What gauge speaker wire should I use in my system?

For the best speaker damping and least amount of power loss you will want to use the heaviest gauge that is practical. The length of the speaker wire should be considered when considering wire gauge. The shorter the run, the smaller gauge you can use with minimum power and damping factor loss. The longer the run, the heavier gauge you will need to minimize power and damping factor loss. You will also want to consider the size of power amplifier you are using. The larger the amplifier, the heavier gauge you will want to use. Generally speaking, runs of 25 Ft or less work well with 14 gauge. Over 25 one should use 12 gauge if possible. These numbers are not set in stone, but generally work well. For Constant Voltage systems such as a 70.7V or 140V systems, the voltage is high and the current is low. Because there is not much current you can use smaller wire without much power loss. Quite often 18-gauge wire works well with these systems. To calculate power loss you can use the Line Loss Javascript Calculator on the Crown web site. You can also request a free copy of the Crown Constant Voltage Slide Rule, which is available from our literature department. To order,1-574-294-8093 or send email to: khoward@crownintl.com.