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I have 35' runs of 14 guage speaker wire to my surrounds is that good? will 12 gauge show inprovment? Rich
 

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Yes. No.



Geez, this question is asked and answered here every single day. Can't you do a search?
 

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I wonder why speaker wire comes in so many gauges if none of it makes a difference. Why not use the lightest, thinest, most flexable wire possible?.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacco
I wonder why speaker wire comes in so many gauges if none of it makes a difference. Why not use the lightest, thinest, most flexable wire possible?.
It makes a difference over long runs. Resistance...SEARCH.
 

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I believe the difference the guage makes depends on the length of the run, the quality of the speakers and the power the speakers require to drive them.


Even better than 12 guage is a pair of 14 guage wires terminating in the same connector.
 

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1Time, you're making it too complicated. The power level is irrelevant. Current level is applicable in defining a minimum gauge (somewhere around 30 AWG). But above the minimum it is irrelevant. The quality of the speakers (where did that come from?) is irrelevant.


One factor you didn't include is the impedance of the speakers. You want total resistance in the cable to be
 

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DMF,


I agree with your facts (even without researching them) and I agree it is better to learn what you've presented than to believe what I had. My apologies to all who may have followed my belief. Thank you for the elementary lesson and consider me a student in your debt.
 

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Whoa! Maybe this teaching thing is worth another look. It's not often I get such a nice reward. :)
 

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Whether or not cables make a difference is a hotly debated topic in audio. However, it seems that you’ll find more people claiming speaker cables make a difference than you will with signal cabling. Most people I’ve seen claiming speaker wire makes a difference say so when hearing an improvement after switching from small-gauge to large-gauge wire.


For instance, I could tell an immediate improvement years ago when I went from cheapie 20 ga. stuff to 14 ga. It was probably a 20-25 ft. run.


Several years later a good buddy of mine asked if I thought he would hear a difference if he ditched the cheap 20 ga. stuff that came with his 80’s vintage Yamaha rack system in favor of some 14ga. wire. The speakers weren’t all that great, and it was only about an 8-ft. run, and he’s never struck me as a guy with especially fine-tuned hearing. So I told him “I doubt it.†Imagine my surprise he came back with “It definitely sounds better.â€


The reason speaker wire gauge can make a difference has to do with its resistance and how that relates to a particular speaker’s impedance. Anyone who has seen an impedance curve graph for a speaker knows that the speaker’s impedance is usually not static. It changes from frequency to frequency. If a speaker’s impedance drops particularly low at certain frequencies, then it makes sense that even small amounts of resistance added by small-gauge speaker cable could easily affect the way the speaker sounds at those frequencies. And it makes sense, in that situation, that changing from small- to large-gauge speaker wire would make an audible difference (hopefully better).


In my case, the speakers were 4-ohm rated and 2-ohm drivers. So it isn’t a stretch to see how reducing line resistance by switching to larger-gauge wire would make an audible difference, when impedance was really low to begin with. I could tell the difference at both the bottom and top end – the bass was tighter, the highs were smoother and cleaner.


It logically follows that speakers with higher-ohm drivers may not respond as dramatically to a change to larger gauge wire as speakers with lower-ohm drivers. It also follows that speakers with more-or-less linear impedance curves across the frequency spectrum will probably not respond the same (or a readily) as speakers whose impedance dips in places to very low figures. This is probably why you get varied responses from people as to whether or not heavy-gauge wire made their speakers sound better. Obviously it depends on the particular speakers they’re using.


Bottom line – it’s best to use 12 ga. wire, when budget allows and application permits. Will it make an audible difference? Maybe, maybe not. But do you really want to go through the time and expense of buying speaker wire in various lengths and gauges and conducting listening experiments? Just go with the 12 ga. and be done with it.


That said – to answer the original question:

Quote:
I have 35' runs of 14 guage speaker wire to my surrounds is that good?
The surrounds carry mainly ambience sounds and are not the primary focus of your listening. Therefore it’s much more difficult to pinpoint any improvements you might get from larger gauge wire. For most runs 14 ga. is fine.


Regards,

Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

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Some corollaries to Wayne's reasoning:


* nothing other than the gauge has been shown to make an audible difference, unless unusual reactive elements are purposely introduced (some "high-end" cables actually include a filter network);

* therefore there is no audible result from using properly designed high-priced cables of the same gauge;

* since the net effect of added resistance is merely frequency-neutral attenuation, any audible difference experienced could have been removed during re-calibration.


Wayne, you imply that there are frequency-dependent effects of wire gauge. That has never been shown (in the audio frequency range).
 

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Good commentary from both Kevin and DMF on this often asked topic. Only practical point I would add is that for the insignificant price difference I would use 10awg wire for all applications so you would likely never need to upgrade wire again regardless of which speaker one has or length of run. Also get in the habit of cutting off 3/8" off the ends every 6 months to remove any copper oxide residue at the connection points.
 

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Like stated.... 14 is usually plenty good... Unless there is an insane distance you need to run...


12 is usually a safe level of overkill.


And


If you really want to make it good... anything with an expensive nice pretty colored outer jacket will make it sound even better :D


sorry couldn't help myself.
 

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I especially like the tri-coloured intertwined ones with highly proprietary coating technology guaranteed to improve micro-dynamics so even small mammals can hear the difference. Yes 12 is plenty, but if you ever run low sensitiviy 4 ohm speakers 400w capable speakers over 40 ft runs you'll like the extra margin of 10awg which doesn't cost much more (5cts/ft I think).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMF
Key phrase in your post was "I believe". Don't believe, learn. This is elementary physical science. No belief necessary.
WOW!


Gone are the days of blind faith, I guess. Whatever happend to, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe ?" :confused: :)
 

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Quote:
Wayne, you imply that there are frequency-dependent effects of wire gauge. That has never been shown (in the audio frequency range).
I won’t say that I’ve seen everything out there that’s ever been written on the subject, but I image you are correct.


It’s merely a hypothesis I’ve come up with, based on studying the charts of impedance curves over the years that Audio regularly included with their speaker tests (unfortunately, I don’t know of anyone doing this anymore – too bad) and my own experiences with speakers with low impedance. And reports I’ve seen from other people.


For instance, I’ve noted that people who say they’ve heard an improvement after switching to larger gauge wire offer widely different descriptions of what that improvement sounds like: “Tighter bass,†“Opened up the soundstage,†“highs sound less constricted,†etc. Other people claim that they could not tell a difference between small and large-gauge wire. In other words, there is not a universal consensus as to what the benefits are (if any). The most obvious variable, naturally, is that everyone is listening to different speakers. Thus it seems logical to assume that different speakers respond differently to the added resistance that small-gauge wire contributes.


You have to keep the big picture in mind. Considering that off-the-shelf resistors can be had in values in the tens of millions of ohms, and that zero ohms is a dead short, you can see that speakers operate at extremely low impedances - even those with nominal 8-ohm ratings. It’s not a stretch to see that minute changes in resistance have a much greater relevance when you’re dealing with low impedances than they do with high impedances: Add 1/10-ohm to a circuit with a 100,000-ohm resistor and it’s statistically insignificant. Add the same 1/10-ohm resistance to a speaker that dips close to or below 1-ohm at certain frequencies, and you’re looking at a 10% or more difference at those frequencies. It’s hard to image how a change that significant could escape audible notice.


As I said, it’s only a theory, based (hopefully) on sound reasoning. But there is at least some backing in known science.


The Rane Pro Audio Reference explains impedance as “A measure of the complex resistive and reactive attributes of a component in an alternating-current (AC) circuit. Impedance is what restricts current flow in an AC electrical circuit; impedance is not relevant to DC circuits. In DC circuits, resistors limit current flow (because of their resistance). In AC circuits, inductors and capacitors similarly limit the AC current flow, but this is now because of their inductive or capacitive reactance. Impedance is like resistance but it is more. Impedance is the sum of a circuit, or device's resistance AND reactance.â€


Note especially the last line, “lmpedance is the sum of a circuit or device’s resistance and reactance (emphasis added).†With a speaker, whatever connects it to the amplifier is an integral part of the circuit. Therefore, any resistance factor in the speaker wire becomes an integral part of the speaker’s impedance curve, just like the various elements in the crossover.


Regards,

Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

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I didn’t look at the link in Sirquack’s post until after post my last reply ( http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm ). Once I did, I see that there is confirmation to my theory that cable resistance makes an audible difference in speakers with low impedance figures at certain frequencies, and that it will show up less in speakers with stable impedance curves – scroll down or click on the link to “Cable Resistance Too High?â€.


The creator of the site is Roger Russell, originator of McIntosh’s line of speakers.


Revisiting what DMF wrote earlier:
Quote:
Wayne, you imply that there are frequency-dependent effects of wire gauge. That has never been shown (in the audio frequency range).
Probably not an exhaustive test, but Mr. Russell did make this observation at the link titled “Gordon Gow’s Speaker Wire Listening Testâ€:
Quote:
The test proved his point. When I took the test, I was unable to hear any differences using several different 8-ohm speaker systems. BUT, when I deliberately played one particular 4-ohm speaker and I switched to the line cord position, I could hear differences. I knew this system dipped down to 2.6 ohms in one frequency range, and 3 ohms in another. It verified that differences can be heard if the wire is too light for a lower impedance system. A system this low in impedance requires heavier wire. After replacing the line cord with a heavier line cord of equal length, differences could no longer be heard.
I came up with my little theory several years ago, but it looks like someone else beat me to it. Still, it’s nice to be validated by a such an illustrious figure. :D


Regards,

Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpedris
WOW!


Gone are the days of blind faith, I guess. Whatever happend to, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe ?" :confused: :)
It may get you into Heaven, but it won't design a working flashlight. :rolleyes:
 
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