music but movies it has a lot cleaner and clearer sounds.

 

TO be honest though, if you guys are coming here to tell me to buy my own house, or to try to call me stupid for using 12 gauge wire it would be a much more adult thing to not post at all....this is coming from a 26 year old. 


Elihawk 02-06-2014 09:29 AM

As Bill points out and you seem to dismiss...there is NO SUCH things as Audiphile wire. Any properly constructed wire of the correct gauge will sound as good as you can get, even that which you can buy at Lowe's or Menards. The expensive cables and wire just helps make the boat payment for the salesman!
As Trans suggests, you can buy speaker wire conduit just like you can for larger cables, like HDMi...so just go to a Menards, Lowes, etc and they will likely have an option that you will find acceptable

Bohnsack 02-06-2014 09:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

As Bill points out and you seem to dismiss...there is NO SUCH things as Audiphile wire. Any properly constructed wire of the correct gauge will sound as good as you can get, even that which you can buy at Lowe's or Menards. The expensive cables and wire just helps make the boat payment for the salesman!
As Trans suggests, you can buy speaker wire conduit just like you can for larger cables, like HDMi...so just go to a Menards, Lowes, etc and they will likely have an option that you will find acceptable

 

I didn't dismiss that part. That's fine. I do however dismiss the part about 16 AWG being just as good FOR MY SET UP as 12 AWG.


Bill Fitzmaurice 02-06-2014 09:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohnsack View Post

.this is coming from a 26 year old. 
I have cables that are older than you are. rolleyes.gif
And so is my M.Eng.
If you don't want to get an answer that might not agree with your preconceived, and unfounded, notions, don't ask the question.

Transmaniacon 02-06-2014 09:42 AM

Quote:
I have to run a LOT of wire.

You just need to know the longest run. I would wager you won't have more than a 50' length of cable, in which case 16awg is going to be sufficient for most people. There is no harm in going with a higher gauge, but you just need to know that 12 awg wire and 16 awg wire is made from the same copper and you don't gain anything by having thicker than necessary wires.
Quote:
Both my Rears, and Fronts have built in 6 1/3" Passive subs (higher AWG more power...)

Passive subs in a speaker get powered by the receiver the same as regular speakers. You can only send as much power as your receiver can, so just because you have bigger drivers doesn't mean you can draw more power than your receiver can supply.
Quote:
You may not notice a decibel decrease of less than 1 but when you're running a 7.2 surround set up not only for music but movies it has a lot cleaner and clearer sounds.

This is called the placebo affect. If someone brought you 16 awg and 12 awg wire and did a test, you could not tell the difference. And regarding decibel loss, less than a decibel change is not audible by people, you included.

It's fine to have 12 awg wire, but if 16 awg is enough then you don't gain sound quality by having extra.

Bohnsack 02-06-2014 09:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post


You just need to know the longest run. I would wager you won't have more than a 50' length of cable, in which case 16awg is going to be sufficient for most people. There is no harm in going with a higher gauge, but you just need to know that 12 awg wire and 16 awg wire is made from the same copper and you don't gain anything by having thicker than necessary wires.
Passive subs in a speaker get powered by the receiver the same as regular speakers. You can only send as much power as your receiver can, so just because you have bigger drivers doesn't mean you can draw more power than your receiver can supply.
This is called the placebo affect. If someone brought you 16 awg and 12 awg wire and did a test, you could not tell the difference. And regarding decibel loss, less than a decibel change is not audible by people, you included.

It's fine to have 12 awg wire, but if 16 awg is enough then you don't gain sound quality by having extra.


I understand all that. The longest run I have is about 45 feet..that's to my rears. I understand that a Stereo can't output more power than it has. However the science of this is simple a 4 lane highway carries more cars than a 2 lane. When you are trying to transfer an audio signal, AND enough power to power passive subs something gets cut out with a 16 awg wire. It is fact. Second if it is a placebo affect than why does it show a difference with a visualizer, clearly see a higher range of frequencies with a 12 AWG wire. No lies go test it yourselves. Lastly I stated that this isn't about the loss of a decibel any stereo junkie worth their weight should never get out of the negatives. If you can then you need a new system. Anyway this thread was about cable management, and somehow it has turned into an argument about AWG. Thanks to all that gave me cable management suggestions. Please allow this thread to end now.


Transmaniacon 02-06-2014 10:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohnsack View Post


I understand all that. The longest run I have is about 45 feet..that's to my rears. I understand that a Stereo can't output more power than it has. However the science of this is simple a 4 lane highway carries more cars than a 2 lane. When you are trying to transfer an audio signal, AND enough power to power passive subs something gets cut out with a 16 awg wire. It is fact. Second if it is a placebo affect than why does it show a difference with a visualizer, clearly see a higher range of frequencies with a 12 AWG wire. No lies go test it yourselves. Lastly I stated that this isn't about the loss of a decibel any stereo junkie worth their weight should never get out of the negatives. If you can then you need a new system. Anyway this thread was about cable management, and somehow it has turned into an argument about AWG. Thanks to all that gave me cable management suggestions. Please allow this thread to end now.

Your analogy doesn't work here. If you have 10 cars on a two lane highway and they can all drive as fast as they want with no congestion, then adding more lanes doesn't make them drive any faster. You can argue against science all you want, but this is my last response.

Patrick Collins 02-06-2014 02:29 PM

YOU CAME HERE FOR HELP!

The people here like to help. I asked "technically, why do you need 12 gauge wire". You answer, and then we carry on. But you seemed to take offense with the question as though you know better. In fact your "highway analogy" is a long way from technical.

Electrical theory is what answers the question. But even "someone told me larger gauge is always better" is a good start. We'd know exactly how to help.

Being told you're wrong can be enlightening. It's the first step to being right.

Despite your age, I think you'll be ok.

WE'RE HERE TO HELP.

adupree 02-07-2014 08:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohnsack View Post


I understand all that. The longest run I have is about 45 feet..that's to my rears. I understand that a Stereo can't output more power than it has. However the science of this is simple a 4 lane highway carries more cars than a 2 lane. When you are trying to transfer an audio signal, AND enough power to power passive subs something gets cut out with a 16 awg wire. It is fact. Second if it is a placebo affect than why does it show a difference with a visualizer, clearly see a higher range of frequencies with a 12 AWG wire. No lies go test it yourselves. Lastly I stated that this isn't about the loss of a decibel any stereo junkie worth their weight should never get out of the negatives. If you can then you need a new system. Anyway this thread was about cable management, and somehow it has turned into an argument about AWG. Thanks to all that gave me cable management suggestions. Please allow this thread to end now.

You realize PASSIVE "subs" are not powered by the receiver at all, they are radiators, therefore they use the pressure from the compression of the active driver to be driven. Also the only reason you need to run anything over 16AWG with your speakers is if your wire runs are over 120ft. As for running the wire, the conduit works well, and depending on how the base boards are you can pull them up and run the wire, then tack them back.

mark62 02-07-2014 08:46 PM

actually he is talking about a sub without an amp, you are talking about passive radiators.. the op is wrong about the 16 gauge vs 12 gauge and has a very negative attitude towards people who are trying to help him... after all he did ask for suggestions.

lovinthehd 02-07-2014 10:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark62 View Post

actually he is talking about a sub without an amp, you are talking about passive radiators.. the op is wrong about the 16 gauge vs 12 gauge and has a very negative attitude towards people who are trying to help him... after all he did ask for suggestions.

Actually it appears if his rears have the same "subs' as his front SS F6000 speakers, they're simply 6.5" woofers in a speaker, they're not subs by any means. No big deal to drive with any particular AWG wire but no harm if he wants to use 12G. He said he had an actual wireless rear sub (an active 10").

mark62 02-07-2014 11:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

Actually it appears if his rears have the same "subs' as his front SS F6000 speakers, they're simply 6.5" woofers in a speaker, they're not subs by any means. No big deal to drive with any particular AWG wire but no harm if he wants to use 12G. He said he had an actual wireless rear sub (an active 10").

I stand corrected! guess I should have read the thread again..

adupree 02-07-2014 11:38 PM

Correct, using 12awg won't hurt anything by any means, I use 14 personally just because. It's just that he "knows" he HAS to, which is wrong. But hey, we all live and learn smile.gif

Patrick Collins 02-08-2014 09:02 AM

Wire size, type and gauge choices are an exacting science for power circuits. You are considering voltage, amperage, location, on and on and on. Make bad uninformed choices and maybe you burn down a building or worse.

Wire choices for speakers are more of an art with a little bit of science. Make a mistake and you might blow a tweeter, or worse, be ridiculed. Wire size increases at certain distances for a particular speaker are nebulous but still require some electrical theory.

I could tell at what distance you need to increase wire gauge in a power circuit. Doing the same thing for a speaker run could be critiqued by someone that uses 24 gauge Cat 3 or someone that feels a need to use $24,000 esoteric speaker cables, or whatever you call those things that carry an audio signal to Majicos.

Bill Fitzmaurice 02-08-2014 10:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Collins View Post

Wire choices for speakers are more of an art with a little bit of science.
Choosing wire gauge for speakers is just as scientific as for power circuits. Using a calculator like the one I linked to back in Post 7 will tell you exactly what you need.

Patrick Collins 02-08-2014 06:37 PM

Given a second chance I would rewrite that, stating it starts out as a science but ends up with a lot of art thrown in. Along the way a lot of us loose our charts, if not still in the head, and go with a feel. After all maybe "art" was a poor choice.

lovinthehd 02-08-2014 07:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Collins View Post

Given a second chance I would rewrite that, stating it starts out as a science but ends up with a lot of art thrown in. Along the way a lot of us loose our charts, if not still in the head, and go with a feel. After all maybe "art" was a poor choice.

Nope, still ain't got it. Unless you're talking about decorating the cable...

CherylJosie 03-18-2014 01:30 PM

As noted by a couple of other electrical engineers, offering their valuable services FOR FREE after having spent many hours and thousands of dollars studying, people are going to gain nothing in audible sound quality by using anything larger than 16 gauge wire for such runs. It is not a matter of opinion, it is very basic science, and no one can rationally argue with very basic science without good reason. Mathematics does not lie, unlike salesmen.

If you are unwilling to get the degree for yourself then at least do yourself the favor of respecting the opinion of those who have. While the absolute losses of 16 gauge wire in your application are real, they are not just negligible, they are scientifically and experientially proven to be completely inaudible. For example, the losses of the recommended wire are on the same order of magnitude as the combined irreducible losses in the printed circuit board traces, the connectors, internal wiring, discrete components, and even the voice coils of the drivers themselves. The entire audio system is designed with these losses in mind and they are negligible. Reducing the one loss component in the wire between amp and speaker below the loss in the rest of the total system will do nothing at all to improve the sound.

I am sorry, this is about the best explanation anyone can give and more than most will offer a layman. Even the inductors, capacitors, and resistors in the crossover network of your speaker are not going to be constructed of, or connected with, 12 gauge wire, nor would anything increase if their wire gauge were increased, other than the cost. If you need proof, pull the woofer out of a cabinet and take a look at the internal wiring of your speaker. You will find a 'relatively' substantial amount of electrical loss inside there, unless the company is in the business of selling prestige at a premium price with no associated value other than bragging rights, in which case, cost is no object to you. Then you could safely ignore all advice and just buy whatever makes you happy regardless of whether it actually improves the sound or not. Probably you would also end up with a system that costs more and sounds worse, because once marketing trumps science, all bets are off.

The capacitance, inductance, and resistance of speaker wire is nowhere near enough to appreciably affect the frequency response or any other characteristic of audio except in extreme circumstances, and even then, the first thing to suffer audibly is the power, not the frequency response. Only if you are driving ridiculously low impedance and/or ill-behaved loads, such as White Van speakers that sound terrible anyway, or incorrectly paralleling up gangs of individual drivers on a single channel, will you notice any change in sound quality as opposed to quantity.

Even if using extremely long wires (greater than 100 feet), and experiencing substantial attenuation combined with perhaps some slight high frequency loss, you still are unlikely to notice anything at all except that you have to turn up the volume a little more (particularly on the channels with the longest runs), unless you habitually listen at extreme levels all the time and the dynamic range of your amplifier is substantially inadequate for your system. If your wire gauge were changed by one grade (from 16 to 18) without your being told, you might not even notice that anything at all has changed, especially if your receiver is the type that automatically adjusts the level, timing, and equalization of your speakers during a self-calibration.

Without self-calibration feature (or equivalent), or without re-running the calibration after changing wire size, you might notice a tiny shift in the loudness equalization curve (if you use it), i.e. there might be very slight relative attenuation of bass and (more likely) treble because the overall gain of the equalization circuit might be set a tiny bit low, but then again, depending on your speaker sensitivity and frequency response, a reduction in gain might even be an improvement!

This is all compounded by the fact that all of us experience high frequency loss with age. The effect of such changes becomes less and less noticeable as we grow older, yet paradoxically, more money is spent chasing the extremes of high frequency response by the aged, even though they have no hope of ever hearing it.

Guaranteed.

The only additional consideration one needs to take into account is the absolute current passed by the wire. If the gauge is too thin, the wire might burn like a fuse, and that could be very dangerous, but only if the system is driving lots of power through low impedance speakers. I am too lazy to do the calculation and leave that an exercise to the reader. All I can say is that my own 100WPC Onkyo home-theater-in-a-box that I bought cheap off Craigslist comes with 18 gauge wire and no company that meets UL listing would ever risk burning down a house with inadequate speaker wire.

So, if that is not enough to convince you, then the only alternative is to get an education, or overspend on your speaker wire, unless one of the factors below, or some other rational basis, exists for ignoring this rule of thumb you have been given.

Things to keep in mind relating to wire gauge and cable management, are:

1) Smaller gauge wire is easier to route, stuff through conduit, and hide
2) Smaller gauge wire is less expensive, saving cash for other things like conduit, paint, staples, popcorn, and videos
2) Larger gauge wire is more resistant to vacuum cleaners, pets, foot traffic, and accidents
3) Larger gauge wire is easier to extend if future expansion puts you in a situation where you might have to pull new wire later
4) There are laws and codes that govern speaker wire inside walls, and you should familiarize yourself with them

My personal rule of thumb, tailored specifically for my transient lifestyle, is to use 14 gauge for all my runs simply because it is more durable and I frequently re-arrange my system. That leaves me the flexibility to connect together cut pieces for extra long runs if needed and helps prevent my kitty from chewing clear through my speaker wires (yes this has already happened several times to me, with several different kittens). If you have a cat and your runs are exposed you might consider 14 gauge also, or even 12 gauge, with some rational justification, otherwise you could safely use 16 gauge.

Given that I now live in an apartment and cannot utilize my system to its full potential anyway, my 14 gauge wire is definitely overkill. Like I said, it keeps my kitty from sawing clean through it, but I have no other basis for the choice.

I have personally witnessed 'monster' systems with 8 gauge speaker wire in 10 foot lengths connected to vacuum tube amplifiers. The output transformers of these amplifiers have more orders of magnitude more damping loss than the wire. It is frankly ridiculous, but it looks quite impressive running along the floor. If one's objective is to trip your guests and make a fool of oneself before anyone with common sense, go for it!

Sorry, this is the absolute best answer I can give you. I hope it helps you understand why you got the other answers that you did.


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