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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have decided to replace all of factory speaker wires with a nice thick shielded speaker wire. It does make difference for analog signals, IMHO. Wiring the rear speakers was easy. What about the front door ones? I have no idea how to do it. Any tips? Otherwise, I figure I will learn it "by doing" when I will be installing new components in the doors next week.
 

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I read a really cool idea the other day on SHOforum. Assuming the old wiring is still there and being replaced you cut the old wire near the speaker. Then you take that end and solder the new wire to that end in a straight line solder. Then as you pull the old wire out from the other end it runs the new wire in that path just cut it when you see new wire.
 

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On my 2003 SES, I replaced my speakers and amped them. The front passenger door was very easy, just slide the wire through the accordion type boot grommet (not sure what its exactly called). However the drivers door was extremely difficult. If you open the door, there was a black plastic type of housing that was on the door that most likely had pins for all the wires to connect to. But, it was impossible for me to run speaker wire through it all the way, so I ran the wire from in the car, through the black boot, and when I got to the black plastic part I ran the wire out of the boot, and into the door panel. I know its hard to explain, and I know I didn't do it the "right way" but it was the only way i could think of. Hope this helps, and if it doesn't hopefully I can learn from this thread haha.
 

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I don't see it making much difference unless you are running over 150 watts per channel. The stock wire will really handle a lot. The only difference the new heavier gauge wire will give you is less power loss over distance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't see it making much difference unless you are running over 150 watts per channel. The stock wire will really handle a lot. The only difference the new heavier gauge wire will give you is less power loss over distance.

I think there are two reasons to upgrade the speaker wire. One, as you have said, is power efficiency. Thicker wire will deliver more power. In my case, I want to drive relatively inefficient (87dB sensitivity) 110 watt comps with a 60 watt per channel amp. If I don't bridge the amp, I think I'd want to juice as much power out of it as possible. Next is the sound quality. I can't vouch for this myself, but a lot of people have tested different cables on headphones and home hi fi systems and even cars, and the conclusion is that they do make a difference in sound quality. Right now I have quality comps and a decent head unit, nice Moster MPC RCA cables. I might as well put in a nice speaker wire too. I will try to route the wire into the doors, but if that doesn't work, I'll just solder it to the factory wire before it enters the door.
 

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Yeah, at the level you are running, you will not notice a difference at all before and after. The amount of power loss with the stock wire versus new 16 gauge (which is much larger and has lower resistance ) will be less than 1%. When you start to really crank out the power, thats when it starts to matter. The stock wire is still copper, you just aren't going to notice a difference. Running a good speaker is going to make a lot more difference than a better wire when your speakers will handle more power than your amp can output. In fact, your amp will start to distort as it approaches its peak output, regardless of the quality of your wires or speakers.

I run a 300 watt per channel setup in my van, and its just using 20 gauge wire. My van got totaled however, so when I transplant the system into a new ride, I will be running new wire. But in that case, I need new wire because the stock system on Aerostars is common ground, which does cause sound distortion issues. The Taurus is not plagued with that problem.

Your headphone comparison isn't valid, yes running a high quality wire in place of a cheap wire will make for better sound, but the stock Ford wire is already high quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
How do you know that the stock Ford wire is high quality? I usually judge the quality of the wire by its thickness and its insulation, and I don't see it as a terribly good wire IMHO. The factory speakers were rumored to handle 25 watts and I suppose that was fine. I have 60 watt amp connected to factory wires right now and I don't hear distortions either. But what's going to happen with more power? The 110 watt components are less efficient, so they need more power to produce the same volume. I haven't decided what to do, but I will probably either run them off 60watt channels with increased gain level or bridge those channels.

Regarding the efficiency, there does seem quite a bit of loss power compared to 16 gauge wire. I don't know how to do the math, so went to WIRE and tried a few different scenarios. The factory wire going from trunk to the right front speaker should be about 20 ft long. I don't know if its 18 or 20 gauge, but both possibilities show more than 10% loss of power at the speaker terminal. Assuming wire length is 15 ft, with 60 watt amp, the power delivered to speaker is:

16 gauge: 56.54
18 gauge: 54.64
20 gauge: 51.81

And of course, it gets worse with 20 ft length. Another reason to replace the factory wire is to make sure that both sides have exactly the same length. Then both speaker will see the same wattage and voltage. Of course, I am being a little anal here. I am sure factory wire will sound fine at normal volume level, and watts do not translate into sound volume linearly.

In the end, the price is not a big issue. An average 50ft 16 gauge kit will cost around $15. A very high quality 16 gauge speaker wire should cost about $30. The biggest cost is the hassle of installing it in the doors.
 

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OK, as a professional IBEW Electrician and live sound tech (rock music "sound man"), let me add my 2 cents. Wire quality is determined by it's conductor composition first, and it's insulation jacket composition second. "Thickness" or gauge, if you will, only relates to current carrying capability, heavier wire will carry more current. "Oxygen-free" copper does have less resistance per foot than most other copper conductors, I have installed it in a few Imax theaters I have wired. It will show a difference on meter tests, but will you hear a difference? No. Wire insulation composition is a factor only in as far as its ability to resist outside environmental factors such as temperature, water resistance, and abrasion factors. Thicker insulation doesn't always mean better insulation. THHN insulation is much better than MTW insulation, but it is half the thickness. Imax theaters have THOUSANDS of watts of amplification over many channels and all the wire used is 12 gauge in size. You are over "ANALyzing" it all and wasting your money on cosmetically fancy cables like "Monster" brand. System quality is more a factor of install workmanship than the marginal differences between available components such as wire.
16 gauge: 56.54
18 gauge: 54.64
20 gauge: 51.81
These figures have absolutely no meaning in the "what you hear" real world. The differences would be considered negligible to most system designers, especially in an audio system (vs. a 480 volt machine power system, for instance.)
Don't get me started on the ongoing manufacturer scam over HDMI cable quality....
 

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from a home audiophile who spends a lot of money on equipment....ditch the monster cables. Monster is as big of a scam as Bose Audio. You are getting nothing for the extra money. Some people do hear a difference with better cables, but monsters are not better in any way other than a colorful jacket.
 

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from a home audiophile who spends a lot of money on equipment....ditch the monster cables. Monster is as big of a scam as Bose Audio. You are getting nothing for the extra money. Some people do hear a difference with better cables, but monsters are not better in any way other than a colorful jacket.
The only difference Monster cables make in a system is how much money you have left after building your system!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Ugh. Now, what's wrong with my Monster RCA cables? They're in place. They work fine. Sheez. They were pricey, but really only like $5 bucks more than other brands. Try to find a quality 20-ft 4 channel RCA cable for under $20. And I paid like $30 for effectively a top of the line cable. It feels solid. I like the thick, rugged shielding. It looks almost like a 4 gauge cable. I know I can safely yank it, step on it, etc with no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
.
16 gauge: 56.54
18 gauge: 54.64
20 gauge: 51.81
These figures have absolutely no meaning in the "what you hear" real world. The differences would be considered negligible to most system designers, especially in an audio system (vs. a 480 volt machine power system, for instance.)
Don't get me started on the ongoing manufacturer scam over HDMI cable quality....
Yeah, the difference resulting from 5-10 watts power loss alone might not be audible to human ear. More often than not, we know that spending just 20-30 dollars will hardly improve any audio system. However, an audio system is a sum of many components. Do a little tweak here, and there, get a better head unit, better cables, add some cheap polyfill in the subwoofer, some simple sound deadening in the doors, etc. In the end all of this adds up to noticeably better sound quality, even though a single tweak on its own might not be discernible in a blind test.

No one is talking about HDMI cable scam style speaker cable upgrade. It's clearly a scam when you're asked to pay $40-60 for a 6ft cable. I use myself a bunch of 5 to 10 dollar HDMI cables at home. In fact, I think I have a $10 or so Monster HDMI cable as well, so they don't have to be a rip off.
 

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Ugh. Now, what's wrong with my Monster RCA cables? They're in place. They work fine. Sheez. They were pricey, but really only like $5 bucks more than other brands. Try to find a quality 20-ft 4 channel RCA cable for under $20. And I paid like $30 for effectively a top of the line cable. It feels solid. I like the thick, rugged shielding. It looks almost like a 4 gauge cable. I know I can safely yank it, step on it, etc with no issues.
How about 5 conductor, 25' for under $12?

This place is the sh$t for cables of all kinds!
For only $10.08 each when QTY 50+ purchased - 25ft (RG-59/U) 5-RCA Component Video/Audio Coaxial Cable | 5-RCA Component Video Cables


The thing most people are unaware of is, any digital signal, like HDMI, could care less about conductor quality. You could make an HDMI cable out of paper clips and foil gum wrappers that would work as good as the most expensive ones out there. That goes for digital audio as well as digital video.
 
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