ProSoundWeb Community

Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB Lounge => Topic started by: Jordan Brill on September 25, 2011, 01:35:41 pm

Title: Speaker Wire
Post by: Jordan Brill on September 25, 2011, 01:35:41 pm
I'm looking at switching my speaker wires from 2 conductor, to 4 conductor so I can run my subs and mid/high's off of 1 cable, and daisy chain my cabinets.  I have heard before "speaker" wire doesn't matter.  You don't need to pay extra for it to be "speaker approved" - just go to your local hardware store and buy 12 or 14 gauge 4 conductor electrical cable, buy some ends, and do it yourself.  I've heard the opposite too.  So, which statement is more accurate?  Make your own cables and maybe save a few bucks?  Or but prefab speaker cables?  Keep in mind things like warranty on cables - most manufactors have lifetime warranty on cables....not if it's homemade it doesn't.

But to get more technical about it - electrical cabling usually has more coarse copper strands inside each wire.  Speaker wire, is typically a more thin copper strand.  A thicker strand provides less resistance, less attenuation, more power, faster.  That's why home automation companies are starting to use Cat5 data cable for speaker cable.  In a Cat5 data cable, you have 4 colors, and 4 strips, or 4 pairs, or 8 wires.....whatever way you want to look at it.  Twist all your colors together, twist all your stripes together, you have your positive and negative speaker connectors, and a thicker strand...works good.

What do you guys think?
Title: Re: Speaker Wire
Post by: Lee Douglas on September 25, 2011, 02:11:27 pm
That's why home automation companies are starting to use Cat5 data cable for speaker cable.
What do you guys think?

I think I must have missed that memo...  For data and any number of "you name it" over cat5 solutions maybe, but speaker only when some idiot pulls the wrong wire.  I've been that idiot, by the way.

To address the original question- when making speaker cables designed for mobile sound, I prefer something more rubberized and flexable than most consumer hardware store extension cords can provide.  This usually entails a higher strand count as well.  A pair of coat hangars from your amp to your speaker will work, but there are better options.
Title: Re: Speaker Wire
Post by: Tim McCulloch on September 25, 2011, 02:38:59 pm
I'm looking at switching my speaker wires from 2 conductor, to 4 conductor so I can run my subs and mid/high's off of 1 cable, and daisy chain my cabinets.  I have heard before "speaker" wire doesn't matter.  You don't need to pay extra for it to be "speaker approved" - just go to your local hardware store and buy 12 or 14 gauge 4 conductor electrical cable, buy some ends, and do it yourself.  I've heard the opposite too.  So, which statement is more accurate?  Make your own cables and maybe save a few bucks?  Or but prefab speaker cables?  Keep in mind things like warranty on cables - most manufactors have lifetime warranty on cables....not if it's homemade it doesn't.

But to get more technical about it - electrical cabling usually has more coarse copper strands inside each wire.  Speaker wire, is typically a more thin copper strand.  A thicker strand provides less resistance, less attenuation, more power, faster.  That's why home automation companies are starting to use Cat5 data cable for speaker cable.  In a Cat5 data cable, you have 4 colors, and 4 strips, or 4 pairs, or 8 wires.....whatever way you want to look at it.  Twist all your colors together, twist all your stripes together, you have your positive and negative speaker connectors, and a thicker strand...works good.

What do you guys think?

Copper is copper.   What matters is wire gauge.  The home automation installers are cutting a corner when wiring audio with CAT5.  For home it may not make much of a difference, but for our uses, the equivalent of 18 AWG speaker wire is totally inadequate.

Beyond that you don't need "oxygen free" or "micro-crystalized" or whatever marketing bullshit is spewed by Monstrosity or their ilk.  From a reputable dealer, find the best price on 14/4, 13/4 or 12/4 and buy from them.
Title: Re: Speaker Wire
Post by: Tom Young on September 25, 2011, 02:45:48 pm
I'm looking at switching my speaker wires from 2 conductor, to 4 conductor so I can run my subs and mid/high's off of 1 cable, and daisy chain my cabinets.  I have heard before "speaker" wire doesn't matter.  You don't need to pay extra for it to be "speaker approved" - just go to your local hardware store and buy 12 or 14 gauge 4 conductor electrical cable, buy some ends, and do it yourself.  I've heard the opposite too.  So, which statement is more accurate?  Make your own cables and maybe save a few bucks?  Or but prefab speaker cables?  Keep in mind things like warranty on cables - most manufactors have lifetime warranty on cables....not if it's homemade it doesn't.

But to get more technical about it - electrical cabling usually has more coarse copper strands inside each wire.  Speaker wire, is typically a more thin copper strand.  A thicker strand provides less resistance, less attenuation, more power, faster.  That's why home automation companies are starting to use Cat5 data cable for speaker cable.  In a Cat5 data cable, you have 4 colors, and 4 strips, or 4 pairs, or 8 wires.....whatever way you want to look at it.  Twist all your colors together, twist all your stripes together, you have your positive and negative speaker connectors, and a thicker strand...works good.

What do you guys think?

I think you need to do some serious woodshedding and read authoritative texts and articles on basic electricity, audio signal transmission, wire resistance, portable cordage versus installed wire/cable and basic live sound system wiring practices.

You are very much misinformed on several points.

Start by researching until you can calculate what the accumulative gauge of 4 structured (Cat-whatever) cable conductors twisted together is versus the commonly used wire gauges employed for live sound loudspeakers positioned at "normal" distances from the amps.

In general, you should never compare (or consider doing) what the vast majority of home HiFi and residentail audio users and installers do with what we need to do in portable (and installed) live audio. Home automation is even more far removed.
Title: Re: Speaker Wire
Post by: Steven warner on September 25, 2011, 03:23:04 pm
I'm looking at switching my speaker wires from 2 conductor, to 4 conductor so I can run my subs and mid/high's off of 1 cable, and daisy chain my cabinets.  I have heard before "speaker" wire doesn't matter.  You don't need to pay extra for it to be "speaker approved" - just go to your local hardware store and buy 12 or 14 gauge 4 conductor electrical cable, buy some ends, and do it yourself.  I've heard the opposite too.  So, which statement is more accurate?  Make your own cables and maybe save a few bucks?  Or but prefab speaker cables?  Keep in mind things like warranty on cables - most manufactors have lifetime warranty on cables....not if it's homemade it doesn't.

But to get more technical about it - electrical cabling usually has more coarse copper strands inside each wire.  Speaker wire, is typically a more thin copper strand.  A thicker strand provides less resistance, less attenuation, more power, faster.  That's why home automation companies are starting to use Cat5 data cable for speaker cable.  In a Cat5 data cable, you have 4 colors, and 4 strips, or 4 pairs, or 8 wires.....whatever way you want to look at it.  Twist all your colors together, twist all your stripes together, you have your positive and negative speaker connectors, and a thicker strand...works good.

What do you guys think?


are you wrapping them four times a week or four times a year?  it comes down to durability, I use these http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=100-591
       
Title: Re: Speaker Wire
Post by: Nils Erickson on September 25, 2011, 03:35:48 pm
Jordan,

If I were you, I would get a spool of 12/4, a bunch of connectors, and start making cables.  You will save a lot of $ with this little bit of sweat equity.  If you can't find it locally, order a spool of 12/4 from Camel Traders; they were very easy to deal with and have good prices.  The cable itself is quite heavy duty; it coils and lays easily.

I'm not sure what you are using for connectors, but if you are using NL4s assembly is simple; to me, this makes warranty a moot point as field repairs are done in under a minute.

Cheers,
Nils

http://cameltraders.com/shopping?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.pbv.v1.tpl&product_id=486&category_id=26


edit to add link
Title: Re: Speaker Wire
Post by: Randall Hyde on September 25, 2011, 08:30:41 pm
I'm looking at switching my speaker wires from 2 conductor, to 4 conductor so I can run my subs and mid/high's off of 1 cable, and daisy chain my cabinets.  I have heard before "speaker" wire doesn't matter.  You don't need to pay extra for it to be "speaker approved" - just go to your local hardware store and buy 12 or 14 gauge 4 conductor electrical cable, buy some ends, and do it yourself.  I've heard the opposite too.  So, which statement is more accurate?  Make your own cables and maybe save a few bucks?  Or but prefab speaker cables?  Keep in mind things like warranty on cables - most manufactors have lifetime warranty on cables....not if it's homemade it doesn't.

But to get more technical about it - electrical cabling usually has more coarse copper strands inside each wire.  Speaker wire, is typically a more thin copper strand.  A thicker strand provides less resistance, less attenuation, more power, faster.  That's why home automation companies are starting to use Cat5 data cable for speaker cable.  In a Cat5 data cable, you have 4 colors, and 4 strips, or 4 pairs, or 8 wires.....whatever way you want to look at it.  Twist all your colors together, twist all your stripes together, you have your positive and negative speaker connectors, and a thicker strand...works good.

What do you guys think?

I get 12/4 from home depot and go from there.
Don't use less than 12 ga unless you're always running *really short* cables. Especially if you have 4 ohm cabinets (look up "Damping Factor" for details).

Fancy cables *do* matter, at high frequencies. Audio is *not* high frequencies. 12/4 from Home Depot is perfect for speaker cables.
Cheers,
Randy Hyde
Title: Re: Speaker Wire
Post by: Charlie Zureki on September 25, 2011, 08:50:48 pm
I think you need to do some serious woodshedding and read authoritative texts and articles on basic electricity, audio signal transmission, wire resistance, portable cordage versus installed wire/cable and basic live sound system wiring practices.

You are very much misinformed on several points.

Start by researching until you can calculate what the accumulative gauge of 4 structured (Cat-whatever) cable conductors twisted together is versus the commonly used wire gauges employed for live sound loudspeakers positioned at "normal" distances from the amps.

In general, you should never compare (or consider doing) what the vast majority of home HiFi and residentail audio users and installers do with what we need to do in portable (and installed) live audio. Home automation is even more far removed.

    +1

     Hammer