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View Full Version : [Help Needed] should I get CL3 or CL2 class 12 Gauge wire?



Mr Glide
02-16-2011, 01:55 AM
Hi,

I've been checking out CL-2 rated 12 Gauge speaker wire (Monoprice) to connect my Polk Monitors (70,30,cs2) and FXiA4s. I will be using this wire to connect front speakers as well as run them through attic to connect mysurrounds (rear and side).

Now, I just spotted CL-3 rated speaker wire. I've 100W Onkyo TX-SR608. Will CL-3 12 Gauge wire work better in comparison to CL-2? The CL-3s seem to be more expensive.

Is there really that much difference in quality of 12 gauge speaker wire rated CL-2 in comparison to CL-3?

Please advise.
Thanks.

virtualdean
02-16-2011, 02:07 AM
Hi,

I've been checking out CL-2 rated 12 Gauge speaker wire (Monoprice) to connect my Polk Monitors (70,30,cs2) and FXiA4s. I will be using this wire to connect front speakers as well as run them through attic to connect mysurrounds (rear and side).

Now, I just spotted CL-3 rated speaker wire. I've 100W Onkyo TX-SR608. Will CL-3 12 Gauge wire work better in comparison to CL-2? The CL-3s seem to be more expensive.

Is there really that much difference in quality of 12 gauge speaker wire rated CL-2 in comparison to CL-3?

Please advise.
Thanks.

Google reveals:
************************************************** *********
It's a type of wiring rated to be inside walls

All wiring used behind walls, under floors or otherwise installed as a structural component of the building must be properly rated. Speaker wires used for this type of installation are rated as either Class 2 or Class 3. The only difference between classes is that Class 3 rated wiring is rated for a maximum of 300 volts and Class 2 has no such voltage rating. Is this important? An audio amplifier driving a pair of 8-ohm speakers, and delivering 300 volts peak-to-peak will provide an incredible 26 amperes (I=E/R) of current for a total RMS power delivery of something like 5600 watts (P=I2R). Since it is HIGHLY unlikely that you will be driving in-wall speakers with 5 Kilowatts of power you probably don?t need to be concerned with Class 3 ratings!

:smile:

mantis
02-16-2011, 02:07 AM
If you're going to run cable inside your walls or ceiling, you'll need UL-rated speaker wire labeled CL2 or CL3. The Underwriters Laboratory (UL) looks at heat generated from current flowing through wire, how quickly the cable will catch and spread fire when exposed to flame, and the wire's susceptibility to damage from external stresses.
For your speakers and receiver I suggest not getting 12 awg wire and going with 14 awg. The amont of current and the Ohm rating of your speakers 14 awg is all you need.
I know nothing of Monoprice wire and I can't judge it for it's quality but I do know a lot about Audioquest and how damn good their wire is so I suggest using this

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_703142125/AudioQuest-FLX-14-2-14-Gauge-In-Wall-Speaker-Cable-125-feet.html?search=AudioQuest+VENDORID703&searchdisplay=AudioQuest&tp=1432

Issa
02-16-2011, 02:21 AM
I'm using the monoprice 12AWG CL2 250' O2 free cable and its great. For less money than above, twice as long and 12AWG vs. 14AWG, it's a no brainer.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003YEEAG4/ref=oss_product

It's very heavy cable too.

mantis
02-16-2011, 02:25 AM
I'm using the monoprice 12AWG CL2 250' O2 free cable and its great. For less money than above, twice as long and 12AWG vs. 14AWG, it's a no brainer.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003YEEAG4/ref=oss_product

It's very heavy cable too.

Let's say all his runs are under 80 feet which I'm sure they are , what is 12 awg wire going to do for him ? Also how do you know this Monoprice wire is going to outperform Audioquest Flx 14/2 ? With his given amp and speakers for home theater use , probably going to be setup in small , how is 12awg wire going to benefit him?
I don't have any experience with Monoprice wire so I have no comments on it's performance.

Issa
02-16-2011, 02:32 AM
I'm using the monoprice 12AWG CL2 250' O2 free cable and its great. For less money, twice as long and 12AWG vs. 14AWG, it's a very good choice.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ef=oss_product

It's also heavy, with smooth cover, fairly flexible and seems to be well shielded cable too.

It also comes with thicker individual copper strands in 12AWG for less money if that is what you want. The more thinner strands makes it a little more flexible and gives the slightest better signal carry.

Issa
02-16-2011, 02:39 AM
Opps, sorry for the double post.

Believe it or not but 12AWG will give a slight few percentage points better signal carry even at 40' over 14AWG. Not saying it will be noticeable to most human ears but it's there and also cheaper quality cable. Just another option and an extra data point. Also, great for outside speakers.

cheddar
02-16-2011, 11:41 AM
Let's say all his runs are under 80 feet which I'm sure they are , what is 12 awg wire going to do for him ? Also how do you know this Monoprice wire is going to outperform Audioquest Flx 14/2 ? With his given amp and speakers for home theater use , probably going to be setup in small , how is 12awg wire going to benefit him?
I don't have any experience with Monoprice wire so I have no comments on it's performance.

So would 12 awg benefit him with a different amp and speakers? Or are you saying that for a run of say 30-40ft, it's never needed? Because when I put wire in a wall, the last thing I'd want to do is open the walls back up if I change the amp or speakers.

Also, copper always seems to be going up in price. So I've ended up paying more for the same wire later when I thought I'd only get what I needed at the time.

Mr Glide
02-16-2011, 02:50 PM
After owning Monster cables all these years, I wanted to get steer away from them this time due to the cost and possible hype. I found out about Monoprice and BlueJeans speaker wires and heard that going to 12 Guague would be better (at least, would not hurt) if I could effort.

After checking highly positive reviews of buyers of Monoprice wires, I have pulled the trigger for 250ft 12 Gauge CL-2 wires. My run is waaay less than 80 feet (wire running through attic), but the cost of this cable ($75) is under my budget, hence, pulling the trigger.

I appreciate the input on both ends to the debate of 12 gauge wires. It makes conversation more lively and educational.

As for my original question - difference between CL-2 and CL-3, sounds like I should be OK with wire with CL-2 rating. Virtualdean, good explan on ratings, btw, I read somewhere on net that CL-2 rating is at 150 volts.

Thanks.

mantis
02-16-2011, 06:55 PM
So would 12 awg benefit him with a different amp and speakers? Or are you saying that for a run of say 30-40ft, it's never needed? Because when I put wire in a wall, the last thing I'd want to do is open the walls back up if I change the amp or speakers.

Also, copper always seems to be going up in price. So I've ended up paying more for the same wire later when I thought I'd only get what I needed at the time.
Unless your running extremely high powered amps with 4 ohm load speakers and lets say 87db or less , 14 awg will get the job done. No need to have to re run wires.

cheddar
02-16-2011, 11:15 PM
Well, the way this hobby goes, I don't think anyone knows at the start that 4 ohm speakers or a beefy amp are in their future. If he had some extra money to upgrade Monoprice to 12 awg, at least it's there for another future upgrade.

Issa
02-17-2011, 02:39 AM
The 14AWG seems to be a quality cable but if somebody offers me more for less, would I kick them in the teeth?

Depending on the house and at least for me, the least enjoyable part of such upgrade is running cables in the wall. 14AWG might work now but no harm in going with 12AWG esp. when it is less money and is twice as long (250' vs. 125') and is a quality cable too. At least it is there for potential future upgrade. Anyway, 12AWG provides better signal transfer and less resistance even at 30-40feet which might be the case for the surround speakers or if outdoor/garage speakers will be used. It's a high purity 99.99% Oxygen free copper on both negative and positive sides of the cable, have good shield and is UL and CL-2 rated.

When I received the monoprice 250' cable in a smallish shipping box, I though they must've put at least two 10lbs metal weight plates in there but only until I opened the box. It's a nice trick afterwards to casually hand over the box to friends and watch their reaction. If I found decently priced quality 10AWG, I still would've contemplated it. Might be an over kill but no harm done if it is fairly priced. Just make sure they do fit into the speakers and back of the amp.

Many times, the install is what makes or break a system so why cut corners esp. when it is less dough and doing the same work otherwise. One less thing to worry about later.

Anyway, any long cable (80+'); regardless of gauge, will lose high frequencies and signal strength but less so with the heavier gauge to a point. Please correct me if I'm missing something.

cheddar
02-17-2011, 11:49 AM
I though they must've put at least two 10lbs metal weight plates in there but only until I opened the box. It's a nice trick afterwards to casually hand over the box to friends and watch their reaction.

Yep, it surprised me how heavy 10 and 12 awg wire is in long coils coming from the days when I used to use monster wire. Standard monster wire seems to be mostly plastic materials with a little copper running through it. With the larger guage, you end up with mostly copper with a thin insulator around it. And all that copper ends up being heavy.

cheddar
02-17-2011, 12:05 PM
If I found decently priced quality 10AWG, I still would've contemplated it. Might be an over kill but no harm done if it is fairly priced. Just make sure they do fit into the speakers and back of the amp.

Many years ago, before copper prices started spiking, I used to use 10 awg belden (the same stuff as bluejeans) just for the heck of it. Then copper started going up and I had to actually think about price for performance and ended up with 12 awg for my in-wall. I know some people like to use bare wire, but I find most equipment accepts banana plugs, and that's what I terminate with. I like the nice clean look and easy plug-in connections.

jinjuku
02-17-2011, 12:20 PM
Unless your running extremely high powered amps with 4 ohm load speakers and lets say 87db or less , 14 awg will get the job done. No need to have to re run wires.

The price difference is negligible between the 12 and 14 awg from Monoprice. They are both easy to run.

There isn't going to be a difference in difficulty pulling either through a wall or stud.

If we can suggest someone spend a few extra hundred on a receiver for it's pre outs then what is wrong with a few extra bucks ($10 difference on 100ft spools) on a lower gauge speaker wire?

The 100 foot spool of Monoprice 12AWG CL2 is $30, the 125 foot spool of AQ Flx 14/2 is $115. I don't think the Monoprice cable will over or under perform the AQ.

I see no technical or audible reason to spend the money on the AQ inwall cable.

Issa
02-18-2011, 02:00 AM
The 100 foot spool of Monoprice 12AWG CL2 is $30, the 125 foot spool of AQ Flx 14/2 is $115. I don't think the Monoprice cable will over or under perform the AQ.

Slightly off topic but I'm honestly interested in the technical opinion of the experts.

For runs of say 40-60feet, you don't think there would be a difference in output when using identical cables but one 12AWG vs. 14AWG?

More precisely, what makes a cable good?

TIA

Theheadsn
02-19-2011, 11:51 PM
as far as being made well, theres the amount and type of copper they use in the wires. Least thats what ive read

Beta
02-21-2011, 09:43 PM
Based on the recommendation of a few here whose opinions I value, I chose Monoprice 12 AWG CL2 rated wire for my recent HT installation. I am using it to power LCi series in wall speakers. IMHO it works excellent.

Theheadsn
02-21-2011, 10:06 PM
good to know, i might be ordering new wires too, still using my stock ones that came with my old speaker system

musikman1
03-15-2011, 02:21 PM
I had a bout of "accidental brilliance" back about 6 years ago. Parts-Express was blowing out a 1K spool of 12-2 AWG CL3 for $97.00. This was WAY back before copper went nuts.

I knew I was EVENTUALLY going to put together a home theatre setup, just didn't know when. Well, NOW's the time, and it's really been nice to have the spool of CL3, as I've installed Jamo 10K4 in-ceiling speakers for my side L/R and rear L/R. The Jamo is a 4-way on a 10" driver frame, with -3dB 0 +3dB toggles on the three small speakers.

Fronts are a couple of Cerwin Vega D-9 (modified-bought in 1983, used in my "lounge lizard" days), JBL center, and a JBL MP418SP for the sub, and I'm just about set w/65" Samsung LED in the middle. The room is fairly long, roughly 30' and running wires from the "port" where the receiver will be located up and around the attic to the speaker locations used a bit a wire, but fortunately, I had the spool.

My wife always gives me the "rolling eyes" when I pick these sort of things up, but eventually, MOST will work out in the end. This 1K spool was a blowout for $97 back when normal selling price was around $190.. Today it's insane what they want for it, from my looking around the net, 1K can run from .50 to .67 per foot. Ouch!