TVs & Home Theaters forum

General discussion

speaker wire

by sharpey13 / March 16, 2009 11:10 AM PDT

Hi - anyone have a good recommendation for speaker wire for my home theatre set up? I was hoping to get something fairly cheap from, but I want to make sure that's ok to do...and I'm guessing I need 16 gauge, is that right for about 20-30' away? Thanks!

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it is my recommendation
by jostenmeat / March 16, 2009 12:33 PM PDT
In reply to: speaker wire

however, especially because it's so darn affordable, I would encourage you to step up on the gauge, so that you won't ever have to worry about it. Seeing that 100 ft of 12 gauge is only $28.35, I don't think you will worry about wasting too much cash.

You are right that thickness of wire necessitated depends on length of run, but also the minimal impedance of speaker. Even if you ever change to fancy schmancy speakers, you won't have to get new wire. Ok, fine, you know what, you're probably just fine with 16gauge. But the 12 gauge only costs you $13 more for 100 ft no less.

Make sure to twist your wires if using bare wire. Strip and cut for new wire every now and then to get rid of corroded wire that might with impedance.

Or you can use some banana plugs and never worry about the above.

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If you don't want to wait, simply head to Home Depot.
by NM_Bill / March 16, 2009 1:38 PM PDT
In reply to: speaker wire

They have basic speaker cable. I believe it is 18 gauge which is perfectly adequate for most common setups other than complex & sophisticated.

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Ok, I already ordered the 16 gauge...
by sharpey13 / March 17, 2009 12:05 AM PDT

from I also have 50 ft. of 'Monster XP high definition...blah blah' speaker cable that I bought at best buy last year. Not sure what gauge it is, doesn't say. Am I ok with the 16 gauge? It's going to run about 25' from my receiver, along the baseboard, into the back wall at the bottom and back out at the top to the speaker. Thanks!

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Yes, you certainly are fine with 16 gauge.
by NM_Bill / March 17, 2009 3:21 AM PDT

I would guess that is fatter speaker wire than the average A/V setup uses.

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thanks - what about speaker placement?
by sharpey13 / March 18, 2009 12:30 AM PDT

Ok, so I just received my new Polk OWM 3 surround speakers in the mail, and my Onkyo tx sr-606 is being delivered today, so I'm pretty excited. I'm still a beginner, but looking forward to having my first true 5.1 surround set up ever. My set up will be as follows:

Samsung 50" DLP (720p)
Samsung Blue Ray player
Comcast HD digital cable box (w/HDMI)
Onkyo tx sr-606 receiver
Polk CS1 center channel
Polk RTi28 front left/right speaker
Polk CSw30 sub
Polk OWM 3 surrounds

1) I want to place my surrounds in the back corners of the room, but the corners are not equidistant from my TV/Receiver - does that matter?
2) How high above my head (when sitting on the couch) should I place my surround speakers?
3) I have two different types of speaker wire (both Monster 'high definition'), does it matter if I run one from each speaker?

Thank you!

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Do your best about speaker placement. Some compromises are
by NM_Bill / March 18, 2009 1:08 AM PDT

usually run into. I wouldn't be concerned about the back corners not being equal distant. The general idea of speaker height is to try to have them focus on feeding the "sweet spot" where you will sit - at ear level.

Surround changes the rules compared to stereo. In stereo, all concern is on those front L&Rs. Surround introduces a center channel, the purpose of which, is to anchor the dialog by the screen. As such, a center channel typically receives maybe 65-70% of the audio info & energy. Hence, the front L&Rs are downgraded, so that sometimes they can be downsized to bookshelf rather than floor standing towers.

The side & rear surrounds are further down the line because they are not being feed important audio info constantly, but are there to enhance the surround effects, which may indeed be loud even when nearly instantaneous.

That leave the special case of the sub woofer. The sub also comes into fast loud use for the surround effects. In fact, surround enthusiasts feel the need for the sub to be able to create a slam effect. The very best sub woofers are made by speciality makers who concentrate on subs.

The Monster speaker cable probably is a bit deluxe construction, so I'd suggest using that on the center channel & perhaps front L&Rs depending on how much you have.

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16 guage vs 12
by bkirby / March 21, 2009 2:01 PM PDT
In reply to: speaker wire

The 16 guage will certainly be adequate to make a 20'-30' run.

However, just for reference, the guage of speaker wire gets thicker for each lower number and not the opposite as many people think. So, 12 guage will be thicker than 16 guage and give less signal loss.

Speaker connections can make a difference too. Banana plugs have more copper surface to transfer signal than pins and usually fit tighter.

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by jcrobso / March 23, 2009 5:59 AM PDT
In reply to: 16 guage vs 12

I use 16ga for up to 30', then switch to 14ga. It won't hurt to use 14 or 12ga. But if your running wires around the 14&12ga tends be harder to hide. Just don't spend a lot of money. Go to home depot and buy the NON Mon$tor cable brands. 18ga is OK for under 20' runs. John

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