Speaker Cable Gauge???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by rickbass, Oct 2, 2001.

  1. Does any one give a rip about speaker cable gauge?

    I need to get a couple and the cost can be around $250US/169UK for 8 to 12 gauge cable. I don't need the length to be any longer than 6 ft. as this is for a home/small club setting with 300W going into each cab (re: cable length vs. performance).

    Making my own is not an option. I don't own a solder gun and wouldn't have any use for one otherwise.

    Thanks for any info about what you demand in speaker cable spec's.
  2. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Hi, Rick! Not another speaker cable debate! Anyway, for 6' lengths, you'll be fine with 14 or 16 AWG (I use 16). Just get a decent cable of this gauge from a typical music store, and don't pay more than maybe US$10 for each. You're not trying to solve California's energy problems with these. If you were running a coliseum-sized PA stack with 100,000 watts, I would give you a different answer.
    - Mike
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I use ProCo Guardian Fat Max 8-gauge (actually four 11-gauge in one cable) in 3-foot and 6-foot lengths. They're available with various combinations of banana plugs, Speakon and quarter-inch ends. Seems to me, they're less than $50, and gargantuan. Check it out.

  4. I made my own speakercable's..

    bought a cable with 2x6mm core, and put some jack plugs on it.

    total cost : $ 25
  5. fender58

    fender58 Guest

    Sep 8, 2000
    Southern California
    I made my own too. Bought 5 feet of 16 gauge, it might have been 14 and two connectors and solderd them on for $14. I did however have a soldering iron.
  6. Hi Rick.:D How the hell are you? Very nice to bump into you again.

    Volt drop across a given length of cable is always the problem. There are all sorts of very highly fabulous formulea for evaluating these things which require some considerable skill to work through.

    Allow me, then, to offer you the benefit of my 30 years in electronics.

    Take a speaker plug (Jack plug?) down to the local electrical store and buy 6 feet of the heaviest dang cable that will fit into the plug body and fasten into the cord grip. Two core mains cable (do you call it power cord or something?) will be great, perhaps rated @ about 10 Amps. There. Job Done.;)

    Dunno about you but I've seen all the arguments for and against the different types of speaker cables and how the colour the sound if you use this type or that type. I've not yet seen an argument that states a black PVC covering gives a superior sound to red PVC. But I doubt that it's too far away.:D

    Best wishes.

  7. Hey, Rockin! Bout time, mate! How am I? Anxious ---- waiting on new gear :rolleyes:

    You give me credit for knowing too much. It sounds like just taking a speaker plug into the store and somehow cramming some heavy cable on it.

    I know what you mean about the arguments. Before I started this thread, I tried doing some research and I walked away with conflicting info....."oxygen-free doesn't do anything for your sound"......."oxygen-free is the greatest thing since canned beer" :confused:

    So, here I see you and Munji, two cats I totally respect, mentioning heavy cable, and Mike, the friggin progeny of Nik Tesla, saying gauge ain't squat :confused:

    Maybe I should get one Mickey Mouse 16 gauge and another that's thick suspension bridge cable, try one in each cab and see if I can hear any diff.

    At least I don't feel stupid for asking.

    Seriously, thanks a bunch to all of you guys!
  8. It would be a delight and a pleasure, sir, to watch you attempt to cram suspension bridge sized cable into a jack plug:D

    Nah. Just having a bit of a laugh @ my own expense, really.

    Rick, IMHO, and within some reasonable bounds, big is beautiful in this situation. The fact that you're only running 6 feet makes cable diameter rather less important than it would be if you were running 60 feet or whatever. Provided the copper strands will carry the current without getting too hot (the losses I talked about), then no worries. To avoid that you just get the thickest cable you can get. That's about it really. Nice thick wire is also quite tough: a valuable asset for band situations

    Now, oxygen free cable, that's a real buzz. It certainly has one effect upon musicians. It relieves them of their hard earned cash, probably faster than anything else;). I'm as likely as not naive, but I really can't imagine pepole making and selling this stuff, and then then they've got to persuade the punters to buy it. I mean, WHAT!!!!

    Feel stupid? Not a bit. Just ask away m'friend, and I'll do all I can to give you what I hope is a sensible reply.

    (Err, how do you do that neat trick with the quotes: makin' 'em black and between two lines?)

  9. I really appreciate the offer to ask away, Rockin'. I forgot about the heat factor.

    The bold quote? I just used vB code in my profile - add a bracketed "b" and a bracketed "/b" at either end of the quote in my signature on my profile page.

    I'll tell you what - With the rhetoricTony Blair is starting to come up with, he might need to be included in a sig. He just might be an honorary American Badass!
  10. Hmm. Sorry, Rick, but I don't understand what you've said about the bold and stuff.

    Perhaps I didn't explain myself properly.

    At the top of your last post you've quoted my words. That quote is in bold type with a black / yellow line above and below.

    It's making that quote for my own posts that I'd like to know how to do. Err, is that sense......?

  11. Oh, that bold. :oops: That's some kind of default thing. I didn't do anything except click on quote.

    I wish I could figure out how to break up quotes with several questions/comments to respond to each point raised as they occur in the quote instead of having to roll it all up in a single response after the quote.

    If I try to respond to each question/comment, it all gets included as part of the quote.
  12. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    It's VB codes, many of which are common with html codes.
    You can also use B or I in the same manner to make text bold or italic.

    And there are others. Notice the vB Code HELP and the buttons at the top, which will initiate a java script box into which you can type or paste the text to be underlined, etc. Or colors and other stuff.
  13. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Here's what I do:
    _ Hit "reply with quote";
    _ When you get the edit screen, drag your mouse over the stuff to be quoted, highlighting all of it (including the vb codes);
    _ Right-click "copy";
    _ Go to the top, put in some carriage returns to help find your insertion point, and right-click "paste";
    _ Repeat as many times as you want to split up your response;
    _ Then, one-by-one, delete parts of the quote that you don't want to do and type in your response after the vb codes.

    It's rather tedious to do for a long reply; I usually hit the preview button to make sure it comes out right. You have to be careful to have all the vb codes in the right places.

    - Mike
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Hey rickbass ~

    I just said I use 'em. I don't know if they're any better than anything else. In all actuality, I'm not into cables that much. I bought the Fat Maxes for two reasons:

    1. Bass notes are BIG notes. Big notes, big cables. Makes sense to me.

    2. They LOOK really bitchen. They blow they minds of all who gaze upon them.

    'Nuf said. Thanks for the plug, though.
  15. Yep, Munji, that's about how much of techie I am, too. Also, I find basses with gold knobs let you pluck faster, too, unless they were stored in cheap gig bags.

    Elderly has some Fat Max's for good prices and their great to deal with, IME.

    Mike - Thanks very much for that explanation. Man, that's a lot of work! :eek:
  16. I sell and install PA systems as part of my job, and to you guys who say gauge does'nt matter, I say bollocks. I have proved this at a gig. My lightweight cable on my bass rig canned out once, so I replaced it with a big phat one, and the band members noticed the difference immediately. It is especially important in PA systems. Anything over 300w should have the biggest cable you can get.
  17. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I use 12 gauge with my bass rig- in fact, I recently bought a couple 100ft reels of very good quality 12 gauge, low-capacitance, oxygen-free, fine wire (etc.) cable, along with a bunch of Speakon and 1/4" connectors if anyone needs a custom cable made or wants parts.


    I got them to make custom cables for my customer; I sell Acoustic Image and Euphonic Audio stuff, both of which use Speakon connectors, and while they are getting easier to find, they still aren't that common, and premade cables are pretty pricey. Contact me off-list [email protected]

    I use 12 gauge with my QSC 2402 (2400w bridged); 14 gauge would be ok with, say a 3-400w rig, but the cable isn't much different in price, so I just use 12 gauge for everything.
  18. Of course size matters:eek: :D :eek:!!!

    It's a simple matter of Ohms law. Thinner cable has more resistance than thicker cable. That means with thin cable, part of the amp's output is being developed = wasted across the speaker connecting wires.

    Taking that to silly extremes just for sake of example, if the speaker is 8 Ohms and the wire there and back is 8 Ohms total, the total load is 16 Ohms and half the amps output is lost in the speaker cable! But there's worse to come. The amp's rated @ (say) 100 Watts into 8 Ohms. But we've now got a 16 Ohm load. The amp might only deliver (say) 50 Watts into 16 Ohms, of which half is lost over the speaker wires.

    Your 100 Watt amp into 8 Ohms is now delivering a fabulous 25 Watts into the speaker!!!

    Of course, there'll always be some power wasted across the cable, which is why I suggested to Rick that he should get the ....heaviest dang wire he could.

    Hope that makes sense.

  19. Conceptually and mathematically it makes purrrfect sense, John. But to understand it as you and Mike do - no way.

    But I do know for a fact that ohms, resistance, and capacitance are actually gremlins summoned from the underworld to this earth by a Fullerton, CA coven of apostate Yoruban ex-slaves from Cuba who practice Santeria to keep musicians in a constant state of confusion and poverty as punishment for the ascendancy of Neil Diamond.
  20. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    I never implied that gauge doesn't matter, as there is solid science behind choosing cable. Bob Lee and I agree on the science. If big cable makes you feel good, then fine, but beyond a certain point, the audible differences are negligible. See related thread somewhere in Amps (about 6-8 weeks ago?). And actually, low frequencies are MUCH easier to transmit over wire than high frequencies of the same power level.
    - Mike