Number of strands in speaker wire - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 27 Old 10-13-2007, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
walrusjax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I am about to stare installing 14 gauge speaker wire my room addition before installing the insulation and drywall. While looking for a good price, I am starting to see that many of the sellers are stating that their wire is superior because it has a higher number of strands than the standard 26 (don't ask me, they are claiming it). I've seen 41 strands and even 105 strands (all 14 gauge) and I can understand the theory that more strands would carry the load easier, but does anybody know if this really makes much of a difference? Is there a minimum strand count that I should stick to? I've read some other posts on what makes good speaker wire and most are of the opinion that if it is good copper then you will be OK, but I don't see anything on strand count.

Also, monoprice (where I do most of my shopping) seems to be out of speaker wire at this time. Anybody got any other suggestions about where to get good cable at a good price?

Thanks
walrusjax is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 27 Old 10-13-2007, 02:50 PM
 
ChrisWiggles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Seattle
Posts: 20,730
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:


and I can understand the theory that more strands would carry the load easier,

I don't know how you can understand that, I certainly cannot. It doesn't matter except as to the flexibility of the wire. The gauge of the wire, and hence its electrical characteristics remain the same.
ChrisWiggles is offline  
post #3 of 27 Old 10-13-2007, 03:03 PM
Senior Member
 
tatanka01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Colorado
Posts: 440
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Chris is right. More (but smaller) strands makes stranded wire more flexible, assuming the insulation is also made for flexibility. This is a wonderful "feature" of more (but smaller) strands if you need it. Since speaker wire is rarely moved once installed, it's not real important.

I use some 10GA high strand count wire for high-current 12V power, and it's a joy to use, but I wouldn't pay more for this in speaker wire.

In-wall on a new house, I'd be tempted to use Romex for speaker wire, but that probably violates code.
tatanka01 is offline  
post #4 of 27 Old 10-13-2007, 03:09 PM
AVS Special Member
 
WilliamZX11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,507
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 18
More strands = more flexible, and much easier to pull through walls.

I used this last year for an addition, and it pulled through the walls easier than any other wire I have used before. Very nice jacket, and it's cheap:

http://www.accessories4less.com/cgi-...em/SQSCL1425WH
WilliamZX11 is offline  
post #5 of 27 Old 10-13-2007, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
walrusjax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
OK, Thanks all for the info. The ads that I read stated that more strands make it more flexible and also carry the load easier because the signal is carried on the outside of the strand so more strands equals more surface. I thought that this was probably hogwash but decided to verify. I need a lot and found a 500' roll of 14\\2 CL3 Speaker Wire for $135 including shipping (can't even buy 500' of romex for that cheap ). Guess I'll place my order.

Thanks once again for the assistance!!!

Tom
walrusjax is offline  
post #6 of 27 Old 10-13-2007, 07:29 PM
AVS Special Member
 
littlesaint's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Brunswick, Ohio
Posts: 1,121
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

I don't know how you can understand that, I certainly cannot. It doesn't matter except as to the flexibility of the wire. The gauge of the wire, and hence its electrical characteristics remain the same.

The idea is certain frequencies travel along the surface of the conductor. The more conductors, the more surface area for which the signal to travel. I believe it called the skin effect and it's validity is one of the classic audio arguments.

I go by the wallet effect and buy the best wire I can afford.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
littlesaint is offline  
post #7 of 27 Old 10-13-2007, 08:01 PM
EC
AVS Special Member
 
EC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,059
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
When I got into high end audio back in the early early 80's. The big trend with speaker cables was having the most amount of strands and "oxygen free". I still have some Angstrom speaker cable that has something like 600 strands if I recall. I still have this cable sitting on shelf. If you are going in wall make sure the cable is inwall rated (FT-4). Home Depot sells this stuff and it works like a champ. It has an outer insultation on top of the two insulated conductors and is cheap.

12 AWG - Green outer shield
14 AWG - Yellow outer shield
16 AWG - Blue outer shield

The 12 AWG is a bit stiff but if the walls are already exposed - it should be no problem.

Eric Chong
My HT Pictures
EC is offline  
post #8 of 27 Old 10-14-2007, 03:55 AM
Senior Member
 
tatanka01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Colorado
Posts: 440
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 10
It's interesting that skin effect is proportional to frequency; less effect at lower frequencies.

In the RF world though, it is common to use Heliax where cost doesn't matter. Heliax is a coaxial cable with a solid center conductor and a shield conductor that approximates a solid. The dielectric between the two is typically air or pressurized nitrogen. Nitrogen gas is used in high power applications to prevent arcing. The diameter of this cable is often several inches, and it almost goes without saying that the stuff is quite expensive.

If those guys aren't buying the strand argument....

Speaking of which, I don't believe I've ever heard the term "oxygen free" used in relation to moving RF from point A to point B via wire.
tatanka01 is offline  
post #9 of 27 Old 10-14-2007, 04:34 AM
AVS Special Member
 
syswei's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: CT
Posts: 1,100
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Here is a highly technical article: http://bruce.coppola.name/audio/cableInteractions.pdf

I haven't tried to wade through the whole thing. But there do seem to be some measurable effects in some circumstances to using cables that have many individually insulated strands.
syswei is offline  
post #10 of 27 Old 10-14-2007, 11:16 AM
AVS Special Member
 
AV Doogie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Rockford, IL
Posts: 2,253
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Higher strand count conductors are typically capable of carrying more current (read: lower impedance) due to the higher copper density (fewer voids). Take welding cable for an example. While the high strand count may be more beneficial for flexibility, the difference in cable resistance is probably too small to be concerned about.

P.S. Skin effect will have no effect on frequencies in the audible range as far as cables are concerned.

My Home Theater Site:

DJ-Theater
AV Doogie is offline  
post #11 of 27 Old 10-14-2007, 12:20 PM
AVS Special Member
 
jwatte's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Redwood City, CA, USA
Posts: 1,234
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:


Higher strand count conductors are typically capable of carrying more current (read: lower impedance) due to the higher copper density (fewer voids).

While that may be true for the same physical radius, the gauge is measured by the cross section surface area, and thus 12-gauge 100-strand is the same as 12-gauge solid. The reason to go with stranded is to get a more malleable cable.

And, as you say, at sub-megahertz frequencies, the skin effect has no impact.

Get a cable of the gauge you need, that is in-wall rated (impotant!), easy to install and light on the pocketbook -- in that order.
jwatte is offline  
post #12 of 27 Old 10-15-2007, 07:03 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Speedskater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 2,030
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Stranded wires do have a small difference in cross-section area, depending on stranding.
This from an old Alpha Wire catalog.
14 Gauge wire, Square mm area:
Solid - - 2.087
7/22 - - 2.2848
19/27 - 1.9535
41/30 - 2.0910
105/34 - 2.1254

Kevin
Speedskater is offline  
post #13 of 27 Old 10-15-2007, 07:40 AM
 
PULLIAMM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 8,516
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
The number of strands effects only the flexibility. It has nothing to do with the sound.
PULLIAMM is offline  
post #14 of 27 Old 10-15-2007, 07:43 AM
Senior Member
 
doxytuner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 286
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
From a practical point of view, what's important is the gauge of the speaker wire(copper) and the ohm resistance.
Richard
doxytuner is offline  
post #15 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 12:41 PM
Newbie
 
Kiler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
FYI - though cross-sectional area affects the resistance of a length of wire, current does not flow through the entire cross-section of a wire - only near the surface. Thus, increasing effective surface area by twisting together many tiny wires to make a single conductor rather than one thick wire increases the load rating of a given gage wire.
Kiler is offline  
post #16 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 01:04 PM
AVS Special Member
 
JHAz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 3,910
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Liked: 151
That's skin effect you're talking about. See above. I don't think uninsulated multistrands look like individual strands to electrons, which can pass between them onaccounta they aren't insulated. At any rate, as stated above, FWIW, and at least for me, it has been demonstrated adequately that skin effect is not relevant at audio frequencies in lengths we use to connect speakers in homes smaller than the size of an average state in the US (and maybe even not for longer runs, it's been quite a while since I put those concerns out of my mind).
JHAz is offline  
post #17 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 01:05 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Gizmologist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: SoCal
Posts: 2,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 28
Since the wiring in the amplifier including output fuses and in the speaker cabinets does not contain any exotic construction or anything more than standard, off the shelf, bulk hook up wire, why waste money on complete technical nonsense?

As many have accurately stated, Monoprice , HD, Lowe's etc all carry excellent cabling that will be a perfect for the audio. Now, if you want to brag about the wire construction, that's another story.
Gizmologist is offline  
post #18 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 02:15 PM
AVS Special Member
 
walbert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,811
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlesaint View Post

The idea is certain frequencies travel along the surface of the conductor. The more conductors, the more surface area for which the signal to travel. I believe it called the skin effect and it's validity is one of the classic audio arguments.

I go by the wallet effect and buy the best wire I can afford.

It's an audiophile argument, but a real effect in RF:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_effect

Quote:
Originally Posted by EC View Post

When I got into high end audio back in the early early 80's. The big trend with speaker cables was having the most amount of strands and "oxygen free". I still have some Angstrom speaker cable that has something like 600 strands if I recall. I still have this cable sitting on shelf. If you are going in wall make sure the cable is inwall rated (FT-4). Home Depot sells this stuff and it works like a champ. It has an outer insultation on top of the two insulated conductors and is cheap.

12 AWG - Green outer shield
14 AWG - Yellow outer shield
16 AWG - Blue outer shield

The 12 AWG is a bit stiff but if the walls are already exposed - it should be no problem.

I think the coding might be a different in the US, I think FT4 corresponds to UL CL3 in the US but I may be wrong.

I generally go with what most speaker makers suggest: 18 AWG or higher, whatever's cheap, 16AWG for longer runs, 12AWG for very long runs or very high power (or if you just have the coin and feel like it; there's no negative impact to any in a reasonable length - you can screw with impedance significantly at very long distances (hundreds to thousands of meters) with lower gauge stuff though). See here for more information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America...AWG_wire_sizes
walbert is offline  
post #19 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 02:55 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Bob Lee (QSC)'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Posts: 1,864
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 19
Skin effect at audio frequencies is like aerodynamics of a turtle: it exists as a phenomenon but is negligible for all practical purposes.

Bob Lee
Applications Engineer
QSC Audio Products, LLC
Costa Mesa, Calif.

Secretary, Audio Engineering Society
Bob Lee (QSC) is offline  
post #20 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 03:16 PM
AVS Special Member
 
walbert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,811
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee (QSC) View Post

Skin effect at audio frequencies is like aerodynamics of a turtle: it exists as a phenomenon but is negligible for all practical purposes.

You really could not have put that better - and I'm still laughing.
walbert is offline  
post #21 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 03:19 PM
Senior Member
 
rock_bottom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 430
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
But what about Gamera?
rock_bottom is offline  
post #22 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 05:23 PM
AVS Special Member
 
DonH50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Monument CO
Posts: 6,020
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 142 Post(s)
Liked: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee (QSC) View Post

Skin effect at audio frequencies is like aerodynamics of a turtle: it exists as a phenomenon but is negligible for all practical purposes.

I have got to remember that one!

I deal with skin effect all the time. In RF. In X- through W-band radars. Never at audio. BTW, the only way to reduce skin effect with stranded wires is to insulate them all, a.k.a. Litz wire.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
DonH50 is online now  
post #23 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 05:57 PM
Senior Member
 
ymalmsteen887's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I've noticed on my reciever that with antenna wchich is a wire that even though its broken in half I can still connect what seems to be one strand and get the raido coming in clear so I guess in that situation all the extra wire is excessive.
ymalmsteen887 is offline  
post #24 of 27 Old 04-08-2011, 07:39 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Gizmologist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: SoCal
Posts: 2,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 28
You can use a single strand of 28 awg wire. The reason for the additional strands in the wire are for physical strength for handling.
Gizmologist is offline  
post #25 of 27 Old 04-10-2011, 02:56 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Bigus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: The South
Posts: 4,258
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlesaint View Post

I go by the wallet effect and buy the best wire I can afford.

Do you buy the most expensive toilet paper you can afford; or buy the one that gets the job done and is as comfortable as is your preference for as cheap as you can find it, and assume that anything more is just flushing money down the toilet?

Bigus is offline  
post #26 of 27 Old 04-10-2011, 03:03 PM
AVS Special Member
 
whoaru99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 6,960
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmologist View Post

As many have accurately stated, Monoprice , HD, Lowe's etc all carry excellent cabling that will be a perfect for the audio. .

I disagree only isamuch as I've seen enough reports of inexpensive wire turning green in the jacket to know that I want to avoid the lowest cost options. I spend a small bit more to get a good brand name like Belden.

Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you should turn it.
whoaru99 is offline  
post #27 of 27 Old 04-10-2011, 06:25 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Gizmologist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: SoCal
Posts: 2,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 28
All the sources mentioned carry a variety of wire and cable. Not all sore stock is TOTL. I have seen a great deal of name brand wire over the years (hundreds of miles actually) and no brand is immune to the issue. One way to avoid the issue is to use tinned copper wire. The tin seals the copper from developing a patina due to wicking moisture into the jacket.
Gizmologist is offline  
Reply Audio theory, Setup and Chat

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off