Is distance to speaker & impedance the only criteria when deciding speaker cable thickness/gauge?

gadgetluvr

Active Member
Hi all,

I'm fairly new to this "scene" but have done a fair bit of reading trying to get my head around all of this. Apologies if this has been posted in the wrong section of the forum.

My query is this - do I need to factor anything else other than distance from my amplifier to the speaker and the impedance of the speaker before I decide what thickness speaker cable to use? For reference, my amp is the Denon AVR-X2700H and the speakers are the Wharfedale DX-2's (4Ω nominal impedance). I will be using 12 AWG cable for my rear speakers as they are about 45 feet each from the amp. However for the fronts and center I know I can use 20 AWG as they are only 5 feet runs - but should I? The amp is a new model - do I need to worry about the power it puts out as well? Or the fact that I will be running 20 AWG and 12 AWG cables at the same time?

I'd prefer to use the 20 AWG as I can't hide all of the cable and obviously the thinner the better for aesthetic purposes; and they are about half the cost although that's not a massive factor as they are short runs.

I've specifically used "AWG" and not "mm²" as I've sourced my cable from the U.S. It was surprisingly hard to source white 12 AWG cable (or equivalent) cable in the UK without paying a premium for it.
The closest to 12 AWG here is 4 mm² and the closest to 18/20 AWG is 0.75 mm² (QED Profile 42 is what I am considering).

Many thanks in advance.
 

IWC Dopplel

Distinguished Member
After years of experimenting with different cables, I have realised that so long as you avoid the very thin and poor quality copper you are part way there. In more resolving systems worth experimenting more, do different cables sound different - often yes, is there correlation between price and performance - not a good enough one. Has there ever been a time I have spent a lot on cables - no (apart from naim A5 as they work very well with naim amps)

For me I avoid silver plated cables as they can sound a bit bright and 'lean' I prefer straightforward copper and for speaker I would go 12AG, when I have compared similar constructed cables of similar lengths to 16AG, I preferred the 12AG. Seems dialetrics have an influence of sound but the better coverings add notably to the cost, a tonne of rubbish talked about cables as you probably know. Many will say they make NO difference, but many say the same thins about BR players and power amplifiers, and many will share their opinion never having experimented
 

gadgetluvr

Active Member
After years of experimenting with different cables, I have realised that so long as you avoid the very thin and poor quality copper you are part way there. In more resolving systems worth experimenting more, do different cables sound different - often yes, is there correlation between price and performance - not a good enough one. Has there ever been a time I have spent a lot on cables - no (apart from naim A5 as they work very well with naim amps)

For me I avoid silver plated cables as they can sound a bit bright and 'lean' I prefer straightforward copper and for speaker I would go 12AG, when I have compared similar constructed cables of similar lengths to 16AG, I preferred the 12AG. Seems dialetrics have an influence of sound but the better coverings add notably to the cost, a tonne of rubbish talked about cables as you probably know. Many will say they make NO difference, but many say the same thins about BR players and power amplifiers, and many will share their opinion never having experimented
I went with 12AWG for the rears for the reasons listed above and 16 AWG for the fronts. Quite chunky the 12 AWG one is (Monoprice) so will need to think carefully on how to conceal it around the lounge.
 

Otto Pylot

Active Member
I went with 12AWG for the rears for the reasons listed above and 16 AWG for the fronts. Quite chunky the 12 AWG one is (Monoprice) so will need to think carefully on how to conceal it around the lounge.
Do you have access to a crawl space? For the downstairs HTS, the receiver is on the opposite wall where the couch is so I ran the speaker wire for the sides/rears (5.1 system) underneath the floor in the crawlspace. I ran the wire up the wall and cut a j-box for a speaker connection wall plate at both ends. That way, I can connect the wires via banana plugs at both ends, behind the receiver (which is in a media console) and behind the couch. No wiring is visible going from one side of the room to the other so the only wiring you see is the wire, which is carefully laid along the baseboard, going to the speakers from the wall plates. I put colored dots on the wall plate and wire so I know which wire connects to which terminal on the receiver. For the HTS upstairs, I did the same thing only I went up the inside of the wall, across the attic space and down the opposite inside wall. Works for us.
 

IWC Dopplel

Distinguished Member
I went with 12AWG for the rears for the reasons listed above and 16 AWG for the fronts. Quite chunky the 12 AWG one is (Monoprice) so will need to think carefully on how to conceal it around the lounge.

I did have the Monoprice 12AG and found it really difficult to work with, I also found an Amazon alternative cable worked better for me and actually sounded marginally better as well. I've heard some of the Van Damme are good as well they do a 'Hi-Fi' version that actually does sound better evidently than the standard blue. This works well feeding my subs and is quite flexible Amazon product
 

gadgetluvr

Active Member
Do you have access to a crawl space? For the downstairs HTS, the receiver is on the opposite wall where the couch is so I ran the speaker wire for the sides/rears (5.1 system) underneath the floor in the crawlspace. I ran the wire up the wall and cut a j-box for a speaker connection wall plate at both ends. That way, I can connect the wires via banana plugs at both ends, behind the receiver (which is in a media console) and behind the couch. No wiring is visible going from one side of the room to the other so the only wiring you see is the wire, which is carefully laid along the baseboard, going to the speakers from the wall plates. I put colored dots on the wall plate and wire so I know which wire connects to which terminal on the receiver. For the HTS upstairs, I did the same thing only I went up the inside of the wall, across the attic space and down the opposite inside wall. Works for us.
I don't have access to a crawl space unfortunately. Did you run the wire up the wall through any trunking? This is the first time I'm attempting something like this. I'll also investigate what this j-box is. Thanks for the info!
 

gadgetluvr

Active Member
I did have the Monoprice 12AG and found it really difficult to work with, I also found an Amazon alternative cable worked better for me and actually sounded marginally better as well. I've heard some of the Van Damme are good as well they do a 'Hi-Fi' version that actually does sound better evidently than the standard blue. This works well feeding my subs and is quite flexible Amazon product
Must admit I was a tad surprised at how chunky the Monoprice 12AG was when it arrived! When you say "difficult to work with" - are you referring to going around doorways etc.? The reviews on the U.S. site suggested that generally it was quite flexible to work with.
I did also check out the DCSk you've linked to (thanks!). Besides the fact I couldn't get it in white, I believe 4mm2 is actually thicker than 12 AWG, so decided against it.
 
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Otto Pylot

Active Member
I don't have access to a crawl space unfortunately. Did you run the wire up the wall through any trunking? This is the first time I'm attempting something like this. I'll also investigate what this j-box is. Thanks for the info!
A j-box is a junction box. That's the box that is affixed inside the wall so that you can attach a faceplate to the outside. Think electrical outlet. The outlet is inside the wall inside a box and then you just have a faceplate on the outside. Being as I just ran speaker wire (LV) alone, I did not see any need to use a conduit because the way it's laid out, if I ever decide to change the wiring, it's not that difficult to do. I purchased my speaker wire (and the solid core CAT-6 that I used for extending my ethernet connections) from Sewell (sewelldirect.com).
 

gadgetluvr

Active Member
A j-box is a junction box. That's the box that is affixed inside the wall so that you can attach a faceplate to the outside. Think electrical outlet. The outlet is inside the wall inside a box and then you just have a faceplate on the outside. Being as I just ran speaker wire (LV) alone, I did not see any need to use a conduit because the way it's laid out, if I ever decide to change the wiring, it's not that difficult to do. I purchased my speaker wire (and the solid core CAT-6 that I used for extending my ethernet connections) from Sewell (sewelldirect.com).
Thanks, I wasn't aware of the j-box as an option even so will look into it further!
 

Otto Pylot

Active Member
You don't have to use a junction box but it makes attaching some sort of faceplace to the wall easier and if you run extra cabling for future use, you can have a nice service loop by curling up the extra cabling inside the box.
 

gadgetluvr

Active Member
You don't have to use a junction box but it makes attaching some sort of faceplace to the wall easier and if you run extra cabling for future use, you can have a nice service loop by curling up the extra cabling inside the box.
Sounds like a good idea as I was planning on running extra cabling.
 

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