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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have these speakers: http://www.onkyo.ca/model.cfm?m=SKS-...ss=Speaker&p=s


They come with speaker wire, though it is not copper. It's silver in colour, so I am guessing aluminum? Anyhow, the wire for the lack left surround speaker is not long enough, so I want to get a longer wire. All the speaker wire on Monoprice.com is copper. Can I use copper wire with these speakers without it impacting the sound quality (i.e making it sound worse/better than the other speakers)? And if I can, what gauge do I want? The wire that comes with the speakers is really really thin.
 

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the included speaker wire is probably copper, but "tinned" to give it a silver color and supposedly help with wire corrosion.


Copper replacement wire is just fine, and you should replace the very small gauge wire (larger wire size number) with 16 gauge speaker wire. Monoprice is an excellent place to get the wire you need, but you can also get it from Lowes or Home Depot for just a little more. If your surround speaker locations are further than 35' or so from the amplifier/receiver, then you might consider 14 gauge wire for the two surrounds, but overall 16 ga. should work fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The length or the room is probably 18 feet at the most, thought the wire has to run around the bottom of two walls to get to the speaker. I still don't think it will be 35 feet though. I'll have to measure to make sure; also with the left surround speaker (7.1 system), which will need to run around the top of the room. The current wire is incredibly thin; it looks like 24 gauge. So I think 16 would be more than adequate considering what is being used now. Though I prefer doing things right



Thanks for the great answer!


EDIT: Another question: Would it be better to use solderless banana plugs on all the wires that connect to the receiver? It would certainly be easier. Or is screwing down the terminal better overall as far as the wire staying securely connected?
 

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I like as few connections as practical, so I tend to tin the wires and screw then down. I only use bananas for my test rigs for convenience.

Yes, 16 ga should be fine for surrounds, but the existing 24 may be fine too. Surrounds do not have the deep bass that is effected most by the slightly higher Rx. Hook them up both way and listen. Don't be afraid to trust your ears and instead get carried away with problems that exist in theory, but may not be relevant to your system. It is about the music, not the numbers.
 

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The only reason to prefer banana plugs to bare wire is if you plan to disconnect and reconnect things regularly. It's merely a convenience. And screwing down a solderless plug is no better than screwing down a bare-wire connection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek /forum/post/16977112


I like as few connections as practical, so I tend to tin the wires and screw then down. I only use bananas for my test rigs for convenience.

Yes, 16 ga should be fine for surrounds, but the existing 24 may be fine too. Surrounds do not have the deep bass that is effected most by the slightly higher Rx. Hook them up both way and listen. Don't be afraid to trust your ears and instead get carried away with problems that exist in theory, but may not be relevant to your system. It is about the music, not the numbers.

The existing wire sounds like it's doing a fine job. These are not high end speakers, so the skinny wire seems more than suitable for the job. They are nice speakers and a good size (a foot tall for the 7 channel speakers and a huge, but not very heavy sub), but they were only $500 with taxes and shipping in. The speaker will be running along the perimeter of the room on the floor, so the less obtrusive it is the better. 16 gauge seems like it will be almost twice as thick as what is currently being used, so it should be more than sufficient



How does one "tin" the end of a copper wire?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eday_2010 /forum/post/16980447


The existing wire sounds like it's doing a fine job. These are not high end speakers, so the skinny wire seems more than suitable for the job. They are nice speakers and a good size (a foot tall for the 7 channel speakers and a huge, but not very heavy sub), but they were only $500 with taxes and shipping in. The speaker will be running along the perimeter of the room on the floor, so the less obtrusive it is the better. 16 gauge seems like it will be almost twice as thick as what is currently being used, so it should be more than sufficient



How does one "tin" the end of a copper wire?

You need solder from a hardware store. The same solder you use for copper water pipes. You need flux. And last, you need heat. A soldering iron or a torch will do.


Coat the wire with the flux, warm the wire until the flux turns liquid, touch the solder to the wire and it will flow along the wire strands via capillary action.
 

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You need solder from a hardware store. The same solder you use for copper water pipes. You need flux. And last, you need heat. A soldering iron or a torch will do.

No, you need to use solder for electronics...not plumbing. You don't need flux either, since it's already 'built into" the proper solder for electronics. You need a soldering iron, not a gun or a torch.

Never use plumbers solder or acid flux on anything electronic.
 

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Yeah, I've always used electric solder and a small soldering iron. Never needed flux.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus /forum/post/16977503


The only reason to prefer banana plugs to bare wire is if you plan to disconnect and reconnect things regularly. It's merely a convenience. And screwing down a solderless plug is no better than screwing down a bare-wire connection.

Another valid reason for using banana plugs is the binding post spacing on some AVRs. Using bananas allows the wire to come straight in as opposed to the side or bottom.


Virtually eliminates stray wire strands as well. Very low possibility of shorting.
 

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OH thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Finally some common sense on speaker wire. The speakers will work fine with 16 awg wire, and given the manufacturer included smaller gauge wire, that probably indicates a rather low power consumption vs SPL the speakers are capable of.


Also some speaker wire that is readily available from Rad Shack, HD etc has one conductor tinned. This is for ease of identification to make it easy to maintain polarity. "The copper wire goes to the positive terminal" That is the ONLY reason one wire is tinned.


The admonition about not using plumbing solder is absolutely 100% correct. Plumbing solder has no flux in it and plumbing solder flux is acid based, not rosin based as electronics solder is. That acid flux can damage the fine wire and the jacket and irritate your skin when handling.


The correct flux will say 60/40 rosin core on the package. Small packs are readily available at Rad Shack and even HD or Lowe's. Use ONLY a soldering iron or gun. Since you obviously don't do a lot of soldering, just buy a cheapy iron for about 7-10 bucks.


Also I agree that tinning the twisted bare wires to be connected to a speaker and amp is the best solution. If twisted nicely, there will be no loose strands after tinning. Save the cost of banana plugs to buy the iron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have a soldering iron, and solder. So all I need is the wire if I decide to tin the ends. Considering that the wire that came wit the speakers is tiny, 16 AWG may be overkill. 20 or 22is probably bigger than what came with the speakers, and for the room everything is in, the supplied wires work great. When I move and have a bigger room, then I will go for the thick, juicy wiring
 

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Another poster doesn't recommend tinning wires. He says something about cold flow and the terminals loosening up.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1093869


At work we tin wires, but only wires that are going into a crimp pin. Any wires that are connecting directly to a terminal block are not tinned. If that's the way to do it for space shuttle and aircraft components, I'm willing to bet its the right way.


I never knew why, but speedskater may be on to something.
 

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Carefully strip insulation.

Carefully twist wires.

Carefully check correct polarity.

Carefully insert into amp/speaker binding posts checking there are no strays.


You're good.
 

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Quote:
Another valid reason for using banana plugs is the binding post spacing on some AVRs. Using bananas allows the wire to come straight in as opposed to the side or bottom.


Virtually eliminates stray wire strands as well. Very low possibility of shorting.

Good point, which I should have thought of because that's exactly why I use banana plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Easyaspie /forum/post/16981111


Another poster doesn't recommend tinning wires. He says something about cold flow and the terminals loosening up.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1093869


At work we tin wires, but only wires that are going into a crimp pin. Any wires that are connecting directly to a terminal block are not tinned. If that's the way to do it for space shuttle and aircraft components, I'm willing to bet its the right way.


I never knew why, but speedskater may be on to something.

I didn't really intend on doing it, I was just curious. I have what I need to do it, but since it is not necessary, there is no reason for me to do it, especially since I am new at soldering
 

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That's a good one!


When properly heated, solder with rosin core flux flows easily between all the individual strands to make a shiny surface blending wire with solder.


When applying solder to a bare wire, withdraw the solder as the twisted wire becomes saturated with solder. Do not leave large blobs of solder (which usually result from removing the iron before the flow is complete).


When a properly tinned wire is compressed under a screw it will slightly flatten out and make a solid connection. Untinned wires are individually more more delicate to mechanical shear pressure of a screw being tightened down.


The possible damage to individual strands can easily occur with the "guillotine effect" of spring loaded clamps. The solder within the wire strands presents a much stronger surface to prevent wire shear. Also the flattened out bare wires can frequently be smaller than the clamp area of the connector allowing the wire to easily pull free.
 
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