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Peter P.

What's Going On With Speaker Wire?

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I needed some speaker wire. I'm not into the esoteric stuff; just some copper wire, thankyouverymuch.

 

So I go to BOTH big name hardware stores and the speaker wire they sell has ONE CONDUCTOR MADE OF ALUMINUM!

 

Are they really that desperate to make a profit that they must skimp on this stuff?

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Peter P. said:

the speaker wire they sell has ONE CONDUCTOR MADE OF ALUMINUM!

 

In all seriousness, it's likely that both conductors are made of aluminum, and one is copper-plated --for identification more than anything else.  ETA:  I posted the chart merely to indicate that copper, silver, gold, and aluminum are actually quite close to one another in conductance.

 

 

 

Edited by Archguy
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Old usgi commo wire made good speaker wire.

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Do they sell lamp cord or zip cord?  For short runs, the 14 gauge copper should be fine.

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3 hours ago, garyrc said:

Do they sell lamp cord or zip cord?  For short runs, the 14 gauge copper should be fine.

Yeah; I didn't put that in my original post so as not to clutter it.

 

I had tried lamp cord and  you're right; it's all copper. I just didn't like the insulation as it didn't offer the suppleness of speaker wire.

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4 hours ago, garyrc said:

Do they sell lamp cord or zip cord?  For short runs, the 14 gauge copper should be fine.

What would be considered to far to use 14 gauge zip cord? I wired up my outside patio speakers with zip cord last weekend my longest run being 25ft.

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Hardware  stores and places like RadioShack if you even have one nearby anymore are bad places to buy. EBay and Monoprice speaker wire is cheaper by far and often free shipping. Last

time I bought 100' of 12g for $99 delivered. Yes it is solid copper. Parts Express has various gages and lengths too but they are more expensive than searching EBay for the best deal.

 

7 hours ago, Peter P. said:

Are they really that desperate to make a profit that they must skimp on this stuff?

They are not desperate they just know they can make more money selling junk to those who have no clue.

 

1 hour ago, Peter P. said:

I had tried lamp cord and  you're right; it's all copper. I just didn't like the insulation as it didn't offer the suppleness of speaker wire

I like the suppleness of more $$ in my wallet. Monoprice + EBay = heavier wallet and more than adequate product.

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1 hour ago, rockhound said:

What would be considered to far to use 14 gauge zip cord? I wired up my outside patio speakers with zip cord last weekend my longest run being 25ft.

Well beyond 25' for most applications so you are fine.  I know you, so don't go out and buy 1000' spool of 8 gauge to see if it makes a difference.  :P

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Try some Supra wire from Sweden. It's tin plated copper wire, sounds great and is not expensive. Google it.

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14 hours ago, rockhound said:

What would be considered to far to use 14 gauge zip cord? I wired up my outside patio speakers with zip cord last weekend my longest run being 25ft.

 

12 hours ago, Pete H said:

Well beyond 25' for most applications so you are fine.  I know you, so don't go out and buy 1000' spool of 8 gauge to see if it makes a difference.  :P

https://www.audioholics.com/audio-video-cables/speaker-cable-gauge

See the chart concerning wire gauge and distance quite a ways into this article.  With 14 gauge, 30 feet would be no problem unless the (nominal?) impedance of your speakers is 4 Ohms or less.  Some will disagree.  I used 14 gauge for about 35 feet into "8 Ohm" speakers once, and there was no problem that I could hear.  If you want to totally relax about it buy some inexpensive 12 gauge, low resistance, low capacitance, copper speaker wire from Monoprice. 

 

Or you could get these from Crutchfield:

  • BrandMcIntosh
 
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34 minutes ago, garyrc said:

 

https://www.audioholics.com/audio-video-cables/speaker-cable-gauge

See the chart concerning wire gauge and distance quite a ways into this article.  With 14 gauge, 30 feet would be no problem unless the (nominal?) impedance of your speakers is 4 Ohms or less.  Some will disagree.  I used 14 gauge for about 35 feet into "8 Ohm" speakers once, and there was no problem that I could hear.  If you want to totally relax about it buy some inexpensive 12 gauge, low resistance, low capacitance, copper speaker wire from Monoprice. 

 

Or you could get these from Crutchfield:

  • BrandMcIntosh
 

And don't forget to treat your cable ends with this.

 

 

 

ScreenHunter_400 Apr. 08 13.31.jpg

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2 hours ago, garyrc said:

 

https://www.audioholics.com/audio-video-cables/speaker-cable-gauge

See the chart concerning wire gauge and distance quite a ways into this article.  With 14 gauge, 30 feet would be no problem unless the (nominal?) impedance of your speakers is 4 Ohms or less.  Some will disagree.  I used 14 gauge for about 35 feet into "8 Ohm" speakers once, and there was no problem that I could hear.  If you want to totally relax about it buy some inexpensive 12 gauge, low resistance, low capacitance, copper speaker wire from Monoprice. 

 

Or you could get these from Crutchfield:

  • BrandMcIntosh
 

$1450 for 3 feet? Ludicrous! ROFL!!

Just goes to show, some have more money than sense.

John Kuthe...

 

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7 hours ago, JohnKuthe said:

Just goes to show, some have more money than sense.

Nah it's a bragging society. Bet when you go over to one of these guys places you get an unsolicited run down of what things cost.

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Then we have https://www.thecableco.com/quantum-burning-technology-burn-in-machine.html

because your  https://www.thecableco.com/triple-crown-speaker-cable-pair.html

needs to be broken in properly especially when you are producing pure, pristine penultimate tonal quality audio output from

this   https://www.thecableco.com/invictus.html

 

  Your one stop audio procuring venture should begin here. https://www.thecableco.com/shopby?price=20000-999999

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Shouldn't we pin some basic information about wires and what size to use already?  In 10+ years, it's amazing how many times this comes up so we would be doing a service to newbs that are just looking for some facts they can sink their teeth into.  I'm not saying that this particular article, written by an engineer is the correct information to pin, but I can say that after 38 years with home and car audio, briefly going down a couple of shallow rabbit holes on the subject, everything stated in this article, I've personally found to be accurate in the real world.  Just saying.   

 

 
SpeakerWirePromo.gif Do expensive speaker wires "sound" better? Not likely.
DO YOU WANT TO KEEP UP WITH
THE LATEST DESIGN NEWS FOR MANUFACTURING?
YES, I NEED TO KNOW
NO, NOT RIGHT NOW
 

Can audiophiles and causal listeners improve their stereo system by upgrading one of the seemingly simpler components, the speaker wires and connectors? Some companies insist they can. So they offer speaker wire (or cables), sometimes for thousands of dollars that promise better tonality, warmer sound, and richly melodic sound free of grain. But many of these claims are bogus and they create myths surrounding speaker wires. Here are five of them:

Thicker wires are better: It’s true that for long runs, thicker wires are better at reducing the effects of resistance. But for most set ups (those with speakers within 100 ft of the amplifier), 16-gauge lamp cord is fine.  For speakers 100 to 200 ft. from the amp, experts suggest use 14 gauge. And from 200 to 400 ft., they recommend 12-gauge wires. Using extremely thick wire for short runs yields virtually no audible benefit, at least none most people can hear.

Solving skin effect: It’s true that higher frequency signals tend to travel on a wire’sperimeter while lower-frequencies signals travel near the center. But any effect is only noticeable when dealing with miles of cable and frequencies not used for audio. So don’t waste any money “solving” this problem with intricately braided speaker cables.

Speaker wires should be the same length: It seems to make sense that speaker wires should be identical to eliminate phase shifts. But electrical signals travel through speaker wire at near the speed of light. It would take miles of speaker wire to hear any difference. So having wires a foot or two (or 10) different is irrelevant.

 

Break-in is “critical”: According to some so-called audio experts, the small electrical current passing through speaker wire physically alters the wire enough to create an audible change over time. Not true. Still, companies try to sell wire "cookers" and break-in services to perpetuate this myth and make a buck.

Splices degrade the sound: Audio experts have determined that properly spliced and soldered wires do not change or degrade the sound coming out of speakers. Although an oscilloscope can detect splices by identifying small voltage drops or spikes, the anomalies are too small to hear. Voltage used for driving speakers is simple voltage, and since regular fluctuations due to program and frequency type occur during normal use, splices produce no adverse audible effect.

 

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10 hours ago, Sancho Panza said:

Snake Oil

 

😃

 

If you've never had a nano-steam bath then you don't know what your missing.

 

Sorry, but someone had to say it.

 

:unsure2:

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9 minutes ago, Pete H said:

Shouldn't we pin some basic information about wires and what size to use already?  In 10+ years, it's amazing how many times this comes up so we would be doing a service to newbs that are just looking for some facts they can sink their teeth into.  I'm not saying that this particular article, written by an engineer is the correct information to pin, but I can say that after 38 years with home and car audio, briefly going down a couple of shallow rabbit holes on the subject, everything stated in this article, I've personally found to be accurate in the real world.  Just saying.   

Good article and I use heavier wire simply because it is cheap enough to buy and stronger to resist damage in my shop environment. Plus one size fits all in this case and sometimes I have bigger demand speakers than most.

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