Are your speakers’ cables too short? Then learn how to extend speaker wire in a few steps. We know how daunting it can be to install new speakers on your car or home sound system but fall short because the wires are not long enough.
You may feel like the speakers are not the right ones. And you end up storing them away. But that doesn’t have to be how it all happens. If you learn how to extend the wire of your speaker, you can set them up wherever you want with ease.
Here, we will tell you how to make that happen and enjoy any type of speaker in your car or home system. So keep scrolling!
Why Extend the Speaker Wire?
While the obvious answer is to just have a longer wire, there are other reasons you may consider it. Here are some of them:
- Install the speaker on any place you want in your vehicle or home
- Increase the number of speakers you can hook up to the sound system
- Create a neater and more organized connections
These are all valid reasons to extend your speaker wires. If any of them fit your needs – then head down to learn more.
How Much Wire Do You Need?
Before you start doing anything – be sure to know how much wire you will need for the job. This will be the first step (no matter what method you choose).
Follow these steps to measure the amount of wire you need:
- Grab a tape measure. Start measuring the place from where the speaker’s wire ends to the amplifier or receiver.
- Always add a couple of feet to the length to cover curves and intricate areas (it is better to have remaining wire than to have too little).
- Once you have the measurement, write it up somewhere. Then recheck to see if that’s enough (remember to add 1 foot for home systems or 2 extra feet for car installations).
- Now you’re ready to go buy the new wire (if you don’t have any). Remember to get wire of the same gauge.
After gathering the new wire, you’re almost ready to start. Below, you’ll find the tools necessary to get the job done in either method you choose.
What Tools Do You Need?
So, now that you’re ready with the wire, you need to gather the rest of the tools. Here, it will depend on the type of wire extension process you want to follow.
You won’t need many tools for this process. Just these:
- A set of crimp connectors
- Crimper tool
- Cutting pliers or utility scissors
- A stripper (optional)
These will be enough to tackle the extension by crimping. You won’t have to spend much on it.
For Wire Nuts:
In case you decide to extend your speaker wire with wire nuts, then you need these items:
- Several wire nuts or connectors
- A wire stripper or cutter
- A wire gauge
- A roll of vinyl or electricians tape
Similarly to the crimp method, this one is incredibly cheap (free if you have the items at home).
The last method is the soldering. It is a little more complicated, but still reasonably straightforward. You need these tools:
- A wire cutter or stripper
- A soldering iron (at least 25W)
- Extra wire just in case
- Electrician’s or vinyl tape for covering
You may need to spend a few bucks in the soldering iron and the solder. But be aware, this is the most durable and effective method you can use to extend speaker wires.
Want a different method that requires no cutting at all? Then watch this video:
How to Extend Speaker Wire with Crimps
Now that you’re aware of the various tools to have, you can start with the extending process.
The first one to explain is the crimping method. This one takes between 1 to 10 minutes. Here’s how to proceed:
01. Turn the Sound System Off
Turn everything off. Make sure that either the car’s receiver or the home system is entirely disconnected if possible.
Then proceed to disconnect the speaker wire from the receiver. If you’re in a car, you will need to get the receiver off the dashboard. A home system will be as easy as just getting behind it and disconnecting the wire.
02. Cut the wire
With the wire out of the receiver or sound equipment, you can then proceed to cut it out. Follow these tips:
- Insert the wire slowly into the cutting tool (crimper, utility scissors, or pliers). Then be sure the wire can’t move when within the cutting edges.
- The squeeze firmly and cut the wire. You should hear a snap when the wire is completely cut.
- Be sure not to use regular scissors or a knife. They will not cut the wire correctly.
With the wire already cut, you can proceed to strip it away.
03. Strip the Wire
This process is like cutting, but instead of going all the way – you just need to cut the insulation enough to get it out. Here’s how to proceed:
- Grab the wire ends and put them inside the cutting tool (preferably a stripper). Don’t close the cutting tool yet.
- Try measuring about half an inch of the insulation. So place the total length you want to cut just inside the cutting edges.
- Now, grab the cutting tool softly and squeeze it as softly as you can. Focus on cutting the insulation or plastic that covers the metal of the wire.
- Proceed to press the cutting tool firmly, and then try to swipe the insulation away carefully. Pull the wire to the opposite side at the same time.
- The wire should not break. Otherwise, you will have to repeat the process. And you’ll be left with less wire than before.
- Remember to strip both wires (the extension and the speaker’s). The focus is to connect them later.
As you can see, this is the slightly harder process among everything you should do. But once you strip the wire, you’re almost ready to crimp it with together.
04. Separate the Strands
Before you proceed to crimp the wires, you should try separating the strands. Here’s how:
- Grab the stripped wire. Separate the strands by identifying the negative and the positive ones.
- You may identify them by following their color. Copper is usually positive, while silver is frequently negative.
- Now be sure both strands are separated. That will ensure you can later piece them together or twist if needed.
Now you’re almost ready to finish the crimping process.
05. Crimp the Wires
Have the wires already stripped, and the strands separated? Then you can crimp them together to finish the extension. Follow these tips:
- Start by grabbing the wire strands and twisting them together. Try to be as careful as possible, not to break the wire while doing so.
- Then grab the crimper or wire connector. And try putting it over the twisted wires. Insert the wire entirely into the crimp.
- Now grab the crimp tool (if any), and crimp hard, so the wire secures tightly inside.
- Repeat the same process to the other cable. To make sure that you did it correctly, try taking the wire out of the crimp or connector. If the wire comes out, you will have to repeat the process.
- Then finish by placing the new wire with the speaker’s wire together. Finish by connecting them to the audio system or receiver.
You should now have a neat and secure extension on your speaker wire.
How to Extend Speaker Wire with Wire Nuts
If crimping doesn’t seem like an excellent idea for you, then you can always proceed to extend the wire via wire nuts.
This is slightly less reliable than crimping, but it gets the job done. What’s even better, this is a lot easier and faster – so you only need a few minutes to make it happen.
Proceed this way:
01. Cut & Strip the Wires
Start by cutting and stripping the wires away. Follow the same process as with the crimping method:
- Measure the wire length and be sure where you need to cut. Then grab the tool and cut it accordingly.
- Now try stripping the ends of the wires. Try to strip at least half an inch from the end. Use the stripper tool if possible.
- Be careful not to break the wire in the process. You should only apply enough pressure to break the insulation plastic and then pull it away softly.
With the wires already cut and stripped, then you can proceed to split them away.
02. Split the Wires
Splitting the wires is essential if you want to twist them together. Follow these tips:
- Try splitting the internal strands of the wires. Try separating them between negative (silver) and positive (copper). Otherwise, they may have a line or mark that tells them away.
- Be careful not to break the strands as you split them. So do it softly as they’re usually tightly paired together.
- Try making a Y shape with the wires. That should be enough to get them separated.
Now you’re ready to twist them together.
03. Twist & Attach the Wire Nuts
Twisting and attaching the wire nut are two essential processes if you want the wires to stay together. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by grabbing one of the exposed strands of the new wire. Then with the other hand, grab another strand of the old speaker’s wire. Be sure they’re both either positive or negative.
- Now position both strands side by side. Hold them with your forefinger and thumb.
- With your other hand, now place the wire nut over them. Merge the tips and twist clockwise.
- While twisting, be sure the strands touch each other. If they do, then the connection is ready.
- Repeat the process with the other strands (positive or negative as necessary).
You should now be ready to apply the insulation or protection tape.
Follow this video to have a better idea of how to use wire nuts:
04. Cover the Connection
While twisting with the wire nuts should be enough to hold the wires together for long, it is still heavily recommended to insulate the connection with tape. Here’s how:
- Both wires should be connected via two-wire nuts (called splices). So you must protect each splice accordingly.
- Grab a bit of the vinyl tape and place it around one of the splices. Be sure to cover the whole connector as well as any remaining stripped wire. Don’t break the strands.
- Stretch the tape while covering the splice/wire. This should add a little strength to the tape and make it more secure.
- After covering both splices and wires, you can apply a final layer of tape to piece the splicers together. This should add extra protection.
You should now have your extended speaker wire ready to be tested.
How to Extend Speaker Wire by Soldering
If wire nuts and crimping don’t feel like secure extension methods, then soldering will be your best bet.
There’s no more reliable way to piece two wires together than by soldering. However, this process is a little more complicated and takes a lot more time. You may spend between 10 minutes to 1 hour.
Here’s what you need to do:
01. Cut & Strip the Wires
Start cutting and stripping the wires. This process, as you may already know, is pretty straightforward. Just do this:
- Measure exactly where you need to cut the speaker wire. Then grab the cutting tool and cut accurately.
- Make sure you hear a snap. That means the wire is completely cut.
- Then you can proceed to strip the wire ends away. Remember to strip both the old speaker’s wire and the new one. Strip at least half an inch for better results.
- Try making a Y form with the two wire ends. Separate them by positive and negative as necessary.
Now you’re ready to twist them together.
02. Piece the Wires Together
For the soldering to properly happen, you need to twist the wire strands together. Here’s how:
- Pick the stripped ends of the wires and grab the positive strands.
- Making an X-like shape with both strands, start twisting them with your fingers. Be sure to be careful not to break the strands.
- Twist the negative strands as well. Be sure they are tightly paired together so you can solder them more easily.
Once you’ve twisted them, you can start soldering.
03. Start Soldering
The soldering process is the most important, so you must be extra careful. Here’s what to consider:
- Start by heating up the soldering iron. While it heats up, grab the solder and place it close.
- Once the iron heats up, you can start applying heat to the wire twists accordingly.
- While the iron melts the wires, apply the solder, so the connection doesn’t break. Let the solder flow through the wires.
- Repeat the process on the second splice of strands. Remember to let enough solder melt into the connection for extra strength.
- Finish by checking that the strands are correctly connected together. Then let the wires cool down.
By now, you’ve successfully extended the wire. You just need to cover to finish.
04. Cover the Connection
After letting the soldered wires to cool down for about 5 minutes – then you can proceed to cover them with tape. Do this:
- Grab the splices carefully. Be sure not to break them (even though they’re soldered). They should be wrapped up separately.
- Then separate a small portion of the tape from the package, and try pulling it to wrap the wire firmly. Cover the splices with this tape.
- Proceed to cover the entire stripped wire as necessary. Be as careful as you can not break it while doing so.
- Add a last layer of tape by placing the splices together softly. This should protect them completely.
You’re now ready to test the speakers.
Having trouble soldering the wires? This video may help you out:
Test Your Speakers and Enjoy!
To finish, you need to connect the wire of the speaker into your receiver or sound system. Then put some music on. Remember to plug the whole system to the electricity (or turn the car on).
You should enjoy clear and sweet music without a single drawback. So, did you learn how to extend speaker wire with these methods? Then don’t hesitate and try them for yourself. You won’t regret it.