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black & white speaker wire.. which is + and -

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nickname, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. nickname


    Jan 22, 2005
    this may sound really dumb but ive never seen them in black and white. im assuming black is negative and white is positive
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    it all depends what the black wire and the white wire are connected to
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yep. "Usually" black is ground. But you'll have to look at where the wires go on the speaker to be sure, and even how the speaker is labeled. Usually one of the speaker terminals will have a little "+" sign next to it, which is the "hot".

    The other way to tell is that usually the ground goes to the "sleeve" of the quarter inch jack (if there is one, and if not then the banana jack is usually color-coded or labeled in some way).

    Just curious, why does it matter? Are you running multiple speakers?
  4. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Black and white are used all the time in household wiring, and in that case the black is always connected to hot, white to ground. While there is technically no positive or negative with A/C, if that standard is applied then you can expect the black to be positive (hot) , the white negative (ground to amp chassis). Test it to be sure.
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yes, but that would be opposite to how most speakers are usually wired. You're absolutely correct that the black wire in a 3-prong AC cord is often the "hot". But usually black in speakers is "cold" (or ground). Might vary though. You're right, it's best to check, with a meter or something. :)
  6. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    Doesn't matter inside one cabinet, as long as you hook up all the speakers the same in a cabinet.

    If you have multiple cabinets, you can do the battery test....get a small battery...I like a 9V that is a bit low.... and connect speaker across it. All the cones should move together in same direction. If not, reverse the ones that don't move together with the rest.

    If you hook identically to two cabinets, they should likewise have all cones move same direction. If not, reverse the wires at the jack of the "odd cabinet out".

    re-check, and all cones should be moving together.

    There CAN be a little difference in "absolute polarity"...can affect punch a slight amount....your mileage might vary.

    If you want to check, reverse wires at the jacks of all your speakers and compare. (or just make a reverse cable, and swap that). You might notice a difference, or you might not.