SPEAKER CABLE QUALITY

 

The quality of the speaker cable you should use is a big subject. One of the most popular questions is; do you need to go out and buy $10 per metre speaker cable?

The short answer is: No. Not for the domestic market. 

Unless you are running speaker cable over 100m or more there is no audible difference in 8 Guage speaker cable (cable that's as thick as your arm) to thinner speaker cable that you could tear apart. Audiophiles and critics will say otherwise, but I beg to differ. Unless you are playing high quality audio material and alot of people don't even know what high quality audio is. No, it's not dvds, it's not mp3s, 5.1, iTunes, or even CDs. It's a vinyl record. Remember those? 

 

 

What characteristics of speaker cable are important and what are not?

Durability and that's about it. You need only spend $2-$3 per metre and that really is enough! You should avoid joins at all costs, never join speaker cable bits together unless it is soldered properly and even then, the size of the solder does adjust the ohms; you've got to be careful. As a professional, we never join speaker cable together. 

Speaker Cable Concealment

 

If you do have surround sound. You will want to put the 'rear speakers' where they ought to go. Otherwise what's the point? I've seen many a home theatre installation where all the speakers of a 5.1 system are sitting forward up front, cluttering the TV cabinet and collecting dust.

Not only are you NOT getting any benefits whatsoever! By having all your speakers not placed correctly, but you're risking damage to your TV and AV equipment with all the magnets in the speakers sitting close-by. The sub-woofer especially, has a large magnet that can cause irreversible damage to panels in your TV and other equipment. Another pitfall is you are only increasing the size of your power bill and driving your amplifier harder than you need to; without any audio benefit.

So if you have a surround sound system hooked up; position the speakers where they should be or DISCONNECT THEM!

Honestly, just put them away until you decide to use the rear speakers as they are intended to. You are not missing out on anything by not having them there. You get just as much by having 3 speakers at the front. Also known as 3.1 system. Your left, your right, your centre speaker and your sub-woofer. 

Now who else would tell you the truth? 

 

Concealment...

 

So you’ve bought yourself a brand spanking new 5.1 surround sound system? I bet you can’t wait to have the sound roaring from the rear of the room! It’s going to bring the cinemas into your own living room right?

If you didn’t purchase a wireless system (WHICH BY THE WAY IS NEVER COMPLETELY WIRELESS; - you still need a power point at the rear!) You may want to conceal the speaker cable, so that there are no wires running across your floor to your rear speakers.

In this situation you may need to consider the quality and durability of your speaker cable if you are going to conceal it in the roof space/cavity. You don't want thin speaker cable getting chewed through by rats and blowing a fuse on your expensive amplifier. Nowadays, in this ‘throw-away world’; the fuses are not worth replacing in any amplifier under the $3k mark and you will be up for a new one.

So just what quality speaker cable should you use? Trust us and believe us when we say you do not need $10 per metre speaker cable! $2-$4 per metre is more than sufficient. 14 guage is a good starting point. ‘Guage’ is the thickness or ‘size’ of your speaker cable. All speaker cable will have markings on it and tell you the specifics or what size ’guage’ it is.

 

Commercial Home Theatre - High End Home theatre - Home cinema design

Concealment continued...

 

You should use a minimum of 14 guage speaker cable on these jobs. You don't want to let your brand spanking new gear to be let down by your cables. The cables are nothing compared to what they deliver. THEY CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE. 

The word 'can', being the keyword. Amplifier tuning and speaker calibration is critical. These should be done professionally. 

 

 

 

 

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