Which Speaker Cable Should I Use?

This page provides information to assist you in selecting the most suitable speaker cable for the intended application. You will also find information on the most important attributes that relate to speaker cable performance.

Wire Gauge (Conductor Thickness)

This is one of the most important attributes relating to cable performance. The thickness of the cable is a key factor in mitigating signal attenuation, particularly over long distances. Selecting a cable with an appropriate conductor size will ensure optimum performance and clarity.

It is important to note that a lower AWG (American Wire Gauge) rating indicates a thicker conductor diameter (12 AWG is thicker than 14 AWG). Please refer to the chart below for approximate maximum distances available without any perceivable loss in audio quality.

Conductor Size 4 Ohm Load 6 Ohm Load 8 Ohm Load
18 AWG 4.9m 7.3m 9.8m
16 AWG 7.3m 11m 14.6m
14 AWG 12.2m 18.3m 24.4m
12 AWG 18.3m 27.4m 36.6m
10 AWG 30.5m 45.7m 61m

Please note that depending on the system environment and the listeners hearing ability, some minor loss in the high frequency spectrum may occur for single cable runs over 20m. For installations of smaller speakers for background music or where wire resistance is low, differences may be negligible. In instances where quality is critical, it is recommended to select a thicker gauge cable for optimum performance.

Conductor Material

This is also one of the primary factors in determining speaker cable quality. Although pure copper is renowned as being the optimum choice for electrical wire, there are a variety of alternate materials used in the production of speaker cable.

There is speaker cable available which may seem like great value to those not familiar with the terms that describe the conductor material used. For example, copper clad aluminium (CCA) or copper clad steel (CCS) are two commonly used materials that effectively reduce production cost. This is a production method where aluminium or steel is used for the core of the conductor and a thin layer of copper is moulded on the outside.

While this does indeed reduce production cost, and ultimately the cost to the end consumer, both CCA and CCS provide inferior conductivity compared to pure copper. Pure copper provides exceptional conductivity properties and is considered the best choice for speaker wiring. All of our speaker cable is manufactured with pure 99.99% oxygen free copper (OFC).

Strand Count and Configuration

A conductor comprised of a higher strand count with finer strands can enhance the performance, durability and pliability of the cable.

Skin effect is often a topic of discussion. Skin effect is the tendency of an alternating current (AC) to become distributed within a conductor in such a way that the current density is largest towards the surface of the conductor and decreases at greater depths within the conductor.

This means that a conductor that is comprised of a greater number of finer strands should offer higher conductivity compared to a conductor that is comprised of a lower number of coarser strands, assuming that both conductors are of equivalent total volume.

However, it should be noted that skin effect effect is far more prominent in high frequency applications. Audio frequencies are quite low in the spectrum, therefore differences are much smaller in relation to speaker cable.

A flexible cable is often preferred in installations where the cable is to be run around corners or through walls, as this will allow the installer to bend the cable with ease. As our cable features ultra fine strands, this makes it extremely flexible and well suited to a range of applications.

Speaker Cable Cross Section
Speaker Cable Cross Section

Standard Speaker Cable vs. In Wall Rated Speaker Cable

When installing cable through a wall or ceiling, selecting an in wall rated speaker cable is recommended.

This type of cable is constructed with a high visibility, flame retardant outer jacket. Our cable is designed with a solid chamber CL2 rated outer jacket to provide the highest level of durability and safety, while most other in wall cable on the market is manufactured with only a thin outer layer.

The inner conductors feature outer jackets that are designated solid colours to ensure wiring speakers in phase is completed with ease. In phase refers to the correct matching of positive and negative terminals at both the amplifier and speaker end. Our cable is designed with red and black inner conductors for 2 core cable, and red, black, green and blue for 4 core cable.

Please note that there is no legal requirement in Australia to use in wall rated cable when installing speaker cable within a wall or roof cavity. In consideration of this, you are free to select appropriate cable from our regular or in wall range of Speaker Cable.

Comparison of Standard and In Wall Speaker Cable
Comparison of Standard and In Wall Speaker Cable