Anyone who is setting up a home theater system or any other speaker system in their home should certainly consider the gauge of speaker wires they are using, in order to keep these speakers connected. Though it may not seem like it at first, the kind of wires used does affect the quality of the sound as well.
So if you want the best quality of sound on your speakers, you need to ensure that you are using the best type of cable for the purpose.
The gauge of a wire refers to the thickness of its conductive copper bundle, and this is what determines the quality of the sound that you will receive on the speakers once they are connected with such wires.
The gauge size standards for speaker wires are determined by the American Wire Gauge (AWG) number, and you must know that the lower number signifies a thicker gauge size, and thus better sound quality as a resultant.
Speaker Wire Gauge Guide
When you are picking wires based on the gauge size, one of the most important factors to take into consideration is the distance that will be present between the loudspeakers and the amplifier. The larger the distance, the better gauge you will need to get a consistently good quality of sound.
There are primarily three thicknesses, or gauges, available for wires today. These are 12-gauge, 14-gauge, and 16-gauge, and they are perfect for distances of more than 200 feet, 80 to 200 feet and less than 80 feet respectively.
There are higher and lower values of recommended gauges as well, but generally speaking, speaker wire 14 gauge and speaker wire 16 gauge should be good enough for the average listener.
Apart from the distance between the amplifier and the loudspeakers, you also need to take into consideration the quality of the speakers, their capabilities and also the setup of the room in which the speakers are to be used.
Some audiophiles claim that a cable as low as 10 gauge should be used for bass speakers and sub-woofer speakers, while a 12 gauge cable will allow excellent quality on the other components of the speaker system.
The concept of wire gauge is that a thicker wire reduces the resistance inside the wire, so this enables the sound to travel smoothly and reach its output channel with good quality. When the wire needs to be stretched for long distances in a room, then it is better to allow the sound to travel faster, thus the need for lower gauge wires for bigger distances.
The wires are made of copper for this very reason as well; to reduce the resistance when they are passing the sound signals inside them. As you can see, picking the best gauge for speaker wires depends on a variety of factors.
Another aspect that you need to take into consideration when you are buying speaker wires is that you should look out for wires that have some special metals or features that reduce resistance even further. These allow the sound signals to travel faster and produce high quality audio for you.
No doubt, these will not come cheap and you can visit an electronics store and ask for their recommendation once you know all your needs. Do not be surprised at the cost though, because such wires do not come cheap.
Moreover, you should also ensure that all your speakers are at relatively the same distance from the amplifier, as too much difference can cause the sound to fluctuate and not be produced properly.
You can also ask stores to show you a gauge chart so that you can determine the kind of wire gauge you will need for the speaker system in your home. Picking the right gauge is vitally important for you, as this will determine the quality of the audio that you hear.