Using electrical cords as speaker wire

altiris

New member
I know this guy that has a live stage set up. I’ve noticed all his wires that go to the speaker were those orange extension cables with 1/4 heads added. I asked him why he used those. He said that they are the same gauge as speaker wire and that the cost per foot is far less than actual speaker wire. He said that he does get some signal loss but not enough to be noticeable. Has any one heard of this? Is this common practice?
 

lpdeluxe

The Precision Bass Guy
The signal doesn't care what it's going down, as long as the gauge is adequate for the load and there aren't any capacitance anomalies etc. The orange jackets probably make them more visible on stage, too. A friend who is VERY picky about his gear buys all his speaker cables at the local hardware store.

You can spend a fortune on "boutique" speaker cables, but all you get is fancy appearance. They all send exactly the same signal in exactly the same configuration at exactly the same speed, and anybody who says different is trying to separate you from your money, or has fallen for this scam themselves. The fact is that signal degradation only occurs if something's WRONG with the cable.
 

altiris

New member
lpdeluxe said:
The signal doesn't care what it's going down, as long as the gauge is adequate for the load and there aren't any capacitance anomalies etc. The orange jackets probably make them more visible on stage, too. A friend who is VERY picky about his gear buys all his speaker cables at the local hardware store.

You can spend a fortune on "boutique" speaker cables, but all you get is fancy appearance. They all send exactly the same signal in exactly the same configuration at exactly the same speed, and anybody who says different is trying to separate you from your money, or has fallen for this scam themselves. The fact is that signal degradation only occurs if something's WRONG with the cable.
Well he said the single loss was that the wire was not copper so I was not as good a conductor. I guess he was really going cheap on the wireing. still he said it was not enough of a loss to cry about.
 

lpdeluxe

The Precision Bass Guy
The fact is, it doesn't really matter what material the wire is, as long as it's conductive and doesn't exhibit any bizarre behavior. Speaker wire is pretty thoroughly investigated at this point in history, and the consensus among the scientists (as opposed to the marketers) is that the gauge (bigger=better), flexibility (for stuff you'll be setting up and breaking down) and convenience are pretty much what you want to go for.
 

SuperGeek

New member
altiris said:
I know this guy that has a live stage set up. I’ve noticed all his wires that go to the speaker were those orange extension cables with 1/4 heads added. I asked him why he used those. He said that they are the same gauge as speaker wire and that the cost per foot is far less than actual speaker wire. He said that he does get some signal loss but not enough to be noticeable. Has any one heard of this? Is this common practice?

Ive seen it done with lighting cords (20A 120V twist lock)
they make adapters useing the GND and Nuetral on the twist lock.
since most of the time GND and Neutral windup together down by the panel box/ transformer.
You can use any conductor the lower the resitance and the thicker the better

lpdeluxe said:
The signal doesn't care what it's going down, as long as the gauge is adequate for the load and there aren't any capacitance anomalies etc. The orange jackets probably make them more visible on stage, too. A friend who is VERY picky about his gear buys all his speaker cables at the local hardware store.

True to a point the more strands in the cable = lower internal resistance which means less power loss and more power to the speakers.

But that also hold true for motors if you have compressor (air that is)
you will see as you get further away they ask you to use a heaver guage cable so you won't get voltage loss when running which also alwows the motor to use less current and run cooler.

But as for that fancy cable at some insane price i wouldn't bother.

you could use 10 gauge tew at 105 strands and you would be fine.
normal 10 gauge can have as little as 7-9 strands. (makes it stiffer and has a higher restance.

Hope this all helps.

In a nut shell Copper wire with lots of strands and the longer the run the thicker it has to be for speakers, motors ect.
 

SuperGeek

New member
An update on fancy cables.

I just remembered that a company( forget the name) was selling a very flat cable for speakers :p
It was very expensive. :eek:

Heres the kicker it had some capacitive quality that almost brings the power amp to self ossilation. which if the amp did that it would be damanged as well as possably the high frequency drivers as well. :eek: :eek: :eek:
 

TheDewd

New member
Who cares if the cable is big enough so that the resistance of the wire is minimal and the current capacity is right.
 

cephus

Slow Children Playing
For our club PA, I made the cables out of the biggest gauge of that brown lamp cord I could buy at radio shack. I bought the spool, unwound the hole thing, cut it in half and soldered plugs on the ends. It's easily the same gauge wire as the speaker cables they sell at GC or smash.
 

altiris

New member
since this cable has 3 wires can it be used for mic cables? I know orange is not a color you on stage.
 

TheDewd

New member
altiris said:
since this cable has 3 wires can it be used for mic cables? I know orange is not a color you on stage.
No, since it's NOT shielded. It can serve as a speaker wire but not mic/signal wire.
 
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