A newbie with a speaker cable AWG question.

Hi there. I'm new to this addiction so please go easy on me! Is there a point at which a speaker cable gets too big (AWG) for a bookshelf monitor? I'm looking for cable for my B&W N805. I am considering biwiring, double runs. If I use double runs of a 10AWG cable is this "overkill" for a small speaker? Should I be considering my amplifier strength also when choosing cable? My system - Classe int. CAP80, Meridian CD, B&W N805. I listen mostly to acoustic music. Room size is 14'X24'X9'. Sonically, I'm looking for speaker cable that will warm up, flesh out the sound a bit. Thanks in advance for any insight!
Cardas makes big fucking cable that is warm and compatible with Classe and B&W. Cable is too big when it pulls the speaker of its stand.
Ohlala, our ears aren't garbage pails.

Tooter, some of the best cable that I am aware of are the Audience Au24 and the Audio Tekne ARSP 500 speaker cables. Both cables are about as thick as your keyboard cable.

So you don't have to go the anaconda route.

And the two seem to be quite similar in sonic characteristics.


To respond a bit more directly to your question: you will not be using "overkill" if you choose a 10 AWG speaker cable, but it may not be necessary to use such a heavy cable. There are two issues here:
1. the length of the speaker cable (from the amp to the speaker);
2. the speaker you are using (full-range speakers with large woofers draw more current, so you may need heavier gauge speaker cable).

For the sake of discussion, you are usually safe with a 14-gauge speaker cable if your cables are 8 feet or less in length. As your cable gets longer, you want to increase the wire gauge. There are no "absolutes" about length vs. gauge, but I usually advise using 12-gauge speaker cable if the amp-to-speaker distance is more than 10 feet, and 10-gauge speaker cable if the amp-to-speaker distance is more than 15 feet.

The actual thickness of the cable (internal wire plus outside wrapping/insulation) can be a potential issue if the cable is so thick it's hard to bend, or so heavy that it causes smaller monitor speakers to become unstable on their stands.

The AWG of the speaker cable is not the only issue, however. With heavier, longer runs of cable, you should pay attention to the electrical characteristics of the cable, particularly resistance and characteristic impedance. There are a number of good speaker cable manufacturers, and it would be a good idea to look at the specifications of the cable before making a final choice. There have been a lot of threads on this topic, so you might want to search the A-gon archives. Try looking under "speaker cable gauge", "recommended speaker cable", or something similar to find the threads.
Thanks for your responses Ohlala, Stehno and Sdcampbell. Sdcampbell - You bring up important points. I guess when I asked about "overkill" I was trying to ask if it's possible to have too low of an impedance for a very short run of speaker cables. I understand that as you increase length of cable that issues like resistance and impedance become important. I guess my question is if you look at the various cables within any given speaker cable company's line, it seems that as the price goes up so does the cable thickness and "technologies" used. In my set up I only need 6 feet runs so are you saying I won't hear as much of an improvement the further up I go within a given line of products? Am I oversimplifying?

With short runs of speaker cable, it is less likely that the electrical characteristics of the cable will have an audible effect. However, cables that are better designed will -- in all likelihood -- sound better than cheaply designed cables. You didn't indicate what your budget is for speaker cables, but there are a lot of good choices in the moderately priced range. Again, I suggest that you look in the A-gon archives for specific comments about the better cable brands and models, and then (if possible) find a dealer that will let you audition the ones that interest you.
See this link midway in the page with the paragraph that starts with "There is a common misconception that loudspeaker cable must be large in diameter ...":
It works for me.
Hi Sdcampbell - thanks for the response. I'm getting a better grip on the concepts involved here. I have (and will continue) to search the forums for cable recommendations. I started this thread primarily to get a better understanding of cable AWG and its relation to length and monitor size. My budget is around $400. So far I'm considering used Cardas Cross in a single run, Cardas quadlink (double runs) or Acoustic Zen Epoch and Satori. I will also look into the Audience cable that Stehno and Eagle are recommending. If you have other recommendations I'm all ears. Thanks again!
Hi, Tooter:

Given your budget, I suggest you also consider (and audition) the Alpha-Core Goertz MI2 (copper) speaker cable. Alpha-Core makes a very good speaker cable that is not heavy, and they offer a free 30-day home trial. For more info about their speaker cables, see their Web site at the following link: