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Old 12-13-2011, 09:53 PM   #1
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Speaker wire inquiry


Hi guys, wasn't sure where to put this thread.
Anyway I'm thinkin about running speaker walls inside framing before drywalling and was wondering if electrical wiring will interfere with speaker performance?

Any help is good

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Old 12-13-2011, 10:19 PM   #2
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Speaker wire inquiry


Yes it will. If your speaker wires have to run parallel to electrical wires, run them at least 12", preferably 18" away. You can cross them at 90 degrees if you have to, pretty close, without interference.

Use wire that is approved for in-wall use. www.monoprice.com has very high quality, inexpensive sheathed speaker wire in spools of various lengths, two wire and four wire. Check 'em out.

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Old 12-13-2011, 10:27 PM   #3
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Speaker wire inquiry


when I installed my bose system i used shielded wire to protect it from interferance....sold at audio stores...
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:29 PM   #4
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Speaker wire inquiry


It takes relatively a lot of electricity to drive a speaker to create a noise you can hear - electrical "noise" picked up by a wire run next to other wires as opposed to the electricity produced by an amplifier.

If a speaker wire was run for a long enough distance right next to a power wire, then you might hear a bit of hum out of the speaker.

But if you keep the speaker wires about a foot from electrical wires and run these in a "normal" size house, there should not be any noise.

If however it is a signal which is amplified by your amplifier before going to the speakers. Or say a wire going to a subwoofer which has its own amplifier, THEN any little bit of electrical noise would be amplified and you would hear it. In that case use "shielded" wire. And even if not run next to electrical wires, use shielded wire! Because there is all sorts of electrical "noise" constantly being transmitted in the air by wireless devices.

As an experiment you can connect a long wire to a speaker, then lay that wire next to electrical wires (not connecting it of course). Then listen for any noise. If you hear anything, then try 1 foot away.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:41 PM   #5
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Speaker wire inquiry


Wow guys thanks for fast reply
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:36 AM   #6
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Speaker wire inquiry


I would say it's essentially impossible for speaker wires to pick up noticeable interference from home power wiring. The magnetic field is just not strong enough to couple enough power into the speaker wiring to create an audible sound. You could run them right next to each other with no audible interference. Signal cables are a totally different matter. Any cable that feeds the INPUT of an amplifier can definitely pick up interference and must be properly shielded, properly grounded, and routed away from power.
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:37 AM   #7
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Speaker wire inquiry


It is hard to get shielded cable in the size (gauge) needed for speaker wires.

Since the two ("positive" and "negative"*) wires for each speaker are right next to each other as they pass or parallel a neighboring AC power line, there is some cancellation of any interference that might put into the speaker wires. So interference, small as it is, would be even smaller than you think.

If you wish to play music or soundtracks loudly and with excellent fidelity then you will need heavier speaker wires. Four ohm speakers need heavier wire than eight ohm speakers on average.

Experts differ (sometimes argumentatively) on what wire size you need. At one extreme, some home theater experts recommend 12 gauge wire for a distance of more than 30 feet from amplifier terminals to speaker terminals (i.e. including the portions of speaker wire outside the wall).

If you use Romex cable and share the bare ground wire for the negative terminals of two speaker units then the effective wire gauge is one size smaller. For example if you ran 14-2 w/ground cable, sharing the ground, the approximatel equivalent wire size for running (four) separate wires is 16.

For the same gauge, (solid wire) Romex cable works just as well as Monster cable (oxygenated or not) although Romex doesn't look as nice when it emerges from the wall to reach the speaker and is stiffer to work with.

* Audio is also alternating current.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-14-2011 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:11 AM   #8
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Speaker wire inquiry


To the OP.....all good advice above.....my background is electronics and the guys have it right.....for the most part.

We could get into some lively discussions on the effects of mutal inductance on parallel wires.....but if you keep the wires at least a foot or more away....and cross AC wires at right angles....you won't have an issue.

On the wire size.....this part cracks me up....Monster cable has everone thinking you need gold plated 00 size cable....like Allan pointed out, if your pumping some serious power, yea, you need larger wires....especially if it's a long run.....

Lets say you have a speaker rated for 120w and is 4 ohms.....that means your moving about 1A of current down the wire. So you think you don't need a very large wire.....right?
Now, in electronics....maximum power transfer is achieved when the load impeadance (speaker) matches the source impeadance (amp). With lower impeadance speakers (4 ohm), the resistance of the wire starts to become a factor.

16 awg wire has aprox 4 ohms of resistance/1000'....100' = .4 ohms.....add the round trip path and your up to .8 ohms of resistance feeding your 4 ohm speakers. At full power this would start to impact performance. Has NO effect on quality....just quantity.

14g wire...aprox .5 ohms/100' round trip...(200' total)
12g wire...aprox .3 ohms/100' round trip...

Get the idea?

But in the real world....most speakers are not exactly 4 ohms or 8 ohms.....most amps will drive a 4 or 8 ohm load just fine....and contrary to the AV BS that floats around, people can not tell the difference.....unless your using 24g wire on a 200w speaker....

Believe it or not....there is a product out there....a power cord for your amp....gold contacts....on one of the AV sites, there were guys who were saying that they could actually hear the difference using that $175 power cord......"The sound was more pure". I guess for $175, I wouldn't want to admit that I was stupid for buying it.....

Shielded wire? If you have a good earth ground to use at one end...fine....but I don't think it will make any real difference. The speaker wire would really need to be wire tied next to the romex for 10-20' to pick up any measurable engergy....but with 4 or 8 ohm speakers? You would not be able to hear the 60 hz....even in a quite room with nothing turned on...
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:18 AM   #9
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Speaker wire inquiry


Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
Monster cable has everone thinking you need gold plated 00 size cable
Only those who don't know better. I'm wise to their gimmicks and the ridiculous markups retailers set on their cables.

In regards to A/V cables, people who think more expensive automatically means better really need to educate themselves.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:35 AM   #10
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Speaker wire inquiry


Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
On the wire size.....this part cracks me up....Monster cable has everone thinking you need gold plated 00 size cable....like Allan pointed out, if your pumping some serious power, yea, you need larger wires....especially if it's a long run....

Exactly. Look inside the speakers and notice the small wire size they use. Also the small wire size which comes with the stereo. That works just fine!

I like to do my "reality check" speaker wire test. I'll wire one speaker with regular old 18 gauge wire and the other with that expensive speaker wire, with gold this and that. Then ask someone to come in the room and tell me which is which. They can't tell the difference!

FYI some of those expensive speaker wires do NOT have larger gauge wire, rather they have larger insulation! You are paying for plastic and the "name".
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:08 PM   #11
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Speaker wire inquiry


Here is what I used. Yes you could probably use electrical zip cord and be fine, but you're sealing it up in the wall so you might as well use good stuff:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

Approved for in-wall installation with PVC flame retardant jacket. I don't think you'll find it cheaper anywhere else as Monoprice is polar opposite of Monster Cable hype. You can get an HDMI cable there for like $4.

As far as 14awg vs. 16awg, I figured once it's in the wall it's in the wall, and a few pennies more for the thicker stuff was worth it. Also, some of my runs were over 80 feet.

As to whether you may get electrical interference from home electrical wiring, the generally accepted guidelines among audio installers, audiophiles, electricians, and audio equipment manufacturers is that where possible you should keep speaker wires and electrical wires that are parallel 12" or more apart. I would listen to them instead of people who "don't think it will be a problem" because again, once it's in the wall, it's rather inconvenient to remediate if you have an issue. Why tempt fate if you don't have to.

Last edited by Ironlight; 12-14-2011 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:50 PM   #12
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Speaker wire inquiry


Yes,
Especially if their are any open grounds, also be sure to use cl rated wire for in wall applications, or it may void your home owners insurance. Sounds stupid, but i used to work for a major chain installing who had us using standard speaker wire off the shelf and we had recall all our installs and go back and rewire with cl-2. Also Hdmi Cables make sure their version 1.3 and if your equipment is network capable use hdmi with highspeed internet so you dont have to run several cat5 cables to it.

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Old 12-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #13
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Speaker wire inquiry


Yes,
Especially if their are any open grounds, also be sure to use cl rated wire for in wall applications, or it may void your home owners insurance. Sounds stupid, but i used to work for a major chain installing who had us using standard speaker wire off the shelf and we had recall all our installs and go back and rewire with cl-2. Company i usually order from is http://www.mcmelectronics.com/ they arent the cheapest but they have quality cables still cheaper than monster and Acoustic research.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:21 PM   #14
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Speaker wire inquiry


Reading these posts, nobody has mentioned that twisted cable is used to prevent foreign field induction into the cable.
I have always used unshielded, Belden #14 twisted cable designed for speaker cabling, with good results.
Using Romex, which has the conductors running parallel, is an open invitation to cross-talk!
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
Reading these posts, nobody has mentioned that twisted cable is used to prevent foreign field induction into the cable.
I have always used unshielded, Belden #14 twisted cable designed for speaker cabling, with good results.
Using Romex, which has the conductors running parallel, is an open invitation to cross-talk!
I don't think Faraday's law supports that conclusion. Neither does industry practice: almost no speaker cable is twisted. It simply doesn't make any difference for a low-impedance high-amplitude signal like the drive for a speaker. Twisted pair or shielded cable is useful for low-level high-impedance runs like mic cables and amplifier inputs.

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