Published on 29th August, 2019 by Cable Chick

Speaker Cable Wiring Guide

Speaker Cable Wiring Guide

There's more than one solution for wiring up your home theatre speakers, and we've brought them all together - with diagrams - in this handy reference guide.

Speaker Cable Basics

If you haven't already chosen your speaker cable, we have another blog which goes into detail about balancing budget with performance to find the right AWG for your hardware. Read our Ultimate Speaker Cable Guide now.

All of the speaker cable we stock is suitable for permanent installation inside ceilings and wall cavities, and we also have options with additional UL/CL2 certification for extra peace of mind. It's always best to measure twice - and then add 10%. Your future self will thank you for leaving some slack in the wall when it comes time to renovate.

We also stock a range of wall plates and speaker wire plugs to help make installation even easier. Armed with your home theatre gear, our cables and this guide, you'll be set!

Anatomy of a speaker terminal
Speaker Cabling Fundamentals.

Whether your speakers have all-metal terminals instead of plastic-covered ones, or cable-based terminal links instead of solid bridging bars, this guide will get you hooked up and listening in no time at all.

Standard 2-Core Speaker Wiring

This is by far the most common method of connecting speakers. Using your preferred 2-Core speaker cable, you connect the low frequency terminals to the matching speaker binding post - Red for positive, Black for negative. The bridging bars will carry the current though to the high frequency hardware, so nothing more is required. If you're using 2-Core cable, you'll need a separate length for each speaker in the system. Not all speakers have separate high and low inputs, so don't worry if one pair is missing.

Standard 2-Core Speaker Wiring
Standard Speaker Wiring using 2-Core Cable. The gold standard.

2-Core Diamond Wiring

Diamond wiring is reported to help reduce crossover distortion and improve clarity. You link your Red positive amplifier terminal to the High speaker input, and the Black negative amplifier terminal to the Low speaker input. They must remain linked by the bridging bars of course, but depending on your speaker quality and construction this can provide a benefit to audio quality at zero cost.

Diamond 2-Core Speaker Wiring
Diamond Wiring with 2-Core Cable. Your mileage may vary.

4-Core Paired Wiring

One of the most common uses for 4-Core Speaker Cable is to simply make installation easier. By running a single length of bundled cable to a central point (eg: the back of the room) you can then split off to two satellite speakers, saving yourself the trouble of pulling two sets of cables through multiple cavities. So long as you keep your left and right pairs correctly colour coded at each end, you're golden!

4-Core Paired Speaker Wiring
Paired Wiring - Connecting two speakers with one 4-Core Cable.

4-Core Bi-Amping

This solution is generally reserved for the best in amplifiers and powerful, high-end speakers, and allows you to drive more power than normal. The bridging bars come off and every terminal on the speaker is wired to a dedicated terminal on the amp, with discreet loops for both high and low frequencies. This can be achieved by using a separate amp for each frequency (and therefore pump much more power to high-wattage drivers), or by using a receiver with independently amplified channel separation. This method allows you ultimate control over crossover so you can dial in your audio exactly how you like it, as well as crank up the volume like never before.

4-Core Paired Speaker Wiring
Bi-Amping - Using separate high and low frequency sources.

4-Core Multi-Coring

Multi-Coring is a cheeky way to upgrade your AWG by twisting together matched pairs of thinner cable. For example, a roll of 12AWG 4-Core cable can be paired off to give you a beefy 2-Core run of 11AWG. The main reason is for cost saving, as heavy gauge cable can be tough to come by at a reasonable price. In most home theatre setups, the difference between Multi-Coring and an equivalent higher-gauge cable should be indistinguishable. Higher gauge cable by any means offers lower impedance and more power to flow over longer distances, so it's a win-win either by necessity or choice!

Multi-Coring with 4-Core Cable for higher effective AWG
Multi-Coring with 4-Core Cable - upgrades your AWG.

4-Core Bi-Wiring

We've put this wiring suggestion at the bottom because it is commonly considered pointless. Bi-Wiring is where you remove your bridging bars and connect to each of your speaker terminals separately, but combine them back together at the amplifier. Bi-Wiring might be of some benefit in a poorly designed or desperately cheap speaker (where, for example, the bridging bars have a lower AWG than the cable you're using) but on properly made hardware it shouldn't provide any improvement.

4-Core Paired Speaker Wiring
Bi-Wiring with two 4-Core cables.

All tangled up?

Feel free to contact us if you have a question or if you can share more good wiring advice!

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