Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

  1. #1
    Ultimate Tone Slacker these_go211's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    the perfect city of Carlsbad, CA
    Age
    46
    Posts
    2,212
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    3

    Default speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    i just bought a polk-audio psw303 subwoofer for my home stereo. they recommended hooking it up from my amplifier via speaker cable, 16 gauge. but since i have a spool of high quality 12 gauge speaker cable lying around i hooked it up using that. just how much of a difference can i expect, if any, if i used 16 gauge instead? is this the sort of thing only a real audiophile would be able to discern? thanks!
    SG..vox..big muff
    Fender P..seagull..martin

  2. #2
    Heel Whacker tone4days's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    central Maryland
    Age
    49
    Posts
    15,153

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    damn, 12 gauge is THICK ... is it really pliable enough to work with? - if it's working, i am sure that it's fine from an audio quality point of view ... and HECK, how loud are you gonna blast it ? i gotta believe that 16 gauge is plenty for the current you are talkin about ... 12 is over-engineering

    enjoy
    t4d
    gear list in profile

    "no seymour - no tone ... know seymour - know tone!"

    Is it not the glory of the people of America that, whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience?" - James Madison - Federalist #14

  3. #3
    Ultimate Tone Slacker these_go211's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    the perfect city of Carlsbad, CA
    Age
    46
    Posts
    2,212
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    3

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    thanks for the response man. you know, i may have been thinking about this backwards. i guess as the gauge goes higher the wire gets thinner? so maybe the lower the gauge the higher the quality?
    SG..vox..big muff
    Fender P..seagull..martin

  4. #4
    Glossless SlyFoxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Age
    47
    Posts
    3,691

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Thicker = less resistance = more current transfer. I'm a big fan of 12 gauge wire especially for bass bins (subwoofer) since bass requires more power. The difference will be subtle ...but every little bit helps...especially for runs longer than ~25 feet.

  5. #5
    Baron Von Shred Zerberus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    On top of the world
    Posts
    14,833
    Likes (Given)
    861
    Likes (Received)
    439

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by SlyFoxx View Post
    Thicker = less resistance = more current transfer. I'm a big fan of 12 gauge wire especially for bass bins (subwoofer) since bass requires more power. The difference will be subtle ...but every little bit helps...especially for runs longer than ~25 feet.
    +1 on all points
    Zerberus Industries: Where perfection isn't good enough.

  6. #6
    Heel Whacker tone4days's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    central Maryland
    Age
    49
    Posts
    15,153

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    yeah, higher number = thinner wire

    are we talking solid or stranded? ...

    and remember guys, we are talking a home stereo sub, not live concert bass bins

    i really gotta believe that 16, stranded is appropriate for his application
    gear list in profile

    "no seymour - no tone ... know seymour - know tone!"

    Is it not the glory of the people of America that, whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience?" - James Madison - Federalist #14

  7. #7
    DyzaBoyzologist That90'sGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    CT representin'
    Age
    29
    Posts
    11,682
    Likes (Given)
    1277
    Likes (Received)
    188

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    I'm going to be me the odd man out and say 14 ga stranded would be a good way to go, but 12 ga stranded would work as well. Doesn't hurt to go with thicker wire when you're dealing with long cable runs.
    Quote Originally Posted by kevlar3000 View Post
    I learned a long time ago that the only thing that mattered regarding tone was what my ears thought.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zerberus View Post
    Better is often the enemy of good
    Quote Originally Posted by ginormous View Post
    Covers feed the body, originals feed the soul.

  8. #8
    Mojo's Minions Virtual Kevorkian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Ventura, CA
    Posts
    4,010
    Likes (Given)
    35
    Likes (Received)
    72

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_Chris View Post
    I'm going to be me the odd man out and say 14 ga stranded would be a good way to go, but 12 ga stranded would work as well. Doesn't hurt to go with thicker wire when you're dealing with long cable runs.
    I use 14, as I couldn't choose between 12 or 16. Work like a charm, though!

  9. #9
    Ultimate Tone Slacker these_go211's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    the perfect city of Carlsbad, CA
    Age
    46
    Posts
    2,212
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    3

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    this is good information. thanks guys! it's a very short run, like,7 feet. it's just that i already had the 12 lying around. but i started wondering if there would be a difference. so it's not like i went out and specifically bought this kind of speaker wire for the application. it was more of a curiosity if there would be an audible difference.

    and dumb as it sounds, i'm not sure if it's stranded or not? does this just mean there is not any type of plug on the end? there isn't any plugs on the end.

    thanks a lot again!
    SG..vox..big muff
    Fender P..seagull..martin

  10. #10
    Ultimate Tone Slacker
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, IA
    Posts
    2,646
    Likes (Given)
    2
    Likes (Received)
    52

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Stranded means the wire is made up of a bunch of little tiny wires all jammed together. I don't know if I've ever seen solid (one thick wire) speaker cable before. It woudln't be very plyable, especally in 12 guage.

    You could go through all of the calculations to see what the difference in resistance between 16 and 12 guage wire is at 7 feet, but I know it would be small. Going larger (smaller number) on wire is usually OK. Space concerns or connector type might make a difference (it's hard to jam a 12 guage wire into a connector designed to only fit a 16 guage wire), but if it fit, then you should be fine.

  11. #11
    Ultimate Tone Slacker these_go211's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    the perfect city of Carlsbad, CA
    Age
    46
    Posts
    2,212
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    3

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    it's stranded wire then. this has been informative. muchas gracias!
    SG..vox..big muff
    Fender P..seagull..martin

  12. #12
    Lemur-buckerologist JacksonMIA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Who knows?
    Age
    34
    Posts
    8,745
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    30

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    If you really want to get technical get the specs for the wire, and the calculations are pretty simple.

    12 won't hurt a thing, though, if it'll fit in the jacks.
    It's hard to be metal in girl pants.

    My Gear

    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

  13. #13
    PlayingWithDollsologist Ken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Barbie's dream house
    Age
    27
    Posts
    4,423
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by garublador View Post
    You could go through all of the calculations to see what the difference in resistance between 16 and 12 guage wire is at 7 feet, but I know it would be small.


    Wee physics nerds would call that "negligible."

    Technically you'll have a greater conductance and the ability to pull more current. Less threat of overheating due to increased conductance.


    I just chimed in to say, and I guess it's because I wired houses all summer...solid core 12 gauge isn't that difficult to manage...compared to a guitar cable, yeah, it's less flexible...but it's not like he's dealing with a length of SER cable or two-aught. 12 gauge is pretty easy to work with.








    (Note: This post has served only to increase my post count).

  14. #14
    Ultimate Tone Slacker
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, IA
    Posts
    2,646
    Likes (Given)
    2
    Likes (Received)
    52

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    Wee physics nerds would call that "negligible."
    What do the large ones call it?


    Technically you'll have a greater conductance and the ability to pull more current. Less threat of overheating due to increased conductance.


    I just chimed in to say, and I guess it's because I wired houses all summer...solid core 12 gauge isn't that difficult to manage...compared to a guitar cable, yeah, it's less flexible...but it's not like he's dealing with a length of SER cable or two-aught. 12 gauge is pretty easy to work with.
    A lot of it depends on the wire, too. We have some 6 guage welding cable that's surprisingly flexable compared to some of the 12 and 10 guage wire we have sitting around.

    If anyone's interested, I found this with a Google search:

    http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

    I couldn't find anything about the input imedence of the sub, but according to the site above, at 7' I'm willing to bet you'd be alright even with 18 or 20 guage wire.

  15. #15
    Tone Member Lava Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Fayetteville, NC
    Age
    49
    Posts
    268
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    1

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerberus View Post
    +1 on all points

    Another plus one - generally, good speaker wire is around 12-14 AWG (each condutor - and 4 conductor is typically bnetter sopunding than 2-conductor.) Some companies even make 8-10 AWG stuff that sounds good as well. But, like previously posted differences in speaker cable are more subtle than guitar cables for eaxample.
    Lava Man
    Lava Cable
    Your One-Stop High End Custom Cable Shop

  16. #16
    PlayingWithDollsologist Ken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Barbie's dream house
    Age
    27
    Posts
    4,423
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by garublador View Post
    What do the large ones call it?
    I only wanted you to think that a typo, laddy.

  17. #17
    Mojo's Minions Fusion1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    3,835
    Likes (Given)
    30
    Likes (Received)
    31

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Hi all, sorry for resurrecting an old thread but I thought this might be relevant as I wanted to make a speaker cable to go from my Polytone Mega Brute head to my Raezor's Edge Stealth 12 cabinet. I could have been a one of those audiophile tone freaks and went with some uber expensive MONSTrosity cable. I was led to a few DIY sites that recommend regular lamp cord, but that was mainly for home systems, not necessarily for amp to cabinet speaker cable. I was hoping this would basically be the same for what I need, with the exception of 1/4" mono plugs for my use. I went to HD and bought 3 feet of landscape wiring which was 12 gauge 2-conductor in black and came out to a whopping $1.50. Radio Shack for 2 gold 1/4" phono plugs $3.99 each. Before I try this, I wanted to make sure I'm not going to blow up my amp/cabinet lol.

  18. #18
    Mojo's Minions Fusion1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    3,835
    Likes (Given)
    30
    Likes (Received)
    31

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Also how would one wire say a quad core wire like Canare to a Switchcraft 1/4" plug? Double up 2 of the wires to the same terminal, or do 2 of them not get used? If 2 are left unhooked it wouldn't seem any more beneficial than regular 2 conductor cable. Any advice would be appreciated.

  19. #19
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Animal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Age
    29
    Posts
    2,561
    Likes (Given)
    129
    Likes (Received)
    175

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    I bought some medium duty Fig 8 OFC 60/0.12mm speaker cable for my Marshall cabinet the other day and I'm worried that it's going to be way too thin.

  20. #20
    Tone Member Lava Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Fayetteville, NC
    Age
    49
    Posts
    268
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    1

    Default Re: speaker wire, 12 gauge vs 16 gauge, any difference?

    Recently read a speaker cable thread on TGP, and one interesting piece of evidence sumbmitted during the debate over expensive speaker cable was an article that showed technically, that gauge is the ONLY factor that seems to play a role in audible differences with speaker cables...

    12-14 AWG is ideal for most speaker cable applications. Some folks like to use 8-10 AWG for subwoofers...
    Lava Man
    Lava Cable
    Your One-Stop High End Custom Cable Shop

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •