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Thread: speaker wire color codes ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    speaker wire color codes ?

    In 4 strand audio cable there is a black, a white, a red and a green wire. What is the standard usage for each color...i.e. red for left positive, green for left negative, white for right positive, black for right negative ??

  2. #2
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    Re: speaker wire color codes ?

    Never use any four conductor speaker cable, that's consumer stuff. Nothing in the way of a standard. Normally we would use multiple runs of red/black.

    If it were me though I would make red= right+, green= left+, black=right- and white=left-.

    -Hal

  3. #3
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    Re: speaker wire color codes ?

    Hal,

    There are differing opinions on the types of cable to use. I recently pre-wired a residence for stereo speakers in several rooms. The layout the sound system company gave me at the time seemed pretty clear and mentioned that I should use standard speaker cable - the heavier the better. My supply house didn't have speaker cable in stock but did have # 12 landscape wire, so that's what I installed. When the sound system company came out to install the stereo equipment they had a real tough time with the # 12 wire. The installers said what I should have used was 14/4 "monster cable".

    As far as color code goes red = + and black = - are obvious standards but the green and white are usually determined by the installing company at the time of installation and should be kept the same throughout the company so that anyone installing or troubleshooting can have the same standard.

    Just my opinion.

    Regards,

    Phil

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    265

    Re: speaker wire color codes ?

    goldstar,

    Was the landscape wire rated for in-wall use?

    We have failed inspection before because a homeowner used regular speaker wire in the wall after our rough in (to save money from us doing it). They had to rip out all the rgular wire, put in new in-wall rated speaker wire and get reinspected. No cost savings to them in the end.

  5. #5
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    Bremerton, Washington
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    Re: speaker wire color codes ?

    Monster cable is not a wiring method allowed by the NEC where concealed in walls, ceilings, etc. Art 725 or 640 gives the appropiate type cable marking to use.
    Moderator-Washington State
    Ancora Imparo

  6. #6
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    Missouri
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    Re: speaker wire color codes ?

    Tom,
    I believe Monster makes a speaker cable designed for in wall use.
    -Ed

  7. #7
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    Re: speaker wire color codes ?

    Rich,

    No I did not fail the rough inspection for the landscape wire but from what I'm reading in the other posts it seems I should have.

    Tom & Ed,

    I've e-mailed tech support at Monster Cable and asked whether they manufacture NEC approved cable for speaker wiring. If they send me an answer I'll post it.

    Regards,

    Phil

  8. #8
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    Re: speaker wire color codes ?

    Tom,

    Here is the response I got from Monster Cable :

    Hello Phil,
    all of the cables located on this page are UL CL3 Rated for in-wall use:
    web page

    Monsterously,

    Tim Pryde
    Customer Service
    Head of Technical Support
    Internal Training Monster

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Gold Star Electric
    Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 12:49 PM
    To: Timothy Pryde
    Subject: NEC approved "in wall" cable


    Tech Support :

    Can you please tell me if you manufacture cable that is acceptable by the NEC and suitable for "in wall" use ? If so please specify model number(s) for future reference. It seems that we (electricians) are not permitted by the NEC to install speaker or landscape wire concealed inside walls. Thank you in advance.

    Phil Bufis,
    Gold Star Electric
    Ringwood, NJ

  9. #9
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    Jun 2003
    Location
    Hawthorne, NY
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    Re: speaker wire color codes ?

    My reason for choosing the colors I did is because red is normally used to indicate the right channel and green the left in consumer audio connections. I just logically extended this to the output wiring. White as the left negative makes some sense because we use it as the neutral or grounded current carrying conductor. I agree though that if you have a practice or instructions that dictate other schemes by all means follow it. The important thing here is consistancy. Worst thing is to have every job wired differently. :mad:

    As for the choice of wire, I agree that for low impedance voice coil systems larger is better. I see no problem with #12 although I would have used something other than landscape wire and anything from Monster cable is ridiculously overpriced. They won't want you to know this but wire is wire and there are plenty of suppliers of CL2 and CL3 wiring products in both plenum and non plenum suitable for this use although your supply house might not stock them. If you are going to do this kind of work on a regular basis it would pay to order a few thousand feet of the proper wire. Outfits like Clifford of Vermont stock a wide selection of wire products for both low voltage, telecom and electrical uses.

    -Hal

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