Picking the best speaker wire for your home theatre system starts with understanding the wire gauge. Speaker cables measure gauge by AWG, and using this value, you can determine precisely what you need for your setup.
We have cables of every shape and size, so, once you figure out what most suits your needs, you can browse our massive catalogue of top-quality PrimeCables® speaker wire to enhance your home entertainment experience and get the most out of your amplifier and speakers.
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The utmost important quality of speaker wire is not how big the AWG number is, but what resistance works best with your amp and speaker. More specifically, it’s the insertion loss and damping factor which ultimately influence the resistance of your cable, in turn affecting the output of your speaker.
Insertion loss can be mitigated by reducing its overall effect to your system. Installing speaker wire with lower AWG is better for distant wiring (meaning your amplifier is in the front of the room and your speakers at the back, for example). Because there is less resistance over a greater distance, you minimize the influence of insertion loss in the system. Conversely, if you have speakers standing on either side of your amp, for instance, hugging the sides of your display, then you would want wires with a greater AWG, which are less thick and more resistant, delivering the best current to your loudspeaker over a short distance.
After a distance of around 10 feet, an AWG of 16 or lower will deliver the best results with a speaker load of 8 ohms.
The same goes for the damping factor. With a lower resistance, you can run longer lengths of wire. That’s because it’s a ratio between the loudspeaker impedance and the source impedance (for example, your amp + wire): too low, and you’ll experience excess frequency variation; too high, and you’ll hear booming from the bass.
All in all, if you’re doing a short-length sound system installation, then you’re going to want a high AWG value to improve the efficiency of your speaker and amp system, and if you’re doing an elongated setup, then you’re probably going to need low gauge cable to keep the resistance in check across the length of your floor or wall, however you’re wiring up your speakers.
Don’t forget to check what ohms impedance your speaker is before attempting to estimate the gauge you should use. With 8 ohm speakers, for example, 10 AWG would be good for 100 feet of cabling, whereas 18 AWG would be better for 10 feet; with 4 ohm speakers, these distances are halved for the same gauges, respectively.