Speaker cable gauges

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Dean_CustomJazz, Feb 2, 2002.

  1. Dean_CustomJazz

    Dean_CustomJazz Guest

    Jan 23, 2002
    ok i recently put up the add for my big amp problem, and found out it was my cables. I have a good variety but this question remains......
    12 guage or 16? i run parallel (two cables) from the head 8 ohms. into a parallel cab. not sure what the ohm rating is but i think its the same as the head (4). please help, i have a gig very soon! :eek:
  2. What kind of cab are we talking about here? Why do you need to run two speaker cables into the same cabinet?
    Anyway, you have a Rogue amp, right? You can probably use 16 gauge and it won't matter, since you're not throwing a lot of power into the speakers anyway.
  3. Dean_CustomJazz

    Dean_CustomJazz Guest

    Jan 23, 2002
    ya but i read somewhere a 12 guage will give you a boost of power. if i run 1 wire to 1 cab and one to another, won't it reduce my power?
    By the way the cab is a big home made cab. a 15 inch jbl speaker through a horned and ported cab. these cabs are great, I've been trying to get a hold of the maker, but he/she is unknown.
  4. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    I don't know about gauges, but I do want to clarify one thing.

    If you only have ONE cabinet, you only need ONE speaker cable going from the head to the cab. I do hope that you're not running one from the "Main Speaker" input into the cab, then from the "Second Speaker" into the other jack on the cab. That could be why you're getting a distorted sound....you're already blown your cab by pushing too much power into it!
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    The ohmage doesn't matter. The two basic guidelines I use when buying speaker cable are;

    - get the thickest gauge you can afford/find
    - get the shortest length that still meets your needs

    There's a lot more, like the jack and the wire manufacturer if you get into it.

    FWIW, not long ago, I got some 10 gauge ProCo's that Elderly Instruments has (had?) on closeout for $20-$30 depending on the length.
  6. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    12 gauge wire is better than 16 gauge wire in most cases, but it can be kind of a pain to make cables with. The wire itself if so thick that it can't fit into a regular 1/4" plug without shaving down the sides and really cramming it in there. If you're gonna want 12 gauge speaker cable, it helps to have the kind with the twisted pair of conductors and a PVC jacket around the whole thing. This way, the cable is a little smaller and is a lot easier to fit into a phone plug.

    But if you really want to know what I think, 16 gauge works just as well as 12 gauge. I personally think 12 gauge is overkill unless you have an amp putting out 1 kilowatt or more. I just wouldn't use anything thinner than that though.
  7. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    Fatter is better. Shorter is better. Fat and just long enough to reach the speaker is best.

    The difference between a skinny cable and a fat one isn't one of quantity, but of quality. You aren't going to lose enough power in a 16 gauge cable to notice, unless you're at one end of the auditorium and the speaker is at the other!

    With solid-state amps, the fatter and shorter the cable, the better the damping factor, which is a measure of how well the amp controls unwanted speaker movement. A high damping factor sounds "tight".

    Make your own cables! 12 gauge zip cord just isn't that expensive. Try a hardware store. 1/4" guitar plugs are going to be hard to fit - whatever you do, don't shave the insulation on the individual wires! - but I've seen special fat 1/4" plugs specifically designed as speaker connectors. I think Switchcraft makes them.

    If you can't go fat, go as short as you can. Keep the slack to a minimum and you should hear a difference.
  8. Dean_CustomJazz

    Dean_CustomJazz Guest

    Jan 23, 2002
    thanks for all the advice, i stacked two cabs and put the head on top, a 3 foot 16 gauge going to the top cab and a 6 foot 16 gauge going to the bottom. Loud as hell! even with my rouge amp, it has a deep low end, but tons of tonal punch. sounds great and doesn't crackle (unless i use it for more than 2 hours, but i never do 2 hour shows.)
    feel free to give me more suggestions, besides telling me i need a new head. i know.
  9. Bob Lee (QSC)

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

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    What are the impedances of the cabinets? 12 gauge is better than 16 gauge, but the differences at short lengths like 3 or 6 feet really aren't critical if you're going into 8-ohm loads.

    BTW, is "woburn" Woburn, Massachusetts?
  10. Dean_CustomJazz

    Dean_CustomJazz Guest

    Jan 23, 2002
    u know it , woburn mass, poison water city. U from wob?
  11. Bob Lee (QSC)

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

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    No, but I think my old stereo receiver is.