Guide – NB Speaker Cables

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Guide

Picking the right cable for your application

Picking the right cable can be difficult given the amount of ‘over information’ online. This guide helps keep things simple and informative.

First, check your speaker ohms. This is generally found on the back of your speaker near your connectors or check the user manual of the respective speakers. Tip: Your front speakers may vary from your centre and or surround speakers!

Next, determine your run length. This is the distance of cable required from your receiver to your speaker.

Then, refer to our charts below!

 AWG

Maximum Recommended Length by Speaker Ohm

mm2

2 ohm

4 ohm

6 ohm

8 ohm

11

4.59

12.2m 

24.4m 

36.6m 

48.8m 

13

2.90

7.8m 

15.6m 

23.4m 

31.3m 

14

2.5

6.1m  12.1m 

18.2m 

24.3m 

16

1.50

3.8m 

7.5m 

11.3m 

15.0m 

 

For example, if your run is 12m with 4 ohm speakers, you would choose the a 13 or 14 AWG cable for optimum performance. If your run Is 12m with an 8 ohm speaker, you would get away with a 16 AWG cable. If however, you have the heightened senses of a Comic Book character, choose our 11 AWG cable to avoid disappointment.

There are no issues in choosing a ‘better’ cable than the guidelines suggest, you may just be spending more than you need to achieve optimum sound. We are not going to lie to you, thicker cable will provide less resistance and arguably, ‘higher quality’ sound but to the average human ear, there's no audible difference.

For many, even going outside the guidelines will not create a difference you can hear.

Keep in mind, this is just a guide. If you have freakishly good hearing, are a bat or a super hero, you may want to ensure you’re well within the guidelines to avoid disappointment by jumping up a cable. Alternatively, if you’re getting old, worked in noisy environments all your life or just don’t care, you’ll get away with a lower gauge cable in just about all applications.

Can I ‘mix’ cables?

You certainly can. Speaker wire doesn't have a 'weakest link' so it's not the case that if you have 11 AWG through most of the run and 16 AWG for the last metre, the entire run is limited to the performance of the 16 AWG cable. You would basically take 'average' gauge of all wire combined and that would be your resistance.

Anything else to keep in mind?

Yup, keep ‘future proofing’ in mind! You may change speakers over time which can influence which cable will be the right choice. Say you have a set of floorstanders rated to 8 ohms, with a cable run of 13m, a 16 AWG cable is the logical choice. However, when ‘upgradeitis’ kicks in and you want to replace those entry level 8 ohm floorstanders with some fancy new Dynaudio Confidence speakers which are 4 ohm, you’ll start falling outside the guidelines.

So, if you’re someone who upgrades often or have runs that are right on the cusp of the maximum recommend run length, perhaps jump up to the thicker, lower resistance cable to be safe.