|Originally posted by bob_vdi
Would it be a good idea to just buy 12gauge even if my longest runs are under 50'?
While this is far from a technical response, it is a fairly logical one ...
When making decisions regarding "how much is too much?" I typically look for the point on the price vs. quality curve just before the exponential growth occurs. If going from 14 gauge to 12 gauge will cost me 5-10% more, I'll probably do it, not because I can prove a benefit but because the incremental price is trivial.
This is where the "audiophile" wire loses me - completely. It isn't 5-10% more, but 500-10000000% (yep, that's 100,000x) more. Even if there were an audible difference, I *still* wouldn't buy it. Ditto for a $50K amplifier vs. a $2K one. "But the cymbals are more present!" Fine, I'll hire the band to play in my livingroom instead.
BTW, keep in mind that thicker wire DOES have drawbacks other than just price - it is harder to conceal and may cause problems at both ends of the wire with the connections to the speaker and amp/receiver. So even if 4ga wire were the same price as 12ga, I wouldn't use it.
BTW#2, I ended up with SoundKing 12gauge OFC wire from partsexpress.com for ~$0.40/ft shipped. I am running relatively low impedance speakers (4-6ohm) with ~10ft runs to the front three speakers and ~25ft runs to my rears and ~100wpc. I certainly could have used 14 or even 16 gauge wire with only minor audible differences.