How to select a good Speaker Cable

Speaker cables do have a significant role in how our system sounds. Different cables sound different. 

So which one is the right one for you?

The Speaker Cable is an extension of the Amp. and not an addition to the speaker's load. It shall have a certain resistance (low) not to spoil the Amp's DF figure. As so, it can be calculated and there is a formula to do it.

The higher the Amp's DF, the lower the Speaker Cable's resistance shall be. As today SS power Amp's get DFs of 400 and above (Digital Amps go by thousands) the cable of 10 ft (3m) long, gets as thick as 0 AWG.

I can see your eyebrows elevates, when that thick cable is to be deal with. Most Speaker Cable makers skip it because of that. So most cables on the market (regardless of the look or price) are of 14-12 AWG. Way less that supposed to be.

Worst! no Speaker Cable maker, dealer or seller knows the answer, of what is the correct cable for your system. 

So most of us ended up, with a cables too thin for the task.

A conducted test, on this site, about a year ago as well as with some closer friends, shows a significant improvement with a calculated size cable over their previous cable. The results were all positive and preferred the calculated cable.

So, instead of asking: which of two brands, or two prices or two colors of Speaker Cable do I need, you should ask how thick of a Speaker Cable do I need.

I'll be happy to provide you the calculation, for who request it. All you need to provide is:

1). Length (Ft. or meter)

2). The Amp's DF figure.


No data on Spec sheet. However it's a tube Amp...with low DF.
I would guess that the DF is 20 or lower, so a #16 AWG for 6' would do the job.

I've tried several in that size and find variation in sound. One thing I have noticed which makes sense with your analysis, is larger cables tend to add brightness with low df amps. Is that a function of impedance? My ears agree with your formula it seems there is something said for quality of materials, geometries, etc?
Thanks for the interesting thread!
Mr. bjesien

Just for the record, the most ordinary copper wire in the electrical industry, has by standard a purity of 99.98%. So no matter how much of an effort or price is added, it worth only 0.02% in conductivity (resistance). Moving from copper to Silver, that is agreed to be the best conductor from all materials, Silver is only 5% better than copper but costs (crude stock market price) 130 times more.
Adding 5% in the copper wire cross section, would equal it to the silver wire...
So, as I see it, this is not the light to look under it, for the missing coin.

DF is about control. The ability of the Amp to drive a compex speaker coil, that is also a generator, objection equally the current caused it to move. Add a crossover with some C and L.
When DF is low (as the case with tubes), the Amp’s designer, by intention, gave up that quality. Tubes have by nature low current and high voltage. All tube amps use an output transformer to convert that into lower voltage and higher current. Some, like McIntosh use such topology even with their SS amps, to achieve a tube like sound, without using tubes. Keep in mind that most speakers impedance is 8 ohms, so at 2.83V they consume 1W.
For that reason, the serial resistance that the speaker cable add to the Amp’s output resistance is insignificant with a DF=20.
It’s more significant when DF=200 or 800...
When that parameter with SS amps, and DF>200 is achieved, it provides clarity and better bass. Tight and clear.
Such would have a positive effect on the mid and highs, as they get a release from the "heavy bass".

Well, the formula suggests an improvement from thin cables till the calculated value is applied. When that is increased, above the calculated value, sound remains the same. Only the cable is getting more expensive and difficult to build. This been tested with my friend’s system (B&W801D with 250W Pass lab’s power amp with DF=200). I calculated his cable to be of #4 AWG and 3m long and built one for him. Some time ago, after completed a demo cable of the very same length (3m) but #0 AWG, I put it to test and compared between the two: #4 AWG vs #0 AWG.
As predicted, there was no improvement or degradation in sound. They sounded identical.
So unless you use some cable with a twick, like MIT with a box or similar, getting thicker should not effect your sound.

Thanks for your time and your shares.
I admire and appreciate your knowledge, focus on data and a certain style in the answers.

Finally an approach to choose a cable that is not based on emotional shit, exotic names, sensations, lunar shielding processes but not even on '' the cable does not count for anything ''.
I am a civil architect with little experience in the audio field but I smell when a civil engineer or heat engineer, or electrical engineer is not wasting my time on my work with bullshit.
You are indicating a method, you are open to discussion and do not seem to be in a conflict of interest. Good boy!
I take advantage of your patience.
I am about to purchase a Luxman M-900 amplifier with Damping Factor 710.
The cables should be 2 meters long.
So on one side they must have a spade connection and on the other a banana connection (Dali Epicon 8 speakers).
So which section should I use in order not to degrade the good DF of my new amplifier?
Thank you so much for your attention.
So unless you use some cable with a twick, like MIT with a box or similar, getting thicker should not effect your sound.

Operative word being "should".

This comes up a lot. In fact it is your entire thread. What "should" be. What impurities, thicknesses, length, DF, on and on and freaking on, an endless stream of what you think "should" effect your sound.

Have you ever bothered to compare? To actually listen? To know, for a change, what "is"? Or is that too much to ask?