Hot off the press from Futurism!
SPEAKER WIRE IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF ANY AUDIO SYSTEM.
Speaker cable may improve the sound of your home audio system, home theater system, or car audio system. We use the term “may” because there’s a lot of debate in the audiophile community as to how much your speaker cable actually impacts the sound of your system. Some folks say they can’t hear any difference, while others say there’s a profound change.
Speaker cables have made a subtle difference based on our experience testing a few sets, but we’d recommend spending a majority of your effort upgrading your source components (CD players, turntables, etc.) DAC (digital analog converter), and speakers or headphones first. Once you’re pleased with your audio system — for the moment, at least — you can worry about upgrading your cables.
Speaker cables are an essential part of an audio setup whether you can hear a difference between a premium and budget-priced set or not, so get a set that best suits your needs.
— Best Overall: Austere III Series Speaker Cable
— Best Budget: Amazon Basics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire Cable
— Best for Outdoor Speakers: GearIT 14/2 Speaker Wire
— Best for Cars: InstallGear 14-Gauge AWG 100ft Speaker Wire
HOW WE PICKED THE BEST SPEAKER WIRES
Our speaker cable recommendations are based on in-depth research. Here are the factors we considered:
Materials: The speaker wires we’re recommending are made out of either 100 percent copper and copper-clad aluminum, which is typically abbreviated to CCA. Copper is heavier and more expensive, but can transmit data (in this case music) more effectively between your amplifier and speakers.
Gauge: A speaker wire’s gauge refers to how thick it is. Lower-gauge speaker wire is thicker, which makes it more noticeable and cumbersome to work with, but can carry more information from your amp to your speakers.
Length: The speaker wires we’re recommending come in spools of varying lengths, and you should measure how much you’ll need for your audio setup before making a purchase. You’ll be able to cut the speaker wire to the appropriate length for your project.
Shielding: Speaker wire is protected by an outer layer that prevents it from getting damaged when it’s moved around. In most cases, this outer shielding is made from plastic, which is both durable and flexible.
BEST SPEAKER WIRES: REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Best Overall: Austere III Series Speaker Cable
Why It Made The Cut: Austere’s III Series Speaker Cables are made from pure copper and designed to last a lifetime.
— Materials: Copper
— Gauge: 14
— Length: 50 feet
— Pure copper wire
— Shielding made from custom material
— Lifetime guarantee
If you’re going to invest in a nice speaker wire for your home audio system, you owe it to yourself to get Austere III Series Speaker Cable. Yes, it’s nearly three times more expensive than our second costliest recommendation, but you absolutely get what you pay for. Austere’s speaker wire is made from 100 percent oxygen-free copper, and sheathed in a custom-designed material called SoftTouch that’s flexible, durable, and easy to handle. Austere says the copper it uses has been refined to resist corrosion, which is great because you shouldn’t have to replace your speaker wire on a regular basis — if ever.
Austere offers its III Series Speaker Cable in 14- and 12-gauge sizes, but we’re recommending the smaller one as it’s designed for projects that require cables up to 20 feet. Speaker wire runs of that length are perfect for use in most music listening rooms, home theaters, or cars. The Austere III Series Speaker Cable comes in a 50-foot spool, which should be plenty for a 2.0 stereo system. If you’re hooking up a surround-sound system, you may need two spools to get the job done. This is especially true if you’re working on a 7.1 or Dolby Atmos setup, which both feature seven speakers.
Audiophiles know there’s no such thing as a “final system,” but Austere’s III Series Speaker Cables should remain a part of your audio chain for several years. The company is so confident in this speaker wire that it’s backed it with a lifetime guarantee, and will replace your wire if it breaks under normal use.