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speaker gauge?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have a Sony DHC-MD500 minisystem 60+60 watts minimum RMS with the stock 6 ohm speakers. The original speaker wire was 5ft. each side @ 22awg. I needed to extend the wires to 10ft. per side. The guy at the speaker store said to use 18awg of generic speaker cable. (they had no 20awg in stock) I have noticed a obvious decrease in volume, and i have to crank the volume up way higher than i used to, so the amp is working harder to get the same SPL (which i don't like).

Most people say that bigger wire is always better. is this true?
(people always talk about minimum gauge, not max. gauge)
Is it the poor quality of the new cable that screws it up?
My friend works at a place that can get me 1/2 price on monster cable.
what gauge should i get? the biggest i can afford?

ANY answers to ANY of the questions would be GREATLY appreciated.
post #2 of 9
I don;t know much about your sony mini hifi but with seperates like mine, which deliverys 50W in 8ohm (states but actually measured at 70w) using proper speaker cable is essential. It's all about the impendence and resistance of the cable, any good speaker cable should use OFC copper. Size or thickness doesn't really matter, Nodorst cables are really thin but they are famous for their quailty. $5000 for 4m of Vadalha anyone?

I personally use QED Silver Anniversary bi-wired at £8.50 per-metre. It's thin enough to go under carpets as well as sound great sound.
post #3 of 9

Carefull !

You should not be seeing the results you are describing. I strongly recommend you take a careful look at the connections at each end of the new speaker wire and make sure that there is not any little piece of wire that is shorting the terminals together.
post #4 of 9
I agree with Budgie.........you should not be seeing (hearing) such a dramatic drop in volume unless something is wired wrong. Are you sure the speakers are wired in phase (positive to positive and negative to negative on both speakers and amp)?
If you're interested in finding out more about speaker wire, check this out:
post #5 of 9
I don't know that much about electronics, but I know that there should not be a volume drop. My increasing the diameter of the wire, resistance is lowered (if made of the same materials) and if anything, the volume should be greater (but probably not noticable)

For my speaker wire, I use 12 gauge Romex. Works better than the 18 gauge I had been using.
post #6 of 9
Ah, yes, my EE classes can be useful at times

Size or thickness doesn't really matter
The gauge, or thickness of the cable determines how much power it can safely have going through it. 22 gauge wire might work okay for cheapo speakers, but I would reccomend getting 18 gauge at the smallest. I use 16 gauge in my setup (Zipcord). The other differences, although minute, are resistance, which goes down as the cable gets wider, given the same kind of wire. If you lengthen the wire, resistance will go up in a linear fashion provided you are using one cable. if you have multiple cables, the connections can add more resistance.

My family's home stereo is an Akai AA-R40 (50wpc) with old (22 gauge I think)zipcord going into some Bose 301s, I can't really comment on what kind of a difference it makes as I haven't heard the system with bigger cabling, but I might just get some cheap 16 gauge to see if it helps. Not to mention it sounds like crap in the first place, unless I am listening with my headphones .
post #7 of 9
The other thing that most people say regarding cable is that shorter the better (though obviously long enough to reach the speakers from equipment ) Check that each length is the same.
post #8 of 9
By moving the speakers you could have caused an apparent loss of volume. Are you sure that the volume actualy did go down and didn't just seem to because the speakers are farther away from your ears now?
post #9 of 9
check out


and download the "speakerworks" software

Very cool , fast and best of all free

Has wire guage calc , fuse calc , and speaker toe in guide

While there check out the "visi-fi" software

This is way cool ,not only can you log your entire AV system ,but you can add in serial numbers and throw it to a disc for insurance purposes

AND,and this is the best part

Enter in the various componants of either your hi fi system or your home theater system (or both) and it will make the connections on screen for the various parts

Vary useful for troubleshooting or just keeping track

Alsways meant to post on this,been using these (tiny) programs for years


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