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memphis23
04-26-2012, 12:55 PM
I was just told by an installer that the gauge wire going to the speaker on the tower is not that important. He wants to use 18 gauge for a 500 watt amp.

I don't have a clue about stereos so I am looking for some help as to what I should buy for a poor mans audio.

The boat has 4 blown clarion speakers that are probably stock on this 1987 prostar and a Sony marine stereo.

All I think I want is 2 Good speakers on the tower 4 new speakers for the interior, maybe a sub?? and a Good amp. I just don't know who to trust with this hard earned American Dollar

thanks

McDye
04-26-2012, 12:58 PM
I read most are using 12ga to tower spkrs

willyt
04-26-2012, 01:48 PM
it all depends on how much power your running to each speaker and the length between the amp and speaker (how much wire). Longer wires and higher powers are going to need a lower gauge (thicker) wire. I think there are some speaker wire gauge calculators online

Jeff d
04-26-2012, 02:01 PM
18 gauge would likely be fine, depending on how he's setting things up, but I'd probably overkill it a bit and go bigger just to give myself that warm fuzzy feeling. The amount of wattage the amp is rated for is irrelevant when determining speaker wire gauge. The impedance of the load and the distance to the load is what you go by. Keep in mind that we're dealing with AC power after your amp, not DC.

http://fmarvasti.com/Graphics/SpeakerWire.jpg

Jeff d
04-26-2012, 02:10 PM
Oh, one more thing. Definitely ask for OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) rather than CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum). Most of the speaker wire you'll find at Wal-Mart and other big box stores is CCA. OFC can be tinned for marine applications to prevent corrosion though so may appear silver in color. It's usually more expensive though. A decent mobile audio shop hopefully doesn't even use any CCA to begin with.

Also, a lot of cheap wire isn't true to gauge. So, their "18 gauge" could be more like a 20 gauge. So, whatever is appropriate for your application in the chart above you may want to bump it up to the next larger gauge to account for that. If the shop is using a mid to high end wire like Stinger or something like that then it will run true to the gauge.

memphis23
04-26-2012, 02:17 PM
Great stuff

How about number of channels on the amp itself and watts 350, 500, 1,000 if I am only running two tower speakers should I only get a 2 channel amp or 4 channel I don't know the difference. I am not looking to make my ears bleed but I do want it to be clear and pretty loud.

Tower speakers good ones? how many watts?

Sorry for some many ?????? just trying not to get took

thanks

JimN
04-26-2012, 02:43 PM
I was just told by an installer that the gauge wire going to the speaker on the tower is not that important. He wants to use 18 gauge for a 500 watt amp.

I don't have a clue about stereos so I am looking for some help as to what I should buy for a poor mans audio.

The boat has 4 blown clarion speakers that are probably stock on this 1987 prostar and a Sony marine stereo.

All I think I want is 2 Good speakers on the tower 4 new speakers for the interior, maybe a sub?? and a Good amp. I just don't know who to trust with this hard earned American Dollar

thanks

Speakers usually blow because the amp distorted and took out the tweeters, although jacking the bass to WOT causes its share of problems, too. This is assuming there's no subwoofer. If you will be using one, you will be removing bass from the main speakers and sending it ONLY to the sub, which means the 18 ga should be fine because the heavy lifting is being done by the sub. It also means you won't need to crank it up to get a halfway decent sound and then realize that it can't happen.

JimN
04-26-2012, 02:50 PM
Great stuff

How about number of channels on the amp itself and watts 350, 500, 1,000 if I am only running two tower speakers should I only get a 2 channel amp or 4 channel I don't know the difference. I am not looking to make my ears bleed but I do want it to be clear and pretty loud.

Tower speakers good ones? how many watts?

Sorry for some many ?????? just trying not to get took

thanks

The power output depends on A) speaker sensitivity, B) distance from speakers to listening spot, C) location (indoors, or outdoors) and D) how loud you want it. If you're outside, have reasonably sensitive speakers and want it really loud, you should add speakers AND use high power amplifiers. Just adding power isn't the most efficient or effective way to achieve high SPL. The added cone area makes a big difference.

You need to look at the amp specs, too. Many/most manufacturers use a useless spec for that- 1KHz is NOT useful when determining how much output you'll get from a subwoofer. You need to look for the soec that reads "XXX W/ch, both channels driven 20Hz-20KHz +/- x dB, .xx%THD at 12VDC. If it shows this at 14.4VDC, don't crank the snot out of it when the engine is off or idling because the amp can't develop full power at that supply voltage unless it has an extremely efficient power supply, heavy power cables and is rated at that voltage.

memphis23
04-26-2012, 03:37 PM
Wow a lot to know.

I am guessing the speakers are about 10' away from the amp on the far side.

So based on all you have said I need a sub for sure(10" or 12") if I am going to use 18 gauge wire.

If I am going to run 250 watt speakers on the tower I will need a 2 channel 500watt amp?(any brand name suggestions?) is this correct?

And lastly I will replace my Clarions with a new set for inside the boat.

I know from what I have researched so far that there is a great difference in different shops anywhere from $2,000 to $5,200 What do you think is a fair average price for what I have listed above?

thanks

JimN
04-26-2012, 07:36 PM
Wow a lot to know.

I am guessing the speakers are about 10' away from the amp on the far side.

So based on all you have said I need a sub for sure(10" or 12") if I am going to use 18 gauge wire.

If I am going to run 250 watt speakers on the tower I will need a 2 channel 500watt amp?(any brand name suggestions?) is this correct?

And lastly I will replace my Clarions with a new set for inside the boat.

I know from what I have researched so far that there is a great difference in different shops anywhere from $2,000 to $5,200 What do you think is a fair average price for what I have listed above?

thanks

The 18 ga wire is fine, as ling as the power level isn't too high. If the current flow is too high, you would need heavier wire. At 4 Ohms, you're OK to about 16 feet but it's not as if the system will suck if you do this. Heavier is better but if it's not possible/practical to replace it, don't bother. I saw a lot of car stereos with Bell wire to all of the speakers and they worked OK. Bell wire, meaning telephone cable.

As far as amplifiers, look at the specs and then look at the fuses. There's no such thing as free power, and a 1000W amp that has two 15A fuses is not 1000W. Most major brands will be fine and you definitely need to make sure the power cables are adequate for the current draw. Neglecting this can cause the system to not work as planned/advertised or the equipment can fail prematurely.