Importance of speaker cable gauge

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Comments

  • delkal
    delkal Posts: 764
    Does anyone know the round wire "gauge equivalent" of a typical PCB trace? If so the OP can play with this calculator.

    Compare the resistance of an 8 foot piece of speaker wire vs a few inches of PCB trace.

    https://cirris.com/learning-center/calculators/133-wire-resistance-calculator-table
  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,151
    Resistance is only a fraction of the whole picture when it comes to the difference of components in a pcb vs. a speaker cable run when talking about wire or electron transfer.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,326
    To me, this whole thread sounds like a slow intro to the "cables don't matter" mantra.
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  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,947
    heiney9 wrote: »
    Resistance is only a fraction of the whole picture when it comes to the difference of components in a pcb vs. a speaker cable run when talking about wire or electron transfer.

    Per your previous comment ;) yes I think that careful perusal of this thread would reveal that sentiment has popped up a few times... and, no, that is not a critique of your response!
  • Viking64
    Viking64 Posts: 5,579
    People often seem too concerned with Gage and pay little attention to DeSoto.

    w3ax75x6umik.jpg

    And let's not forget nurse Dixie McCall. (With some vinyl and vintage hi-fi.)



    Or Doctor Joe Early. (Shown here with the lovely Dorothy Malone.)


  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,273
    All very good points, but the the question still remains, why use a substantial gauge wire for an 8 foot run when it’s still going to have the “bottleneck” where the current hits the traces on the crossover board. Surely a 14 gauge wire is able to pass much, much more than a trace on a crossover board.
    I think you need to spend some time learning about wire length vs gauge. The loaner the run the heavier gauge is required. At shorter distances a thinner wire will carry the signal. Also you should study speaker design. It's really cool to learn about how a speaker works, why the internal wiring is thin vs thick like external speaker wire, how a crossover works, whats required to move a driver or woofer. How a Voice coil works.
    So much to learn you have.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • DarqueKnight
    DarqueKnight Posts: 6,640
    edited June 2018
    All very good points, but the the question still remains, why use a substantial gauge wire for an 8 foot run when it’s still going to have the “bottleneck” where the current hits the traces on the crossover board. Surely a 14 gauge wire is able to pass much, much more than a trace on a crossover board.

    You don't have to use a substantial gauge wire if 30 gauge sounds perfectly fine for your tastes and needs. It all depends on what your sonic performance goals are.

    Larger gauge means lower resistance. Lower resistance means less heat and induced electrical noise. Less heat and noise means means a higher quality signal delivered from the amplifier to the speakers.

    A cleaner (lower noise) signal delivered to the crossover board is important because the signal will be split into smaller amplitude signals. Reducing signal amplitude has a detrimental effect on sound quality if the electrical noise content is significant.

    To go further with lightman1's water pipe analogy, assume a 1 inch water (electric current) pipe going to a home is contaminated with 10% by volume of arsenic (electrical noise). Therefore the water delivered to the home is 90% water and 10% arsenic. If you double the size of the water pipe to 2 inches, you then have 95% water and 5% arsenic. If you triple the size of the water pipe to 3 inches, you then have 96.67% water and 3.33% arsenic.

    Conductor gauge is just one factor in the signal integrity capability of a speaker cable. Other things such as conductor material, how the conductor material is milled and finished, insulation materials, termination materials and techniques, and twist geometry and other noise abatement measures should be considered also.

    By the way, some speaker designers use thicker, wider circuit traces in their crossover boards to facilitate higher current handling and lower electrical noise.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
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  • Toolfan66
    Toolfan66 Posts: 14,663
    edited June 2018
    Cable Talk should always have a distraction of the rare video footage of what PolkFest once was... Ron Jeremy was even there....