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n00b question: what gauge sppeaker wire for 8 ohm speakres?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
The lengh i'm u sing is prolly 15-30 feet. i think i need 20awg right? but i can i get 18 16 or 14?

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable
post #2 of 10
Use this:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf

You can use a larger than recommended gauge but there's zero advantage to doing so.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
this is what i got can u tell me if this looks qutie about right? I need 18AWG?


they would be for martin logan mlt-2

ML manuals says:

Suitable Amplifier Range = 15-100W,
Power Handling = 50W.
Edited by Stealth3si - 9/2/12 at 11:31am
post #4 of 10
18AWG looks to be ok for your current situation based on the calculator. But do you ever plan to upgrade in the future? A 100' spool of 18AWG is about $10 from Monoprice.com. The same length of 16, 14, and 12AWG is $19, $25, and $30 respectively. If this will be a forever installation with no upgrades, then 18AWG is fine. But if you ever plan to go with something bigger, 14 or 16AWG will give you lots of leeway so that you don't have to buy new cable. 12AWG will handle everything but the most extreme DIY subwoofer projects. That's why I got 12AWG for my equipment. Even though it isn't necessary at current, the extra cost is negligible in light of the fact I'll never have to worry about getting a bigger gauge of wire no matter what I end up buying in the future.

That said, looks like even 14AWG would be sufficient for 99.9% of home theater systems. Even if you were pushing 500W through 40' of cable, 14AWG would give you less than 1db of loss, and would be able to safely handle the amperage. So if you want to future-proof while spending as little as necessary, a spool of 14AWG wire would be sufficient.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Use this:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf
You can use a larger than recommended gauge but there's zero advantage to doing so.

There's one advantage, you never have to think about it. Just grab a length of 12AWG zip line and if under fifty feet, you're good to go; no thinking. I like not having to think. tongue.gif

Lots of good speaker wire information at the linked website.

-
Edited by BeeMan458 - 9/2/12 at 12:14pm
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
is the wire lenght in the formula refer to each wire lenght for each individual speaker or is i the total wire lenght of all speakers combined?
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth3si View Post

is the wire lenght in the formula refer to each wire lenght for each individual speaker or is i the total wire lenght of all speakers combined?

 

It's each wire length for each individual speaker.

 

I agree with what some other posters have written:

 

  • Unless your budget is extremely tight, a bigger wire (smaller AWG number) gives you more flexibility in the future.
  • I also recommend Monoprice. They sell good stuff at good prices.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth3si View Post

The lengh i'm u sing is prolly 15-30 feet. i think i need 20awg right? but i can i get 18 16 or 14?
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable

I just used 2-wire, 16AWG ribbed heater cord wire (maximum length was about 30 feet for the sides) and run my speakers at 8 ohm. No discernible loss at all. Sounds great and I paid about $0.30 per foot at the local hardware store.
post #9 of 10
I'm using 16 awg for 20 foot runs with 8ohm speakers, no problem. I went with 14awg for the outside deck speakers (30 ft run) because i finally realized they weren't much more than the 16. If i were to do it again, I'd prolly do 14awg just because.
post #10 of 10
Short answer. . . 18ga. to 16ga. speaker wire will generally suffice if you have 8 ohm speakers and you keep the volume level in a low to moderate (power) range.

Longer answer:

The more power you try to push through your speakers, the more loss there will be in the speaker wire used to feed that power to the speaker. Additionally, a 4 ohm speaker will generally cause more current to flow for a given voltage output by the amplifier than an 8 ohm speaker. And the longer the wire length, the more power will be dissipated in the wire used to feed the audio signal to the speaker. Ideally you want Zero loss in the wire, but all wire has resistive, capacitive, and inductive losses, also known as impedance. A speaker has the same thing, but all wound up tightly in the speaker voice coil where you want most all of the audio power to do it's work. The longer the length of wire used to feed a speaker, of course, the more signal could be lost in the wire itself. This affects more than just overall "loudness" the speaker puts out. Why, because the "impedance" mentioned reacts differently at the various frequencies of audio signal passed along to the speaker by the wire supplying it, and even the speaker voice coil itself. See, lot's of things going on here! cool.gif

So, generally 18ga for a low to average loudness level and 8 ohm speakers should be fine. To be honest, in my previous home I ran 18 gauge wire to some side speakers in a 7.1 set up and 14 gauge to some rear speakers of the same size (6" drivers with 1 1/2" tweeters) over a 30' to 35' run.. I measured audio signal level with both meter and oscilloscope at all speakers and at 4 different frequencies (60Hz, 1KHz, 5KHz, and 10KHz). The difference in signal level was negligible at low to moderate audio signal levels from the amplifier. When the volume was cranked up to very fairly high levels that I would rarely, if ever, use; only then did I see significant degradation in the audio at each speaker. In my new home for our living room system I just ran 18ga wire for side and rear speakers. For my more serious room in the lower level, I will run 14ga wire, but that's just me.
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