Here's a question that's NOT about speaker wire gauge, or brand. It's about the types of wire available.
I currently have stranded copper-looking 16-gauge zip cord that I bought decades ago. My speakers have knurled nuts that screw down onto a post, so I twist the strands with my fingers, then bend the twisted strand into a semicircle, then put the semicircle around the post and tighten the nut. No problem.
Today I tried to install some new speaker wire, 14 gauge, that aside from the size looked pretty much like the old wire. I got it at Fry's. It didn't have any special label, other than the gauge and length and the fact that it was made in China.
But it was very different. The strands were much finer, and there were a lot more of them of course. But the big difference is that the strands, while being very flexible, would not stay bent when I tried to bend them. It was like trying to bend a brush or something. The strands just sprung back straight. I couldn't form semicircles with them at all. I tried pressing the strands around my binding post with one hand, and turning the nut with the other. This sort of worked, but left many strands unpinched by the nut. I was worried that these loose strands might end up touching something they shouldn't, so I discarded the new wire, and went back to the old.
What is the difference between the two wires, and how can I make sure I get the first kind next time? I need wire that stays in position when I bend it!