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Old 13th January 2004, 02:10 AM   #1
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Default electrical cable for DIY speaker cable?

I apologize if this is repetitive, but I've never read it in a thread, and it is difficult to search for.

I've often read that DIY CAT5 speaker cable is great for mids & highs, but falls behind premium stuff for lows.

So is copper electrical cable a great idea for the bass cable in a bi-wire setup that is just staring me in the face? Has anybody tried this? Are there any gotcha's, such as typical speaker posts don't get a good connection on such thick strands? I would think that banana plugs are required and would overcome this.

I'm in the process of rewiring my garage, and have loads of 8AWG stranded and 14AWG solid wire around. Just 1 8ga. would be the max, but I could imagine twisting a few strands of 14ga. and stuffing them into 1 banana plug.
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Old 13th January 2004, 03:28 AM   #2
asauer is offline asauer  United States
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If you are referring to the typical mains wiring cable I am used to seeing...you are referring to solid conductor cable?? i.e. 12AWG, one strand? If so, they will be awkward to position/terminate, and the looks aren't the best usually.
IMO any kind of wire will work provided it will carry the current load.
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Old 13th January 2004, 03:39 AM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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Stranded is good for all the reasons asauer says. #8 is a bit of overkill, but hey, if you've got it...

I'm currently using (and perfectly happy with) 12 gauge extension cord cable, the ugly orange stuff.
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Old 13th January 2004, 03:59 AM   #4
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Thanks.

When you get to the bigger gauges, mains cable is stranded, each strand much thicker than typical speaker cable. Your 12ga. example is solid, the 8ga. is stranded.

But in reality I was asking if such wire would outperform standard speaker cable. The difficulty in running it does not concern me; I would use it only on a 2 spkr music system, never HT. I have loads of 10ga. low grade (thin stranded) speaker cable to fall back on. Would the thicker strands of the 8ga. electrical cable yield better bass, ignoring the difficulty in running/terminating it?
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Old 13th January 2004, 05:17 AM   #5
SY is offline SY  United States
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Unless you're running ungodly amounts of power into them, the gain from going to #8 will be marginal. But that's what being a geek is all about.
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Old 13th January 2004, 06:54 AM   #6
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I run 8ga to my sub but its 665 strand so its very flexible....I terminate it with gold plated fork connectors to the binding posts on the amp and speaker cabinet
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Old 13th January 2004, 07:15 AM   #7
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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I've tried bi-wiring with 4 core quad 3 phase 20A cable for
bass and Cat5 for treble, and loads of other combinations.

For my nominally 8 ohm 2-way speakers the best results
were with single wiring, integration just seemed better.
(There are very good technical reasons for this
when considering circa 8 ohm impedance cables)

This was with 3 Cat5 cables plaited together and all the
twisted pairs wired in parrallel giving a nominally 8 ohm
cable (actually 8.3 (100/12) each pair is 100 ohm).

Bass does sound somewhat light (but very fast) compared to other types of cable, but this appears to go with the outstanding midrange and treble sound, seems its part of the territory.

They are my favourite speaker cables so far.

The only thing I haven't tried yet is two centre/shield parrallel
coaxial cables, which to some are allegedly even better.

In my cable investigations I went right off bi-wiring, it can sound
impressive but integration suffers IMO. One good cable is better.

sreten.
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Old 13th January 2004, 11:43 AM   #8
protos is offline protos  Greece
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Before you try thick gauges try very thin gauge magnet wire.This of course cheap and easy and is better without termination.Sounds stupid I know but you may be surprised.I was and I was using some hi-end MIT cables.Another very good and cheap solution is copper tape foil cable but this needs insulation.Even Peter Daniel uses it.
Perhaps ina bi-wire I would use thin gauge for the highs e.g..375 mm and slightly thicker for the base eg .6mm.
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