Best Speaker Wire: Audiophiles Picks
So, you want to put together a home-theatre or a dedicated space for your Hi-Fi listening sessions. You’ve already searched and found the best speakers, amplifiers, DACs, etc. However, a lot of novice audiophiles might overlook the importance of great speaker wire. Depending on the build quality and electrical interference, yes, speaker wires can affect sound quality.
A High-Quality Speaker Wire Is Important
Let me explain quickly. The quality of a great speaker wire depends on how well it resists electrical current. This electric current or impedance rating is measured in Ohms. Speakers have a lower impedance rating than most headphones, so a highly sensitive wire will affect performance.
The two things you need to care about are length and width. A shorter thicker wire will usually have lower impedance, to carry more current easily and effectively. This thickness is measured by a gauge number, a smaller number indicates a thicker wire. Generally, it is considered that thicker gauge wires have better performance.
24 gauge speaker wires are good enough for most people, but if you are a devoted listener, you’ll notice the difference with a thicker gauge wire. With all that said, let’s have a look at the best speaker wires.
There are most likely three types of people reading this article. The first person is an audio enthusiast, who doesn’t mind spending money on expensive equipment. The second person doesn’t care at all and is probably looking for the cheapest decent wire that will get the job done. The third person wants to find the perfect middle ground.
If you happen to be that third person, the Monoprice Oxygen-Free Speaker Wire is the best option for you. In fact, this might be the only speaker wire you’ll ever need in your life. Even most audiophiles will agree that this is a high-quality wire. It is noticeably better than the cheap wires you’ll find your nearest retail store, yet not ridiculously expensive as the hyped-up brands.
Of course, this is to be expected. Monoprice is known for making high-quality affordable equipment, and this speaker wire makes no sacrifices. It has a 14 gauge thickness, and the actual wire is constructed out of pure bare copper. This enables it to have extremely low resistance. Insulation is done by a clear plastic coating, which is also of high quality.
Other than that, there’s not much to say about this wire. It does have a discernably better quality than the cheapest options out there. It does all of that without putting a dent in your wallet. Highly recommended.
The Hi-Fi audio listening experience shouldn’t be limited just to a listening room or a dedicated space. In fact, people prefer to take their audio with them, especially when driving. If you just installed or are planning to install premium speakers in your car, you need great speaker wire to go along with it.
The eXtreme speaker wire is a great choice for the audiophile who needs the best possible listening experience at all times, even in their car. This is a 14 gauge copper stranded speaker wire, that has a PVC jacket to keep it insulated. They proudly boast about how this product was made in the USA, the branding even has an American flag on it. You can tell they are proud of their craftsmanship.
Speaking of which, they deserve to be proud of their work. This is a high-quality pure copper wire, no doubt about that. It’s also not one of those marketing gimmicks where they try to sell you a copper-clad wire with an aluminum core. They don’t recommend running it inside walls, but cars could be a perfect fit.
Car speakers tend to have a lot of electrical interference, as you can imagine. This wire could potentially help with that, to a certain degree. The only con to think of is that the plastic coating is a bit hard to strip off.
Unless you are a hardcore audio enthusiast, or someone who has a lot of disposable income, this speaker wire is a good buy for sure. The InstallGear offers the best value and quality for a 100ft cable, and that’s something not every manufacturer can say.
This speaker wire has 14 Gauge AWG thickness, so it does a good job of reducing electrical interference. Sure, most audiophiles would prefer a 12 gauge cable, but this will get the job done for most mid-range and even high-end setups with ease.
The color choice is a bit unique, usually, we’d see a clear coating. They went with a dual brown/blue color jacket which helps when figuring out the location into which one end plugs in. The wires are well stranded and easy to work with. The cable is quite soft and flexible, so putting it under the carpet shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Apart from that, remember that this isn’t a pure copper cable. It’s copper-clad aluminum, but if you can’t tell the difference, well then that’s just money saved. We recommend it for novice audiophiles who are just starting out, but even veterans will agree that this cable offers great value.
AmazonBasics is a brand created by Amazon itself. As the name implies, the offer the most basic version of products with decent quality, but at a very affordable price. The AmazonBasics 100ft 16 gauge cable is the best value you’ll find for a 100ft cable.
The plastic jacket around this wire provides good insulation, and one side is marked with a white line to easily distinguish polarity for proper setups. The performance is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. Distortion is not noticeable with this wire, which is good considering its cheap price.
It doesn’t have the lowest resistance, so if you have speakers with a lower impedance, that could be a problem down the line. For general use, it’s perfectly fine. However, once separated from the plastic jacket the wire can break easily and leave tiny shards. It isn’t 100% copper either.
If you need the absolute cheapest 100ft cable with decent quality, this is the one. The RCA AH100R is the cheapest decent option we could find under $10. For the price, it is not a bad cable at all, especially for budget setups.
This speaker wire does not use a full copper construction, it’s actually CCA (copper clad aluminum). However, it doesn’t claim to be a pure copper wire anyway, so at least they aren’t lying in marketing. The average user might not notice the difference anyway. But to experienced ears, it’s true that you can find much better performance elsewhere.
It is a 24 gauge speaker, which means this isn’t the thickest wire out there. In fact, even the packaging for this is quite simple. However, this could be a blessing in disguise if you have very little space or need to hide wires in a proper manner. Apart from that, there’s not much to say here. It’s the budget option on this list, and it will serve most people well.