Recently I decided to buy some new speaker wire for my A/V Receiver. According to reports and brochures, the top-rated speaker wire you should use with an A/V Receiver is 12-gauge wire. The 12-gauge wire is useful for long wire runs and also useful on shorter wire runs because the larger amount of copper provides less resistance for electricity (a very good thing). But while doing research and examining products, I became very disappointed by the fact that key pieces of information are usually left out of speaker wire products.
I would like to clarify a few things about speaker wire. Ironically, as the "gauge" of the wire becomes smaller, the speaker wire actually increases in size. This improves the quality of the wire because it decreases the electrical resistance. Taking advantage of high-quality speaker wire can actually help give added life to your A/V Receiver or Amplifier.
One of the primary qualities often advertised by manufacturers of speaker wire is something called "Oxygen-Free" wire. The reason this feature is important is because oxygen can "oxidize" the copper in the wire. When speaker wire becomes oxidized (similar to rusted), it will increase the electrical resistance in the wire. Consequently, the sound quality will decrease and electrical problems in an amplifier may be generated.
I recently learned that one of the biggest problems with speaker wire is the way products are falsely advertised. I'm referring to the fact that a countless number of manufacturers advertise "Copper" speaker wire. But in reality the copper speaker wire has an aluminum core that is only "coated" with copper. If you buy 12-gauge aluminum wire that is coated with copper, it may only offer the benefits of 16-gauge "pure copper" wire.
Believe it or not, speaker wire gets even more confusing! The 12-gauge speaker wire that is recommended by home theater magazines is usually referring to the AWG (American Wire Gauge) standard of measurement. There are other forms of standards that are not universal in their measurements. For example, a manufacturer of speaker wire may advertise a 10-gauge speaker wire, but in reality it may only offer measurements seen by an AWG 12-gauge or AWG 14-gauge wire.
There are also dirty tactics that can be used in the world of speaker wire. Obviously the copper is the most expensive material used in speaker wire. Aluminum is the second most expensive material used in speaker wire, while plastic is the least expensive material used in speaker wire. Some manufacturer's of speaker wire use very thin copper wire or copper-coated wire, but they still advertise their product as 12-gauge.
The reason these manufacturers do this is because they use incredibly thick plastic wire to coat the metal in a cheap way. These manufacturers don't make their final standard of measurement until after the plastic has been placed over the wire. This is a very immoral thing to do because speaker wire is being sold for a higher price as if it were offering the quality of a higher product. In reality, the speaker wire is not offering high quality performance at all.
I still have not been able to find the following product that I truly do have a desire to purchase: AWG 12-Gauge Oxygen-Free 100% Copper Wire
I can tell you two things from personal experience, though. First, the speaker wire company called Monster Cable charges way too much money for their speaker wire product. Monster Cable doesn't even bother to list the gauge on their product! People who have measured the Monster Cable speaker wire have found it to be somewhere between 15-gauge and 16-gauge. I highly recommend that you purchase a different brand, simply because the only thing you are paying for is the advertisements of this company.
RCA actually makes the best speaker wire. This speaker wire is an AWG 14-Gauge Oxygen-Free 100% Copper Speaker Wire. This product is rated incredibly high by all users on websites such as Amazon.com. The speaker wire sold online costs far less than the prices seen in most retail stores. If you do need to buy this product at a retail store, I recommend ABC Warehouse because they are willing to negotiate with you if you buy several rolls. If only RCA were to release this product in AWG 12-Gauge, I would be the happiest camper in the world!
Does anyone know who makes an AWG 12-Gauge Oxygen-Free 100% Copper Speaker Wire?