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Copper Clad Aluminum?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Have all the parts for my first home theater set up, all that's left is speaker wire.

I was looking at 16 or 14 guage speaker wire from RCA on Amazon. Has some very good reviews and is very affordable. Then I saw some things mentioning that the wire wasn't true copper and that it was actually copper clad aluminum. Does this matter, will it affect quality and can anyone testify if RCA speaker wire (http://www.amazon.com/AH1450SN-14-Gauge-Speaker-Wire-feet/dp/B002JP4Z96/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t) is an acceptable choice for a VSX-1122-K receiver and new Polk Monitors?
post #2 of 15
It'll work just fine. Resistance will be somewhat higher, but not enough to matter as long as your runs are reasonably short. If you want something better, check out Monoprice.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the answer!

I'm literally just bi-amping my two front speakers to my receiver which are no more than 5-10 feet away. My budget is stretched pretty much to the max at this point so if you think that RCA wire will do a great job I think I'll stick with that.
post #4 of 15
Is the cost difference form pure copper that much? Especially at only 5-10 feet? For that I would just go to Home Depot. The shipping costs alone would be as much as the wire.

I am hardly a foo foo cable supporter but aluminum wire is one place where I think one should spend the small extra cost for pure copper.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ok, maybe I'll go to Ace Hardware for the wire.

And what do I ask for, exactly? Just "pure copper wire"? Anything to designate that I need a positive and negative wire both?
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK423 View Post

Ok, maybe I'll go to Ace Hardware for the wire.

And what do I ask for, exactly? Just "pure copper wire"?

I've never seen anything but pure copper wire in the bulk wire section of a hardware store or a big-box home improvement store.

This copper clad aluminum RCA branded wire is not representative of what you usually find in hardware stores.
Quote:
Anything to designate that I need a positive and negative wire both?

Commodity 2-conductor wire always has some kind of polarity marking. There may be stripe on one conductor, or there may be a color difference in the conductor, or there may be more ridges on the flexible jacket surrounding one conductor.

Forget passive biamping your speakers - its an audiophile myth to believe that it is going to improve the sound quality of your system.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
The only 14 gauge wire my local Ace Hardware had was extremely thick lamp cord wire with no designation of positive and negative so I don't think I can use that. A Home Depot not too much farther from me has this http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202788271/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=GE+50+ft.+14-Gauge+Speaker+Wire&storeId=10051#.UQV3buVMHFo. Would this be alright?
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK423 View Post

The only 14 gauge wire my local Ace Hardware had was extremely thick lamp cord wire with no designation of positive and negative so I don't think I can use that. A Home Depot not too much farther from me has this http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202788271/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=GE+50+ft.+14-Gauge+Speaker+Wire&storeId=10051#.UQV3buVMHFo. Would this be alright?

Yes this stuff is just fine. But you really don't need 14ga for 5-10 feet. Here is the unofficial AVS guide to speaker wire:

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
post #9 of 15
Home depot sells lamp cord/speaker wire by the foot from the big spool deal in the electrical section. Buy that for short runs or buy in bulk from monoprice.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK423 View Post

The only 14 gauge wire my local Ace Hardware had was extremely thick lamp cord wire with no designation of positive and negative so I don't think I can use that. A Home Depot not too much farther from me has this http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202788271/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=GE+50+ft.+14-Gauge+Speaker+Wire&storeId=10051#.UQV3buVMHFo. Would this be alright?
Really there is a designation of conductors. Usually the insulation over one wire will be smooth, and the other ribbed, or hexagonal. Or one side will have a ridge down it. Sometimes the conductors themselves are different colors, or a colored thread is in one conductor. Usually, however, it will be the insulation has a different physical characteristic.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK423 View Post

The only 14 gauge wire my local Ace Hardware had was extremely thick lamp cord wire with no designation of positive and negative so I don't think I can use that. A Home Depot not too much farther from me has this http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202788271/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=GE+50+ft.+14-Gauge+Speaker+Wire&storeId=10051#.UQV3buVMHFo. Would this be alright?

I've never seen commercial lamp cord that did not have some designation of positive and negative. Sometimes the manufacturers are very stealthy about how they do it.

This cable has tiny printing on just one conductor:



Often insulation on one of the two conductors has a ridge or a band of ridges molded into it.

post #12 of 15
+1 to the above posts (always some indication, often a little sneaky). Worst case just hook a battery at one end and measure the other with a $5 meter to check polarity.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post

+1 to the above posts (always some indication, often a little sneaky). Worst case just hook a battery at one end and measure the other with a $5 meter to check polarity.

Even cheaper, turn down the lights, and use a battery. The spark can be seen when you are about to make contact.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD in NJ View Post

Even cheaper, turn down the lights, and use a battery. The spark can be seen when you are about to make contact.

how does that indicate polarity?
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by JD in NJ View Post

Even cheaper, turn down the lights, and use a battery. The spark can be seen when you are about to make contact.

how does that indicate polarity?

Use this test to see which wire ends are actually connected to each other.
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