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How to choose the right Speaker Cable for your Home theater System
You already seek answers to thousands of questions while choosing a home theatre system. Once you purchase the one which seems ideal to your preferences, your mind is boggled by another question – Which is the best speaker cable for my home theater system?
You will be and you should be bothered about the speaker cable that you might end up with because it determines how effectively and precisely the audio signal from the amplifier or AV Receiver is transmitted to the speaker.
Basically, the speaker cable is indirectly responsible for the final quality of sound from the speakers.
3 important questions to ask before buying a Speaker Cable
- How thick is the copper wire? (Generally, oxygen free copper is a must. Also the thicker the copper gauge the easier it will be for the electrons to flow)
- How flexible is the speaker cable and is the quality of the insulation good enough?
- Is the insulation cable capable of rejecting the frequency noise from its surroundings?
In order to understand the best speaker cable for your precious home theater system, you will have to dig a little about the types of cables. We understand that the online market is flooded with A-Z types of cables but we have narrowed down the road for you.
Types of Speaker Cables for home theater systems
- Ribbon or flat speaker cables: These are flat cables for hard to fit areas like under carpets, etc.
- Regular speaker cables: These are the most common, regular cylinder shaped cables.
- Amoured speaker cables: Designed with an additional layer of protection, these cables are suitable if you want to run the speaker wire inside your walls. These speaker cables are ideal for commercial installations like in studios, cinema halls and entertainment lounges. Generally, these speaker cables are installed during the construction phase.
Now that we are aware of the types of speaker cables, it's time to delve into understanding which speaker cable fits which kind of home theatre system.
How to choose the right Speaker Cable
For high powered systems and or longer cable lengths exceeding 10 metres, the 12 AWG or 14 AWG speaker cables will prove ideal.
For lower powered systems and or shorter cable lengths, the 16 AWG, 18 AWG or 20 AWG speaker cables will work best.
Choose Banana Plugs over bare speaker wires for termination
Ooberpad consists of AV experts who literally breathe the AV air. The tips and tricks which we share here come directly from one of the horse's mouths. On asking about speaker cable terminations, they said, "Prefer terminating speaker cables using good quality Banana Plugs in place of bare speaker wires." Un-terminated speaker cables can corrode over time, especially during monsoon, leading to bad quality sound. There is also a possibility that a loose strand from a bare cable can lead to a short circuit which will not only destroy your system but can also prove fatal to you and the ones around you.
Some information you shouldn't miss on
- Solid copper banana plugs with gold plating are a good choice. Just like we mentioned at the beginning that there is no point in buying a home theatre system with cheap speaker cables, similarly, there is no point in buying good quality speaker cables and then using cheap banana plugs (not made from pure copper) to terminate them.
- We would love to share this lesser known fact with you. The smaller the AWG number, the thicker the copper conductor, and the better its capability to pass the amplified audio signal.
- Ideally, you should spend at least 10% of your total home theatre budget on all cables. This includes speaker cables, interconnects, HDMI and power cables. It would be great if you could spend at least 2-4% of your total budget on just speaker cables for enhanced sound results.
We hope you liked our Ooberpad blog on How to select the right Speaker Cable for your Home theater System. Which type of speaker cables have your purchased and how do they perform? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts.