Getting the right speaker wire for your home audio system is important, and there are a few things to know before you buy. Learn about the different kinds of wire, including stranded, copper, and gold.
Choosing the right copper speaker wire is important for a few reasons. The main factor is to get the right gauge and material. A thicker wire is better for long distances and high power operations. It can also be more expensive.
Speaker wire is typically made from copper, which is a good conductor. Copper has a relatively low resistance. However, copper wires can oxidize over time. This oxidation can make the wires less conductive and negatively affect the sound quality.
Oxygen-free copper is a good choice because it is less susceptible to oxidation and corrosion. Copper clad aluminum is also an excellent alternative to copper. CCA wire is less expensive and is less likely to oxidize.
The speaker’s impedance should determine the thickness of the speaker wire. A two ohm speaker circuit requires a thicker wire. The resistance of the speaker wire should be less than 5% of the speaker’s impedance.
Using the correct speaker wire can improve the sound quality of your system and, in the long run, save you time and money. Some wire manufacturers have developed high capacitance wire that improves the sound of your system. However, these wires may cause the leading edge of transients to overshoot.
There is no one right wire for every application. Some speakers require heavier wires than others, and you may need special connectors for your speakers.
Stranded speaker wire is more straightforward to route than solid wire. Stranded wire is also more flexible. It is easier to install in the wall and is more likely to survive vibration. Stranded wire is also more expensive.
The American Wire Gauge (AWG) is the standard for measuring wire thickness. Each AWG corresponds to a specific conductor diameter.
Adding gold to a speaker wire is said to improve conduction. The average electron speed in gold is slower than in copper. It is also said to be toxic.
The most popular conductors are gold, copper, and silver. A few other materials are said to have the same conductivity. The density of mobile charges can be calculated for gold, copper, and silver.
One thing you can’t see with a speaker wire is its construction. Most speakers use a standard spacing between binding posts. This makes them easy to wire. It also makes for a clean-looking wire run.
In addition to the above, several other factors can influence the overall sound of your system. The room, the components of your audio system, and the interconnect all contribute to your sound quality.
Understanding the Impedance variation of speaker wire is essential for precise and accurate sound reproduction. Speakers have different impedances and are usually manufactured to meet specific efficiency standards. Using a speaker with a lower impedance requires more power to produce the same sound as before. But you may notice that the sound is less loud than before. This is because of a mismatch in speaker impedance.
When the resistance of a cable reaches 5% of the speaker impedance, the effects become noticeable. The response changes can be significant, and this can be heard during an A-B listening test.
The most common speaker wire material is copper. Copper has a low resistance and a good level of conductivity. But the copper oxide layer on the wire can increase the resistance.
Whether installing a new speaker or trying to get the most out of your old speakers, you should test the polarity of your speaker wires. This is important because miswiring can make all the drivers in your speakers sound thin and have a very shallow bass response.
There are many ways to test the polarity of your speaker wires. A multimeter can help you identify the positive and negative wires. You can also check with a nine-volt battery. When connected to the speaker wire, the nine-volt battery will produce a scratching sound.
In a few instances, you may need to reverse the polarity of the speaker wires. This will not damage your amplifier but make it more difficult for you to hear low-end frequencies.