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speaker cable gauge

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by malibu, May 16, 2002.

  1. don't know and/or don't care

    5 vote(s)
  2. 20

    3 vote(s)
  3. 18

    7 vote(s)
  4. 16

    17 vote(s)
  5. 14

    30 vote(s)
  6. 12

    54 vote(s)
  7. 10

    10 vote(s)
  8. larger gauges -- approaching the diameter of a carrot

    13 vote(s)
  1. malibu

    malibu Guest

    Dec 26, 2001
    what gauge of unshielded speaker cable are you running from your amp to your cab ?

    bigger is better I guess -- especially for longer runs,
    but really, practically, are you gonna roll off any/some bass response from using thinner/high gauge over a short run ?
    Does power that you run make the most difference in the choice ?

    I'm moving up from a combo rig -- any recommended brands make a difference worth the cost ? Thanks.
  2. used to have 2x 4mm.. but switched to 2 x 2.5mm with extreme shielding.

    2.5 mm core.
    1 mm rubber shielding
    1 layer of aluminium
    1mm outer rubber shielding
  3. malibu

    malibu Guest

    Dec 26, 2001
    correct me if I'm wrong , but I thought shielding was only recommended for instrument cable . . .
  4. I use cables I made from Radio Shack banana plugs and 12 gauge household electrical cord. Cheap and they work just fine - good doesn't have to be expensive :D
  5. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    I switched all of my cables to the Monster brand and have not looked back. They are expensive but to me worth it. I noticed a difference in my guitar cables sound wise. It's an improvement. They last forever too. When I finally decided to go consistant with all my cables and get the best speaker cables I got the SP-1000 and they completed the "connection." I definatley hear a improvment. All my commrades think I'm nuts, an just wasting my money. Here is my train of thought. Why have a great amp, a great cabinet, and hook it up with below grade cables and connectors????? :eek: On the other hand 1/4" jacks are the worst connector and the most common, speak-on being the best beside hard wiring or binding post or solder. All I know is I hear a positive difference, and if you take care of your stuff it will last and last. JMHO :D
  6. Wow... rock my boat!

    I've only ever owned one brand of cable that was just no good... you guessed it, Monster Cables. When it originally went bad I took it back to the place of purchace and they gave me a number to call... seems virtually every MC that they had sold came back for service, so the dropped the line.

    Now don't get me wrong... I like them. They're sonically the best I've ever used. I have them on all my audio equipment. The deal is, they don't take well to being moved around much. It's just my guess that the cable is too stiff to be rolled, unrolled, rolled, bunched up... etc. etc.

    If you don't move your rig much... they're probably as good as it gets... but if you do I'd pass for another brand.
  7. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    This can be an extremly controversial topic here at Talk Bass as well as many other audio forums. Since the amount of cable used to connect an amp to a speaker system is fairly short many feel almost anything will do the job. To be safe somthing larger than 18 ga.

    More frustrating than the possible degradation of output is the constant mechanical failure of both speaker and instrument cables and their terminations.

    Monster Cable has solved this problem by offering a liftime warranty. In the past few years I have had four instrument cables replaced and/or upgraded due to use and abuse. No questions asked and no recipt required.

    I can't hear any sonic benifits when using any particular brand or type of cable on my bass rig, but I most definatly can on my Hi-Fi.
  8. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Controversial, I concur. I am most certain that most people do not store their cables in a bunch or coil them like a length of rope around the wrist and elbow, but if you do that is your main problem. Itry not to stand on it either. I think many players might not notice any difference sonically, but I do. I am in no way affiliated with any musical instrument manufacturer or accessories of that nature, but as regular part of my job I purchase vast quantities of cable. Many types such as thermocouple, heat trace, tray, fiber optic and many more. Cable quality does make a difference in many cases and in my opinion with our gear. Think of a signal as your vehicle. You can travel on the regular streets or on the Autobahn. You still get there. Monster may not be the best, but I have not tried any of the other special cable. I'm open to other trials. Thanks.
  9. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Santa Ana, Calif.
    Former Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    What about length?

    The gauge of a short length of speaker cable, like under a meter or 3 feet, is less critical than longer ones.

    Looking for sonic differences in speaker cable is like looking for performance differences in the type of air you put in your tires. IOW, if you got something more than adequate, you're set.

    The speaker cable on my rig is about 2 1/2 feet of some 14-gauge hardware store zip cord, and I'm confident that it's sonically indistinguishable from any other. Even for hi-fi use. ;)

    There are a number of "better sound through marketing" brands out there that want you to believe that ordinary wire is somehow inferior to their magic mystical stuff. Believe them if you want.
  10. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    12 Ga. Of course I only use the very best copper-free oxygen cables. :D
  11. JoelEoM


    Mar 11, 2002
    Lancaster, PA
    good one!:D
  12. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    yes , shielding speaker cables is relatively pointless and using shielded cables for speaker connections can be dangerous.

    That said, i use homemade 12ga. cables with speakons, they don't even require soildering and they work great. Total price for 2 cables, $35. Check out www.markertek.com

    One thing to notice, I doubt that any larger than 12ga cable would even fit into the speakon connector
  13. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    I use 14 gauge lamp cord. I think anything more than that is just overkill. Especially when you go to all that trouble to try and get 12AWG cable into a plug.

    The ends does not justify the means whatsoever--there is really no difference in sound or anything. Unless you're using a 2500 watt system and you have to use 30 foot cables, then I could see using big fat ones. Otherwise you are just wasting time, money, and effort.
  14. geshel

    geshel Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    Some confusion:

    shielding <--> insulation

    I believe Allo was talking about insulation.
  15. i think it's used for both..

    it improves the cable-strength.. but it also prevents the cable from turning into a king-size transformator / pickup if you pump a lot of juice thru it.. it's special cable that i bought at a car-audio store.. it's made specially for subwoofers with high output..
  16. malibu

    malibu Guest

    Dec 26, 2001
    still sounded like he's using a shielded cable with the aluminum layer around the conductor -

    but no, I'm not really sure exactly why a shielded-type cable is supposed to have some nasty effects in a speaker cable
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    4 mm²
  18. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    I use 12 gauge Mega cable from Radio Shack. It is 99.9% oxygen free and has fine stranding and thick insulation. The best part--its pretty cheap! (99 cents/foot) I use 2 10' cables and heavy gold plated spade connectors (also availabe cheap at Radio Shack) under the amp binding posts and Speakons on the cabinet ends. Its pretty sturdy, too. It has been trouble free for almost 2 years now. See, you can get good, reliable cables for chump change!
  19. Originally posted by Bob Lee...
    FWIW if you really care about your car you'll use DRY air in the tires... and if you do any performance driving (at speed) you use nitrogen so as not to get a buildup of pressure. ;)
  20. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I built cables using Speakons and some short pieces of 12 gauge Monster-wanabee oxygen-free cable I picked up for free from the local boom car shop.

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