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speaker cable?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by superbassman2000, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. wow!
    two amp posts in the same week! thats a new record!

    anyways, i hear that there is such a thing as a "speaker cable" so how is it different than an instrument cable?
    is there any damage that can be done to the cab or amp using an instrument cable as a speaker cable?

  2. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    Instrument cable is very fine wire, to be flexible, and needs to be sheilded to reject noise. Instrument signals are very small, and almost no current flows in the cable.

    Speaker cable is much heavier wire, and does not need to be sheilded, since speakers are much lower in impedance than pickups, and because the signal is vastly larger, both in terms of voltage and current (remember, voltage times current equals power (watts)). Speaker cable also needs to be flexible, but not nearly as much.

    Can you damage an amp by using an instrument cable to a speaker? Not likely - the worst case would likely be that the cable would get hot, and you would lose a lot of power. Worst case on a tube amp, this MIGHT put you far enough off in load impedance to cause a problem, but once again, I don't think it is very likely.

    And, the question you didn't ask - what if you use a speaker cable on an instrument? No damage, but hum and noise city!

    - Tim
  3. thanks tim!
  4. I have seen pictures of instrument cables that were melted from high current; I can envision a situation where the melted instrument cable could precipitate a shorted condition. Particularly at the junction to the jacks...

    Bottom line, why risk problems? A 3 foot long 16 ga speaker cable might cost 10 bucks....Use the right cable at the right spot, and never worry about it again.
  5. Monomer


    Jul 22, 2005

    I've fused 20ga. wire thats found on the inside of cheap cabs.

    you can get SJOOW at lowes/ home dept. for around $.93/foot.