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Speaker Wires?

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Doofster

New Member
We recently purchased a nice reciever and surround sound speakers for our living room. The speakers we bought did not come with wires. I was wondering about the difference between regular wire and speaker wire(besides gauge). Should we spend alot of money on this portion of our system or will regular wires suffice.(We have to run them about 20 feet).
 

kinjalgp

Active Member
Speaker wires (shielded ones) are less affected by external noise than the normal cables. Both wires can work but it is recommended to use those specially made for speakers.
 

Gene

New Member
You probably already know this but it is important that the + side of the speaker terminal on the receiver goes to the + side of the speaker. Wire made especially for speakers has a stripe painted on one of the wires. The idea is that if you connect the striped wire to the + terminal and run the wire 20 feet, you will know which wire goes to the + side of the speaker. If you use shielded wire, the difference is obvious. If you live near a transmitter (business, airport, police station, etc.), if you have wireless equipment in your home (wireless intercom, ham radio operator, or LAN), or if you have noticed interferrence on the TV when you operate appliances and light dimmers, you should seriously consider the shielded wire.
 

Dean Huster

Well-Known Member
Watch out for scams ....

Don't let anyone ever talk you into buying cables using "low oxygen" copper, cables with gold-plated ends, cables made using fancy braiding techniques, etc. Time and time again, it's been proven in double-blind tests that even those folks who claim to have "golden ears" cannot tell the difference between systems using those horribly-expensive scam cables and junk wire. In nearly all cases, plain-Jane, 18-gauge zip cord bought at your local discount store works just fine. Because of the low impedance of the speaker system, it won't be picking up any extraneous signals as long as you don't do something silly like run your speaker wire parallel to power wiring for long distances or have a kilowatt transmitter in the same room.

Dean
 

Gene

New Member
I was in Wal-mart today an see they are trying to sell speaker wire (in the auto section) for $10 per 50 feet. Is that robery or what?

I have a Bose surround sound system and use the cheap speaker wire (like thin lampcord) from Radio Shack and have no complaints at all...and I'm fussy about sound.
 

Dean Huster

Well-Known Member
Zip cord

Gene, 20¢ a foot may be a little high, but not necessarily a rip-off. You'll have to admit that it does have some non-electrical advantages as outlined below. Yeah, a little high for what we can use for speaker wire, but a lot cheaper than what they do try to rip off the "golden-eared" boys with. Some of those cables get into the thousands of dollars for just a few feet. If there's a market for such things, I'm in the wrong business. But then, I'm also a very honest person, so could never do that to folks.

Doofster, if you see that same type of speaker cable at Wal-Mart, just walk over to the electrical wiring area of Wal-Mart and check the price of the zip cord in comparison. Zip cord looks just like the speaker wire except that it's usually incased in brown vinyl vs. transparent. The "speaker" wire is a bit easier to use in that it usually has one conductor that's unplated stranded copper while the other conductor is tinned stranded copper, so identifying the polarity is easy. The lamp cord or "zip" cord (so called because you can simply "zip" the two conductors apart from each other) has conductors that are identical. The only way you can discern a polarity is by carefully looking at the outide of the insulation for one or more ribs that one conductor has that the other doesn't. If you're lucky, one conductor's insulation will be literally corduroy-like in ribs while the other is smooth.

Dean
 

Irfanlove

New Member
Speaker Wires

the longer you keep your speaker away, the more losses will occur if you use ordinary wires. However there is specially made wires for speakers. However using shielded one will only prevent leakage of sound and external noise.

I recommend you if you do use oridnary wire then try to avoid bends and do not use anuother EMC equipmen :lol: t near by
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bogdanfirst

New Member
for speakers you certainly dont need shielded wire....it also has a highter resistance per meter the ordinary wire....i will go for normal wire...
im not sure but does the speaker wire have one wire of Al and on of Cu?
 

kinjalgp

Active Member
How did you made that conclusion that shielded wires have higher resistance per meter?
Resistance = Resistivity/Area
Since area of shield is larger, resistace is low. Thinner the wire, higher will be the resistance.
They have higher resistance to noise since they form "Faraday Cage" around the conductor. But this resistance is different than resistance offered to flow of current.
 

bogdanfirst

New Member
yes, but the center conductor is much smaller than a speaker wire...anyway i think i was thinking if shielded wire from microphones and headphones.....sorry .... :cry: :oops:
 

Dean Huster

Well-Known Member
Bends?

Bends, even sharp right-angle bends, won't be a problem with audio-carrying speaker wires. We normally only worry about sharp creases when working with transmission lines, high frequencies and pulses.

I doubt that shielded cables would ever be necessary in a home environment. As mentioned, most shielded/screened cable that we usually come across is truly not the best for speaker wire since the center conductor is typically 20 gauge or smaller. To run heavier-gauge, fully shielded wire would get pretty expensive.

I've run speaker wiring with stuff as junky as telephone inside wiring with no ill effects.

Dean
 
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