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post #1 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Speaker wire strand count & gauge

I purchased 100ft of 14AWG in-wall speaker cable from an eBay seller that advertised the strand count as 105. I'm not sure if that means per conductor or for both conductors but in any event I actually counted the strands in one conductor and only found 40. The numbers on the cable jacket are: 14 AWG 2 COND Premium Audio Cable (ETL) US Type CL3R 3054355 671310. I googled those numbers and found the manufacturer as ADCABLE.COM. Their webpage states 105 strands for the 14AWG wire. WTF ? I shot them a message through their Facebook page today for an explanation of advertised strands. I prefer a high strand count as it adds more flexibility to the cable.

Another eBay seller recently sold me some shorter speaker cables with ends attached and they were advertised as "Samurai 14 AWG". They felt really light weight and looked awfully skinny, so I stripped one and the copper inside was only 18 or 16 gauge at best. The cable had no markings at all.
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post #2 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 10:26 AM
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Buying speaker wire off Ebay = Chinese knockoff Crapshoot. You are also over thinking it. Just go to Monoprice and get some 12AWG wire and be done with it.

Last edited by William; 06-28-2014 at 10:29 AM.
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post #3 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 10:27 AM
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What's the problem/question?
If you want good speaker wire, buy from a reputable dealer.
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post #4 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post
Buying speaker wire off Ebay = Chinese knockoff Crapshoot. You are also over thinking it. Just go to Monoprice and get some 12AWG wire and be done with it.
I have dealt with Monoprice for years but find their shipping charges quite high today. That's why I shop eBay lately. The in-wall cable is actually a US product I think. Monoprice in-wall cable has very low strand count but at least they don't lie about it.
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post #5 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 02:19 PM
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The problem with in-wall cables is that you have to pull them.
Given a certain diameter, many strands =many thin wires= risk of braking a lot of them when pulling hard.
That's why in-wall cabling in general has few but thick strands.
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post #6 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 02:25 PM
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My Honeywell in wall is 14 ga., 105 strands. It was 90$ per 500 feet and rose in price 40$ in the 2 years since I bought it. Needed a lot since I was wiring a 16 x 21 room for a a 7.2 system and outside patio speakers. Very good cable.

Recently I installed subs in my sons car. It came with a length of what I thought was good copper speaker wire. 14 ga. I solder the tips of the cable to prevent fraying. Upon soldering it, impurities began coming out of the cable and the solder didn't stick very well. I used my cable for his subs.

Bottom line, do some research when buying cable. You get what you pay for.
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post #7 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueribb View Post
I purchased 100ft of 14AWG in-wall speaker cable from an eBay seller that advertised the strand count as 105. I'm not sure if that means per conductor or for both conductors but in any event I actually counted the strands in one conductor and only found 40. Their webpage states 105 strands for the 14AWG wire. WTF ?.
One simple wire gauge rule: double the number of conductors reduces the wire size by three gauges -- e.g., 2 x 17 gauge = 14 gauge, etc. In your case that implies 30-gauge strands.

I myself prefer finer gauge wire as it is more flexible. Audio fringies like it too as it putatively reduces "skin effect" losses with larger conductors.

A good quick and dirty solution is the 14-gauge low-voltage outdoor lighting cable sold at Depot -- gotta be at least forty strands there.
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post #8 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 06:19 PM
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Skin effect doesn't occur at audio freqs. It matters at RF freqs. I have installed hard line cable on radio towers that had a hollow center conductor. The RF rides on the center conductor's surface.

I bought 14 ga., 105 strand speaker wire because of it's flexibility , not for skin effect reasons.
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post #9 of 36 Old 06-28-2014, 06:27 PM
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I guess that means you're not a certified audio "fringie." (And I mean that in a good way).

Remember, I did say "putatively." Some fringies consider 20 kHz to be RF.
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post #10 of 36 Old 06-29-2014, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Skytrooper View Post
Skin effect doesn't occur at audio freqs. It matters at RF freqs. I have installed hard line cable on radio towers that had a hollow center conductor. The RF rides on the center conductor's surface.

I bought 14 ga., 105 strand speaker wire because of it's flexibility , not for skin effect reasons.
Agreed. As you probably know multiple bare strands or even multiple insulated strands does nothing for skin effect. Skin effect is a frequency-dependent modification of conductivity based on a magnetic field. Thin insulation has negligible effect on the magnetic field. But, shaping the conductor into a hollow tube as you describe above works wonders for skin effect. My cable company local networks use silver plated aluminum tubing for all their main lines. I live next to a Comcast trunk, and when they work on it they just throw the scrap on the ground. I think Wowway are the neater neighbors.

One of the more telling anecdotes about the expertise of magic wire purveyors relates to Monster. They sold several generations of wire that promised amazing high frequency sound quality improvements by reducing skin effect at high frequencies based on cables that were composed of separately insulted wires that were if memory serves; enameled in the first generation, and then enameled with a thin silk covering in the second generation. No measurable difference. In the third generation they wound the strands around a foam plastic core and that actually made a difference.

Skin effect losses at 20 KHz with 14 gauge wire are pretty tiny. While they remain inaudible at 20 KHz with 12 gauge they are easy enough to measure if you can separate out the larger losses due to series inductance. With 10 gauge or larger cable, the HF losses can raise some concerns.

Last edited by arnyk; 06-29-2014 at 01:35 AM.
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post #11 of 36 Old 06-29-2014, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Agreed. As you probably know multiple bare strands or even multiple insulated strands does nothing for skin effect.
Strictly speaking, not true with insulated strands.

Litz wiring (multiple insulated strands) is a common configuration for inductors used in switching supplies to minimize said Skin Effect.
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post #12 of 36 Old 06-29-2014, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by PrimeTime View Post
to minimize said Skin Effect.
What good does that do for audio application?
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post #13 of 36 Old 06-29-2014, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PrimeTime View Post
Strictly speaking, not true with insulated strands.

Litz wiring (multiple insulated strands) is a common configuration for inductors used in switching supplies to minimize said Skin Effect.
I believe one of the standard papers about this kind of application is this IEEE paper:

http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/ind...pers/litzj.pdf

You can read it too, so I'm not going to argue against you with it.

As I read the paper there are a number of advantages to litz wire in inductors and transformers besides skin effect. One is better packing of copper into the space available for windings, and another relates to eddy currents that are different from skin effect.

One very important thing is that switchmode power supplies where this litz wire is often used involve frequencies far higher than 20 KHz. 200 Hz is not unheard of.
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post #14 of 36 Old 06-30-2014, 05:41 AM
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The paper shows how to optimize the strand count in transformers; by extension it could be extended to the inductors used in switch-mode power supplies.

Not sure skin effect or eddy currents matter for a speaker wire, or interconnect cable, and Litz adds a lot of cost.

Modern switching power supplies operate from several hundred kHz to several MHz. In our systems 0.5 MHz to 1 MHz is very common. Highest I have seen is around 10 MHz. These are low-voltage supplies that deliver tens of amps. I do not know what audio components use; I would guess on the low end for power amps given the large power output required.

While class-D et. al. power amps have their problems, switching power supplies strike me as a good fit provided you can shield properly and the amp has enough PSRR. Much faster power delivery with much less loss and much higher efficiency. Of course, the audiophile community accepts none of that and "switching" remains a boogieman for many. I exchanged emails with a designer in a well-known high-end amplifier company and was basically told they knew all the benefits but customers would not buy them with switch-mode power supplies inside. I did suggest encapsulating the supply and adding a brick to the box for weight...

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A bit off topic, but I am not a fan of switching power supplies. Yes they are efficient but I don't like the noise they generate and being a component level tech, I found them very difficult to troubleshoot. But,as I look back, I realize my skills are no longer needed as techs now a days just replace the whole thing. The replacements we got in our company didn't even know how to use a analog meter. Maybe it's just me getting old or manufactures skimping on design for cost purposes. We had a high failure rate on equipment using switching power supplies. But, hopefully things will continue to improve as these things are the future.

(LCD - Sony KDL - XBR4) (Receiver - Sony STR-DA4ES)(Blu Ray - Oppo BDP-83) (PS3)( Dish Hopper DVR With Sling) Speakers (L & R - Paradigm Studio 20) (Center -Paradigm CC-470) (Surrounds & Back Surrounds - Paradigm SA-15R in walls) (Subwoofer 1 - Sunfire HRS-12) (Subwoofer 2 - Paradigm PW-2100)
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post #16 of 36 Old 06-30-2014, 08:10 PM
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We design the regulators on our boards, usually working with the controller manufacturer. They aren't all that hard to troubleshoot, but we have the same issue finding techs, or even engineers, who know squat about analog. The noise can be controlled but in a sensitive audio or RF system it can be a real pain as the inductor radiates everywhere. We use shielded inductors. Most RF systems put the whole thing in its own shielded box. Probably too expensive for mainstream audio but it would not be worse than the shielding I see on a number of mainstream linear supplies in AVRs. At least the noise is well above the audio band; I think lack of design experience, FUD and audio mythology is the main reason they are not more widely used.

Disclaimer: I am not a power design expert. Although I am supposed to be doing PI/PDN analysis on a new SAS board because the majority of the design team is digital and analyzing coupling and power impedance from chip to board is hard to do using RTL and Verilog...

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post #17 of 36 Old 07-01-2014, 04:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueribb View Post
I purchased 100ft of 14AWG in-wall speaker cable from an eBay seller that advertised the strand count as 105. I'm not sure if that means per conductor or for both conductors but in any event I actually counted the strands in one conductor and only found 40.
I know that copper is expensive right now, but I refuse to cheap out on the final connection of any audio system I'm putting together - even if I can't hear the difference. I want quality speaker wire that isn't going to oxidize or break with a nice jacket that is not going to get brittle or gummy.

After spending hundreds on speakers and amplification why use junk wire to connect them together only to save a few dollars?

If buying off the web, look for a name brand wire. If you really have to save a few dollars and don't need in-wall rating buy lamp cord by the foot at the home store so at least you know what you are getting.

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post #18 of 36 Old 07-03-2014, 10:39 AM
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There is only one reason to have more strands in a wire; physical flexibility is greater with more strands. There is no electrical advantage.

For speaker wire, the only thing to concern yourself about is that it is 99% purity copper wire, which is not expensive to buy.

When I made my speaker wire from $10 Belden wire, I bought 100 feet of #10 that had around 110 strands so it would be fairly flexible.

I needed 8 10-foot lengths for bi-wiring my speakers.
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post #19 of 36 Old 07-03-2014, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post
I know that copper is expensive right now, but I refuse to cheap out on the final connection of any audio system I'm putting together - even if I can't hear the difference. I want quality speaker wire that isn't going to oxidize or break with a nice jacket that is not going to get brittle or gummy.

After spending hundreds on speakers and amplification why use junk wire to connect them together only to save a few dollars?

If buying off the web, look for a name brand wire. If you really have to save a few dollars and don't need in-wall rating buy lamp cord by the foot at the home store so at least you know what you are getting.

100 feet of Monoprice #12 pure copper speaker wire is less than $30. If that is expensive, my name is Rumplestiltsken.
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post #20 of 36 Old 07-03-2014, 11:15 AM
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I completely agree. BUT!
There are two individuals that would disagree about using Monoprice. Search for the posts and testing results by Amirm.
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post #21 of 36 Old 07-03-2014, 01:21 PM
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There is only one reason to have more strands in a wire; physical flexibility is greater with more strands. There is no electrical advantage.

For speaker wire, the only thing to concern yourself about is that it is 99% purity copper wire, which is not expensive to buy.

When I made my speaker wire from $10 Belden wire, I bought 100 feet of #10 that had around 110 strands so it would be fairly flexible.

I needed 8 10-foot lengths for bi-wiring my speakers.
Congratulations. You figured out that there is no significant electrical advantage to finely stranded wire.

Too bad you missed the same point about biwiring.
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post #22 of 36 Old 07-03-2014, 01:24 PM
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I completely agree. BUT!
There are two individuals that would disagree about using Monoprice. Search for the posts and testing results by Amirm.
Typical Amir hi-jinks. He picked as his reference a wire that significantly exceeds the actual standard in order to throw stones at wire that was a trifle substandard. Furthermore the underage was due to the fact that while 3 mm wire is generally considered to be compatible with 12 gauge wire, its really a trifle undersize.

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post #23 of 36 Old 07-03-2014, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by blueribb View Post
I purchased 100ft of 14AWG in-wall speaker cable from an eBay seller that advertised the strand count as 105. I'm not sure if that means per conductor or for both conductors but in any event I actually counted the strands in one conductor and only found 40. The numbers on the cable jacket are: 14 AWG 2 COND Premium Audio Cable (ETL) US Type CL3R 3054355 671310. I googled those numbers and found the manufacturer as ADCABLE.COM. Their webpage states 105 strands for the 14AWG wire. WTF ? I shot them a message through their Facebook page today for an explanation of advertised strands. I prefer a high strand count as it adds more flexibility to the cable.

Another eBay seller recently sold me some shorter speaker cables with ends attached and they were advertised as "Samurai 14 AWG". They felt really light weight and looked awfully skinny, so I stripped one and the copper inside was only 18 or 16 gauge at best. The cable had no markings at all.
So, on e-bay you don't always get what you pay for.

Now, so what? Really, for in-wall use, you have several requirements. CL plenum rated for the building code, and if for the front channels, I would jump up a gauge. For surrounds, 16 G is still fine. I buy my cable from reliable American suppliers so I know what I bought. Yea, Chinese CL-2 rated cable I got once was NOT self extinguishing. I tested it. In other words pure fraud. I will buy Belden cable if I have a chance. I trust them.

For runs under 10 feet or so, plain old zip cord is great. I know what you mean on fine strands. I got a speaker kit that came with wonderful ultra fine strands. Looked like 16 ga zip but many times the strands. Only problem was they wanted several dollars a foot for it. As it does not sound any different, I passed on any more.
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post #24 of 36 Old 07-04-2014, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Congratulations. You figured out that there is no significant electrical advantage to finely stranded wire.

Too bad you missed the same point about biwiring.


Richard Vandersteen has been doing in-house research for over 30 years, and his unequivocal opinion is that his speakers require bi-wiring in order to perform their best.

All of his owner instruction manuals tell owners to consider anything but bi-wiring to be an inferior and temporary installation.

I consider him to be the ultimate authority on that, and I choose to follow his instructions with my Vandersteen Treos.

If you think you know better, please keep your opinion to yourself (and try to avoid the smug sarcasm).
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post #25 of 36 Old 07-04-2014, 05:35 AM
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Richard Vandersteen has been doing in-house research for over 30 years, and his unequivocal opinion is that his speakers require bi-wiring in order to perform their best.
Last time I looked, Richard Vandersteen isn't God. Vandersteen doesn't get to define how the universe works.

You claim to be an EE or something like it, have you ever seen a loop equation analysis of biwiring?

Would you know how to evaluate it?
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post #26 of 36 Old 07-04-2014, 08:33 AM
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Agree with Arny. Bi Wiring makes no sense. Just wastes twice as much wire.
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post #27 of 36 Old 07-04-2014, 10:21 AM
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Last time I looked, Richard Vandersteen isn't God. Vandersteen doesn't get to define how the universe works.


Strawman fallacy.

Derogatory terms like "analog bigot", "digiphobe", "internet eggspurts" have nothing to do with electrical engineering.
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post #28 of 36 Old 07-04-2014, 10:37 AM
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Strawman fallacy.
Not a strawman. Arny was simply pointing out an "appeal to authority" argument.
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post #29 of 36 Old 07-04-2014, 12:16 PM
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Not a strawman. Arny was simply pointing out an "appeal to authority" argument.

I've heard that denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

Derogatory terms like "analog bigot", "digiphobe", "internet eggspurts" have nothing to do with electrical engineering.
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post #30 of 36 Old 07-04-2014, 12:20 PM
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I've heard that denial ain't just a river in Egypt.
Deny what? That someone should believe something just because Richard Vandersteen says it?
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