Speaker wires are an audiophile’s ultimate weapon in designing home theater audio and entertainment-based sound systems.
High-performance speaker wire comes in various gauges. These gauges are defined by the American Wire Gauge (AWG) system. The higher the gauge, the more resistance in the wire. Maximizing performance, you want as little resistance in the cable as possible.
A high-AWG speaker wire is a thinner and more resistant cable. A low-AWG speaker wire is less resistant and thicker in its design. Although a high-AWG cable can provide better dynamics compared to standard wire, many would rather have a low-AWG cable rating. Here’s why.
When you put power into a low-impedance load – such as a speaker – there’s resistance aka restricting the conductivity in the circuit so that it can handle the signal processing. Therefore a low-resistance speaker wire provides the load the most power possible, reducing possible interference between the amplifier and the speaker.
When you lose power in a speaker wire cable – which can happen due to various factors, including AWG, length, etc. – your sound is less audible coming through the speaker. Length actually is a significant factor. The longer the cable, the more important it is the speaker wire cable’s rated 16 AWG or lower. The less resistance, the further the signal can travel. A thicker speaker wire can also offer more protection though this isn’t inherently necessary.
If you’re using speaker wire for home theater and you only need the signal to pass across approximately 5-10 feet of distance, you can use a speaker wire rated at 18 AWG or 16 AWG. Once you’re working with 20-50 feet of distance between your amplifier and speakers, 14 AWG or 12 AWG is more appropriate. If you require a speaker wire cable for a longer distance, a speaker wire of 10 AWG will be needed to make it happen.
There is no magic number in what gauge to choose over a specific distance. Different professionals will give you different advice depending on what formula they’re using. The information shared in this article are only general guidelines on how to use speaker wire.
For optimum sound, always consider AWG to length. Speaker wire of a less-than-optimal AWG will still function. Unfortunately, you just won’t receive the same sound quality if you aren’t considering length in the AWG-rating you choose.
Whether you’re a casual or professional audio system installer, there’s no reason not to use the right speaker wire especially when it’s so affordable. Get speaker wire in Canada today from PrimeCables.ca.