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Speaker cable help- how to extend

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Gemz1982, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. Gemz1982

    Gemz1982
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    I have a set of hifi speakers, which i have had fixed onto the wall. The problem is the cable from them to my hifi no longer reaches.
    On each speaker i have a red and black and a blue and grey. I think the blue and grey is something to do with the smaller of the speakers, as on one speaker there is a big speaker and a little one.

    Any advice with how to extend the cable and which cable to use. I went into maplins and they had this cable which was white and white with a black line down the middle, the guy said i could use that as the black and red. Can i, and can i also use it to extend the grey and blue ones?

    Do i need to keep the thickness of the new cable the same as the original??

    Also, how can i properly attach the new cable, not just twisting the ends together??

    Many thanks
     
  2. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Sounds like your speakers are bi-wired, so ask for bi-wiring cable.

    But in theory you can use any kind of cable to extend the existing one though colors don't matter from a technical point of view.
    To attach the cables I recommend to solder them together (cover the connections with heatshrink) as this will ensure a reliable electrical connection and avoid corrosion.
     
  3. Gemz1982

    Gemz1982
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    Thanks alot for you help.

    How can you tell if something is bi-wired. I have never heard of this before.


    What about the thickness of the flex, the wire inside. Does it have to be consistent in thicknes of the original speaker cable.

    so obviously when you have a cable you split it so that one bit can be attached to the black part of the cable wire and the other bit can be attached to the red part of the cable wire. But if i have a cable i bought from the shop which was the one where one half of the cable is white and the other half is white with a black line down the middle, does the one with the black line down the middle go with the black one of the black and red or does it not matter.

    Hope that all makes sence. Sorry to ramble on :)
    Thanks
     
  4. per-Sony-fied

    per-Sony-fied
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    I would use a complete run of the Maplin cable you were shown from speaker to amp. Don't bother with extending the exsisting cable it is just not done. If you need to remove the backs of the speaker cabs to re-wire... do so.

    Thickness of a speaker cable does not matter provided you don't go to ridiculous with the thinness (or to massive) like bell wire.

    The colour of each pair of cable is immaterial just as long as you know which one you use to connect positive to speaker and amp. Black would normally go to negative but in the Maplin lead case it is merely an means to identification. The wire inside is the same.
     
  5. Gemz1982

    Gemz1982
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    what about connecting the existing speaker wire to the new wire with phono connectors, is this any good?? or is it just effective/good soldering the two wires together.

    I may look to just replace the whole existing cable like you suggested.

    When i was at maplins they asked me what thickness i would need. But with the thickness not being a big issue i may go ahead with some length that i bought, though i was just not sure at first because when i brought it home it was quite a bit thinner.
     
  6. Reiner

    Reiner
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    I understood this from your statement where you mentioned that there are four differently colored wires used per speaker and that you thought this is due to the fact that there is a bigger and a smaller driver in each speaker.

    It would be good if it's a match, or at least not thinner.

    It doesn't matter as long as you wire both speakers following the same coding, else you might reverse the polarity of one speaker - and that won't sound good.

    Phono connectors are not meant for speaker cables, and soldering would provide the best connection anyhow.
    There are connectors for speaker cables, but usually they aren't cheap and perhaps a bit bulky.
     
  7. baldrick

    baldrick
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    I had a Sony hifi unit that featured extra subwoofers built into the speakers but powered independently and they used red and black and grey and blue connectors (as I recall).

    If you've got a similar type of setup then just bog standard cheap cable is all you need, get 2 lengths for each speaker, connect them up (black and white to black is easier) and Bob's your mother's brother! Just make sure you know which length of cable is connected to red and black and which length goes to grey and blue!!

    To connect you could in theory get away with twisting the wires together although it would be better to solder them so if you know how to solder or know someone who can then do it that way. Then just wrap each joint in electrical insulation tape making sure that none of the joints touch each other!

    I know there are some people reading this bit of advice who are probably on the verge of needing smelling salts but (not wanting to under-estimate or patronise) I don't think Gemz is particular bothered about the complexities of bi-wiring or using heatshrink or re-wiring the 'cabs', infact I think if the speakers Gemz has are hard wired they would be almost impossible to open (and put back together)!?!?!?
     
  8. Gemz1982

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    Yeah, thats exactly what they are like. Nowt expensive like, ha ha.

    So i take it there not bi-wired then??

    cool, i've got one length of cheap cable already for one of the speakers for the black and red cable, but its thinner.

    Should this be okay??

    Cheers for your help.
     
  9. baldrick

    baldrick
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    Gemz, technically they are bi-amped because the speaker cabinets have 2 separate amplifiers driving them!

    For a real in-depth description of bi-wiring/bi-amping (if you're interested) have a search on Google....

    Any other questions, just ask.

    Ben
     
  10. Gemz1982

    Gemz1982
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    got ya, so there is an amp for one loud speaker. basicaly one speaker unit is called a loud speaker, with a tweeter and subwoofer...... The HF and LF work well together to give a good overall sound performance??

    As each speaker unit/cabinet has two sets of different coloured wires (red + black and grey + blue) does this mean that there is no need to bi wire because there are two sets of input terminals for each loud speaker?? so no need to bi wire.....

    Blimmin heck that was a mouthful....am i going along the right lines
     
  11. baldrick

    baldrick
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    That's about the gist of it!

    Full range Hi-Fi speakers tend to come in either two-way or three-way configuration:

    Two-way you have one driver for the high frequencies and a second driver for the mid-range and low frequencies.

    Three-way speakers have three drivers, one for high, one for mid-range and one for low frequencies.

    Absolute top of the range speakers (B & W Nautilus) will run to a four-way configuration and incorporating a sub-woofer takes this to five-way!

    In a standard hi-fi speaker there will be a passive crossover. This is a bunch of circuitry whose purpose is to split the input signal into the correct frequencies for the drivers (low frequencies <500Hz, mid-range 500Hz - 5KHz, high >5KHz). In a two-way speaker the mid-range would be split between the high and low frequency drivers with the greater portion being handled by the low-range.

    Better quality speakers have binding posts to connect the speaker wire to and these allow you to use much larger/thicker speaker cables. They normally allow you to use 'banana' plugs which make connecting your system simpler and prevent your cables from getting frayed.

    If a speaker is designed to be bi-wired there will be 2 sets of these binding posts which are connected either internally or externally with some form of jumper to faciliate single wire operation.

    When you bi-wire the speaker you remove this jumper and then run 2 wires from the amplifier to the speaker and connect one to each set of binding posts.

    In a 2-way, bi-wireable, speaker one set of binding posts will feed 1 driver and in a 3-way unit 1 set of binding posts will feed the bass driver and the other set will feed the high and mid-range drivers.

    Bi-amping is where you utilise 2 stereo amplifiers to feed the speakers, one for each set of binding posts. This method really comes into it's own with high spec equipment when you use a third party active crossover between the source (CD player/record deck etc...) and the amplifiers so that they only receive the frequencies for the drivers they are powering. This way you can use different amps for different frequencies to get a better sound.

    A pair of B & W Nautilus speakers are designed to use active crossovers and 8 mono-bloc amplifiers, 1 for each driver.

    Your speakers, if they are like the ones I used to have that come with a Sony 5-disc hi-fi system, have a full range 2 or 3-way speaker running on the red and black cables and an additional subwoofer running on the blue and gray cables. This sub channel can be turned on and off via a button on the hi-fi unit.

    The speakers can't be bi-wired because there is only one set of inputs for the full-range part of the speakers...

    I hope that makes a bit of sense and I hope it won't get too shredded by those with more knowledge than me!!
     

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