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 3 responses by williewonka

@sjeesjie - Cables are a science and there are many factors that come into play and gauge is just one of them.

e.g. are you talking about stranded wire or solid core wire?
- that alone makes a considerable difference in the capability of a piece of wire.

Then there are things like the grade of copper (or even silver), the insulation used on each wire, the, the geometry of the cable itself. These are some of the things some people consider when selecting a speaker cable

Another thing to consider is - will 24 gauge wires be able to handle the transient peaks of the music?
- e.g. some bass lines required a large amount of power to be reproduced effectively and 24 gauge wire will not be able to "accommodate" such large powerful spikes.
- a larger gauge wire would be better in this case

Do all of these things make a real difference? Because some people on this forum are not convinced cables make a real difference.

Personally - I have tried many different gauges from 16 gauge up to 10 gauge and a few different gauges in between - I have tried different geometries, metals and insulations and the combination I now use offer extremely good sound quality

What does all this cable science really achieve...
- improved details - e.g. vocal layers that may be present
- improved clarity - subtle details like venue acoustics (echoes and reverberations)
- faster dynamics - e.g. crisper drum strikes
- improved image (depth, width and even the perception of height)
- improved bass depth and bass textures

In short- a more realistic reproduction

Also, you will be able to listen longer with less fatigue and at louder volumes.

But all of this comes at a cost ($) and that’s something only YOU can decide as to whether it is worth pursing.

So he simple answer to your question...
- YES - 24 gauge wire, stranded or solid will achieve the goal of getting sound from your speakers
- but that sound will lack in the details that were actually recorded
- it’s not a solution I would choose or recommend to anyone.

Regards - Steve
@orgillian - WRT
Better yet, if you can borrow several different manufacturer’s speaker cables instead of raw wire, compare those as well. That way, instead of relying on someone’s opinion of what you can or cannot hear, you’ll know...
Perhaps the best advice on this thread to date !

It is EXACTLY how I started my cable journey - I trusted MY EARS !

Then my inquisitive nature got the best of me and the rest is history :-)

Regards - Steve

@dadork -
@williewonka Excellent response and explanation. I’ve bought cheap wire before and have upgraded to something much better but have never really understood most of the aspects you describe.
Many thanks for the kind words :-)

I actually make my own cables from the ground up because I am frugal and like you, do not have the thousands of dollars to spend on, as some would put it, "high price jewelery"

My speaker cables currently cost around $400 for a 10 ft pair to build and are preferred to top of the line cables from companies like Nordost and InAkustik i.e. by others that have owned those cables.

If you are interested to read more on them - take a look of this thread

It goes into a lot more detail on these cables and how to build them.

BTW - with DIY - you can elect to use whatever grade wire you like
- my early prototypes used household Romex and telephone wire to prove the concept
- the latest use more advanced/quality wires to achieve superb sound reproduction

I have spent the last 6 years delving into the science of cables and developing the Helix geometry for Speaker, interconnect and power cables.

The improvements due to wire type and insulation used is the latest development and was assisted by others from several countries that have tried the Helix geometry with many different wires.

Regards - Steve