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Old November 30, 2010, 03:39 PM
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Default What gauge speaker wire?

Greetings. I was wondering what gauge speaker wire I should use for wiring my speakers without breaking the bank. I'll be bi-wiring my front towers. They're 8 ohm rated at 160W each. I need to make 4 runs about 10-15ft long.
Centre is rated 100W and I'll need 6-10ft.
Surround speakers are rated 100W each and I need to make 2 runs at 20-25ft each. That's about 125' max. Should I use 12ga, 14ga or can I get away with 16ga? Thanks for your help.
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Last edited by mo' power; November 30, 2010 at 04:58 PM.
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Old November 30, 2010, 03:50 PM
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Check out Princess Auto if you've got one local. They've often got some pretty decent prices on fairly heavy gauge speaker wire.
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Old November 30, 2010, 04:28 PM
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16AWG will be plenty IMO. 18AWG would actually be fine too for up to 25ft, but no harm in having some headroom.

You can get 200ft for $60 shipped at Monoprice: For only $11.56 each when QTY 50+ purchased - 16AWG Enhanced Loud Oxygen-Free Copper Speaker Wire Cable - 100ft | 16AWG Loud Speaker Cables Good cable IMO as I used a 100ft spool to do my HT (though no bi-wiring).
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Old November 30, 2010, 07:56 PM
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Cool. That's what I wanted to know. I should have asked in the first post but is there any advantage to bi-wiring the front speakers? Will it improve the sound quality at all or should I just single wire them. Will separating the frequencies make that much of a difference? The crossovers feature butterworth design if that's any help. I googled, but couldn't understand any of it.
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Old November 30, 2010, 08:47 PM
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You'll never find a firm answer for anything audiophile related. People talk talk talk this stuff to death about sound quality, and fidelity, and all this other stuff....It makes my engineer-schooled physics class brain hurt...Ugh.

Anyways, 'they' say anything under 25ft to go with 14awg, and anything over to go with 12. This is definite overkill (from a line loss and physics perspective). Doing the math tells me that for 15ft you could actually get away with 20AWG with your setup...
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Old November 30, 2010, 09:33 PM
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Thanks for the info. Well I guess I'll go with 16ga since it seems to be found everywhere. In regards to wiring the fronts, I guess I'll just have to conduct my own comparison between single and bi-wiring and pick whatever method sounds the best.
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Old November 30, 2010, 10:41 PM
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Make sure to go with Monoprice.

Bi-wiring performance usually depends on if the speakers do or don't use separate passes for high and low frequencies, and if the amplifier can supply sufficient juice.
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Old November 30, 2010, 11:20 PM
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The bi-wire connection separates the woofer from the combined midrange and tweeter section. A bi-wire compatible speaker has 4 binding post terminals. These two sets of terminals allows the speaker to be split into two independent sections. The split connects the mid and high frequency drivers to one set of terminals and the low frequency driver to the other pair. As these speakers are shipped from us, there are gold-plated bridges connecting the two sets of terminals that allow the speaker to be connected as a traditional loudspeaker.

Front Floorstanding Main Speakers
  • System Type: 2 Way - 3 Driver Floorstanding Main Speakers
  • Woofer\Midrange: Dual 6.5 inch Poly-coated Drivers with Butyl Rubber Surrounds
  • Tweeter: 1 inch Neodymium Balanced Silk Dome Ferrofluid Cooled For Longer Life
  • Power Handling: 50 - 160 Watts
  • Frequency Response: 49 - 20K Hz
  • Sensitivity: 89dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 3500 Hz PCB Mounted Circuitry
  • Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Enclosure: Bass Reflex Design Internally Braced
Center Channel Speaker
  • System Type: 2 Way - 3 Driver Center Channel
  • Woofer\Midrange: Dual 4.0 inch Poly-coated Drivers
  • Tweeter: 1" Neodymium Balanced Dome Ferrofluid Cooled For Longer Life
  • Power Handling: 30 - 100 Watts
  • Frequency Response: 80 - 20K Hz
  • Sensitivity: 86dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 8000 Hz PCB Mounted Circuitry
  • Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Enclosure: Bass Reflex Design
Rear Surround Satellite Speakers
  • System Type: 2 Way - 2 Driver Surround Speakers (Wall Mountable)
  • Woofer\Midrange: 4.0 inch Driver
  • Tweeter: 1" Neodymium Balanced Dome Ferrofluid Cooled For Longer Life
  • Power Handling: 30 - 100 Watts
  • Frequency Response: 80 - 20K Hz
  • Sensitivity: 86dB
  • Crossover Frequency: 8000 Hz PCB Mounted Circuitry
  • Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Enclosure: Bass Reflex Design
These are the specs available and the amp is rated at 110W/channel. Pioneer VSX-520K.
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Last edited by mo' power; November 30, 2010 at 11:26 PM.
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Old December 1, 2010, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mo' power View Post
Pioneer VSX-520K.
I wouldn't bother with bi-wiring for this gear.
In my opinion you'll have a better sound experience buying a good bottle of whiskey/wine/beer instead of the second pair of wires
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Old December 2, 2010, 10:50 AM
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I wouldn't bother bi-wiring for any gear, total waste of time.
Bi-amping on the other hand, big difference.
Go with regular wiring if you're not bi-amping and use 16AWG all round, you'll save a bit on shipping from Monoprice. They have good pricing on wall plates and banana plugs, wall plates are key to a nice looking installation if you're pre-wiring in wall.
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