People buy "good" cables/interconnects - what about the INTERNALS of amp & speaker? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-03-2010, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys, i've just upgraded short 16AWG wires to longer 14AWG wires and i was wondering - we spend effort to get large bore unrestrictive cabling to connect the amp to the speakers etc ...

but whatabout what's INSIDE the amp and speaker? do the amp cable connector have low resistance? do the connector have 14G connected to the amp itself?

what about speakers - once you screw in the bulk mass of wires onto the speaker red and blacks - do they have 14G wire inside to connect to the speaker diaphragm?

makes me wonder - you probably say - oh the distance is short and i'm sure they use low resistance stuff like gold or something ... but how do you know?

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post #2 of 26 Old 01-03-2010, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joker97 View Post

Hi guys, i've just upgraded short 16AWG wires to longer 14AWG wires and i was wondering - we spend effort to get large bore unrestrictive cabling to connect the amp to the speakers etc ...

but whatabout what's INSIDE the amp and speaker? do the amp cable connector have low resistance? do the connector have 14G connected to the amp itself?

what about speakers - once you screw in the bulk mass of wires onto the speaker red and blacks - do they have 14G wire inside to connect to the speaker diaphragm?

makes me wonder - you probably say - oh the distance is short and i'm sure they use low resistance stuff like gold or something ... but how do you know?

You really don't know whats in your speakers. I have been able to see inside some of mine through the port tubes and it was not very thick or impressive looking. I know it may be disappointing but Im fairly sure its fine. They sound great.
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-03-2010, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joker97 View Post

Hi guys, i've just upgraded short 16AWG wires to longer 14AWG wires and i was wondering - we spend effort to get large bore unrestrictive cabling to connect the amp to the speakers etc ...

but whatabout what's INSIDE the amp and speaker? do the amp cable connector have low resistance? do the connector have 14G connected to the amp itself?

what about speakers - once you screw in the bulk mass of wires onto the speaker red and blacks - do they have 14G wire inside to connect to the speaker diaphragm?

makes me wonder - you probably say - oh the distance is short and i'm sure they use low resistance stuff like gold or something ... but how do you know?

Perhaps the degreed electrical engineers that design the equipment know something the stereo store sales people and magazine reviewers don't?

I'll give you another hint. Recording studios, radio stations, TV broadcast and production facilities don't use expensive wire either. They must know something as well?

Resistance is not only a product of gauge but legnth as well. That's one reason why a 200w power amp can get away with 20ga wire for a few inches. As for speaker wire runs outside the amp read this:

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

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post #4 of 26 Old 01-03-2010, 08:07 PM
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The wiring is copper. Copper has lower resistance than gold.

Voice coil wire is typically considereably thinner than 14 AWG. Other wire in the box varies but it is not uncommon for it to be less than 14 AWG. The distances are short and the difference in gauge does not result in a significant increase in resistance.

Wiring between output transistors and terminals in an AVR is very short and it doesn't make much difference what gauge it is as long as it can carry the load.

The reason we are concerned about gauge of speaker cable is that it is relatively long compared to the other parts of the signal path (not including the voice coil) and the voltage drop due to the resistance can result in a considerable portion of the power being lost. We pick the gauge of the cable to give a reasonable compromise between power loss and cost, and size, of cables.
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Perhaps the degreed electrical engineers that design the equipment know something the stereo store sales people and magazine reviewers don't?

I'll give you another hint. Recording studios, radio stations, TV broadcast and production facilities don't use expensive wire either. They must know something as well?

Resistance is not only a product of gauge but legnth as well. That's one reason why a 200w power amp can get away with 20ga wire for a few inches. As for speaker wire runs outside the amp read this:

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

Who said anything about expensive? The OP's question referred to sufficient gauge.

To the OP, the wire inside a speaker is much smaller than what we would normally use to connect out AVRs/amps to our speakers.
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post #6 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Easyaspie View Post

Who said anything about expensive? The OP's question referred to sufficient gauge.

To the OP, the wire inside a speaker is much smaller than what we would normally use to connect out AVRs/amps to our speakers.

I explained that in my last paragraph. Since the wire inside the amp or speaker is very short, it can be smaller gauge.

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post #7 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

I explained that in my last paragraph. Since the wire inside the amp or speaker is very short, it can be smaller gauge.

Yeah, well he didn't ask about "Recording studios, radio stations, TV broadcast and production facilities" either.

In addition do you realize how long the wire in a voice coil can be? The real reason that internal wiring in a speaker can be smaller gauge is because there are multiple runs: a run from the X-over to the tweeter, a run from the X-over to the woofer(s) and possibly to the midrange, if so equipped.
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Easyaspie View Post

Yeah, well he didn't ask about "Recording studios, radio stations, TV broadcast and production facilities" either.

In addition do you realize how long the wire in a voice coil can be? The real reason that internal wiring in a speaker can be smaller gauge is because there are multiple runs: a run from the X-over to the tweeter, a run from the X-over to the woofer(s) and possibly to the midrange, if so equipped.

And my point is that the OP is worrying about a problem that does not exist. The people designing the amps and speakers know what they are doing based on every amp I have looked at internally over the past 40 years.

It's simple ohms law. How much resistance is in the wire which is based on it's gauge and length. Total resistance of the run. Thats why you can have a short piece of 22ga or 24ga wire inside the amp or speaker but may need 12ga for a long run. It's not based soley on splitting up the wires amongst the drivers.

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post #9 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joker97 View Post

Hi guys, i've just upgraded short 16AWG wires to longer 14AWG wires and i was wondering - we spend effort to get large bore unrestrictive cabling to connect the amp to the speakers etc ...

but whatabout what's INSIDE the amp and speaker? do the amp cable connector have low resistance? do the connector have 14G connected to the amp itself?

what about speakers - once you screw in the bulk mass of wires onto the speaker red and blacks - do they have 14G wire inside to connect to the speaker diaphragm?

makes me wonder - you probably say - oh the distance is short and i'm sure they use low resistance stuff like gold or something ... but how do you know?

Mostly they use copper traces or copper wire.

It's a short distance so smaller gauge is fine. And in many cases manufacturers will use rather robust cabling anyway. From what I can see in my Dynaudio speakers the wire to the tweeter in anycase looks like 14 or 12 gauge. For a few inches this is vastly more than enough.
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

And my point is that the OP is worrying about a problem that does not exist.

I think he might be hinting at the incorrect argument that if the wire inside the speaker or component is smaller (higher gauge) and/or of poor quality, why worry about the wire going to the speaker or component. Of course, you still have to get the signal to the speaker or component, so the difference in the internal and external wiring is irrelevant.

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post #11 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

I think he might be hinting at the incorrect argument that if the wire inside the speaker or component is smaller (higher gauge) and/or of poor quality, why worry about the wire going to the speaker or component. Of course, you still have to get the signal to the speaker or component, so the difference in the internal and external wiring is irrelevant.

What / who determines a "poor quality" wire? When it comes to speakers it's all about resistance. Inductance and capacitance are pretty much irrelevant at typical speaker cable lengths, that is under 50 feet.

It's been posted here many times. Read Roger Russel's paper on speaker wire. His report is dead on. I'm an EE too and can vouch for it.

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post #12 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 02:51 PM
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I wouldn't be too concerned. The wiring inside a loudspeaker enclosure not only is short, but it should also be flexible enough to facilitate assembly in the factory. Overly stiff wire could put also excessive mechanical stress on end terminals, leading to early failure. Been there, done that, had the gig interrupted …

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post #13 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

I think he might be hinting at the incorrect argument that if the wire inside the speaker or component is smaller (higher gauge) and/or of poor quality, why worry about the wire going to the speaker or component. Of course, you still have to get the signal to the speaker or component, so the difference in the internal and external wiring is irrelevant.

Maybe he's wondering what happens when you attach boutique wire from the amp to the speaker only to have the wire inside the speaker be plain old "normal" wire. Do all the magical properties of the boutique wire disappear?
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

What / who determines a "poor quality" wire? When it comes to speakers it's all about resistance. Inductance and capacitance are pretty much irrelevant at typical speaker cable lengths, that is under 50 feet.

It's been posted here many times. Read Roger Russel's paper on speaker wire. His report is dead on. I'm an EE too and can vouch for it.

OK. What's your point? I said it is an incorrect argument. Maybe you misunderstood what I was saying. I'll restate it:

People will often argue or point out that you shouldn't need fancy cables because the wiring inside the components is just standard wiring. Well, fancy cables may INDEED be hooey but that is not a good argument against using them. You still have to get the signal from component to component or from component to speaker. IF (< note big if) fancy cables could do that better, you'd still want to use them regardless of the wiring present inside the components or speakers. That's all I was saying.

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post #15 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by David James View Post

Maybe he's wondering what happens when you attach boutique wire from the amp to the speaker only to have the wire inside the speaker be plain old "normal" wire. Do all the magical properties of the boutique wire disappear?

Right. That's what I said. Or tried to say, anyway.

And the answer is (as I stated above), IF (

Even if you plan to ride a mule to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you'd still probably want to drive your car form where you live to the edge of the canyon as opposed to riding the mule the whole way.

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post #16 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

And the answer is (as I stated above), IF (

Now I'm confused

Why have fancy wire the first 99% when the last 1% is "normal". What good does it do you the first 99%?

My analogy is this - When attending formal affair, why wear a tuxedo from your house to the ballroom and then change into sweats when you get to the door?

Edit - to use your analogy. The object is to get to the bottom of the canyon, it doesn't matter how you get to the top, car, mule, segway, hovercraft, (as long as you arrive alive ), it will still take the same amount of time to get to the bottom.
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David James View Post

Why have fancy wire the first 99% when the last 1% is "normal". What good does it do you the first 99%?

But you still have to get it there, right?

I'm not making an argument for or against chi-chi cables. I'm just pointing out that the argument that "why have fancy wire the first 99% when the last 1% is normal" is not really a proper argument.


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My analogy is this - When attending formal affair, why wear a tuxedo from your house to the ballroom and then change into sweats when you get to the door?

So you'll at least look good getting there!


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Originally Posted by David James View Post

.................it doesn't matter how you get to the top...........

It doesn't?



Even if the CATV wiring in my house were crap, I'd still want what's buried and bringing it to me to be top notch.

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post #18 of 26 Old 01-04-2010, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David James View Post

Now I'm confused
Why have fancy wire the first 99% when the last 1% is "normal". What good does it do you the first 99%?

My analogy is this - When attending formal affair, why wear a tuxedo from your house to the ballroom and then change into sweats when you get to the door?

There are 'weakest link' systems where the entire system is only as good as its worst part. Speaker wiring is not such a system. Overall wire resistance is more of a 'weighted average' thing Now if you were trying to hoist a heavy speaker someplace high, and had 99% heavy-duty rope and last 1% a thin string, that would be 'weakest link'.

That said, as long as its resistance per foot is the same, simple basic wire is no worse than any of those triple-helix, carbon-fiber-insulated, five-grand-a-foot monstrocities.
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-05-2010, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the enlightenment. also perhaps my title in misleading - people buy "good" wires, but i buy the cheapest but largest gauge ones i can afford

had 1.5m wires to start with, now got the proper setup thign right and needed 6m either side so "upgraded" to larger 14G wires. oh well - i really hope the internal wiring doesnt lose me any sound!

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post #20 of 26 Old 01-05-2010, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
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also ohm's law has got nothing to do with length of wire - it governs the relationship between potential difference and current and resistance.

you're referring to Hagen–Poiseuille rule -
resistance is proportional to length
resistance is proportional to the 4th power of the radius

length really has very little to do with resistance. but i guess 5cm vs 5m might be a big enough difference vs 16G (1.3mm) vs 14G (1.6mm) diameter (the radius is half the diameter) ... someone can do the maths - i can't be bothered now! coz i can't see what's inside but yeah i guess flexibility is important!

in fact we should really be talking about impedance.

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post #21 of 26 Old 01-05-2010, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joker97 View Post

I've just upgraded short 16AWG wires to longer 14AWG wires and i was wondering - we spend effort to get large bore unrestrictive cabling to connect the amp to the speakers etc ...

but whatabout what's INSIDE the amp and speaker? do the amp cable connector have low resistance? do the connector have 14G connected to the amp itself?

A loudspeaker is a special world unto itself. To some degree you don't care about what's inside the box. As an end-user all you need to worry about is what goes in the speaker terminals and what comes out acoustically.

What's inside the box might scare a lot of people. For example one poster correctly observed that loudspeaker voice coils are generally relatively long lengths of relatively thin, solid wire. Ditto for crossover coils.

Does this mean then that since the voice coil of the tweeter might be 24 gauge wire, that's its OK to use 20 feet of 24 gauge wire for a speaker cable? No!

A well-designed speaker has all of its parts designed to work together. For example, it is believe it or not necessary for a subwoofer's voice coil to have a certain amount of resistance to optimize how it speaker works. If the subwoofer's voice coil has too much or too little resistance for the rest of its parameters, then it is not optimal for what it does.

It is completely possible to build a subwoofer driver that has a voice coil that has a suboptimal resistance. However, if a subwoofer contains its own passive crossover, then the resistance of the coils in the crossover are effectively part of the resisance of the woofer's voice coil from a veiwpoint outside the box (where we as end users need to situate ourselves).

So now there's a choice. Do I build a subwoofer driver with a really low resistance voice coil so I can use lighter wire in the built-in crossover, or do I use heavy wire in the crossover coils so I can use a subwoofer driver with a higher resistance voice coil or what?

That my friends is what is known as an engineering decision. Depending the costs (both economic and practical) of the various resources, there is an optimal trade-off between the resistance of the driver's voice coil and the resistance of the crossover coils that gives the best reasonable performance, and balances the costs so they are minimized. That's one of the things that good engineers do.

So if you open the box and you find thin wire in the crossover, and you can't see the wire in the subwoofer's driver voice coil, what are you supposed to think? In fact you're supposed to close the box back up and listen to how the whole subwoofer as a component works in your system.

Quote:
what about speakers - once you screw in the bulk mass of wires onto the speaker red and blacks - do they have 14G wire inside to connect to the speaker diaphragm?

Depends on the speaker. For example, there are some really husky subwoofer drivers out there with 12, 10, maybe even 8 gauge wire in their voice coils. You want a small box and deep bass - well the driver has to be very inefficient and you're going to gobble up power like carmel corn at a circus. I've seen woofers like these make 12 gauge stranded wires leading up to their terminals wave in the external magnetic field of the driver like flags in a stiff breeze. It's probably more important that the wiring be adequately tied down and stress-relieved. Those very same issues are completely immaterial for a high-efficiency tweeter.

There are engineering guidelines for sizing speaker cable. If you follow them, it doesn't matter what is inside the speaker boxes except that you have to pay attention to the external impedance curve of the loudspeaker to size speaker wires. If you don't follow them it still doesn't matter what is inside the speaker boxes, except that whatever it is, it could work against you.
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post #22 of 26 Old 01-05-2010, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorrpio View Post

That said, as long as its resistance per foot is the same, simple basic wire is no better than any of those triple-helix, carbon-fiber-insulated, five-grand-a-foot monstrocities.

I understand, which is exactly what I meant when I put in my second analogy "as long as you arrive alive".
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post #23 of 26 Old 01-05-2010, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joker97 View Post

also ohm's law has got nothing to do with length of wire - it governs the relationship between potential difference and current and resistance.

you're referring to Hagen-Poiseuille rule -
resistance is proportional to length
resistance is proportional to the 4th power of the radius

length really has very little to do with resistance. but i guess 5cm vs 5m might be a big enough difference vs 16G (1.3mm) vs 14G (1.6mm) diameter (the radius is half the diameter) ... someone can do the maths - i can't be bothered now! coz i can't see what's inside but yeah i guess flexibility is important!

in fact we should really be talking about impedance.

What? Perhaps I am not understandig your post?

Any piece of wire has a finite resistance. The longer it is, the more resistance it has. Ohm's law is used to calculate the voltage drop over that resistance depending on the current through the wire.

Now there are other things as well such as inductance but in speaker wiring this is usally not an issue until you get over 50 feet.

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post #24 of 26 Old 01-05-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

What? Perhaps I am not understandig your post?

Any piece of wire has a finite resistance. The longer it is, the more resistance it has. Ohm's law is used to calculate the voltage drop over that resistance depending on the current through the wire.

Now there are other things as well such as inductance but in speaker wiring this is usally not an issue until you get over 50 feet.

Ditto, that post didn't make any sense. The Hagen-Poiseuille rule is basically the same as Ohms law, but it's fluid dynamics pressure drop of water in a long pipe, kind of like IR drop.

Ohms law is entirely relevant here, in fact it's really the only relevant thing for speaker wire unless you're going abnormally far.
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post #25 of 26 Old 01-05-2010, 01:10 PM
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The reason why people worry abou the wire that goes from the amp to the speakers is that they can see it, the wires inside said amp and speakers cannot be seen, so they don't worry about it.

In other words Expensive speaker wire is just Scenery porn, for the hifi nerds just as Laura Croft is for Game nerds to masturbate (afraid to say "Fap") or even the word Masturbate for that matter) I just said that twice, once is more than enough on certain occasions.

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post #26 of 26 Old 01-05-2010, 08:23 PM
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Even worse, consider the effective gauge of the traces on the PCBs inside the amp.

If you're really good with a soldering gun you could increase the amount of metal on those traces and really improve your sound.




lol
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