Speaker Wire for Garage

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Old 09-10-06, 12:07 PM
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Speaker Wire for Garage

I've never wired anything for sound. I'm gonna have a stereo system in my garage. Wanna wire to 4 speakers. Might just play tunes from my garage computer, don't know yet. My question: What kind of wire to use for sound system. Does the big box store carry this wire. What size is good. The bigger(gauge) the better, I'm supposing? Copper? Tin coated copper? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 12:36 PM
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If the garage has a computer then heat is not an issue - don't use copper - MonsterCable 14 gauge or it's equivalent would be best.
External speaker out of computers would be a mini audio jack - best to run line out from your computer to a stereo receiver that can power 2 pair of speakers.
Connect the speakers to the receiver or integrated amplifier - connect the line output from the computer to any of the receiver/amp inputs - aux, tape, cd, etc.
If you splice the speaker wires to a cable run from the external speaker outputs of your computer you run the risk of smoking the sound card - motherboard - etc.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 12:53 PM
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[QUOTE=minestaken]If the garage has a computer then heat is not an issue - don't use copper - MonsterCable 14 gauge or it's equivalent would be best.
QUOTE]
Don't use copper?? monstercable is made of copper.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 05:49 PM
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should have stated - don't use solid copper conductor cable - use stranded
 
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Old 09-10-06, 07:09 PM
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Supper cables are a rip in my opinion for most home installlations. What kind of wire to use with the speakers is determined the same way as deciding the type of wire to run to an outlet, by the amount of current. you are using. If you are using the output of the PC to drive 4 or 8 ohm speakers the cheapest lamp cord will work fine. 100 watt amp, 14 guage zip cord. Only when you are using speakers systems that you would normally find in a car wich have impeadances in the fractional ohm range do you need the supper cables. In this case small wire would have more resistance than the speakers and things would get very inefficent..

Want some great quality speaker cables for your car, wire the speakers with lengths of coax shorting the shield and center conductor together on each end. Cut the center conductor long and twist and solder the braid to it. If you do this right you will have clean center conductor sticking out from the end of the cable by a couple of inches and this is great for making the connections.You would need two pieces of coax to wire one speaker. Or do what my son did in his van, use welding cable.
 
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Old 09-10-06, 11:29 PM
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I had purchased a 5 disc system by Phillips that has USB link on it. My garage box is wireless to my network (where gigs and gigs of tunes are stored). I can either burn a set at the garage box or create lengthy playlists that port out to and uses the Phillips player with WinAmp (or others of your choosing).

Works well and sounds great.
 
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Old 09-11-06, 10:04 AM
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I agree with JimmieDee, monster cable, and its competitors, are a rip.

For all my speaker runs I use plain old every day 16 gauge regular lamp cord. Available at Home Depot by the foot or by the spool. Even "speaker wire" at Radio Shack is a rip. It's usually 18 gauge and nothing special about the insulation, it's vinyl just like lamp cord.

Speaker wires do not require shielding, so don't bother with any fancy shielded cables, it's another waste of money. Only signal between components require shielding.

Unless you have particularly large wattage speakers, or a particularly long run, there's really no advantage to using 14 gauge wire. Your speakers do not draw 15 amps, which is what 14 gauge is rated for.
 
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Old 09-11-06, 02:20 PM
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Yes, if you think music from the radio, an IPOD, or a $200 stereo is how music sounds, then monster cables and its ilk are a waste of money. You will not hear any difference.

A garage is not the greatest accoustical area, so regular speaker wire is just fine. 18 guage would probably work ok for you.

If you're wiring a home theater, then 14 is the minimum I'd use.
 
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Old 09-12-06, 10:14 AM
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A note on 14 gauge wire for speakers: I did actually use #14 once. Had a helluva time jamming wire of that diameter into the little press & clam connectors at the stereo and at the speaker. Many are not built large enough to accept #14.

Additionally, Ohms law will tell you that #14 makes no sense for most people. Say you have a 100 watt stereo, and 100 watt speakers. If you turn the stereo up full blast the wire you will use will only be carrying 0.83 amps of current. #14 wire will handle 15 AMPS!
 
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Old 09-12-06, 01:43 PM
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Actually that 15 amps is merely a function of the NEC and a limitation imposed by the NEC for a particular type of wire in a particular situation. There are limits up to 54 amps for #14 in some other circumstances. The limitations in general are because of the insulation and the amount of heat it can withstand.


The reason a #14 would be better than a #24 for something like a speaker wire is that the larger the wire, the less the resistance. The less the resistance, the easier it is to push "sound" through the wire. End result, better sound and uses less power to achieve it.

I've got some 500 MCM (.0258 0hms/thousand feet)(.813 in diameter)we could try. That is very low resistance compared to an #18 (7.96 ohms/ thousand feet).
 
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Old 09-12-06, 02:07 PM
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I'm an electrical engineering designer (not PE), so my head is stuck in the NEC. I do realize that copper can push a lot more elctrons than it's NEC rating, and that the insulation type is far more the limiting factor than the copper itself.

For the average stereo system, say about 15 - 35 watts, actually #18 is overkill. But I won't use it. It's all #16 lamp cord for me. I used #14 for long runs with about 35 watts of power driving my speakers. But again, my press and lock type connectors couldn't easily handle that guage, and kept springing open randomly. Hard to get them to lock, too. If ya got a lousy connection, the larger gauge won't do you much good.

Say, 500MCM. Interesting thought...
 
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Old 09-13-06, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JuiceHead
A note on 14 gauge wire for speakers: I did actually use #14 once. Had a helluva time jamming wire of that diameter into the little press & clam connectors at the stereo and at the speaker. Many are not built large enough to accept #14.

Additionally, Ohms law will tell you that #14 makes no sense for most people. Say you have a 100 watt stereo, and 100 watt speakers. If you turn the stereo up full blast the wire you will use will only be carrying 0.83 amps of current. #14 wire will handle 15 AMPS!
Sorry to get a little off the original topic, but how do you come up with .83amps? The power capacity of the speakers have nothing to do with the current running through the wire. It's the impedence of the speakers that matter. If you run 100 watts into an 8 ohm speaker that would be a little over 3.5 amps. (Power = Amps^2 * Ohms) 100 watts into a 4 ohm speaker would be 5 amps. Still way under the max but significantly higher than .83 amps.

Now back on topic, I completely agree that in most cases name brand speaker wire (monster, AR, kimber, etc.) are a waste of money. This site has a variety of guages and CL3 cable that is rated for inwall installation for good prices.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&style=
Like someone mentioned above, take a look at the connections at the speakers and the amp to see what size cable will fit. 16 gauge and smaller should fit in most connectors. 14 and larger might not fit in some. Also there are suggested maximum lengths for speaker wire runs depending on the gauge. Take a look at this site.
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

-Mike
"What is this?"
"This... Is a chemical burn."
 
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Old 09-13-06, 06:23 PM
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I'd use #18, possibly #16. I've use PA wire, lamp cord, and old romex for speaker wire.
 
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