Speaker Cable Gauge (AWG) Guidelines

Discussion in 'A/V Interconnects, Cables & Power Conditioning' started by admin, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

    admin
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    Lately we’ve been getting hit with the common question “what speaker wire gauge should I use”? More often than not, we’ve seen Audiophiles choose a higher gauge esoteric wire over a lower gauge generic zip cord cable simply because they were sold some marketing nonsense that their magic cables would improve your systems mojo. This guide cuts through the nonsense and gives some solid recommendations on selecting speaker wire gauge based on the length and impedance of your loudspeakers.
    [​IMG]

    Discuss "Speaker Cable Gauge (AWG) Guidelines" here. Read the article.
  2. gliz Full Audioholic

    gliz
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    excelant information, gonna print out that chart and keep it handy
    gliz,
  3. Haoleb Audioholic Field Marshall

    Haoleb
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    Looks like im good to go with my "DIY" speaker cables consisting of four 8 gauge conductors. Two for positive two for negative. I even terminated them in high amerage lugs :eek: Next to them is my Audioquest Type 4 that i have on my computer system. I used to use the AQ on my main rig but I like the bigger look of black hoses along the floor, Plus looking at those graphs Im sure it makes a difference with my damping factor :D

    [​IMG]
  4. AUtiger Junior Audioholic

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    Bi-amp - diff guage wire?

    Per Lonnie's suggestion (@ Emotiva) I'm going to bi-amp my Energy speakers (running 5.1 & have IPS-1 amp, so 2 unused channels), My question is: I currently am running 12g wire from IPS-1 to fronts ,approx 8ft. I don't have anymore 12g but do have some old Monster :eek: that was given to me or I have some 18g zip wire. I thought I would leave the 12g to the tweeters and run the heavier monster to the woofers. Would it matter not matching the guage? Thx
  5. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    Don't use 18AWG speaker cable. You have all of this nice equipment, why skimp on a few bucks? Get some decent 10 or 12AWG cables and you will be good to go.
    gene,
  6. AUtiger Junior Audioholic

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    sorry din't clarify, the monster is 8g or10g, (the 18g zip was some other wire an installer used THAT I REMOVED), so I'm good with the monster 8g-10 g? Thx
  7. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    The monster is likely 12AWG so it will work just fine. You don't have to match wire gauge, just use 12AWG or less and you will be ok.
    gene,
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  8. Tuddy Enthusiast

    Tuddy
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    Newbie ?

    Gene,

    Thanks for the article and the timing could not have been better
    as I almost bought some "snake oil" speaker cable for $400 bucks:eek:

    After reading your article and some actual reviews that included measurement
    analysis of the MI* cable I almost bought I have decided to get the 6 foot Sonicwave 10 AWG.

    It seems the shorter the run the less AWG needed. True?

    Do I need 10 AWG with 6 foot runs? it won't damage the speakers, will it?

    I have read the shorter and thicker the speaker cable the better
    and I want some quality for the B&W 804S's.

    Appreciate any feedback folks.
  9. ro7939 Audiophyte

    ro7939
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    Your wire chart displaying insertion loss per distance @ 8-Ohms is ultra sweetalicious! Thanks!

    Flat speaker cable is going under pre-laid carpet on slab floor; critical this be done only once.

    This is a top-level music system w/ costly, meticulously chosen French monitors. Question applies only to the critical front speakers. Owner is a musician & very picky.

    The speakers are NOMINAL 8-Ohm but dip to 5.4-Ohms, briefly at 80 Hz & from about 100-400 Hz. Source is 110W RMS amp rated only down to 8-Ohms, indicating minimum current reserves. Balancing the amp's 8-Ohm minimum rating is the fact that the speaker has a sum total one 6.5" bass/mid & is actively HPX'd @ 80 Hz.

    Being particularly picky (some might say anal), if the AWG is matched to the speaker's MINIMUM impedance, the 25'/8-Ohm NOMINAL cable length converts to about 40' @ 5.5-Ohms on the chart.

    The chart line indicates a minimum AWG of 13.5 but the largest flat wire seen so far is AWG15. Should I double the wire runs? From another chart is looks like doubling the AWG lowers the AWG (thicker) by a quantity of three, in other words 2x AWG15 = AWG12. Is that correct? If so, I may employ 2x AWG16 for an equivalent AW13.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Jimbo
  10. ParadigmDawg Audioholic Warlord

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    This is still my favorite, it is very nice and not too expensive.

    I also like what Haoleb made.

    [​IMG]
  11. ro7939 Audiophyte

    ro7939
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    I'm inquiring about nominal vs. minimum speaker impedance in choosing minimum AWG.

    In addition, your cable looks particularly round, meaning not flat, as I'm putting under the carpet.

    Thanks anyway.
  12. jz4h3m Audiophyte

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    Looking at the pic in the Impact Acoustics SonicWave Speaker Cable Review, I see the "Obtrusive plastic block on each end of cable."

    What is its purpose. Are these necessary and available for DYI cables? FYI: I made my bi-wire speaker cables from Canare Starquad 4S11 cable, some techflex, heatshrink and banana plugs.

    Thanks,
    Mike
  13. jamie2112 Banned

    jamie2112
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    What are you kidding you didn't buy monster cable. And you call yourself an audioholic....J/K you did what most folks on here do :make them yourself. That is the best method for me really. NIce job.
  14. PaleRider Audiophyte

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    Good info, but one important issue is missing: it has to be solid core. Multistranded wires might be easy to handle but they`re not suitet for any operation in a serious sound system, not even as powercords.

    In my system I`ve taken this all out all way from AC outlet and all the way including custom heavy gauge trafos. Fun begins around 9-10awg solid core, but real woofers need at least twice that area. The effect is of course depending on the powercapasity of the remaining components.


    `Tis Swedish company sells up to 4x7awg (4x10mm) pure solid copper wires for a good price in a cable called EKKJ.

    www1.elfa.se/elfa~no_no/b2b/start.do
  15. jz4h3m Audiophyte

    jz4h3m
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    I'm happy - but I keep seeing these "boxes" on these "high-end" speaker cables (and on a few of my USB computer cables) and don't know what they are for - are they in place of heatshrink with a more expensive look or is something magic inside of them?
  16. Mfalcon Audiophyte

    Mfalcon
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    really?

    Dude... great info on speaker wire, but seriously?! Chink?! :eek: I understand if you don't already know that that's pretty damn offensive. Most people (especially "white" Americans) have "terms" that they use on a regular basis that they'd never guess were racial slurs, but in the context you've used it I'd have to assume that you already knew. If not, now you do. Just google chink and see what you come up with.
    Thanks for the great info on speaker gauges! Looks like I need 14AWG.
    Peace.
  17. zhimbo Audioholic General

    zhimbo
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    chink, as in "chink in your armor" - a fissure or gap. It's a perfectly cromulent word. It's also OK to shine one's shoes, or eat crackers with cheese.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
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  18. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    and, Heaven forbid, you ever use the word "niggardly" in an uneducated crowd.

    It's kinda frightening to realize that wikipedia is the main source of education for many today.

    That's kind of like looking to McDonalds for all your nutritional needs.
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  19. Rickster71 Audioholic Spartan

    Rickster71
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    That has to be one of the most ignorant first posts I've ever seen.:confused::rolleyes:
  20. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    Really? And what is wrong with stranded wire? Please enlighten us.
    gene,
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