A few weeks ago I picked up a surround sound system on Craigslist. It
came with some pretty thin speaker wire, (24 gauge I think) but the
guy said it worked fine for him. I had enough of my own 16g wire to
connect the front and center speakers, but not enough to connect the
With what I had left after wiring the front and center speakers, I ran
2 lengths of 16g down into the basement, across the ceiling and back
up into the living room, where I attached them (securely) to the 24g
for the rear speakers. I'd guess 15' of 24g for the right rear speaker
and 25' for the left. The wires ran next to each through the basement,
up into the living room, along one wall and then parted ways in a
corner, with one going up to the right rear and the other continuing
along the floor to the other side of the room and then up to the left
What I found was that both rear speakers would sort of crackel if I
turned the volume up too high. Low volumes were fine, but I couldn't
crank it up. It wasn't really distortion of the sound itself, as much
as a high pitched tick-tick-tick on top of the sound. I actually
narrowed it down to the left rear speaker wire as the root cause, the
one with the longest wire run of 24g wire. As long as that length of
wire was hooked up, both rear speakers would crackle at high volume.
If I plugged one of the 16g wires to the front speakers into the left
rear jack on the system, there was no crackling. If I unplugged the
left rear and ran just the right rear, there was no crackling. That
tells me that the noise was definitely related to that run of wire.
This weekend I bought enough 16g wire to rewire both rear speakers,
each with it's own single run of wire from the system to the speaker.
No more crackling even when cranked up loud enough to send the cat
running from the room.
So, to all you would be sound engineers, I ask this simple question:
Why would a small gauge wire running to that one speaker cause both
rear speakers to crackel? Yes, originally there was small gauge wire
running to both rear speakers, but as I said, when I unplugged the
longest length of 24g to the left speaker, the right speaker stopped
What would cause that type of problem?