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The Truth about speaker wires.

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Old 08-19-2007, 07:46 AM   #1  
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Default The Truth about speaker wires.

Maximum Wire Lengths For TWO CONDUCTOR Copper Wire
Wire Size 2 ohm load 4 ohm load 6 ohm load 8 ohm load
22 AWG 3 feet max 6 feet max 9 feet max 12 feet max
20 AWG 5 feet max 10 feet max 15 feet max 20 feet max
18 AWG 8 feet max 16 feet max 24 feet max 32 feet max
16 AWG 12 feet max 24 feet max 36 feet max 48 feet max
14 AWG 20 feet max 40 feet max 60 feet** 80 feet**
12 AWG 30 feet max 60 feet** 90 feet** 120 feet**
10 AWG 50 feet max 100 feet** 150 feet** 200 feet**

For example: you can use#18 wire for a 25 foot run to a nominal 8 ohm speaker, but if the run is increased to 35 feet, #16 wire must be used. (**) 50 feet is the maximum recommended length for normal line cord or Romex solid copper wire. This length is more than adequate for most installations.
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.

What about oxygen free wire?
Oddly enough, it isn't the freedom of oxygen in copper wire that makes any difference. The process of removing oxygen also removes the impurity of iron and it's this impurity that can cause the resistance to be slightly higher. The difference in resistance between copper wire and oxygen free copper wire is too small to be significant for speaker wiring. It can be considered to be ordinary copper wire as far as the recommended lengths of copper wire in the table. Oxygen free copper wire can be more expensive than ordinary copper wire.
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).

An Honest Answer from Sound & Vision (2001)
Here's an answer by Ian Masters in the May 2001 issue of Sound & Vision, page 36 Q&A.
Note: I saw no speaker wire advertisements in this issue!
"Cheap Wire
Q. Would it be okay for me to use single conductor wire as speaker cables running through the attic or under the house? Does stranded wire provide some sonic benefit? It would be far cheaper and easier for me to run 12-gauge wire to a plate with banana receptacles and then use specialty cable at each end to patch to the amplifier and speakers. Jon Schwendig, Santa Clara, CA
A. There are a lot of myths about speaker wires, but in the end it's thickness that counts, and 12 gauge should be heavy enough for any reasonable domestic application. I've taken several comparative listening sessions over the years, and the sort of wire you want to use involves no sonic degradation that I (or anybody else in the tests) could hear. You could even wire the whole distance from amp to speakers using 12-gauge, but it would probably be more convenient to use something more flexible for the actual connection to components. Specialty audiophile cables would serve that purpose nicely, although more modest cables would work just as well."
The Big Picture
The industry has now reached the point where resistance and listening quality are not the issues any more, although listening claims may still be made. There is big money to be made in wire, not only speaker wire but all kinds of exotic wire—hookup wire, audio cables, power cables and a wide variety of speaker wire including the new term of “speaker cables.” The term cable implies more robust and heavy duty qualities than wire.
I have learned from one wire company that much of this exotic wire is not manufactured in the USA at all. It comes from places like Taiwan and China. It can be bought in industrial quantities at surprisingly little cost and sold for tremendous profits. Custom runs in large quantities, can be purchased having any number of different features and are not a problem for versatile wire manufacturers. It can even be made with various terminals already installed.
The strategy in selling these products is, in part, to appeal to those who are looking to impress others with something unique and expensive. There is also pride of ownership and the belief that if it costs that much it must be good. It will always sell to those who want the latest thing and would spend as much for a Rolex watch as they would for wire. Of course, there are ordinary watches that will tell time accurately they but don’t have that name or that price.
Another part of the strategy is to capitalize on the lack of truth in advertising, particularly the whole truth. Perhaps the two words “truth” and “advertising” are on opposite extremes but half of the truth can be worse than a lie. I don’t think the average consumer is any match to cope with the persuasive sales “hype” of professional salesmen praising a questionable wire science and doubtful benefits.
When confronted with the truth, believers do not want to hear about it. They want to remain in the magical world of fantasy where they think they can hear improvements in their wire, often arrived at by making listening tests without adequate controls or understanding of the problems involved. One of the prime tools in creating such a faith for the average consumer is by capitalizing on fear and ignorance as in many other things that aren’t readily apparent. There is fear that the wire currently in use is not good enough. There is ignorance because most people do not have scientific knowledge in this area and lack adequate measuring equipment to prove otherwise.
Logical Conclusions?
We have been told by advertising that the exotic speaker wires offer fabulous advantages over ordinary lamp cord. It would seem reasonable that using this same wire for lamps would also enhance their performance. In the same vein as wire literature, you can have your light bulb reproduce light faithfully, finally allowing you see light the way it should be seen and bring out the natural performance of your table lamp. It may offer greater warmth, detail, brilliance, definition and speed by providing wider bandwidth and reduced skin effect. Just imagine what it might do for your electric razor and microwave!
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:51 PM   #2  
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My Norelco Lift and Cut shaver functions 500% better since I got a monster power cable to rid the device of impurities!

Seriously, Just get a good gauge of Speaker wire 10-14 gauge and be done with it! I tried the Monster THX cables and didn't really hear a difference from my bluejeans 12 gauge wires. Thank god I got them cheap on ebay!
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Old 08-20-2007, 10:12 PM   #3  
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And ALL HDMI wires are made in China, every last one no matter who the manufacturer.
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:14 PM   #4  
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One statement.. MonsterCable.. you would not have to have gotten off the deep end on wires... LOL I don't brag.. but I have Polk Audio Surround sound... MonsterCable... I hear my sound just fine... 2 Tall towers.. with tweeters, wofers and sub woffers.... One center speaker.. and 2 nice back speakers.. that when the birds cherp... I hear them just find.. Crip and clear... know what you are doing helps everthing........... and how to hook them up...
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Old 04-27-2008, 05:33 AM   #5  
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Maximum Wire Lengths For TWO CONDUCTOR Copper Wire
Wire Size 2 ohm load 4 ohm load 6 ohm load 8 ohm load
22 AWG 3 feet max 6 feet max 9 feet max 12 feet max
20 AWG 5 feet max 10 feet max 15 feet max 20 feet max
18 AWG 8 feet max 16 feet max 24 feet max 32 feet max
16 AWG 12 feet max 24 feet max 36 feet max 48 feet max
14 AWG 20 feet max 40 feet max 60 feet** 80 feet**
12 AWG 30 feet max 60 feet** 90 feet** 120 feet**
10 AWG 50 feet max 100 feet** 150 feet** 200 feet**

Good info, I'm printing it and safeguarding it just in case.

Last edited by Joe Las Vegas; 04-27-2008 at 05:37 AM..
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Old 04-27-2008, 06:08 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrishaO View Post
One statement.. MonsterCable.. you would not have to have gotten off the deep end on wires... LOL I don't brag.. but I have Polk Audio Surround sound... MonsterCable... I hear my sound just fine... 2 Tall towers.. with tweeters, wofers and sub woffers.... One center speaker.. and 2 nice back speakers.. that when the birds cherp... I hear them just find.. Crip and clear... know what you are doing helps everthing........... and how to hook them up...
Married to the Phone Guy,,,, AKA Tech Nerd
So sorry to hear that you spent so much money, unnecessarily on those Monster cables when any other brand would have worked just as well following the recommended guide.

Monster is as rip off but to each his/her own.
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:07 AM   #7  
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my system is 7.1 , are you saying i need the speaker wires to be the same length for every speaker - ie 7* say 10.5m ??? example my left front is 8 metres from the amp but the right front onlt 1.5 ? my rear speakers are 7 and 11 metres (these distances include routing)
FL 8m FR 1.5m
Centre 3.5m
R L 10.5 RR 7
RRL 10.5 RRR 8
it would mean a lot of mess and waste ??
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:20 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scow View Post
my system is 7.1 , are you saying i need the speaker wires to be the same length for every speaker - ie 7* say 10.5m ??? example my left front is 8 metres from the amp but the right front onlt 1.5 ? my rear speakers are 7 and 11 metres (these distances include routing)
FL 8m FR 1.5m
Centre 3.5m
R L 10.5 RR 7
RRL 10.5 RRR 8
it would mean a lot of mess and waste ??
What is meant by that is that your surrounds should have roughly the same length of wire to each and your fronts should have roughly the same length.. for true balance of signal delivery to each, especially in longer wire runs.

You have a big difference in your fronts ( 8 meters vs. 1.5 meters).
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:39 PM   #9  
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Would running a 25 feet cable (15 awg/1.6 mm2) from my av reciever to the 8 ohms impedance surround speakers be okay?

My reciever is the Onkyo TX-SR607 which to around 105w also stays around the 8 ohm impedence if that makes a difference?

front, center & surround speakers don't need to be the same length right? Only the front l+r & center...& then the surround speakers
separat am i right..or else one would end up with quite a bit extra cable wire for the front speakers.

Edit: guess i'll do just fine with 15 gauge

Last edited by spaceape; 12-20-2009 at 02:46 PM..
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:06 PM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scow View Post
my system is 7.1 , are you saying i need the speaker wires to be the same length for every speaker - ie 7* say 10.5m ??? example my left front is 8 metres from the amp but the right front onlt 1.5 ? my rear speakers are 7 and 11 metres (these distances include routing)
FL 8m FR 1.5m
Centre 3.5m
R L 10.5 RR 7
RRL 10.5 RRR 8
it would mean a lot of mess and waste ??

The longer a piece of wire is, or the narrower its gauge is, the greater its resistance. The greater resistance a speaker cable has the more power is lost between the amp and the speaker causing the speaker to play less loudly. Therefore if you have a very short cable on one speaker and a very long cable on the other speaker, the speaker with the longer cable will be quieter. It is therefore recommended that speaker cables should be the same gauge, the same length and as short as possible. However, unless the difference in cable length or gauge is substantial the difference in volume will be undetectable.
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