How do I know if my speaker wire is bad?

What to Know

  1. With a battery and one end of a speaker wire, lightly touch the wire to the battery. If you hear noise, that’s a good sign.
  2. If you don’t hear anything, make sure to verify everything is connected properly, and then try again with another wire.

What happens when speaker wire goes bad?

Speaker wires may be the most common culprit to damaged speakers, receivers and amps. Consumers were convinced they need 10AWG -12AWG monster speaker wires to get good sound. If the wire is not trimmed properly and has whiskers it can short output transistors.

When should I replace my speaker wire?

So, having said that, you should replace your cables when they stop working, become intermittent, or you notice noise or signal degradation that can be traced to your current cables.

How long are speaker wires good for?

Speaker wire of 14 gauge is good for an 80-foot run, and 12 gauge is good for 120 feet.

Is Thicker wire better for speakers?

Generally, for short speaker wire runs, a 16-gauge wire is sufficient. However, for longer speaker wire runs (to another room, for example), it is better to use a thicker, lower-gauge wire.

What color is hot on speaker wire?

typically, the positive wire is red and the ground, or negative, is black. However, most speaker wires don’t do colors. Good news is, with speakers it doesn’t really matter which one you choose as your positive and which as your negative, just so long as you are consistent.

Does speaker wire deteriorate over time?

Yes, if it is the kind of wire that will corrode. Over time, cheap stranded wire will corrode due to ambient humidity. Higher priced wire will not, and will not degrade.

Is pure copper speaker wire better?

Most of the best speaker wires are made from copper, since copper is a wonderful conductor of electricity. For the best quality wire, looking for something made with 100% copper is highly recommended.

Is flat speaker wire good?

Flat cables are more flexible and, surprise surprise, flatter than round cables. This makes for more installer friendly options, especially if you are running your cables in-wall or under your carpet.

What’s better 14 or 16 gauge speaker wire?

Thick wire (12 or 14 gauge) is recommended for long wire runs, high power applications, and low-impedance speakers (4 or 6 ohms). For relatively short runs (less than 50 feet) to 8 ohm speakers, 16 gauge wire will usually do just fine.

What gauge wire for a 1000 watt amp?


Amp Kit AWG (Wire Size)Amplifier Wattage
1/0 AWG1000 Watts RMS and up
4 AWG500 – 1000 Watts RMS
8 AWG250 – 500 Watts RMS
10 AWGLess Than 250 Watts RMS

Is it OK to splice speaker wire?

Splicing your speaker cables can be an incredibly effective way to extend the length of your cable runs. If it’s done well, you really shouldn’t notice any difference in your audio playback. If it’s done poorly, however, it can lead to audio dropouts and even short circuits.

How do you test speaker wire to see if it is good?

You can test a speaker wire by setting the digital multimeter to ‘resistance (Ω)’ mode and connecting the leads to either end of the wire. If you run this test and get anything above 0 Ohms, your speaker wire is good. If your speaker wire reads 0 Ohms, it is bad or damaged and has to be replaced.

Does long speaker wire affect sound quality?

Yes, cable length does matter when it comes to sound quality, and it is something you will need to consider. However, the extent to which this is true varies from situation to situation. The good news is the cables you already have are probably fine even if they are long.

Should left and right speaker wires be same length?

It’s also important that the wire lengths to both speakers are the same to ensure they both have equal impedance values. The cross sectional area of the wire is referring to the thickness, or gauge, of the wire. The thicker a wire or the lower the gauge, the less resistance.

When should I use 12 gauge or 14 gauge speaker wire?


Can you have too big of speaker wire?

For example, 18 gauge wire connected to an 8 Ohms speaker should not exceed more than 32 feet in length from amp/receiver to speaker. If you have a wire that exceeds its recommended length, the audio signal and quality will degrade.

Is braided or solid wire better for speakers?

Speaker Wire Gauge

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.

What happens if you mix up positive and negative speaker wires?

Anytime two identical signals are mixed together with inverse polarity, the signals cancel out. In this case, one wave is positive while the other is negative, and vice versa. The result is silence. This is called destructive interference.

What does the stripe on speaker wire mean?

It means that one wire is marked, typically with a stripe, to denote negative or positive. Most applications use the striped side as the negative, like speakers. By now you probably figured this out.

What does A and B mean on speaker wire?

NOTE: Some A/V receivers have a Speaker A and Speaker B switch on the front panel of the unit. The Speaker A output is used for the speakers in the main room while the Speaker B output is for a second pair of speakers in another room (garage or patio, etc.).

Is 18 gauge wire OK for speakers?

For the vast majority of “everyday” usage, you’re probably going to go with 18- or 16-gauge speaker wire. If you’re doing an unusually long run, you can get away with 14-gauge wire. 18-gauge is great because it’s a good balance between affordability and the power it’s able to handle, and it’s very common.

Does speaker wire gauge really matter?

Believe it or not, size really does matter when it comes to the kind of wire you are picking for your new speaker system. Depending on how serious you want to get, though, you can usually get away with an educated guess on thickness.

Do speakers get better over time?

The most basic way to run in your speakers is to set them up with your system and use them normally. Usually the speakers will be sufficiently run in after a total of 20-30 hours of normal use and they will often continue to develop and improve for the first hundred or so hours.

What gauge wire is best for subwoofers?

The speaker wires. If your sub system is going to put out more than 1,000 watts RMS, you can use 12-gauge speaker wire. But 16-gauge speaker wire works well for most installations.

How many watts can you run through factory speaker wire?

Factory speaker wires are very thin, with high electrical resistance, so they can cause noticeable power loss when higher wattages try to get through. But amplifiers of 75-watts or less aren’t really affected by this, so running their outputs through factory wiring remains a practical and convenient solution.

Why are twisted speaker cables better?

The twisted pair of electrical wires is a cabling technique used in audio and network technology, among many others. Wires are twisted together to accomplish two main goals: reduce outgoing noise and reduce incoming noise related to electromagnetic interference.

Is it better to solder or crimp speaker wires?

Crimping offers stronger, more reliable connections than soldering. Soldering uses heated metal to join the cable to the connector. Over time, this filler metal will degrade, which may cause the connection to fail. Most electricians will agree that crimping is also easier than soldering.

Should speaker cables be balanced or unbalanced?

Balanced cables tend to do a better job of eliminating noise and interference. Because of this, they tend to be more reliable. You should also use balanced cables whenever you’re running audio signals distances longer than 25 feet.

Why does speaker wire have 2 wires?

Manufacturers include dual-input terminals so that consumers can bi-wire their home theater systems, improve audio fidelity and create a fuller sonic landscape. The default setting for many home theater setups is to run one dedicated cable from the amp to each speaker.

How do I test speaker wires positive?

To test the polarity of your speaker wires, you place your negative (black) and positive (red) multimeter leads on each wire. If the multimeter reads positive, then your leads are connected to equally polar wires, that is, the red positive probe is connected to the positive wire, and vice-versa.

How do I know if my speaker wire has power?

Speaker Testing Option 1: Connect a 9 Volt battery to the leads of the speaker, positive lead to positive battery end and negative lead to negative battery end. If a pulse is generated in the speaker then the speaker is still functioning properly. This same practice would apply to the tweeter speaker as well.

What does a blown speaker look like?

If a speaker is physically damaged, you might need to do a quick visual check: A blown speaker could damage the cone, including rips or tears. There could be rips or breaks in the foam driver that surrounds the speaker. The voice coil could be damaged, which is unlikely to be seen outside.

How do I know if my speaker polarity is correct?

How to Test the Polarity of a Speaker and Wiring