Optimal Speaker Wire Gauge

I have a pair of SDA-1Cs coming in from Maryland to replace my 2Bs. And for some reason, for the 25+ years I've had them, I never questioned the gauge of the speaker wire used with the 2Bs. What I got originally was Monster Cable with 4 copper wire bundles per length of cable, using two strands twisted together per each + and - . I'm using the same cable now and no matter how hard I try, I can't see the gauge, though it appears in the 12-16 gauge range.

My question is: what gauge should I be using for an optimal setup? Wire lengths are going to be 6-8 feet. Running 165W @ 6 ohms.

Thanks.
Polk SDA-1Cs
Yamaha Aventage RX-A1080
Yamaha M-80
Yamaha CD-S1000
Sony UBP-X800M2
Technics SL-1400
PS Audio Dectet
AudioQuest Red River ICs Yamaha<->Yamaha
WAudio PCs
RapcoHorizon High Def High 413-Strand 10AWG Speaker Cable
Auralex Isolation Pads
«13

Answers

  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 17,969
    My question is what gauge should I be using for an optimal setup?

    Well that is going to be different for everyone. The wire you have now should be sufficient, does it worry you? Can you see green corrosion inside the cable?

  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 45,433
    Should have TL'd the 2B's. They're the better speaker to start with, IMO.

    Once one gets past generic speaker cable one realizes gauge is much less of a factor than some make it out to be.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • VR3VR3 Posts: 24,119
    Agree

    And truly 0 gauge is the only way to go, if you are not using shears to cut it, it's not good enough
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 26,990
    VR3 wrote: »
    Agree

    And truly 4/0 gauge is the only way to go, if you are not using a chainsaw to cut it, it's not good enough

    There, fixed that for you. B)



  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 26,990
    edited August 2020
    looks like the ol' main trunk line in Manhattan for the phone company :)
    Hey! Benny! You see da puce/sepia pair in dere, pal?
    Dat's da one we're lookin' fuh!
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 3,018
    edited August 2020
    Looks the stuff they use to power the conveyor at the local coal fire plant
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 26,990
    edited August 2020
    lightman1 wrote: »
    8158xir02unm.jpg
    Left channel positive lead....
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    lightman1 wrote: »
    8158xir02unm.jpg
    Left channel positive lead....

    That banana plug will need to articulate.... some
    🤓


    hmmm... acceptable for supertweeter use, I'd opine...
    o:)


    ... and I certainly prefer my banana plugs -- like my life partners -- articulate.
    B)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 26,990
    lightman1 wrote: »
    8158xir02unm.jpg
    Left channel positive lead....
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    lightman1 wrote: »
    8158xir02unm.jpg
    Left channel positive lead....

    That banana plug will need to articulate.... some
    🤓


    hmmm... acceptable for supertweeter use, I'd say.

    o:)


    ... and I certainly prefer my banana plugs -- like my life partners -- articulate.
    B)
  • GardenstaterGardenstater Posts: 1,668
    edited August 2020
    I'd put purity of copper first (prefer UPOCC), Litz (or thin ribbon) configuration second (with no conductor large enough for skin effect), and Gauge last (but not unimportant by any means). In my experience, gauge is very important for good tight bass.

    PS: theoretically insulation is important so maybe 4th on the list, with low dielectric insulations like polyethylene or teflon foams preferred. I haven't done any comparisons of wires with crappy PVC insulation with these so I am going on theory or faith here.
    George / NJ

    Polk 7B main speakers, most mods comp. (1979, orig owner)
    Martin Logan Dynamo sub w/6ft 14awg Power Cord
    Crown D150 amp
    Logitech Squeezebox Touch Streamer w/EDO applet
    iFi nano iDSD DAC
    iPurifier3
    iDefender w/ iPower PS
    Custom Steve Wilson 1m UPOCC Interconnect
    iFi Mercury 0.5m OFHC continuous cast copper USB cable
    Custom Ribbon Speaker Cables, 5ft long, 4N Copper, 14awg, ultra low inductance
    Custom Vibration Isolation Speaker Stands and Sub Platform
  • GardenstaterGardenstater Posts: 1,668
    If you want to determine the gauge just put a caliper on one of the strands and (assuming they're all the same dia.), calculate the cross sectional area and multiply by the number strands. Then go to a wire gauge chart and find the area and read off the gauge.
    George / NJ

    Polk 7B main speakers, most mods comp. (1979, orig owner)
    Martin Logan Dynamo sub w/6ft 14awg Power Cord
    Crown D150 amp
    Logitech Squeezebox Touch Streamer w/EDO applet
    iFi nano iDSD DAC
    iPurifier3
    iDefender w/ iPower PS
    Custom Steve Wilson 1m UPOCC Interconnect
    iFi Mercury 0.5m OFHC continuous cast copper USB cable
    Custom Ribbon Speaker Cables, 5ft long, 4N Copper, 14awg, ultra low inductance
    Custom Vibration Isolation Speaker Stands and Sub Platform
  • Wow. Thanks for all the comments, both comical and serious. Gardenstater, I see your custom cables are 14 gauge. What's the brand?
    Polk SDA-1Cs
    Yamaha Aventage RX-A1080
    Yamaha M-80
    Yamaha CD-S1000
    Sony UBP-X800M2
    Technics SL-1400
    PS Audio Dectet
    AudioQuest Red River ICs Yamaha<->Yamaha
    WAudio PCs
    RapcoHorizon High Def High 413-Strand 10AWG Speaker Cable
    Auralex Isolation Pads
  • GardenstaterGardenstater Posts: 1,668
    edited August 2020
    You're welcome. I fabricate them myself. They are similar to Goertz Alpha Core but I used 4N copper where they use a lower grade of copper. I would recommend that type of cable very highly. Let's just say that in my limited experience it is the best I've heard and lots of people in my Audio Club agree. My budget is limited so I have to work around that.
    George / NJ

    Polk 7B main speakers, most mods comp. (1979, orig owner)
    Martin Logan Dynamo sub w/6ft 14awg Power Cord
    Crown D150 amp
    Logitech Squeezebox Touch Streamer w/EDO applet
    iFi nano iDSD DAC
    iPurifier3
    iDefender w/ iPower PS
    Custom Steve Wilson 1m UPOCC Interconnect
    iFi Mercury 0.5m OFHC continuous cast copper USB cable
    Custom Ribbon Speaker Cables, 5ft long, 4N Copper, 14awg, ultra low inductance
    Custom Vibration Isolation Speaker Stands and Sub Platform
  • afterburntafterburnt Posts: 7,774
    x8u2lwthqt9d.jpg
    rpf65 wrote: »
    I’m thinking you’ve reached the point where people are afraid to open your posts.

    I disabled, I am the South Carolina woman who gouged her eyes out on meth.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 26,990
    afterburnt wrote: »
    x8u2lwthqt9d.jpg

    Naah -- those suck the life out of the sonics.

    B)
  • gp4jesusgp4jesus Posts: 1,590
    edited August 2020
    For me gauge rules, OFC, made of hair-thin strands. After that you can get creative and the $ goes up exponentially.
    ...And for some reason, for the 25+ years I've had them, I never questioned the gauge of the speaker wire used with the 2Bs. What I got originally was Monster Cable with 4 copper wire bundles per length of cable, using two strands twisted together per each + and - .
    post a pic please? I knew someone that had something like what you describe. I think you have a double run of 10 gauge = 7 ga.
    My question is: what gauge should I be using for an optimal setup? Wire lengths are going to be 6-8 feet. Running 165W @ 6 ohms.
    Thanks.
    If your speakers are a genuine 6 ohm load, minimum 10 ga - but that’s my experience from my days* messing w/a pair of 3.2 ohm subs.
    *nearly 30 years ago

    Samsung 60" UN60ES6100 LED
    Outlaw Audio 976 Pre/Pro
    Samsung BDP, Dish Rcvr, Xbox, Phillips CD chgr

    Canare 14 ga - LCR tweeters inside*; CC outside
    BJC 10 ga - LCR mids, inside* & out
    8 ga Powerline - LR woofers, inside* & out
    *soldered

    LR: tri-amped RTi A7 w/Rotels. Woofers - 980BX; M&T - 981
    CC: Rotel RB985 -> tri-amped CSi A6
    5 Audio Pro Subs: 1 B1.39: an Evidence at each corner
    Surrounds: Rotel 981 -> AR 12 ga -> RTi A3
    Power Conditioning & Distribution:
    3 dedicated 20A feeds; APC H15; 4 Furman Miniport 20s
  • GardenstaterGardenstater Posts: 1,668
    edited August 2020
    I know some here disagree that damping factor is something that matters and I've posted this here before but this is a calculator that you input amplifer specs and load impedance and wire gauge and length and it gives you the effective damping factor and some other parameters. Doesn't work for Lampreys or Electric Eels :p

    http://www.bcae1.com/dampfact.htm
    George / NJ

    Polk 7B main speakers, most mods comp. (1979, orig owner)
    Martin Logan Dynamo sub w/6ft 14awg Power Cord
    Crown D150 amp
    Logitech Squeezebox Touch Streamer w/EDO applet
    iFi nano iDSD DAC
    iPurifier3
    iDefender w/ iPower PS
    Custom Steve Wilson 1m UPOCC Interconnect
    iFi Mercury 0.5m OFHC continuous cast copper USB cable
    Custom Ribbon Speaker Cables, 5ft long, 4N Copper, 14awg, ultra low inductance
    Custom Vibration Isolation Speaker Stands and Sub Platform
  • GardenstaterGardenstater Posts: 1,668
    Here's another one that also takes into account cable capacitance and also calculates the -3dB rolloff frequency and states that it should be 80kHz or above.

    https://products.electrovoice.com/na/en/cableloss/
    George / NJ

    Polk 7B main speakers, most mods comp. (1979, orig owner)
    Martin Logan Dynamo sub w/6ft 14awg Power Cord
    Crown D150 amp
    Logitech Squeezebox Touch Streamer w/EDO applet
    iFi nano iDSD DAC
    iPurifier3
    iDefender w/ iPower PS
    Custom Steve Wilson 1m UPOCC Interconnect
    iFi Mercury 0.5m OFHC continuous cast copper USB cable
    Custom Ribbon Speaker Cables, 5ft long, 4N Copper, 14awg, ultra low inductance
    Custom Vibration Isolation Speaker Stands and Sub Platform
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 3,018
    So I think cable design is more important than gauge based on the fact that I had 10 gauge monster cable at the beginning of my journey. When I replaced them with 13ga. Wireworld ME's there was a HUGE improvement in clarity, imaging and bass control.
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables
  • gp4jesusgp4jesus Posts: 1,590
    Warning: long post ahead.

    I won’t argue well “engineered” cables will improve imaging, “remove the veil,” etc, etc.

    The links below describes my recent* and not so recent** experience w/what I like to call reducing Connection Resistance (CR) - cable gauge increases, bigger binding posts, soldering where practical. All the while, one change at a time, one channel at a time to allow comparison. Each time I changed/reduced the CR, I experienced a volume increase and more percussive bass. Same held true for my center channel

    The first link ends near “the end of a long road” of modding my RTi A7s. You’ll see 2 links to earlier RTi A7 threads. I still have a few but important mods that include better cabling to the tweets & mids (for another day)

    https://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/174880/tri-amped-rti-a7#latest*
    (sorry for the length, ignore the last 4-5 replies)


    This link you’ll read some theories but no refutations of my conclusion: lower impedance systems prefer bigger cables or bi-wiring if easy to do.
    https://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/172939/why-did-my-subs-get-louder#latest**

    About 10 years ago on this forum you would always find people ARGUING over internal rewiring speakers. The nay sayers, though not one tried it, would claim “...a waste of time.” I always weighed in w/ my “one channel at a time” story from about 1981 concluding w/ “...explain to us why...” causing them to tuck tail and run.

    So... like the Hot Rod adage: “no replacement for displacement.” Or, no amount of cable “engineering*” can get around the reduced CR of larger cables, etc.
    *assuming equally finely stranded OFC of the same gauge.

    Y’all are entitled to your opinions but I stand behind the above. I’ll wait behind a shield for the tomatoes

    Tony
    Samsung 60" UN60ES6100 LED
    Outlaw Audio 976 Pre/Pro
    Samsung BDP, Dish Rcvr, Xbox, Phillips CD chgr

    Canare 14 ga - LCR tweeters inside*; CC outside
    BJC 10 ga - LCR mids, inside* & out
    8 ga Powerline - LR woofers, inside* & out
    *soldered

    LR: tri-amped RTi A7 w/Rotels. Woofers - 980BX; M&T - 981
    CC: Rotel RB985 -> tri-amped CSi A6
    5 Audio Pro Subs: 1 B1.39: an Evidence at each corner
    Surrounds: Rotel 981 -> AR 12 ga -> RTi A3
    Power Conditioning & Distribution:
    3 dedicated 20A feeds; APC H15; 4 Furman Miniport 20s
  • gp4jesusgp4jesus Posts: 1,590
    I know some here disagree that damping factor is something that matters and I've posted this here before but this is a calculator that you input amplifer specs and load impedance and wire gauge and length and it gives you the effective damping factor and some other parameters. Doesn't work for Lampreys or Electric Eels :p

    http://www.bcae1.com/dampfact.htm
    +1

    Samsung 60" UN60ES6100 LED
    Outlaw Audio 976 Pre/Pro
    Samsung BDP, Dish Rcvr, Xbox, Phillips CD chgr

    Canare 14 ga - LCR tweeters inside*; CC outside
    BJC 10 ga - LCR mids, inside* & out
    8 ga Powerline - LR woofers, inside* & out
    *soldered

    LR: tri-amped RTi A7 w/Rotels. Woofers - 980BX; M&T - 981
    CC: Rotel RB985 -> tri-amped CSi A6
    5 Audio Pro Subs: 1 B1.39: an Evidence at each corner
    Surrounds: Rotel 981 -> AR 12 ga -> RTi A3
    Power Conditioning & Distribution:
    3 dedicated 20A feeds; APC H15; 4 Furman Miniport 20s
  • GardenstaterGardenstater Posts: 1,668
    edited August 2020
    Soldering, when done right, and with highest quality silver solder, is probably best for most situations. I think for the Litz wires, where it's hard to be certain that you got all the polymer off, it may be best to twist them as tight as possible, using a proper sleeve crimping tool as an aid and then lightly tin them. I do believe however that when it is possible to do so, a crimping sleeve on bare wires and contacts can be better when extreme pressure is used to the point where you basically get a cold weld, and that requires a crimping tool that fits exactly right, and is capable of exerting enough psi. Even high quality solder that we use has a much lower conductivity than the base materials we are joining, but it also increases the molecular contact area.

    I too have experienced volume increases and punchier tighter base with gauge increase and attention to contact resistances. I also favor silver platelet grease, used very sparingly on removable contacts. It fills in the gaps on a molecular level and increases conductivity.
    George / NJ

    Polk 7B main speakers, most mods comp. (1979, orig owner)
    Martin Logan Dynamo sub w/6ft 14awg Power Cord
    Crown D150 amp
    Logitech Squeezebox Touch Streamer w/EDO applet
    iFi nano iDSD DAC
    iPurifier3
    iDefender w/ iPower PS
    Custom Steve Wilson 1m UPOCC Interconnect
    iFi Mercury 0.5m OFHC continuous cast copper USB cable
    Custom Ribbon Speaker Cables, 5ft long, 4N Copper, 14awg, ultra low inductance
    Custom Vibration Isolation Speaker Stands and Sub Platform
  • Well, I finally took off a connector and cut off a section and sized it. The red striped wire is about half the diameter of the black and both twisted together will just barely pull through the 10 gauge wire guide. So I guess my speaker wiring is effectively 10 ga.

    umb1gbdb2kh7.jpg

    So, considering that and all other criteria being equal, dare I try a larger gauge? Rather than run the length of each cable looking for questionable areas, I was going to change the cables anyway.

    Whaddaya think guys?
    Polk SDA-1Cs
    Yamaha Aventage RX-A1080
    Yamaha M-80
    Yamaha CD-S1000
    Sony UBP-X800M2
    Technics SL-1400
    PS Audio Dectet
    AudioQuest Red River ICs Yamaha<->Yamaha
    WAudio PCs
    RapcoHorizon High Def High 413-Strand 10AWG Speaker Cable
    Auralex Isolation Pads
  • GardenstaterGardenstater Posts: 1,668
    edited August 2020
    Well not to be critical but you can't size stranded wire twisted together by pulling through a hole. Do you have a caliper? If so do what I suggested above ^^. Looks pretty oxidized so if you were going to properly terminate those ends, whether by crimping or soldering, each strand needs to be cleaned. Vinegar followed by a baking soda neutralization may work for you (on the untwisted ends). What I think is when you know the actual true gauge and you know the minimum length you can cut them to, run the parameters through one or both of the calculators I posted above and then decide if you think it is large enough gauge ^^
    George / NJ

    Polk 7B main speakers, most mods comp. (1979, orig owner)
    Martin Logan Dynamo sub w/6ft 14awg Power Cord
    Crown D150 amp
    Logitech Squeezebox Touch Streamer w/EDO applet
    iFi nano iDSD DAC
    iPurifier3
    iDefender w/ iPower PS
    Custom Steve Wilson 1m UPOCC Interconnect
    iFi Mercury 0.5m OFHC continuous cast copper USB cable
    Custom Ribbon Speaker Cables, 5ft long, 4N Copper, 14awg, ultra low inductance
    Custom Vibration Isolation Speaker Stands and Sub Platform
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 45,433
    Well, I finally took off a connector and cut off a section and sized it. The red striped wire is about half the diameter of the black and both twisted together will just barely pull through the 10 gauge wire guide. So I guess my speaker wiring is effectively 10 ga.

    umb1gbdb2kh7.jpg

    So, considering that and all other criteria being equal, dare I try a larger gauge? Rather than run the length of each cable looking for questionable areas, I was going to change the cables anyway.

    Whaddaya think guys?

    I think you should buy some real speaker cable.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 9,294
    These are a solid choice and are relatively inexpensive if you're looking to experience what a different type of speaker cable geometry can do for your sound: https://www.ebay.com/itm/KnuKonceptz-Krux-Interlaced-Braided-8-Gauge-Speaker-Cable-8-Pair-w-Banana-Plugs/392222051240
  • F1nut:
    I think you should buy some real speaker cable.

    That *was* real speaker cable (Monster) circa 1995 and that's the point of my thread. I plan to replace this cable and I'm trying to at least replicate the gauge, as I'm pleased with the sound that I get, but while I'm at it, can I do better?
    Polk SDA-1Cs
    Yamaha Aventage RX-A1080
    Yamaha M-80
    Yamaha CD-S1000
    Sony UBP-X800M2
    Technics SL-1400
    PS Audio Dectet
    AudioQuest Red River ICs Yamaha<->Yamaha
    WAudio PCs
    RapcoHorizon High Def High 413-Strand 10AWG Speaker Cable
    Auralex Isolation Pads
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