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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess I'm looking for a primer on speaker wire.


I am upgrading my speakers from an old Bose Acoustimass system to a Mirage 5.1 setup. All of the speaker wire that I currently have in place (including in wall, through attic, runs to the rears) is that which Bose provided.


My question is this:


There are many self-proclaimed audiophile quality speaker wire products in the market. Do they really make a substantial difference to warrant the expense or is this subject similar to other signal carriers? (ie: hdmi, optical, etc.)


I would appeciate anyone who is interested posting what they use and why.


Chris
 

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You'll get really good recommendations here...mostly. There is a balance between cost and quality. One certain model of speaker wire won't make a substantial difference over another, unless it uses a resistor/capacitor network to intentionally alter the sound, which means making it less accurate. People hear a difference in these cases, and they assume it's an improvement. Simple, basic acoustical treatments will make a 100x bigger difference.


Use at least 14 gauge for shorter runs, and 12 gauge for runs up to 50'. Don't coil up the excess, and be careful not to run a staple through both conductors unless you want to run your amp into a dead short. What gauge wire is in your walls now? Does it look like a spider spun it, or does it look like jumper cables??


That said, I almost always use Straightwire speaker wire and interconnects because they are high quality, they look good, the connectors never fail, the connectors make a good connection, they are a great value, and their service is excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli /forum/post/0


What gauge wire is in your walls now? Does it look like a spider spun it, or does it look like jumper cables??

Thanks for the response, Paul.


Would somewhere in between be a good answer?



It is the wire provided by Bose with the speakers when I bought them. The runs to LCR are easy enough to change if needed/wanted. The runs to the rears would be a PITB.


I'll check out the Straight wire suggestion. I have a weakness for companies with great service.
 

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Depending on the smoothness of the in-wall runs, you could just attach the new wire to the old and pull it through (if the hole is large enough not to cause a jam). A friend did that a few months ago with no problems.
 

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If you are running cables in-wall, get CL2 or CL3 rated cables. They are designed to meet the Building Codes for in-wall cabling. Failure to meet code could have negative ramifications when selling your house or with homeowner's insurance claims resulting from fire. There is little to no price difference and no performance difference.

In-wall cables and building codes explained here: http://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/inwallrating.htm .
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctauber /forum/post/0


Thanks for the response, Paul.


Would somewhere in between be a good answer?



It is the wire provided by Bose with the speakers when I bought them. The runs to LCR are easy enough to change if needed/wanted. The runs to the rears would be a PITB.


I'll check out the Straight wire suggestion. I have a weakness for companies with great service.

I don't even know of the Bose cable is certified for in wall use, but the gauge is probably far too small for your needs.


Expensive speaker cables is mostly snake oil, if you're looking for bare cable fine whatever is rated for in wall use if you're running them in walls or ceilings (no reason you can't use that outside of the wall too if you have some sitting around). If you want finished cables, pay for decent build quality and good connectors, and good looks if you want, but don't get caught up in baseless claims made by most manufacturers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the responses.


I am really less concerned about in-wall ratings, at this point, than whether or not an expensive to very expensive 12AWG speaker wire is going to provide a noticable audio difference over an ordinary 12AWG wire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles /forum/post/0


No, the expensive stuff will not make a difference. The cheap stuff works just fine. Speaker wire is by far the least critical component of any system, if you even believe that it affects anything at all (given sufficient gauge).

Thanks Chris. I appreciate the input.


That is the direction that I was leaning towards. Confirmation though is always welcomed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Brennan /forum/post/0


Length, that's the most important thing. Wires that are too short to reach the speakers are bad for the sound.


Though some people like the "dark" background and lack of noise of too short wires.

Is this an attempt at humor?
 

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Short wires may trip your cat.
 
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