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Help w/speaker wire

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Old 12-20-2007, 10:29 AM   #1  
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Default Help w/speaker wire

I’m sorry to bring this subject matter up…..but I did a search and did not find anything definitive…..so here I go..on a subject matter that no doubt has been beat like a dead horse. Speaker wire (quality?), distance and gauge. My first question is this…will “in-wall” speaker wire suffice for standard clear jacketed wire, i.e. can I use this in an open room like you would the clear insulated speaker wire? My second question…I would like to run some of this wire through the air ducts in my house, therefore the in-wall wire will be the only type of speaker wire used for the home theater system I’m building…is that acceptable? My last question is a two parter…the longest run is about 60-70ft back to the receiver, will 14/2 in-wall wire be ok given that it will have to run through speaker stands as well? The second part is quality of 14/2 in wall wire…Monoprice is where I’ve purchased cables from prior, however in reading comments posted on this and other sites there is a great deal of concern over the accuracy of their gauging of wire….meaning 12 gauge is not a true 12 gauge wire. I’ve asked them twice how many strands are in their 12 or 14 gauge wire….no response from Monoprice. Sorry for the length of post. Thanks in advance for any help offered!
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:37 AM   #2  
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Maximum Wire Lengths For TWO CONDUCTOR Copper Wire
Wire Size with an 8 Ohm load

22 gauge 12'
20 gauge 20'
18 gauge 32'
16 gauge 48'
14 gauge 80'
12 gauge 120'

It is also important to note that wires running to the speakers should all be of the exact same length to prevent an imbalanced load, that is increasing resistance to some speakers while having a reduced resistance to others. This is an extremely important factor that many speaker wire discussions omit.

Stereo Review Dares to Tell the Truth (1983)
A 6-page article by Laurence Greenhill titled "Speaker Cables: Can You Hear the Difference?" was published in Stereo Review magazine on August 1983. It compared Monster cable, 16-gauge wire and 24-gauge wire. The price at that time for a pair of 30-foot lengths of monster cables was $55.00. The cost for 16 gauge heavy lamp cord was $.30/foot or $18.00 and the 24 gauge "speaker wire" was $.03/foot or $1.80
"...So what do our fifty hours of testing, scoring and listening to speaker cables amount to? Only that 16-gauge lamp cord and Monster cable are indistinguishable from each other with music and seem to be superior to the 24 gauge wire commonly sold or given away as 'speaker cable.' Remember, however, that it was a measurable characteristic--higher resistance per foot--that made 24 gauge sound different from the other cables. If the cable runs were only 6 instead of 30 feet, the overall cable resistances would have been lower and our tests would probably have found no audible differences between the three cables. This project was unable to validate the sonic benefits claimed for exotic speaker cables over common 16-gauge zip cord. We can only conclude, therefore, that there is little advantage besides pride of ownership in using these thick, expensive wires"
Then we get into the more subjective evaluation. Suppose you're already using adequate size wire and have good connections at the speaker and amplifier. If you're then told the new wire will make an improvement, you will be looking for it and truly believe that you hear an improvement. Some people might go as far as saying "If I spent all that money for these cables, you can be sure I'm going to hear a difference." (rather than admit I wasted my money or have bad hearing).

So the answer here is NO, esoteric or Monster speaker cable offers no benefit whatsoever.
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Old 12-21-2007, 03:30 PM   #3  
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Default Monprice gauge claims

Loves2watch, thanks for the help. My last question still remains, is Monoprice trustworthy in accurracy of gauge claims? Anybody? Thanks for the help
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Old 12-21-2007, 05:23 PM   #4  
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Absolutely. monoprice is a trusted name for wires and cables. And one of the few that I recommend.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:20 AM   #5  
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just a quick note on wire gauge.....it has nothing to do with the number of wire strands in each wire bundle......only the diameter of the wire after manufacture. That diameter can be one single solid strand, or many hundreds of smaller strands, but since the electric signals travels on the outside skin of the wire, diameter is what counts, not strand count.

And yes, everything I have purchased from Monoprice has been first class.

If you are the least bit worried about the speaker wire (and I'm not) check out Parts Express and get wiring made in the USA.
http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=100-734
http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=100-740
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:59 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_vanmeter View Post
but since the electric signals travels on the outside skin of the wire . . .
Actually, at audio frequencies, this is not so much the case.
http://www.audioholics.com/education...speaker-cables

Quote:
. . . diameter is what counts, not strand count.
Right, for any given wire size, the cross sectional area will be the same; whether 18 gauge solid; 18 gauge 4-strand, 18 gauge 20-strand, or etc. . . .
The primary advantage to stranded wire over solid is flexibility.
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:06 AM   #7  
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Default Speaker wire

Thanks for all the help,
Monoprice is where I've purchased from prior and their cables have always been first class, so they get the nod again. I went with the 12/2 in-wall wire due to the length and location of runs, the longest was right at 75'. I also will try banana plugs for the first time. I ran only a short distance through the cold air returns of house. Many opinions on this so I decided against entire runs in the duct work. Thanks again for all the advice!!
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:12 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
Actually, at audio frequencies, this is not so much the case.

Right, for any given wire size, the cross sectional area will be the same; whether 18 gauge solid; 18 gauge 4-strand, 18 gauge 20-strand, or etc. . . .
The primary advantage to stranded wire over solid is flexibility.
Read the link you posted.
Higher strand count, especially in equal "gauge" wire, is almost ALWAYS better in audio applications.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:24 AM   #9  
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Originally Posted by putergod View Post
Read the link you posted.
Higher strand count, especially in equal "gauge" wire, is almost ALWAYS better in audio applications.
Sorry, I can't find where it says any such thing;
"almost always", the primary benefit to stranded wire is flexibility.

Perhaps you can post a quotation from the article that makes your point. I can't find any such claim.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:34 AM   #10  
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Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
Sorry, I can't find where it says any such thing;
"almost always", the primary benefit to stranded wire is flexibility.

Perhaps you can post a quotation from the article that makes your point. I can't find any such claim.
Ask and ye shall receive:
Quote:
Note: Multi stranded 12 AWG wire cross sectional area is slightly larger than equivalent gauge solid core wire, thus we shall model our wire as solid core for a more conservative calculation as depicted in the figure below. As you may recall my elementry Algebra, the Area of a circle = pi*r^2.
Quote:
Update: This is a very conservative calculation for increase in AC resistance due to skin effect because it assumes the current density profile is uniform within the first skin depth. This equation also assumes solid core wire which will exhibit higher skin effect compared to a similar gauge stranded wire. Further study shall be reserved on this topic for a later article.
The more strands, the larger the skin area, the less inductance, the less resistance, need i continue? Only someone with 0 electrical knowledge (completely 0) would not know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that higher strand count wire is superior (all other things being equal - material, gauge, etc).
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:37 AM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
"almost always", the primary benefit to stranded wire is flexibility.
Oh, and "stranded" vs "non-stranded" or "solid core", this statement is current. But 268 strand count vs 511, flexibility is minute.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:18 AM   #12  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
Actually, at audio frequencies, this is not so much the case.
http://www.audioholics.com/education...speaker-cables


Right, for any given wire size, the cross sectional area will be the same; whether 18 gauge solid; 18 gauge 4-strand, 18 gauge 20-strand, or etc. . . .
The primary advantage to stranded wire over solid is flexibility.
I want to thank you for an accurate post. A lot of myths just seem to persist about speaker wires and cabling in general. Indeed at the audio frequencies ac signals do not migrate to the surface of the cable. That is an effect at the higher radio frequencies. And again, thanks for correcting the #of strand myth, don't know how that one even got going.

Ed, feeling all better now with his morning cup of extra strong Italian Roast coffee.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:38 AM   #13  
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Originally Posted by putergod View Post
The more strands, the larger the skin area, the less inductance, the less resistance, need i continue?
Yes, you should continue.
For example, you have stated "the more strands . . . the less resistance".
That is misleading except by qualifying "resistance" in terms of skin effect.
Now, the author pretty well confirms that the "resistance" in terms of skin effect at 20kHz is totally negligible whether using solid or stranded wire.

Quote:
Only someone with 0 electrical knowledge (completely 0) would not know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that higher strand count wire is superior (all other things being equal - material, gauge, etc).
Well, I have considerably more than zero electrical knowledge, and I certainly don't know any such thing.
Of course, higher strand count wire is superior in some applications for some reasons;
while solid wire is superior in some applications for some reasons.
Any blanket statement that "higher strand count wire is superior (all other things being equal - material, gauge, etc)" is patently absurd.
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:28 PM   #14  
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In conclusion, your dog may appreciate the skin effect more (find it more irritating to his ears).
And this not a plug for flea powder.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:15 PM   #15  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustEd View Post
I want to thank you for an accurate post. A lot of myths just seem to persist about speaker wires and cabling in general. Indeed at the audio frequencies ac signals do not migrate to the surface of the cable. That is an effect at the higher radio frequencies. And again, thanks for correcting the #of strand myth, don't know how that one even got going.

Ed, feeling all better now with his morning cup of extra strong Italian Roast coffee.
Actually, that is an incorrect statement, as proven by the very site linked. Let me quote the passage AGAIN:
Quote:
Note: Multi stranded 12 AWG wire cross sectional area is slightly larger than equivalent gauge solid core wire, thus we shall model our wire as solid core for a more conservative calculation as depicted in the figure below. As you may recall my elementry Algebra, the Area of a circle = pi*r^2.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
Yes, you should continue.
For example, you have stated "the more strands . . . the less resistance".
That is misleading except by qualifying "resistance" in terms of skin effect.
Now, the author pretty well confirms that the "resistance" in terms of skin effect at 20kHz is totally negligible whether using solid or stranded wire.


Well, I have considerably more than zero electrical knowledge, and I certainly don't know any such thing.
Of course, higher strand count wire is superior in some applications for some reasons;
while solid wire is superior in some applications for some reasons.
Any blanket statement that "higher strand count wire is superior (all other things being equal - material, gauge, etc)" is patently absurd.
You are right. The author DOES indeed state that skin effect at 20k is low (I didn't see the word negligible - that's relative), down to 3%. But, 3% is 3%. The simple FACT of the matter is, the more strands, in the same gauge cable, the more the overall crossection, the more the overall skin area, and the less overall resistance. It doesn't take rocket science to figure this out. Read the damn article! Yes, he is out to prove that "exotic cable is a ripoff" and I wholeheartedly agree, but he has YET to say that high strand wire is. And his work even shows that higher strand wire is superior to lower stand wire in AC applications - and which AC application is this most prevalent in? Audio applications. (the minute difference isn't all that important in, say, household current since you aren't trying to get every last drop you can out of it - it already flucuates enough to negate the difference, so solid core workes great, and is more durable in this type of application - audio and video is the concentration for this discussion)
Solid core wire definitely has it's place. No doubt! But that is not in audio applications.

Here is another quote:
Quote:
As you recall, we calculated that Skin Effect does attribute about a 34% increase in cable resistance at 20kHz. This again assumes solid core wire. In actuality, multistranded wire has less of an issue with skin effect because each individual strand has a smaller cross sectional area than the skin depth at the particular frequency.
You know what..
YDWWFYIDWWFM
Translated: You do what works for you, I'll do what works for me.
You continue to use measly 68 strand wire and I'll continue to use 511 strand count 11ga wire. And we will both be happy.

And no, my wire wasn't expensive - wasn't the cheapest available, but wasn't "expensive" at all (when comparing to "expensive wire".

Last edited by putergod; 03-19-2008 at 03:32 PM..
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