Is 14 Guage Speaker Wire The Best (AWG) for Your Power Amplifier?

14 guage speaker wire can easily carry up to 500 watts of power from amplifier to speaker over a run up to 30 feet. However, if you are pushing power over long distances you may want to opt for a larger cable (smaller guage).14 guage speaker wire

By moving from 14 AWG to 12AWG or 10 AWG you will decrease the resistance of the speaker wire.

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14 AWG Speaker Wire can handle up to 750 watts of power at 20 ft Cable Runs:

14 guage speaker wire can carry up to 750 watts of power with 20 ft of speaker wire and a 4 ohm speaker load with 37 watts lost at the speaker terminals.

This speaker wire set up is fine and will easily do the job but if you wish to minimize your power loss at the speaker terminal you may want to opt for a slightly larger gauge cable.

Under these parameters 750 watts is at the edge of the number of watts 14 guage speaker wire can distribute. I increased the length of the cable up to 60 feet and it was still able to carry the load but lost over 100 watts from insertion loss at the speaker terminals.

The watts decreased from 750 watts to 649 watts, these results from increased resistance over length.

If it were up to me I would opt for a larger AWG such as 12 guage speaker wire.

Anything up to around 300 watts and under 60 feet length runs, 14 guage speaker wire is going to be more than enough cable to carry the load.

As you get closer to the threshold of what a wire can safely carry I think it is better to err on the side of a larger diameter cable. This is especially true if you are using extremely powerful amplifiers.

This does not mean that I think it wise to go out and buy 4 AWG speaker cable to hook up your system. Number one the costs associated with this large of a copper cable are not small. And two; by introducing a larger diameter (smaller gauge) cable you also may bring in eddy currents depending on the size of wire that you use.

Current flows best on the perimeter or outside of the wire conductor. While the inner part of the cable can build up eddy current and bring in phase distortion. This is where the signal at the outside of the wire will travel faster than the same signal near the core of the wire. This causes transients to smear or elongate instead of having a sharp edge.

The above description of eddy currents is an extreme one and often is not audible but can also be associated with making a cable sound soft or have less treble energy than one that addresses eddy currents in the design.

Another way to work around eddy currents is to use multiple conductors of a smaller diameter (larger gauge). This will give you the benefits of a large diameter wire while also keeping resistance to a minimum.

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The data and calculations for the above article can be found at:

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