Amanda P. — Apr 26, 2012
What gauge do you need?
|Length of wire needed||Gauge|
|Less than 50 feet||16|
|50 feet or longer||14|
- You're connecting an audiophile-quality music system or a surround sound home theater setup. Thicker wire can help your system deliver fine musical detail or the explosive effects of 5.1-channel surround sound.
- You can't avoid long wire runs to your speakers; for example, in the case of a wired multi-room system, where you'll likely use in-wall speaker wire from room to room. Thicker wire reduces the overall resistance, lightening the load on your receiver or amp. This can mean not only a difference in sound quality, but also in the long-term dependability of your system.
Other indicators of quality speaker wire
How much wire do you need?
Matching cable length
What type of wire do you need?
Not convinced quality matters when it comes to speaker wire?
For good, solid connections, use speaker wire terminated with connectors instead of using stripped bare wire ends. Speaker wire connectors help safeguard against harmful short circuits.
|Types of connectors|
|Bare wires might seem like the simplest route, but they can unravel and fray, potentially causing a short circuit.|
|Pin connectors are easier to work with than bare wire, and they fit securely in spring clips or binding posts.|
|Banana plugs are a popular choice — they simply plug into the middle of a binding post, giving you a solid connection.|
|Spade connectors offer a good connection and fit in behind the red or black collar of most binding posts.|
|Dual banana plugs connect both positive and negative speaker leads and are properly spaced to fit 5-way binding posts.|
Speakers have one of two different types of speaker wire terminals — spring clips and binding posts (see illustration below). Spring clips are very easy to work with. Simply press down on the clip, insert the speaker wire, and release. The spring-loaded mechanism holds the wire in place. Spring clip terminals can accept bare wire and pin connectors, but not spade connectors, banana plugs, or dual-banana plugs.
|Speaker wire terminals|
|Spring clips offer simple, secure connections.|
|Binding posts make stronger connections.|