Speaker Cables

Written by Serena Berger
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Speaker cables have many properties which have an impact on the way you hear your music and movies. That has probably been obvious to you if you've ever had connectivity problems resulting in static or sound cutting in and out completely. That's the most obvious way your cables can fail you. There are actually several other ways that you might not be aware of unless or until you hear the same equipment with better cables, at which point it becomes obvious that bad cables are a big problem.

When you first find out the cost of the speaker cables that are recommended by the store or other fans of great stereos or home theatre systems, chances are you'll be relatively taken aback. But one of the first things to consider is just how much the metal making the cables is worth, in and of itself. The metals which have the most effective conductivity are metals like silver, which is much more expensive than the lower grade copper used in the cheap wires you are likely to get for free with some components. Then, some of the materials used for connectors or plating are more expensive still; gold plate is not uncommon among the best products.

Important Attributes of Good Speaker Cables

The thickness of the cable is also important, as are the twists which help shield extraneous signals from being picked up by the wires and mixed in with your music. Both of these attributes require more metal, as well as more manufacturing effort, which raises the price of the cables. In fact, braiding the wire is one of the most effective methods of noise shielding, but it greatly increases the length of wire needed to make your cables.

Another element of good speaker cables is time correction. When the electrical signals which comprise music are still in the wires, the different pitches move at different speeds. Without time correction, you wouldn't hear all of the different notes at exactly the time you're supposed to. Obviously, there is generally not a drastic difference, but when time correction makes the music purely in synch, there is something right about the way you'll hear it, even if you can't identify time correction as the source of that purity of sound.

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