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Speaker cable size

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Fishface, Aug 14, 2003.


  1. Fishface

    Fishface

    Jul 26, 2002
    Denver, Colorado
    Well, I'm a putting a rig together, and I have a question that I didn't find a good answer to when I used the search function.

    I have a Sansamp RBI into a Carvin DCM100 into an Avatar B112. I am going to run it bridged into 8ohms for right now. I will eventually add another 8ohm cab for a 4ohm load.

    What gauge speaker wire would be optimal for 700 to 1000 watts? If I can avoid it I would like to stay away from huge sizes like 10 gauge. I don't want to pay the extra expense, plus there's little flexibility. But if it's what is neccessary for that kind of wattage, I will go for it.

    I think a short run 3-6 ft of 16 gage would be OK. Ignore my signature line and correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also, I was going to use a regular 1/4" from my preamp to the amp (very short run). Would there be much benefit to use a balanced TRS line, or is it just a matter of "being correct"?
     
  2. By the word of other companies, 1000 watts should be at least 12 gauge. However i run bigger amps on 12, 13, or 14. I would not go less then then 14. For a short run like that a 12 gauge cable shouldn't be more then $20. Small price to par for good sound. Another thing to think about is with small cable it is harder on the amp. I think on those carvins they have speakons, I would use that also. (I hope that doesn't start an argument.)

    As for the TRS cable. I would just to do it, but it is not nessacary. In fact I would use an XLR is the option is there. It's all up to you-
     
  3. Fishface

    Fishface

    Jul 26, 2002
    Denver, Colorado
    I need to keep the XLR open for a feed to the house, so I want to use the 1/4" to the amp.

    I thought about SpeakOn, but my cab only has 1/4" inputs. I might modify it later, though.
     
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    12 guage is my vote. Its not prohibitively expensive, and if you're going to spend that kind of money on a rig, what's another $20???
     
  5. Fishface

    Fishface

    Jul 26, 2002
    Denver, Colorado
    I have a wife. :bag:


    :D
     
  6. Yeah my cab only has a 1/4 to so I just use a Speakon to 1/4 cable that I made.
     
  7. 12 Gauge 2 conductor speaker cable is only $.36 a foot. I'm sure you can afford that.
     
  8. Fishface

    Fishface

    Jul 26, 2002
    Denver, Colorado
    Doh!!!

    I guess I'd better shop around. The last speaker wire I bought was 15 years ago, & it was 16 gauge from Radio Shack.

    Sounds like 12 gauge is the size to go with.
     
  9. rdkill

    rdkill

    Jan 20, 2003

    The cab internally is probably 16 gauge or worse so I'd not get anal about it. Plus you say you will be using the 1/4" jack which will be another "bottleneck". On your setup, you should eventually plan on rewiring the cab internally with 14 gauge and a speakon. As it is 8 ohms and not 4 ohms 14 gauge is fine. Just DON'T plan on "daisy chaining" to a second cab, run the second cab back to the amp! You will have to make up a special cable to go from the amp's speakon to the two cabs - the speakon connector for the amp side should fit two 14 gauge wires to each terminal no prob. Oh yah, while you are in the cab loose the "push-on" connectors to the speakers - solder them bastards!
     
  10. 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
    Whether it's 1,000 watts or 10 milliwatts, you choose your speaker wire based on the load impedance of the speaker. You want the cable's resistance to be a reasonably small fraction of the speaker impedance.

    For example, 2.5' (5' round trip) of 16 gauge copper wire has 20 milliohms of resistance. If you're driving an 8-ohm load, the speaker cable resistance is 1/400, or 0.25%, of the load impedance. That's pretty much negligible. If you want to go larger, that's fine; it'll also allow you to go longer. Good wire is really cheap if you buy it at a hardware store or electrical supply shop.
     
  11. Fishface

    Fishface

    Jul 26, 2002
    Denver, Colorado
    That's similar to some of the things I read in other posts. But, I had a couple of other people that I know say with that much wattage I will really need some heavy speaker cable. I didn't seem to make sense with other things that I have read at other places. I couldn't put the 2 together, especially with such a short cable length.
     
  12. ProCo Fat Max 8-Gauge (looks like a welding cable)
     
  13. I think Bob Lee may just be a genious.
     
  14. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    PDX
    For short lengths, I really don't believe it makes a difference as long as you use at least 16 gauge. Since you'll have to use a 1/4 connector on the Avatar anyway, keep in mind you'll have to get one of the fat-barrel type 1/4 plugs if you want to use 12 gauge.
    Personally, I use a little over a foot of Home Depot 14 gauge speaker cable with Switchcraft 1/4" plugs. (my amp and cab don't accept anything other than 1/4") It works fine.

    FWIW, Avatar cabs are wired internally with 16 ga wire-- at least they were when I got my B210 a year ago.
     
  15. Fishface

    Fishface

    Jul 26, 2002
    Denver, Colorado
    Thanks for everybody's help. The info from Bob Lee has convinced me that, for the short lengths that I am going, the 16 gauge will work just fine.

    Thanks, Bob. (And I didn't even buy a QSC amp. Their customer service is probably first rate.) :cool: