How To: Prepare Your Own DIY Speaker Wires

How To: Prepare Your Own DIY Speaker Wires

Anthony Nguyen
Oct 3, 2008

For those who are just starting out or are looking to upgrade their home theater setup, speaker wires (and everything about them) gradually become one of the main issues that come up. What gauge is best? Do I need banana plugs? Well, we're here to simplify this process. Here's a quick guide and answers that you may run into when doing the whole speaker wire tango.

First, a few things you will need, all available at your local electronics store:

* 50 ft roll of speaker cable, oxygen free copper with a rope lay construction for flexibility. (Parts Express # 100-150) $22.95
* Wire cutters and stripper. (Parts Express # 360-634) $4.95. You may also wish to purchase this at your local hardware store. Make sure it has the capability to strip 12 AWG wire.
* Xacto Knife: (Parts Express # 360-369) $1.85
* Dayton Audio Banana Plugs: (Parts Express # 091-1260) $6.95 for a set of four. There are two red and two black banana plugs per package.

Now that you're ready with your tools, follow the rest of the guide at Audioholics for cutting, stripping, and banana plug installation. It's quite simple and it took us only 10 minutes to do. Definitely beats buying pre-made ones for about 4x the price.

Here's a few answers to questions you may have about speaker wire.

* What gauge should I pick?
To make things easy, let's just think of it this way. A good speaker wire is about 16 gauge and below. The lower the gauge, the thicker the wire, and the better its capacity to pass the amplified audio signal. You can find most speaker wires today have 12-16 gauge. Usually if the speakers are right next to your television though, 16 gauge is more than sufficient.

* Are banana plugs necessary?
Again, it's more of a precautionary measure - the bonus is simply a better connection and clarity of sound. The fact that you could protect yourself from electrical shorts is more or less the benefit of having such a connector.

Got more questions? Send us an e-mail or leave us a comment!

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