A Speaker wire is an electrical cable that helps connect audio components such as amplifiers, receivers, and speakers. It has three important electric properties: resistivity, capacitance, and inductance. The most crucial property of the speaker wire is resistance. The lower resistance wire lets you have more power source over to the speakers. This means more power and better sound.
Speaker wire has two conductors and a layer of insulation between them. The positive and negative connectors on the amp and the speakers connect the two conductors. There is a lot of marketing excitement about speaker wires, promising better sound with flashy materials, but more of it is optional. However, the essential aspects of being considered, like length and size, are crucial for a powerful sound.
What is the speaker wire made of?
Speaker wire is usually Copper because of its excellent conductivity and low resistance. Certain companies make speaker wire using silver since silver has a higher conductivity than Copper. However, silver costs more than Copper and also contains more impurities which can lead to poor performance.
What is the best way to attach my wire to my speakers?
Speaker wire comes with two leads: one positive and the other negative. The most modern wire has connectors. If the wire needs connectors, you’ll need to take off the insulation and twist both ends to keep it from fraying or stopping to conduct electricity.
When purchasing wire, make sure to purchase wiring that works with the speaker and receiver terminals. If you choose the correct wire, it should be able to connect with a terminal that is color coded.
Different types of speaker cables used in home cinema systems
- Flat or ribbon speaker cables: They are flat cables designed for difficult-to-install areas such as under carpets.
- Regular speaker cables: are the most popular cable types, which are cylinder-shaped.
- Armoured speaker cables: The speaker cables are armoured and come with an extra layer of protection. These cables are ideal for those who want to connect the speaker wire through the walls of their home. These cables are perfect for commercial installations such as cinema halls, studios, or entertainment spaces.
Most common myths regarding the speaker wire
- There is a popular misconception that the speaker wires need to be identical to prevent phase shifts. Electrical impulses pass via speaker cables so quickly that it’s hard to discern variations. Thus having wires that are one centimeter or 2 (or 10) apart isn’t important.
- Though thicker wires perform better in reducing the effect of resistance, using an extremely heavy wire does not yield any perceptible advantage.
- Many companies attempt to market wire “cookers” and break-in solutions; however, in reality, the speaker wire isn’t physically changing the wire in a way that causes any change that can be heard. This is why “break-in” isn’t necessary.
Speaker Wire Gauge Sizes
The speaker wire in North America typically uses the American Wire Gauge (AWG) system. The number tells how thick the wire is. Commonly, speaker wires range from 12, 14, 16, and 18 AWG. However, bigger sizes are also available. The larger gauges cost more and, naturally, the size, meaning they may be too heavy to be tucked away behind the entertainment center or slide around corners.
They have more space for current flow, decreasing the electrical resistance. It is a major aspect in the design of speaker wires because a higher resistance to electrical current interferes with the signal flow, resulting in lower audio quality. Although wire gauge is a significant element, the electrical resistance depends on the relation with other variables like length and materials. Certain elements can cause electrical resistance to increase and will require bigger wires. A thick wire is essential for long lengths and applications that require high-power and low-impedance speakers.
AMERICA WIRE GAUGE (AWG)
American Wire Gauge (AWG), also called Brown & Sharpe Gage, is the United States standard method for measuring the cross-sectional dimensions of round solid conductors. The cross-sectional size determines the conductor’s current carrying capacity and resistance. Instead of fractions of an inch, gauges are measured by whole numbers from 4/0 to 36 AWG, which are well-known sizes. Wires smaller than 36 AWG are usually measured by gauge, while wires larger than 4/0 are usually measured in 1,000 circular mils (kcmil, also called MCM), where one cmil is the size of a circle that is one millimeter (1/1,000 inches) in diameter.
Factors in Selecting a Speaker Wire Gauge
The most crucial aspects to consider when selecting the right speaker wire gauge are length and impedance; however, the material of the wire can impact its performance to a certain extent.
Your speaker’s impedance determines how much power it can use. In the case of a medium-length cable, Here are some guidelines to follow when sizing your speaker wire based on impedance.
- 4 Ohms or less 12 gauge or 14 gauge speaker wire is an excellent starting point. The speakers draw lots of power, and you’ll require a stronger wire.
- 6 ohms: Opt for a 16-gauge speaker wire.
- 8 Ohms: 18- or 16-gauge speaker wire is generally ideal for these speakers.
Speaker Wire Length
The length of the wire will help in determining the required gauge size. For most home theaters, it is unlikely that you will require sufficient cable to make a significant difference, and you can choose to use the dimensions listed above. If you’re planning to work with long runs, like outdoor event spaces or outdoor settings, You’ll need to expand the gauge once you’re using more significant than 50 feet.
Speaker Wire Core Material
There are many different kinds of materials, but the most common is stranded Copper, which is made of many pure copper wires tied together. Copper is in high demand because it is an easily accessible and inexpensive material with low electrical resistance.
Speaker wires are usually comprised of copper, and they transmit the electrical signal between various components. We’re hoping that you’ve a better idea of the speaker wires and are aware of the things to search for before purchasing it.
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