Does quality of wire matter?Posted by dameo182 on October 14, 2021 at 2:25 pm
GR Research suggest that good quality speaker wire makes a big difference to the sound of a speaker, and other people say it doesn’t really have an impact, I’m currently shopping for new wire for my builds, but I dont really know which to buy. Some of it is rediculousley expensive and I assume the cheap stuff is just that, cheap and nasty. So does it matter which wire I choose? If so can someone please link a good quality wire that I can purchase on amazon uk?
MemberOctober 14, 2021 at 3:26 pm
@dameo182 Quality of speaker wire does make a difference up to a certain point.
Really cheap stuff tends to be copper clad aluminium (CCA) this is an aluminium core with a layer of copper around the outside. Generally CCA should be avoided for audio use, whilst technically it ‘shouldnt’ affect the sound thats not always a garuntee and it can cause others issues like poor contact at terminations if the copper coating gets worn away and the aluminium exposed to the terminal
On the other end of the scale is audiophile quality cable, this should be ignored at all costs. these are exactly the same, from an electrical point of view as applied to use in loudspeaker systems, as regular oxygen free cable (explained next) but they are hugely marked up in price to an uninformed market that is the typical audiophile for no other reason than they can.
The type of speaker wire you want to be using is regular oxygen free of at least 1.5mm2 (16 AWG) per conductor. Subwoofers and higher wattage speakers are better with 2.5mm2 (14 AWG). When purchased from reputible manufacturers this should only cost around £1.50-£2.00 per meter for 1.5mm2 when bought as 30m reels.
Found this one on Amazon UK that look to be right (links being weird take out the space after uk/)
here are a couple of UK site options to consider too
monoprice 30m reel 14 awg
or for a higher quality but still relatively sensibly priced
van damme 2.5mm2 tour grade, available up to any length from 10m and up in 1m steps (this is what i use most commonly for pro audio work)
MemberOctober 14, 2021 at 4:52 pm
Thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time to link those for me and to offer your advice, you just made my day as I was getting stressed out not wanting to waste money on the wrong type of wire. I think I’ll go for the monoprice wire you suggested, I tried the amazon link but it wouldn’t load even after removing the space, so I searched the name kabeldirekt and it came up with this, is this the one you supplied the link to?
ModeratorOctober 14, 2021 at 6:10 pm
I recently had problems with a link splitting up like that (even after verifying no spaces present) and the easy answer is to use the link option in the post editor header.
Wire is yet one more of those subjects many people tend to side one way or the other on. Not going “there”, but I will offer my opinion on several things wire related.
First off, let me just say that I prefer real copper wiring over just about anything else. OFC is a consideration IF you are using it to run a fair distance from the amp to the speaker. I’m not talking a 3′ / 1m run, rather if you are going from one end of the room to the opposite end, then you could consider it. OFC really comes into play when the runs get long, so keep that in mind. Why, is coming up.
One of the biggest things that you should, or ought to pay attention to in wiring is the current capacity of the wire. I hate to tell most people in the hobby, but at the frequencies and power outputs of most home amplifiers, 20 AWG is overkill, especially if you go solid core. Check out this chart if you don’t believe me. Since the higher the gauge #, the smaller the wire and easier it is to break it (still pretty tough stuff), it generally makes sense to go with larger (smaller #) gauge just for reliability’s sake.
Next thing to take into account is the resistance of the wire. Go back to that chart and take note that the number given is for a minimum of 1000′. For instance, that 20AWG copper (not OFC) is listed as 34 ohms per 1000′, or 0.034 ohms per foot. that is negligible for most runs, especially short ones like you’d find inside a cabinet. Add in OFC and that resistance drops even more due to the higher purity.
OFC’s real positive effect is that it is more stable than generic copper, meaning that it will resist oxidation from the inside out much better and last longer. The lack of other impurities also means that the copper is more malleable and should withstand bends and twists better.
Wire capacitance – oh boy, that’s a rabbit hole. Let’s just put it this way: all wire has some capacitance. It’s the nature of the product and cannot be avoided. It’s the knowing what that capacitance is and how it reacts with things that makes you more knowledgeable. The capacitance of the skin is what they are talking about and to put it mildly, is so low and the inductance of the wire (that is what the capacitance reacts with) is so low, especially when in a straight line, that any resonance that could possibly be measured would be so far out of the range of the electronics and electro-mechanical apparatus (speakers) that it can be ignored.
So ultimately, what you will probably want to look for is good quality construction of the wire. If it feels cheap, it probably is. But expensive does not always equal good value. In the end, you’ll find something you like and can afford to experiment with that lasts and “sounds” good to you. And that is what really matters.
MemberOctober 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm
@dameo182 I have that one, it does the job well, but the large diameter internal wires can break if moved around too much (they have to be moved around quite a lot though). It’s all about resistance. Longer runs need a lower gauge, shorter runs are ok with a higher gauge (to an extent). There are some good charts to go off for length Vs gauge. Unless your room is unreasonably noisy (with electromagnetic radiation) then you should have no problems with long unshielded runs since it’s already at a high voltage, the issues are with the pre-amplified signal where noise gets amplified with the signal. So there shouldn’t be a problem once the signal had been turned into a loudspeaker driver ready one. The oxygen free copper is so that it’s a lower resistance. Wires with a thin coating of enamel or tin/solder are arguably better in the long run since otherwise the copper will slowly oxidise and lose conductivity. I haven’t experienced this problem yet though. Hope this helps
ModeratorOctober 14, 2021 at 6:46 pmPosted by: @elliottdesigns
@tvor-ceasar I need to up my game 😂. Since when did you become an honourable member?!
Honourable? No no no no no, that’s way too big a word for my character. LOL
Honestly, I don’t know when I passed into that category, but it must have happened somewhere between the 600-700 post mark. You’re not doing too bad either, Mr. 4 Star. 😎
MemberOctober 14, 2021 at 7:10 pm
You both make an excellent point about tinning/soldering the ends to prevent oxidation. I do that too in my personal stuff at home, should have mentioned that in my first post
MemberOctober 14, 2021 at 9:55 pm
Thanks for all advice in this thread, ill be sure to tin the ends of my existing surround sound wire next time I’ve got my soldering iron out, hadn’t considered doing that before. The wire I used for my surround sound is similar to the kabeldirekt stuff, just thinner but according to amazon its pure copper stranded, think it was a lucky guess when I bought that, I’ll get the thicker wire from now on as its going inside the cabinets, that way I can do my best to keep my builds high quality just in case someone, somewhere wants to buy one. As it is I’ll have a container full of speakers I designed and built to pass on to my boy when I’m gone 😂 god knows my mrs won’t want them haha
ModeratorOctober 15, 2021 at 1:05 am
You’ll have to make a special pair, specially finished with all the attention you can muster, name them after her and tell her it’s because they are so beautiful and you never want to be with out her, I mean them. How can she refuse that level of devotion? 🤩