5 Myths About Speaker Wire
Do more expensive speaker wires actually produce a higher sound quality?
That’s not likely at all.
Does changing the speaker cables and connections increase the sound quality of a stereo system for audio enthusiasts and casual listeners?
Some businesses are adamant that they can.
So they sell speaker wire (or cables) that promise improved tonality, warmer sound, and wonderfully lyrical sound free of grit.
Many of these claims, however, are unfounded, and as a result, myths about speaker wires are perpetuated.
They’re here, in that order:
Thicker wires are better:
True, thicker wires are better at decreasing the effects of resistance when used for extended distances.
16-gauge lamp cord, on the other hand, can be used in most situations when the amplifier and speakers are within 100 feet of each other.
Experts recommend using 14 gauge for speakers between 100 and 200 feet from the amp.
They recommend 12-gauge wires for the distances between 200 and 400 feet.
At least for most people, using extremely thick wire for short lengths provides little auditory benefit.
Solving skin effect:
Signals with higher frequencies often follow the wire’s outer perimeter, while those with lower frequencies tend to follow the wire’s interior.
However, any influence is only visible when dealing with long distances of cable and frequencies that are not used for audio transmission.
So don’t waste your time and money trying to “solve” this problem with expensive speaker cords.
Speaker wires should be the same length:
To avoid phase changes, speaker wires should be the same length.
In contrast, speaker wire transmits electrical signals at a speed close to that of light. It would take kilometers of speaker wire to notice a change in the sound quality.
It doesn’t matter if the wires are a few feet apart or ten.
Break-in is “critical”:
Small currents across speaker wire are supposedly enough to alter the wire’s structure enough to produce an audible shift over time.
This isn’t correct.
The illusion of wire “cookers” and break-in services is still being sold by companies in order to make money.
Splices degrade the sound:
Wires that have been correctly spliced and soldered by audio professionals have not been found to alter or damage the sound that emanates from speakers.
If you have an oscilloscope, you can recognize minor voltage drops or spikes, but you won’t be able to hear them.
Splices in the voltage used to power speakers have no audible effect because of the constant changes in frequency and program type that occur during normal use.
What stereotypes have you heard that you’d like to dispel?
I think it’s time.