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16 gauge vs. 14 gauge speaker wire?

24526 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  penngray
AVS Members,

I am installing a Russound CAV6.6 MS/MZ whole-home audio distribution system in a new house I am building. Currently I have contracted the installer to install 16 gauge speaker wire to the speakers in each zone. The speaker wire is home-run from the audio distribution location in the basement to every zone located in the basement, main floor and second floor. Total square footage is 2600 sq. ft on the main/2nd floors and another 1000 sq. ft in the basement. Based on this, I would assume my longest speaker run would not be longer than 100-120 ft.

Given these constraints what, if any, audible differences would I hear if I went with 14 gauge speaker wire instead? I am not an audiophile per se but I do appreciate getting the best sound possible at a reasonable cost. I am unsure whether 16 gauge vs. 14 gauge would really make any difference.


Thanks in advance,

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Distortion may be measurable, but not audible with a jump to the thicker 14AWG. For longer runs like that 12AWG is best. 16/2 or 16/4 is fine from VC's to in-ceiling or in-wall distributed audio speakers.
Russound reccomends 16 gauge wire for runs up to 100ft... for longer runs, you may want to step up to 14 gauge.

The connectors on the CAV6.6 will easily accept 16 guage wire, 14 gauge wire is trickier to get into them but it can be done... 12 gauge simply won't fit unless you trim the conductors which in turn negates the use of the larger gauge wire.

Sounds like 16 gauge will work for most, if not all your runs...


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Thanks guys!

I had read the CAV6.6 documentation and it suggested 16 gauge or 14 gauge. I had previously read that 12 gauge was difficult (if not impossible) to use with the CAV6.6 receiver, so I knew I was stuck with either 16 or 14 gauge.

I think I agree with you Paul - 16 gauge should be sufficient for my needs. And considering the wire is going in the wall within the next couple of days I suppose I don't really have the time to re-spec with the installer :)
12-gauge is a pain in the butt to work with period. 16 gauge will work fine, there is no difference to your ear in the end so go with 16-gauge save yourself the money.
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