View Full Version : 16 gauge or 18 gauge speaker wire? any difference?


pglbook
12-08-2012, 09:57 AM
Is there any difference between 16 gauge and 18 gauge speaker wire in terms of whether one is better than the other to connect a vintage Yamaha CR 2020 receiver to a pair of Dahlquist 10 speakers?

I have to buy speaker wire and do not know what gauge wire to get and if it matters. The fellow at Radio Shack told me either 18 gauge or 16 gauge wire would be fine. Is there a difference.

Thank you.

Theo Simon
12-08-2012, 09:59 AM
Is there any difference between 16 gauge and 18 gauge speaker wire in terms of whether one is better than the other to connect a vintage Yamaha CR 2020 receiver to a pair of Dahlquist 10 speakers?

I have to buy speaker wire and do not know what gauge wire to get and if it matters. The fellow at Radio Shack told me either 18 gauge or 16 gauge wire would be fine. Is there a difference.

Thank you.

Probably not, but I would get the 16.

classic carl
12-08-2012, 10:01 AM
I would use 14 or 12, but that's just me.

luvvinvinyl
12-08-2012, 10:01 AM
Long run and playing loud?

Then get the 16 ga, for sure.

slow_jazz
12-08-2012, 10:01 AM
A lot of debate on wires here.. Thicker is usually always better. If speakers are less than 10 feet away probably won't matter too much...

71CNY
12-08-2012, 10:02 AM
I would use 12 guage:yes:

waterjetguy
12-08-2012, 10:03 AM
A lot of debate on wires here.. Thicker is usually always better. If speakers are less than 10 feet away probably won't matter too much...

Bingo!

Dave1027
12-08-2012, 10:05 AM
The difference is that the thicker gauge wire (16) can be used for a longer run. But like others have said it's best to use 14 gauge or lower.

dr*audio
12-08-2012, 10:13 AM
Both are too thin. 16 would be better, but I recommend 12 or 14 gauge. Years ago I did a test, which you can repeat. I had been using 16 guage zip cord for speaker wires. A friend gave me some 14 gauge Monster cable to try. My amp had A and B speaker outputs. I connected the 16 gauge wires to the speakers from the A outputs, and the Monster cable from the B outputs. This way I could easily switch between the 2 kinds of wire and hear the difference. I expected none. I had been hearing a boominess in the bass which I had thought was caused by the crawl space under the house. As soon as I switched in the Monster cable, the boominess disappeared and the bass was nicely controlled and solid. So I called my wife in, sat her down and just asked her to tell me if she heard anything. She immediately said "The bass is less boomy" when I switched in the Monster cable. The idea here is that the thicker wire has lower resistance and the rope lay construction, made of many fine wires probably has lower impedance as well, allowing the amplifier to better control the speakers. Anyway you can try this test and see if you can hear any difference between the wires. If you can't hear any difference, use whatever you want.

for_p1
12-08-2012, 10:50 AM
Neither is good. I would choose between 10 and 12 for fronts, and 12 and 14 for surrounds.

bad400
12-08-2012, 11:46 AM
which 14gauge wire would you use?

http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/8523/wire001.jpg

Blue Shadow
12-08-2012, 11:51 AM
18 gauge on a decent power output amplifier is like using a garden hose with a fire hydrant. Bigger can be better, to a degree.

The Yamaha is not a monster but 105 wpc would like to travel through some decent cable. The DQs are power hogs and anything you can do to help them is good. 12 gauge is what I would use if the Yamaha would accept it.

Copa1934
12-08-2012, 12:00 PM
Is there any difference between 16 gauge and 18 gauge speaker wire in terms of whether one is better than the other to connect a vintage Yamaha CR 2020 receiver to a pair of Dahlquist 10 speakers?

I have to buy speaker wire and do not know what gauge wire to get and if it matters. The fellow at Radio Shack told me either 18 gauge or 16 gauge wire would be fine. Is there a difference.

Thank you.
I'm in the 16-14 camp too. However, the length of run, first and foremost, followed by how much power. Dr. certainly makes a very valid point about "quality" of wire, and this is not to be confused with over hyped oxygen free wire. Put 100 people through a true blind test and likely none will distinguish the difference in wire used, assuming good quality 16-14 gauge wire is compared to hyped audio wires.

Where the investment truly pays off is in the interconnects since you are dealing with signals in the milli-volts as opposed to ~3v or higher in speaker output.

Under 15 feet I would simply regard 18ga or thicker to be quite sufficient.

AU20K
12-08-2012, 12:07 PM
At West Marine or Boatersworld you should be able to find individually tinned multistrand marine wire. Very high quality copper, the tinning keeps the oxygen out and keeps the copper high Q. Consider 10 or 12 awg for your speakers with gold plated ends of choice from Parts Express. 16 or 18 gauge is just too small.

No affiliation with any of em.

goldleaf
12-08-2012, 12:27 PM
Over the decades many, many test have shown that for cable runs under 50' it is almost immaterial unless a) you are in high EMI /RFI area like a factory floor or a computer room, or b) your power RMS is over 200 wpc. Thicker is always better (less resistance) but it is almost a non issue for home users.

http://www.colomar.com/Shavano/speaker_wiring.html has a nice guide.

dr*audio
12-08-2012, 12:33 PM
which 14gauge wire would you use?

http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/8523/wire001.jpg

The blue has multi-strands. Supposed to be better for AC signals.

bad400
12-08-2012, 12:40 PM
The blue has multi-strands. Supposed to be better for AC signals.

Im running this wire on my home system.
was using the smaller wire, but figured the thicker would be better.

cnh2
12-08-2012, 02:17 PM
Here you go. Two gauge building wire. Is that thick enough, I wonder?

http://www.wireandcabletogo.com/2-AWG-THHN-Building-Wire.html?utm_source=google-shopping&utm_medium=organic&gclid=CN7ijvvPi7QCFcXb4Aod4XAAIQ

It sure is cheap enough? lol

cnh2

cgutz
12-08-2012, 02:27 PM
Switching from 16g to 12g on my 12wpc tube amp made a difference with a 12 foot run to efficient speakers.
I was a bonafide cynic and doubter on short runs!
You can buy 12 or 14g outdoor extension cords, clip the ends off, and use two of the strands. Cheap.

89grand
12-08-2012, 02:37 PM
Recently, I wanted to replace my 16 gauge wire in my main setup. The reason, because I wanted something that laid down better, as the particular 16 gauge was sort of stiff.

I bought some 12 gauge wire from a car audio shop that looks to be of decent quality.

Anyway, when I first swapped it out I thought "man, my speakers seem a little more forward than before". I'm not a believer in speaker wire sounding different, but it sure seemed to. My amp has A/B outputs, so I put the old 16 gauge wire in the B outputs and simply A/B'd them a number of times. Guess what, it was all in my head, both wires sounded identical to me.

With that said, you may as well just get 16 gauge.

bad400
12-08-2012, 03:46 PM
I dont hear a difference either, i just wanted better wire.

Copa1934
12-08-2012, 04:03 PM
Recently, I wanted to replace my 16 gauge wire in my main setup. The reason, because I wanted something that laid down better, as the particular 16 gauge was sort of stiff.

I bought some 12 gauge wire from a car audio shop that looks to be of decent quality.

Anyway, when I first swapped it out I thought "man, my speakers seem a little more forward than before". I'm not a believer in speaker wire sounding different, but it sure seemed to. My amp has A/B outputs, so I put the old 16 gauge wire in the B outputs and simply A/B'd them a number of times. Guess what, it was all in my head, both wires sounded identical to me.

With that said, you may as well just get 16 gauge.
Not doubting what you hear, but comparing wires (especially in such a forum) must be done with some qualification. I don't doubt two different sizes (size alone) will produce different and possibly better results. However, without taking into consideration actual quality, one could very well diminish the quality of sound going from a good 14-ga up (in size) to a cheaper 12-ga.

Multi strand isn't all the same, honest. Take a look at how fine the individual wires are. You can easily have a 16-ga wire with more strands than a 12-ga. What difference that makes, based on various opinions, can be nothing to substantial.

So, anyone taking in the advice posted here, just keep in mind Gauge alone is NOT the answer or solution. At the same time beware over hyped wires.

goldleaf
12-08-2012, 04:26 PM
Here you go. Two gauge building wire. Is that thick enough, I wonder?

http://www.wireandcabletogo.com/2-AWG-THHN-Building-Wire.html?utm_source=google-shopping&utm_medium=organic&gclid=CN7ijvvPi7QCFcXb4Aod4XAAIQ

It sure is cheap enough? lol

cnh2

WAF out the window - it would be kinked cable hell!

DigitalDad
12-08-2012, 05:13 PM
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable

Some interesting information on this site.

pdm4606
12-08-2012, 05:17 PM
They're both crap.
16 is maybe ok for lamps. 18 is good for nothing.
Just set your mind on 14 and be done with it. Don't be cheap.

Paul

Mr. Orange
12-08-2012, 05:52 PM
Go to EBay and do a search for 12 gauge speaker wire and then pick you poison.

budgetaudio6
12-08-2012, 06:27 PM
Does any one know what guage a cat 5 cable is. with the wires summed up?

I ask because that is what im using on my MX 400. Have yet to hear a detriment. Ive got one cable split between the pos. and the neg. terminals.

Mr. Orange
12-08-2012, 06:53 PM
Does any one know what guage a cat 5 cable is. with the wires summed up?

I ask because that is what im using on my MX 400. Have yet to hear a detriment. Ive got one cable split between the pos. and the neg. terminals.

CAT5 cable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_5_cable) has eight wires each 24 AWG which has a resistance of 0.02567 ohms per foot (for copper wire) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_wire_gauge).

If you use 2 wires for the negative speaker terminal and 2 wires for the positive terminal on the left channel and likewise on the right channel, you'll use all eight wires in one CAT5 cable. That gives a total resistance (down and back) of 0.02567 ohms per foot for each channel. For comparison, 12 AWG wire has a total resistance of 0.003176 ohms per foot.

To keep speaker cable resistance lower than 5 % (http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#nominal) of 8 ohms speakers, the CAT5 cable run should be less than about 15 feet. If you have two CAT5 cables in the run and use both cables, then you can go to about 30 feet.

Found the simple answer using the below linked calculator. CAT 5 cable is equivalent to 15ga wire.

http://home.hiwaay.net/~rgs/awgcalculator.html

Last edit for more info. :yes:

Check out this link for more info on building CAT 5 speaker cables.
http://www.venhaus1.com/diycatfivecables.html

Boto
12-08-2012, 08:00 PM
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

89grand
12-08-2012, 08:05 PM
They're both crap.
16 is maybe ok for lamps. 18 is good for nothing.
Just set your mind on 14 and be done with it. Don't be cheap.

Paul

Basic electronics suggests otherwise. If 16 gauge was "crap" by your own admission, why risk it with barely larger 14 gauge?

I'd think, if I believed as you, that if 16 gauge was "crap", 14 gauge would be teetering on crap as well.

pglbook
12-08-2012, 08:28 PM
Thanks to all who commented to my earlire post this morning about what gauge speaker wire I should get. I have decided, according to majority opinion, to go with 14 gauge wire. The problem now is that 14 gauge seems to be a lot harder to find for some reason.

Please let me know what brand of 14 gauge speaker wire would be good and also where I can locate it.

I went to my local Radio Shack and they do not carry 14 gauge wire at all.
I also checked Amazon for Monster Cable, which seems to get very good reviews and, while they have 16 gauge wire for sale on Amazon, I cannot find Monster Cable in 14 gauge on Amazon. And, when I do a google search of Monster 14 gauge wire, I cannot find much and what I find are very expensive wires.

I'd apprerciate any recommendations on what brand of 14 gauge wire would be best and where I can find it (my budget is in the $30 - $40 range, I guess).

I do not need much wire - about 20-30 feet would be fine.

Thanks,

Urizen
12-08-2012, 08:33 PM
Was your question not answered here?:scratch2:

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=476494

Threads merged.

Urizen
12-08-2012, 08:40 PM
http://www.parts-express.com/cat/hi-fi-speaker-wire/1896?kg=820|3221

http://www.parts-express.com/cat/zip-cord-red-black/1899?kg=820|3221

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10239

budgetaudio6
12-08-2012, 09:07 PM
mr orange. so halve that with the pos. and neg. of eeach speaker per wire. that is what im using

Dr. Morbius
12-08-2012, 10:12 PM
I'm not surprised that recommendations on gauge vary. I am, however, surprised that few are recommending boutique speaker cables. I find that refreshing.

Mr. Orange
12-08-2012, 10:13 PM
Try looking here…
http://www.thecableco.com/Catalog/Bulk-Speaker-Cables

for_p1
12-09-2012, 08:56 AM
One thing I would warn about - get wire with polyethylene insulator rather than clear PVC. They look the same, but over time chlorine from PVC will corrode wire inside it. Visible sign of it - copper will look almost black. This process will worsen electrical parameters too.

Theo Simon
12-09-2012, 09:00 AM
Thanks to all who commented to my earlire post this morning about what gauge speaker wire I should get. I have decided, according to majority opinion, to go with 14 gauge wire. The problem now is that 14 gauge seems to be a lot harder to find for some reason.

Please let me know what brand of 14 gauge speaker wire would be good and also where I can locate it.

I went to my local Radio Shack and they do not carry 14 gauge wire at all.
I also checked Amazon for Monster Cable, which seems to get very good reviews and, while they have 16 gauge wire for sale on Amazon, I cannot find Monster Cable in 14 gauge on Amazon. And, when I do a google search of Monster 14 gauge wire, I cannot find much and what I find are very expensive wires.

I'd apprerciate any recommendations on what brand of 14 gauge wire would be best and where I can find it (my budget is in the $30 - $40 range, I guess).

I do not need much wire - about 20-30 feet would be fine.

Thanks,

You can find Monster speaker wire even at hardware stores, and at Best-Buy type stores. This should be quite satisfactory. 16 gauge should be fine.

Fisherdude
12-09-2012, 09:01 AM
Thanks to all who commented to my earlire post this morning about what gauge speaker wire I should get. I have decided, according to majority opinion, to go with 14 gauge wire. The problem now is that 14 gauge seems to be a lot harder to find for some reason.

Please let me know what brand of 14 gauge speaker wire would be good and also where I can locate it.

I went to my local Radio Shack and they do not carry 14 gauge wire at all.
I also checked Amazon for Monster Cable, which seems to get very good reviews and, while they have 16 gauge wire for sale on Amazon, I cannot find Monster Cable in 14 gauge on Amazon. And, when I do a google search of Monster 14 gauge wire, I cannot find much and what I find are very expensive wires.

I'd apprerciate any recommendations on what brand of 14 gauge wire would be best and where I can find it (my budget is in the $30 - $40 range, I guess).

I do not need much wire - about 20-30 feet would be fine.

Thanks,

Any home improvement center such as Home Depot will carry 14 gauge stranded wire.

Theo Simon
12-09-2012, 10:20 AM
I found this:

http://www.knukonceptz.com/productMaster.cfm?category=Speaker%20Wire

day67
12-10-2012, 09:08 AM
Check out Blue Jeans Cable. I dont know if they carry that specific size as I haven't visitied them lately but they are noted for quality cable at a reasonable price -- with a bunch of connector options if that matters.