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question about speaker wire

Old 01-08-04, 06:59 PM
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question about speaker wire

I own the Toshiba SD43HT, a 5.1 home theater package with built-in Dolby and DTS decoders. I've had it for a few months and so far it suits my needs, but I was wondering if I should upgrade from the original 18 gauge speaker wire supplied by the manufacturer. I've seen 16 gauge wire by Acoustic Research on sale. Will I hear much of a difference? (Or should I consider another brand? This wire's also white, which I like.) One thing, the wire to the subwoofer seems permanently soldered on, so that can't be replaced. Does that matter?
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Old 01-09-04, 01:20 AM
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http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=327577

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Old 01-09-04, 05:24 AM
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From what I discerned from the thread, this user upgraded from 22 (?) gauge to 16 and didn't notice any discernable difference. Thanks for the link.
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Old 01-09-04, 05:48 AM
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22 gauge wire is pretty thin to be using for speakers. Some people claim to be able to hear all sorts of differences just by changing brands, let alone wire size. The choice of wire size depends on the power output of your amp and the length of the wires. More power or longer length requires thicker wire. 16 gauge is probably the thinnest you would want to use.
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Old 01-09-04, 07:52 AM
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Yeah I'd say get a pretty good brand spool of 12 guage. You can't go wrong with that.
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Old 01-09-04, 01:35 PM
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I switched my speaker wire from the cheapo Radio Shack to Canare Quad and it didn't make any difference in sound. However, the Canare sure looks more substantial with its thickness and the black jacket. Maybe in $200,000 a pair speakers you will hear a difference. I wouldn't know because my whole audio setup costs only $1,500.
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Old 01-09-04, 03:27 PM
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Re: question about speaker wire

Originally posted by matta2k
[B]I was wondering if I should upgrade from the original 18 gauge speaker wire supplied by the manufacturer. I've seen 16 gauge wire by Acoustic Research on sale. Will I hear much of a difference?
Here is some info I found, either here or at hometheaterforum, while putting my system together.

Understanding AWG and specifications
This chart relates the area of the copper part (not insulation) to it's gauge:
mm2 - AWG Size
0.5 mm2 = 20 gauge wire
0.8 = 18
1.0 = 16
2.0 = 14
3.0 = 12
4.0 = 11 = two 14ga wires i.e. 14-2 CL3 from Home Depot
5.0 = 10
8.0 = 8
13.0 = 6
19.0 = 4
32.0 = 2
52.0 = 0


As you can see, going from 18ga to 16ga is not a substantial increase in area/wire thickness. You probably won't be able to tell the difference as people have already mentioned. If you are going to upgrade, you'd probably want to get at least 14ga or thicker.

I had to run wire through the wall to my surrounds so I used the 14ga 14-2 CL3 from Home Depot to all speakers. It was $0.22/ft when I bought it over a year ago. I have the note about combining 2 14ga to get an equivalent 11ga because Home Depot doesn't sell an in-wall rated 12ga wire. And it's hard to find in-wall rated 12ga wire for less than $0.44/ft. When I move and have to do this again I will definitely go that route.


Speaker Wire for 8 Ohm
(75% length for 6 Ohm, 50% for 4 Ohm)
16ga <50'
18ga <30'
20ga <20'
22ga <12'


This was a general recommendation on wire gauge vs. length of the run. The idea is that for short runs, your 18ga is probably just fine.
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Old 01-09-04, 07:42 PM
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Thank you for your responses. I think if I upgrade, I'll go to 14 gauge then.
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