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CATAGORY: Home -> Cable-News -> What is speaker wire

What is speaker wire

Speaker wire is used to make the electrical connection between loudspeakers and audio audio amplifiers. Modern speaker wire consists of two or more electrical conductors individually insulated by plastic (such as PVC, PE or Teflon) or, less commonly, rubber. The two wires are electrically identical, but are marked to identify the correct audio signal polarity. Most commonly, speaker wire comes in the form of zip cord.

The effect of speaker wire upon the signal it carries has been a much-debated topic in the audiophile and high fidelity worlds. The accuracy of many advertising claims on these points has been disputed by expert engineers who emphasize that simple electrical resistance is by far the most import characteristic of speaker wire.

Speaker wire is a passive electrical component described by its electrical impedance, Z. The impedance can be broken up into three properties which determine its performance: the real part of the impedance, or the resistance, and the two imaginary components of the impedance: capacitance and inductance. The ideal speaker wire has no resistance, capacitance, or inductance. The shorter and thicker a wire is, the lower is its resistance, as the electrical resistance of a wire is proportional to its length and inversely proportional to its cross-sectional area (except superconductors). The wire's resistance has the greatest effect on its performance. The capacitance and inductance of the wire have less effect because they are insignificant relative to the capacitance and inductance of the loudspeaker. As long as speaker wire resistance is kept to less than 5 percent of the speaker's impedance, the conductor will be adequate for home use.

Speaker wires are selected based on price, quality of construction, aesthetic purpose, and convenience. Stranded wire is more flexible than solid wire, and is suitable for movable equipment. For a wire that will be exposed rather than run within walls, under floor coverings, or behind moldings (such as in a home), appearance may be a benefit, but it is irrelevant to electrical characteristics. Better jacketing may be thicker or tougher, less chemically reactive with the conductor, less likely to tangle and easier to pull through a group of other wires, or may incorporate a number of shielding techniques for non-domestic uses.