Can I use 24 gauge speaker cable?

I’ve been trying to google this but I only get vague answers.
I want to know if I can use 24 gauge cable as speaker cable. And if not: why not?
Usual answers are “no, you should use xx gauge”, but I’m looking for why is that? Will the speakers of the amp go off in flames if the resistance is too high? I don’t even get that because the resistance isn’t even that much of a difference between speaker cable sizes, compared to the speakers resistance.

I’m talking about ca 16ft / 5m distance between amp and speaker. By the way should that measure 16 ft or double (32ft because one cable is plus and the other minus)?

Showing 7 responses by kijanki

sjeesjie, AFAIK biwiring can have effect on the sound by eliminating skin effect (I don’t believe it’s audible) and by reducing back EMF injection into other xover section by separating them by impedance of the driver+wire / impedance of the amp output divider. Xover suppresses it but is not perfect. It works with some speakers and has no effect with the others. I believe it is related to xover design.
1. Resistance: About 0.5 ohm in series with the speaker for 10’ cable. It will affect the sound with changing speaker impedance, but you might like it.

2. Damping: For membrane damping 0.5 ohm doesn’t make much difference since there is already at least 6 ohm of speaker own resistance in series. It might affect sound slightly, but again - you might like it, especially with overdamped speakers.

3. Temperature: It will make difference (overheating) only if you listen to continuous sinewaves at 100W for long time. Otherwise it is non-issue since music power delivered to speaker is only few percent of peak power (half of loudness is 1/10 of the power, plus music has gaps).

4. Inductive reactance: 0.1 ohm more than very thick cable at 20kHz, but at this frequency (that I cannot hear anyway), most of speakers have inductive character - meaning impedance is way higher and additional 0.1 ohm makes little difference (and if it does you might like it)

5. Skin effect: In copper it starts at gauge 18 at 20kHz so for 24 gauge it is non-issue.

You ears are the best judge. Even if this speaker wire affects the sound it might be to you liking.
100Hz is too strong, in most cases, and small resistance in series helps to reduce it, since there is also impedance dip at this frequency. Nobody talks about kiloohms - that’s not a valid argument.

All I’m saying thin speaker wire might change sound to somebody’s liking. My power amp Benchmark AHB2 is perhaps the quietest and most accurate amplifier on the planet, but not everybody likes it.
You could've used megaohms or gigaohms as well. We’re talking about small fraction of an ohm difference, that speaker manufacturers don’t even consider worth mentioning. Atmasphere MA-1 power amp has 2.3 ohm output impedance and great reviews. Do you really think that 0.4ohm would make a difference? Most of tube amps have fraction of an ohm output impedance (in comparison to almost zero for SS). Do they sound bad?

Please answer my question - do tube amps sound bad?  They have additional fraction of an ohm output impedance in comparison to SS.  Why can't you understand that amplifiers with few ohms of output impedance can sound fine.  At this point I'm out.
Dynamic speakers, in general, have their lowest impedance at low frequencies and small gauge wire will result in reduced bass.
Not necessarily. Many speakers have impedance dip around 100Hz - bass reflex hump. Taming it might be a good thing. I took randomly one of Stereophile measurements - Wilson Sasha, that shows impedance dip to around 2 ohms at 100Hz (at the volume hump) and impedance increase to about 9 ohm at 45Hz where you want it louder (lowest bass string, open E=41Hz).  Small wire resistance in series helps to normalize it.