DIY Speaker Wire and Choosing the Best Speaker Wire Gauge

Making the decision to build your DIY speaker Wire is one of the best ways to maximize your home entertainment dollars.


Because the audio cable market is one of the most hyped up and misunderstood segments of the High End Audio Industry.
See this page for DIY-Speaker Wires – digital audio speakers page.

DIY Speaker Cable is easy to make and even easier to achieve excellent results. Home Theater Cables and HiFi Stereo cables are not complicated and you CAN make your own.

I don’t want to discuss cable theory

There are other places for that – like on heated forums where enthusiasts get mad about why my cables are the best and yours are dumb.

I don’t care about getting into those discussions. To me, cables are to be used to connect and transfer voltages and power from one component to another. They need to do their job well.

First; What are your DIY Wire and DIY Interconnect needs?

1. Determine the length

      and types of cables you will need.

2. Build one cable and test it on your system. Make sure that it works for your application.

Compare it to other cables that you own.

3. Do you need a high degree of shielding because of high RF levels in your area? I recently worked on a friends system.

He had extremely high RF levels in the area of his home. We found that he could only use cables that were very well shielded.

Any cable left unshielded created a major hum in his studio equipment.

4. Know what type of cables that you will need. Balanced, single ended, even mismatched cable ends. You can even build your own cables to connect your computer system for an HTPC (home theater computer).

5. If you can avoid using shielding on single ended cables I would encourage you to do so. The designs are simpler and you will not need to concern yourself with the extra complexity of the design.

What Speaker Wire Gauge do you need for your DIY Audio Cables?

How long is the cable run you need to make?

Typical cable runs of less than 12 feet can be served with a gauge of 14 to 18 gauges without running into resistance problems.

The wire gauge should be determined primarily by how much power you intend or may send through them. All of this is dependent on your available amplifier power and the efficiency of your loudspeakers.

• Amplifier power

• Speaker efficiency

• Length of cable run

• Cross section of speaker cables (Gauge of Wire)

Speaker Wire Gauge Selection:

These are not absolutes; small diameter cables will ‘lose’ some watts more than larger diameter wires. This is called ‘insertion loss’.

You can use many different combination’s of cable size successfully. These are only rough guidelines to keep you out of trouble.

Wire Size——-2 Ohms—–4 Ohms—-8 Ohms

22 Gauge——–3 feet—–6 feet—-12 feet

20 Gauge——–5 feet—–10 feet—20 feet

18 Gauge——–8 feet—–16 feet—32 feet

16 Gauge——–12 feet—-24 feet—48 feet

14 Gauge——–20 feet—-40 feet—50 feet max

12 Gauge——–30 feet—-50 feet—50 feet max

10 Gauge——–50 feet—-50 feet—50 feet max

A lower number on the Gauge indicates a larger wire diameter. 10 gauge is much larger than 22 gauge. Wire & Cable – We carry a large selection of bulk reels to completed cables in every style and length.

If you wish for more detail, here is the formula for insertion loss. The above recommendations are basic calculations rounded from this math.

ILoss = 20* log [ (Rload / (Rload + Rcable) ]

You may notice that I did not post any measurements above 50 feet in length. Technically, the 10 gauge DIY Speaker wire could handle the load but I don’t think this is ideal. I recommend you keep your runs shorter than 50 feet – The shorter the better.

If you have extremely high powered amplifiers you may want to err on the side of caution and go one or two steps higher but this chart should serve nearly anyone’s needs.

Looking for Wire & Cable – We carry a large selection of bulk reels to completed cables in every style and length.

Interconnect DIY Cables:

For interconnects the demands are completely different. You are dealing with very low voltages and currents.

At line level larger diameter cable is actually a hindrance. The larger cables will tend to roll off the deep bass and upper treble energy.

Keep your Gauges for DIY interconnect cables between 22 gauge and 32 gauge. I usually like to use 24 gauge to 28 gauge solid core wire for interconnects.

Summary for DIY Speaker Wire:

Making your own cables is very easy and well worth the time investment.

Save money by doing it yourself. If you don’t like the results you can always make something else.

Building DIY Speaker wire is not time consuming by any stretch. And the savings can be drastic.

You may need Tools & Tech Aids – Installation tools, test equipment, speaker repair and replacement tools Parts Express carries the tools you will need to make your cables.

Other Related Audio Articles from DIY Speaker Wire:

Patented Speaker Wire Plans on this Page – Digital Audio Speakers
Best Speaker Wire
DIY Speaker Cables
Hiding Speaker Wire
Make your Own Mini Cube Speakers
Build Speakers DIY
Best Home Theater Speakers
Blu Ray Player
Best Home Theater System

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