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Gauge of wire needed?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Audio' started by Maleman, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Jul 9, 2009 #1 of 23
    Maleman

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    What gauge of wire do I need for front speakers (Energy XL-25B)?
    What gauge of wire do I need for rear speakers (Venturi)

    I own a Onkyo TX-SR875 receiver.

    Any thoughts? Are banana plugs a good way to connect?
     
  2. Jul 9, 2009 #2 of 23
    Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    Use a minimum of 16 gauge wire. Banana plugs can be used with no problem. I use white 16 gauge lamp cord from Lowe's, preferring it over the clear jacket of most speaker cables. There's no point in buying Monster cable. It's overpriced and will not perform any better for you. I've bought most of my banana plugs at Radio Shack, simply because it's convenient. Once again, avoid Monster brand.
     
  3. Jul 9, 2009 #3 of 23
    Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

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    I highly recommend Monoprice for wires and accessories.

    If it were me, I'd run 12ga... 14ga minimum... But I tend to overkill things... :grin:
     
  4. Jul 9, 2009 #4 of 23
    Maleman

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    Hmm but will 12-14 gauge fit into a banana plug? I am not sure what I have now. I just moved and its all boxed but I know it was virtually impossible to use banana plugs.

    Thanks
     
  5. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    I'm using 12 with banana plugs, work fine. 12-14 is recommended for anyone who is serious. IMO, Its mandatory for runs over 20-25 feet, others will say the lamp cord they use works fine, but you won't find any in my setup.
     
  6. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    14 gauge wire is enough to run 15 amps of 120v power, so it's plenty for virtually any home speakers unless the runs are over 100'. Honestly, for the modest (<200W) power used for most home system, and the relatively short cable runs, 16 ga is more than adequate.

    You won't find ultra-thick or boutique wiring even in high-end recording studios, because pros know that it makes virtually no difference. And if standard Belden, Canare, and Mogami cables (which are well-made but nothing special) are acceptable when making the original recordings, why would you need something special for playback?
     
  7. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    As you can see, there is a lot of controversy over wire gauge. I generally agree that 14 gauge is preferable. However, when you look at prewires, they are almost always done with 16 gauge. In my case, four systems in my home, two 6:1 systems, one 5:1 and one 2:0, all are 16 gauge. Our 17x17 foot, 2 story family room is prewired 6:1 with a Yamaha RX-V663 receiver and Paradigm speakers. The Dolby TrueHD sound is awesome.
     
  8. Aug 3, 2009 #8 of 23
    dennisj00

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    Check out Monoprice.com for wire and plugs. . . you'll get 10 banna plugs there for what you'd pay for 1 at RS.
     
  9. Aug 3, 2009 #9 of 23
    Richard King

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    In the old days when I was doing the design and wiring of corporate board rooms, recording studios, churches, etc., I would use 14 ga West Penn wire, nothing special at all. That was pretty much the standard of the pro audio industry.
     
  10. hobie346

    hobie346 Icon

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    I was having a discussion with a friend regarding banana plugs and pre-tining speaker wire to keep the exposed wire in contact with the banana plug screw. I just twist the ends so the wires are tightly wound and then screw the banana plug jack down finger tight and secure. My friend suggested pre-tining the ends and tighten just finger tight.
     
  11. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    I'm generally with you on this one. Although I may have gone the tinning route in the past, I'm convinced that simply twisting the wires and tightening the screw makes for better contact. It should be noticed that there are two types of banana plugs out there: one with a set screw on the side, and another which uses the plastic outer shell to secure the wire. When a receiver has speaker connectors that are properly spaced for them, I use double banana plugs, which have set screws to clamp the wires in place.

    Edit: The one problem that arises when using banana plugs is that some of them won't accommodate wire larger than #16. Most double plugs will probably handle wire as heavy as #14 or even #12.
     
  12. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

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    16 is plenty IMO and I am a custom installer. I have tried 14 and 12 for runs and never noticed a difference on equipment that is very high end.

    Only need to dip into the 14 and 12 if you are doing extremely long runs or pushing lots of watts to a very large speaker/sub.
     
  13. jaymz

    jaymz Cool Member

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    Only three factors have any effect on sound: wire ga; length and proper termination. I use 12-14 ga, try to keep wire length to a minimum and use banana plugs with set screws (not the twist in crap ala Monster).

    Any of the other stuff is hype! Wire weave, low oxygen copper, jacketing, is all balony and the people who claim they can "hear" the difference are fools.

    God, the other day I saw an ad in "Stereophile" mag for some junk floor puck thingies that hold your speaker wire off the floor because wiring on the floor effects your sound! I have even heard claims of speaker wire having "directionality," ie., the sound flows better in one direction than the other.

    Barnum was right!

    Jim
     
  14. rudeney

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  15. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

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    Termination is a bit of a hype as well in regards to sound quality, it is actually more for convenience than anything else.

    Done right, screw posts, banana plugs, speaker pins, and even spring connectors all can work just fine. Some are much easier to use and put together/reconfigure though.
     
  16. rudeney

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    I have to disagree, but just slightly. I won't suggest that you need any sort of special termination, but you do want two things - maximum surface contact and and a connection that won't be susceptible to oxidation. Personally, I will tin the ends of the wire, the crank down on them with the screw posts. The tinning compresses somewhat and that helps increase surface area and makes for a a very solid connection where oxidation won't intrude.
     
  17. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    One school of thought says that you shouldn't twist the ends at all as not doing so allows more shifting around (and hence better contact) when you tighten it down.
     
  18. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

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    Fair enough.

    I just have never heard or experienced a difference between the standard ways of terminating speakers. Besides ease of use and ability to withstand oxidation/weather/etc. depending on the location.
     
  19. rudeney

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    Well, when you live with the variable temps and high humidity we have here the The South, you always think about things like that! :)
     
  20. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    If oxidation is a concern, there are many solutions available that don't make the wire so stiff that it won't conform to a simple connector. Soldering typically reduces the contact patch versus not tinning as the wire can't crush down and shift about to accommodate the shape of the hole that it is in.
     

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