Speaker gauge question

After many years of using headphones, I finally got some surround sound speakers for my receiver. Since I got a DVD player last year, I figured it was time. What gauge wire should I use to connect them? The speakers are made by Yamaha. Here are the specs:

Center: 6 ohms; Nom. input: 50 watts; Max. input: 150 watts
Front: 6 ohms; Nom. input: 40 watts; Max. input: 120 watts
Rear: 6 ohms; Nom. input: 25 watts; Max. input: 80 watts

I’m assuming the front/rear since I bought them used and they aren’t marked to indicate which is which.

My receiver is a Sony w/Dolby Pro-Logic surround. Specs:

Front: 70 watts per channel
Center (only in Dolby mode): 20 watts
Rear (spk. parallel use): 20 watts

There’s a paragraph in the owner’s manual that reads:

“Power output and total harmonic distortion. With 8 ohm load, both channels driven, from 40-20,000 Hz, rated 70 watts per channel minimum RMS power, with less than 0.8% total harmonic distortion from 250 milliwatts to rated output.”

Even now I’m wondering if I have the right speakers with all that 6 & 8 ohm stuff.

Any stereo gurus out there who could help?

BTW, the longest run of wire will be no more than 25 feet.

The speakers will hold, judging their max power threshhold. I know nothing about surround, unfortunately, but speakers that operate at 6 Ohm surprise me - most speakers I know operate at 8 Ohm, or have a variable 4-8 Ohm impendance (?).

Wiring ain’t my cup of tea. While I’m pretty anal about my stereo, and while I CAN tell the difference between K-Mart standard issue wire and, say, the generic HiFi stuff, I’ve never been able to hear the value of a $25 per meter cable.

I’m not really sure what your question is, but from what you posted it doesn’t look like you have anything to worry about, if you’re worried. Your speakers are 6 ohms nominal. That’s 6 ohms of impedance, which is a function of dynamic resistance. As the speaker pushes in and out the impedance changes. Your amp’s outputs are probably 8 ohms, and what you try to get is the input and output impedances matched.

So there’s a 2 ohm difference in nominal impedance, but Yamaha probably does that just so the speakers are more or less compatible with both 8 ohm and 4 ohm systems. As far as wire guage goes, for that low power you’d be fine with 16 or even 18 AWG.

Thanks, Egad. You’d think the receiver’s owner’s manual would clue you in on such things. Tomorrow, I’ll be off to Radio (S)hack for a big reel o’ wire.

I recommend http://planethifi.com/planethifi16/askthedrjan01pg1.htm

In general I think it’s better to use lower gauge wire. The impendance of a speaker is a tricky thing because “nominal” ohm specifications are generally meaningless. The whole cable issue is one for the Great Debates. Engineers argue that super expensive speaker cable and interconnects are snake oil. Others say that they make real audible differences. To bust another myth:impedance has nothing to do with the quality of the sound. I love the Magnepans myself.

I’m sure I’ll have some audiophile purest jumping all over me for the advise I’m about to give, but so what ? Seeing how you’re asking the question I’m assuming your not one of those.
Go down to your local hardware store and pick up a big ‘ole roll of 14 gauge stranded copper wire. This material is also known as ‘lamp cord’ or ‘zip cord’. I have used it in dozens of installations and it works perfectly. My theory has always been that stranded copper wire is stranded copper wire, and the biggest differences between them is the coating. Most speaker wire is either red and black, or silver and gold. This is done so it’s easy to keep the polarity strait, which is VERY important when connecting more than one speaker. Zip cord is also marked, ribbed on one side, smooth on the other.
Benefits of Zip Cord you ask ?
Well for one, it’s a lot cheaper. (and remember, it’s still just stranded copper inside) You mentioned heading down to Radio Shack for wire. They will set you up with some OK stuff, but it’s gonna cost ya.
And second, it’s available in different colors, so it’s lots easier to hide. White is good all purpose stuff.
That’s my 2 cents worth anyway. Enjoy your new system. I hope some of your equipment comes from a certain electronics company who’s name starts with a P and is based in Eindhoven. (Plug for my employer without actually saying the name.)