That goes to the marketing mantra that bigger is always better. It isn't, but the average consumer doesn't know that, and will pony up silly amounts of cash for something that looks like it will work better. As long as there are people willing to pay the price for snake oil there will be those lining up to sell it to them.
Well, if a thicker cable is made just as well as the one that's thinner. then the thicker gauge would obviously be better. You still can't avoid the laws of physics.. Just, that's not the only factor, yet it's the simplest to understand, so obviously it's taken advantage of. Wouldn't be fair to say that for every case, or even most though...
What happens when the resistance gets too high? First, there is power lost in the wire and the speaker will not play as loud. More important, as the resistance in series with the speaker increases, it makes the amplifier look more like a current source. This means the speaker frequency response will tend to follow the rise and fall of its impedance curve. The greater the impedance variation, the more noticeable the response changes will be. If the speaker has constant impedance versus frequency, the only change will be reduced output.
The red (upper) curve is without any added series resistance. The green (middle) curve is with one ohm added in series with the speaker and the black (lower) curve is with 2 ohms in series. You can see there is an overall loss in output but it is not the same at all frequencies. For the green (middle) curve in the area of 125 and 2500Hz, where the impedance is high, there is only about 1/2dB of loss in output whereas at the area of lowest impedance, at 300 and 10 kHz, the loss is about 2dB. The larger 2 ohm resistance shows even greater changes.
The resistances used in this example are much larger than the recommended wire resistance of 0.2 ohms but they do show how impedance variations can influence response. Response changes this large can be easily heard in an A-B listening test.
It may be obvious to someone who doesn't have any knowledge of the laws of physics, which applies to the vast majority of consumers, and that's what keeps the cable crooks in business. Where gauge is concerned there is a minimum required to have inaudible insertion loss and adequate current capacity. Anything larger will not work the slightest bit better.
As always, not without some amount of condescension on your part.
Yes Bill, that's what I meant. Gauge also sometimes helps (depending on the design of the cable) with EMI or could actually make it worse. Point is, it makes a difference. You're always taking everything further than it has to or ever fully applies. If a company manufactures a thicker gauge and somebody buys it even though it's for a short distance, that may be because they didn't know any better, but it has nothing to do with the company purposely manufacturing those cables just for that reason. Yes, clearly there are companies that do that, and people are largely uninformed (not their fault), but that's not a case for everything where you feel it's always pertinent for making this assertion.
Oh, well yeah, of course. I mean every company does that with everything. Marketing BS, sure. I'm saying there are specific cases for cables with companies like Monster, but in general, it's no different than with anything else.
I have my system wired with Sewell cables and like them ALOT. Very nice feel to them. Well constructed and great sound from what I can tell. And a great price compared to the really crazy prices I've seen. I think i have the 12ga terminated with the banana plugs. And they are very THICK. I like the double screw set in them.
LG 55LW5600 / Roku3 / Logitech 520
Sony BDP-S570 Blu-Ray, Toshiba HD-D3KU HD-DVD
Bowers & Wilkins 683B (mains), HTM61 (center)
Paradigm Titan v3 (Surrounds), Polk F/XiA4 (Rear Surrounds)
HSU VTF-3 MK5 HP
Just truck on down to whatever your equivalent of Home Depot is, and get however many feet you need of 16-2 or 14-2 (18-2 if its a really short run). Bare wire to the amplifier and speakers is perfectly fine, and there's no need to spend a fortune on wire (you're just spending more to spend more).
Some background information if you want more "why" - http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
Speaker Cable Debate in Perspective
As far as size, it just needs to be big enough. That is also an easy calculation to make.
FYI: % Signal Loss for Speaker Wire Length
14ga wire has a working power of 1800 watts (15A x 120V), but in reality general 14ga wire is rated at 20 amps, so 2400 working watts. Though I haven't calculated recently, from memory, 14ga wire has a failure power of about 8000w. So, 14ga gets the job done under a vast majority of circumstances. Even 16ga for short runs is overkill.
You can go to larger wire is you want, it is your money, but there are reasonable limits. In my opinion 10ga or 4.0mm² exceed those reasonable limits in all but the most extreme and rare circumstance. Like 1000w/ch amps with 2 ohm speakers.
Here is the worst case scenario that I calculated for very common 2.5mm² (~13ga) wire -
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Inductive Impedance of 50ft of very common 13ga/2.5mm² twin lead cable.
At 2.286% Inductive Impedance loss, the frequency was 3,614hz.
That is MUCH lower than I would have imagined.
At 10% Inductive Impedance loss, the frequency was 12,650hz.
Capacitive loses were still well outside the Audio Range. But, again, the Inductive losses were much more significant than I imagine.
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Keep in mind this is just inductive loss, you still have to add the Resistive loss. However, as extreme as 10% to 12% loss might seem when converted to dB, it is roughly -1db. So, even at these extremes, the loss is not that great.
Now if you have a nice system, and you want some nice looking cable, fine spend some money - your money, your life - but keep it restrained. There is a point where the price is more about ego than performance.
I would have no trouble spending perhaps $100 to $150 for speaker cables - if I won the Lottery. I can afford it, though I acknowledge it offers little beyond cosmetics.
But $300, $500, $1000, $20,000 - bounds of reason people. The only thing that will give you is a thinner wallet.
Probably if I only had a minor Lottery win, say a few hundred thousand, I would probably go with Mogami Cable at about $3/ft, and dress it up with some sleeving and some pants. Then add some decent Banana or Spade terminals.
There is a guy on this forum who has some $350/pr Audioquest cables, and he absolutely raves about them, but then ... he spent $350, what is he going to say - they suck? Not likely.
So, I say, under about 5% for all Wire and Cable, and some research bares that out. Even people with $30,000 to $60,000 systems spend less than 5% on all their wire and cable.
Here are charts from that research -
Bounds of reason people - bounds of reason.
Last edited by bluewizard; 11-30-2016 at 09:43 AM.