Best gauge of speaker wire

Minggo

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Need some quick history and education here about the proper wire gauge for a speaker cabinet.

Well, acutally, it might be a few specific questions:

1. What guage did Fender use up through the black face era to wire the speakers?
2. What is the ideal gauge for amps below 50 watts in a speaker cab?
3. Is strand better than solid copper wire and if so, why?

I am loading my Bandmaster cab with a pair of Altec 417-8C speakers that I had in a couple of 1x12 cabs. The Altecs do not use blade connectors, it has wire nuts so I need to make some alterations to all the cabs. I was just going to make some extension pigtails with each type of ends so that I can move speakers between cabs if desired later, but now I think I just want to re-wire them.

The 1x12 cabs are getting a re-coned Oxford from a Twin Reverb I have in the closet and maybe the Alessandro speaker...still playing with that plan, but it all starts with re-wiring the jacks to the same gauge for simplicity.

I do have a spool of 14 g. multi-strand speaker wire on the bench, but at less than 40 watt and the short run of wire, that seems over-kill. I don't know if it would make any difference, but that is why I ask the questions.
I'd use 16 clear shielded speaker wire. One lead is copper color , the other is silver and helps with soldering polarities. As well, I make up amp head to speaker box wiring with lengths appropriate with venue. I prefer the head to be close to me lending speaker placement elsewhere.

Having restored a number of cabs and heads, I was supprised to see common "bell wire" used. Not by Fender but ham fisted individuals changing out speakers. Bell Wire being the solid soft wire lead that hookup telephones in your house. Great for your kids science project but brittle and choking voltages to your speaker.
 

itsGiusto

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I like this channel's idea of using two wires each for the positive and negative (4 wires total), that way there's backup if one fails:


I've never done it, though, I always just twist two 18ga wires together and call it quits.
 

NoTeleBob

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No, it won't even make a difference in 200' of wire. Maybe 200,000 feet in a super-collider project. Otherwise, no.

Just got curious and checked. There's actually 250,000 kilometers of wire in a supercollider. I was off just a bit.

Please continue with the former discussion.
 

Terrygh1949

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Need some quick history and education here about the proper wire gauge for a speaker cabinet.

Well, acutally, it might be a few specific questions:

1. What guage did Fender use up through the black face era to wire the speakers?
2. What is the ideal gauge for amps below 50 watts in a speaker cab?
3. Is strand better than solid copper wire and if so, why?

I am loading my Bandmaster cab with a pair of Altec 417-8C speakers that I had in a couple of 1x12 cabs. The Altecs do not use blade connectors, it has wire nuts so I need to make some alterations to all the cabs. I was just going to make some extension pigtails with each type of ends so that I can move speakers between cabs if desired later, but now I think I just want to re-wire them.

The 1x12 cabs are getting a re-coned Oxford from a Twin Reverb I have in the closet and maybe the Alessandro speaker...still playing with that plan, but it all starts with re-wiring the jacks to the same gauge for simplicity.

I do have a spool of 14 g. multi-strand speaker wire on the bench, but at less than 40 watt and the short run of wire, that seems over-kill. I don't know if it would make any difference, but that is why I ask the questions.
16 or 14 ga is fine.
 

Peegoo

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I always feel obligated to point out that oxygen-free copper is complete BS :)

Yep. It is indeed a load of marketing wankery. While OFC (low oxygen content, actually) is used in superconductor components, it is a non-player in the manufacture of wire because oxygen improves electrical conductivity of copper. It is directly injected into the molten copper when smelting to scavenge impurities that degrade electrical conductivity. Retail brands that market wire latched onto the 'superconductor' connection [har!] and used that to hawk their wares. It's a complete fabrication.

"The maximum conductivity of ETP copper occurs at approximately 200 ppm of oxygen as shown in Figure 3. Consequently, oxygen content for ETP copper is generally in the range of 175 to 450 ppm. Lower oxygen values are usually avoided because of a propensity to hot cracking resulting from uncombined impurities. In contrast, oxygen values in excess of this optimum concentration range are not too common because of an adverse effect upon formability. Actual oxygen content is a compromise between attaining better (less sluggish) annealing behavior and avoiding possible drawability problems."

ETP is electrolytic tough pitch copper alloy, and it is the relatively universal type of copper used for electrical applications. Source:


SCIENCE!
 

Milspec

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I'd use 16 clear shielded speaker wire. One lead is copper color , the other is silver and helps with soldering polarities. As well, I make up amp head to speaker box wiring with lengths appropriate with venue. I prefer the head to be close to me lending speaker placement elsewhere.

Having restored a number of cabs and heads, I was supprised to see common "bell wire" used. Not by Fender but ham fisted individuals changing out speakers. Bell Wire being the solid soft wire lead that hookup telephones in your house. Great for your kids science project but brittle and choking voltages to your speaker.
I do the same thing with the amp heads, they are within arms reach of me while the cab is set back farther. It is one of the best things about running heads really.
 

Minggo

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As well, my preferred placement of my pedal board is on a small sturdy table on either side of me equipped with a power strip. At my age, it allows me to adjust pedal settings without bending over. One plug of the permanently attached power strip is all and all else plugs into the power strip including the amp. One stop shop when power plugs and sockets are in short supply. Nothing in our set list requires much on/off action except the B9.
 

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Bob M.

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I would recommend using 16 gauge. Fender, on their larger amps in the 50s and 60s, used 18 gauge. You might find some Champs (or Champ family of amps) using 20 gauge. Certainly, I see solid state amps all the time with smaller gauges (like 20 gauge) but these are current-driven devices, not voltage-driven devices.

Use stranded wire. Solid wires are for permanent installation that are never messed with by humans (like inside walls, where only the rats can get to it). Stranded wire comes in different standards (15 strands or 22 strands) making up the gauge. Use a smaller number of wires. How many amp manufacturers are there? How many use solid wire from amp to speaker? (answer: none). If you have 14 gauge in stock already (you don't have to buy it) then use that as long as it will fit. The amp won't know the difference. Don't use 22 gauge. It's not that complicated.
Bob M.
 

D_Malone

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Do some research on speaker wire and you will know the definition of “snake oil”.

16 gauge “lamp cord” found in any hardware store is more that adequate.

EDIT: That is to say, ‘when discussing wiring up a guitar speaker cabinet’. Long runs of wire in hi-fi applications is a different topic. ;)
 
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