Choosing the Right Gauge Wire Size for Your Audio Speakers
Finding the right size wire for your audio speakers can be challenging, but familiarizing yourself with some basic knowledge about audio speaker wires can help you make a sound decision, no pun intended.
Speaker Wire Gauge
The thickness of the wire is represented by its gauge or referring to the American Wire Gauge (AWG). The thicker the wire the lower the gauge number & the thinner the wire the higher the gauge number or AWG. For example, a 12 AWG is thicker than an 18 AWG wire. The most common audio speaker wires are 12 Gauge, 14 Gauge, 16 Gauge, and 18 Gauge. Stranded wire is more flexible, easier to route, can withstand vibration and flexing than solid wire; therefore, it is more commonly used in audio speaking wiring. The initial cost of stranded wire is higher due to the more complex manufacturing process. The thickness of the wire you choose is important because it will affect the overall resistance of the speaker circuit. Therefore, it will affect the power transfer between the amplifier and the speakers. Resistance is the measure of opposition to electric current.
The resistance of the wire depends on the cable thickness and cable length. A longer thinner wire will have higher resistance than a shorter thicker wire of the same structure. An ideal wire should have the lowest resistance possible. To get the best energy transfer a thicker wire such as a 12-gauge wire would be preferred over an 18-gauge thinner wire.
Cable Length and Distance
Measure the distance from the amplifier to each speaker in the system and make sure to include approximately 4 to 6 feet of extra cable slack at each end. Once you’ve determined the length, now choose the wire gauge size. If your speaker has a nominal impedance of 4 ohms or lower and it requires a lot of power, so it is best to choose a 14 or 12-gauge wire, despite the distance. For most 8-ohm speaker circuits with a shorter than 50 feet run, a 16-gauge wire would be an ideal choice. For wire runs beyond 75 feet, choose at least 16 gauge, if not a 14 or 12-gauge wire. At this longer distance, the resistance of the cable will be increased considerably, so you will want to keep the resistance of the cable as low as possible with a thicker gauge wire. For more information, please check the Technical Guides of ” Speaker Cable Transmission Distance as a Function of Conductor Size vs. Loss”
OFC – Oxygen Free Copper
Alpha Cable’s premium, PURE® Audio Speaker Cable line includes; riser rated cables, plenum rated cables, and direct burial, outside plant cables. Alpha utilizes (OFC) Oxygen-Free, Bare Copper on all their PURE® audio speaker cables. Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) is high-conductivity copper alloys that have been electrolytically refined to minimize the level of oxygen to 0.001% or below, to provide a clear and crisp sound. Our speaker wire is made from 99.999% oxygen-free copper for lossless sound transmission. Check out our quick 2-minute video of how to choose the right gauge wire size for your audio speakers.
So, if you want crisp, clear audio that sounds like it’s alive, our OFC speaker wire is a premium audio cable that’s durable and minimises phase shifts and distortions that degrade sound quality, so you get the best quality sound without the premium price tag, our audio speaker wire is certified hazardous substance free, fire-retardant, sunlight-resistant and easy to install with an outstanding tangle-free design and handy features like clear print legend and E-Z footage markings to make installation an absolute breeze, and suitable in a wide range of applications while also being cost effective. Order yours now.