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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll be running about 30 ft to each speaker (Polk FX300i) and just wanted to know if it REALLY makes a difference whether I use 16 compared to 14. I currently have a roll of 16 white which would match my decor but if I MUST go with 14 then a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
 

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I think 16 might be ok but 14 could be better,I tkink you could just double up the 16.I doubled up 14 gauge wire for 50 foot runs cause I wanted 12 but had no time left so I just doudled it up,I am sure you will get some some more advice 16 should be ok,sound travels real fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll probably just go back to RS to see if they have 14 white. It would more of a PiTA to double up than to just exhange it. Then again, I don't know if they carry 14 in white, we'll see.....
 

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I vote for 12. I wouldn't consider 16, so if you're going to get something different, do it with 12. I ran 14. 14 is probably enough, but I would like to add a 200 x 5 or 7 channel amp later to my system. I have paradigm studio 20's for the rears. I would feel better about having a 200 watt amplifier's power running through 12 gauge wire for a similar 35-40 foot run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My amp pushes 100w to each rear speaker. So now 14 might not be enough? I wonder how much signal loss/sound quality I will lose with each type of gauge. I can't find 14 in white, let alone 12 so I must just have to go with regular wire.
 

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16 Gauge wire is fine for an 8ohm load as long as you stay under 50 feet of wire.


12 Gauge is way overkill so naturally I use 12 Gauge. =)


For wire I would check www.partsexpress.com, or, if you want lots of options www.sounddomain.com sells speaker wire for car installations (i.e. lots of variety).
 

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WJ, for the length of your runs, and considering that it's therears, the #16 really will suffice. At the loudest sounds, with the heaviest bass (more current-hungry notes), you would be at the edge of pushing it. If your rears are set to 'small', you're very safe.


By the way, everyone, when you double up on a given size wire, you actually end up with a slightly higher equivalent than two sizes (not numbers) larger, so two #16s are slightly heavier than one #12, two #14s are a little better than a #10, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Larry. I read Polk's manual online (I haven't received the speakers yet) which said that 16g or heavier would be fine. My amp is rated to drive 100w per channel @ 6 ohms while the Polk's are rated at 8 ohms. Does the ohm rating play a factor in this? How? Does lower ohms mean I need higher gauge wire or vice versa?


Bill
 

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The earlier measurement I gave you (50feet/8ohm) is based on the resistence of the speaker wire not exceeding 5% of the rated impedance of the system.


Thus, if your impedance is 4ohms, you would reach 5% resistence faster and thus have a shorter max length. So at 4ohms your max wire length is 25 feet.


The impedence that your amplifier "sees" is dependant on the speaker. However, impedence is very dynamic anyway.


Since your polks are rated at 8ohms your max wire length is 50 feet at 16 gauge.


I am getting this information out of a speaker design book.
 

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One more thing, if you are running the wire through walls then you might consider running 12 gauge.


That way you never have to re-run the wire if you upgrade to different speakers with a lower impedance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks zan. I won't be running any wire through my walls soon. I'll only be stationed here for another 2.5 years then the Army will have me on the move again. I prefer just to run white wire along the corners. It actually looks pretty good. I appreciate your time in helping me out!
 

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At least we are very healthy here, not discussing any other BS aspects of speaker wires (like brands) than the thickness. :D :D :D
 

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WJ, the fact that the speakers are rated at 8 ohms only means that there is even less dependency upon the wire, so it's a plus.
 

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WJLane,


It really depends on what your speakers are rated at. If they are 8 Ohm, you probably would have a hard time noticing a difference between 16 ga and 14 ga. You MIGHT notice a difference when going to 12 ga. If you have 4 Ohm speakers, I would go with 12 ga. And if you do decide that 16 ga is too small, go with 12 ga just to be safe, regardless of your speaker's impedance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sounds good so far. I measured the exact distance my surround wire will run and it came out to 33'. I think I'll stick with the 16g for now. Based on all the great info here I should be okay with 8 ohm speakers and a wire run of less than 50'. Even if I did a sound test between 16g and 12g wire I seriously doubt I would HEAR a difference. Agree?
 

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Agreed.
 

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One thing's for certain - if you don't compare the two, you'll never notice a difference!


I use this same concept to avoid tempting myself by listening to the "flagship" speakers. If you never try the $100 bottle of wine, you'll never crave it!
 
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