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  #1  
Old 11-13-2007, 11:43 AM
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Wire size for long run to speakers

I am putting 4 speakers in an indoor riding arena. High fidelity is not important. The goal is to have a system that can be turned up loud without distortion.

The distance from the amplifier to the most remote speaker will be about 250 feet. The distance to the closest speaker will be about 50 feet.

Best Buy has rolls of large-gauge speaker wire, but it is pricey. Do I really need that fancy wire? This system is not for audiophiles. It is for people who ride to music and want to be able to hear it when their horses are far away from the speakers.

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Old 11-13-2007, 11:47 AM
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The heavier gauge the wire is, the more conductive it is. I would think you would need the really heavy stuff for a run of 250'. The power is going to dissipate more the longer the run is.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:01 PM
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Just go to the hardware store and buy some 14/2 bulk wire... cheap and should do what you need just fine.
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  #4  
Old 11-13-2007, 12:05 PM
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It's difficult for anyone to tell you what you need without some knowledge of the output of the amplifier. A 200W amp is going to need significantly heavier wire than a 50W amp.

250 feet is a looong way.............
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post
It's difficult for anyone to tell you what you need without some knowledge of the output of the amplifier. A 200W amp is going to need significantly heavier wire than a 50W amp.

250 feet is a looong way.............
I don't know much about the amplifier. It was a hand me down. I was thinking I would wire up these speakers and then go get another amplifier if need be. If I wind up going that route, I don't want the speaker wires to be a limiting factor.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:20 PM
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250 foot section of lampcord would work... Its cheap, and you can get it at lowes...



How about Cat5?
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:22 PM
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What type of amp will be powering this system? For this long of a run you really need to use 70 volt line transformers.

If fidelity is of no concern, any wire can be used. The resistive losses in smaller guage wire will only limit the amout of power that reaches the load (speaker). For example, if the speaker is 8 ohms and the wire has 8 ohms of resistance (unlikely) the speaker will receive half of the power. The other half will be lost in the wire. Bigger wire=less resistance=less loss.

I hope you plan on using horns. Any direct radiating speaker would not be efficient enough for this application.

A "Cobraflex' is a very good speaker for this.

Regarding the wire... bigger the better. You could use 12/2 house wire.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by cscmc1 View Post
Just go to the hardware store and buy some 14/2 bulk wire... cheap and should do what you need just fine.
I think that the crappy system that we have in the arena right now has 16 gauge wire and it is almost adequate, so you are probably right. Maybe I will go with 12 gauge just to make myself feel better about it.
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2007, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dculkin View Post
I don't know much about the amplifier. It was a hand me down. I was thinking I would wire up these speakers and then go get another amplifier if need be. If I wind up going that route, I don't want the speaker wires to be a limiting factor.
At 250 feet, I'd use 12 AWG..........then you can be reasonably sure that a larger amp will not pose any issues.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post
At 250 feet, I'd use 12 AWG..........then you can be reasonably sure that a larger amp will not pose any issues.
Unless the amp is unstable into reactive loads. 250 feet of a wire is more than just series resistance.

Still, a 70 volt line system would be the best solution.

http://www.jblpro.com/pages/Distributed_Speaker_Systems_101_Rev_B.pdf
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2007, 12:53 PM
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http://www.pearcable.com/sub_products_anjou_sc.htm

250 feet of that stuff will only run you about 150 grand. Do people really buy stuff like this?
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  #12  
Old 11-13-2007, 01:22 PM
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Can you move the amp close to one set of speakers and then run each side in series?
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Kuan View Post
Can you move the amp close to one set of speakers and then run each side in series?
That's an interesting thought. I don't have any flexibility on the location of the components. Equestrian concerns trump audio concerns, if you know what I mean.

Does running each side in series mean that I only have one pair of wires for each side? I should read up on that.

Speaking of sides, there really is no need for stereo in this application. A mono system with all four speakers all putting out the same thing would probably be just as good. The only reason I have been thinking in terms of left and right is that is the way my hand-me-down amplifier works. Is there a simple way of playing stereo sources such as CDs and playing them in mono? Any disadvantage to doing something like that in this application?
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2007, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt L View Post
http://www.pearcable.com/sub_products_anjou_sc.htm

250 feet of that stuff will only run you about 150 grand.
Really? Holy crap.
Quote:
Do people really buy stuff like this?
I have a friend whom I would describe as a semi-professional photographer. A few years back he was thinking of laying out a small fortune for a Hasselblad setup. He knew it was extravagant, but he didn't want to get a "lesser" system and then always be wondering whether his photos would be just a little bit sharper if he went for the really high end equipment. The big time audiophiles probably feel the same way. They don't want to have that nagging doubt about whether they have the absolute best system. But $600 a foot? Good grief.

BTW, the advent of digital photography has my photographer friend thinking in a different direction.
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  #15  
Old 11-13-2007, 02:01 PM
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There are audio purists out there that will spend a few grand on speaker wire...but consider that each of the components in the system cost upwards of several grand, so the cost of esoteric speaker wire puts it in the "accessory" category in terms of budget.

Still, those setups are housed in "listening rooms", where the runs from component to speakers are relatively short...

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