When it comes to speaker wire, there’s a lot of debate out there. Some people say one thing, others say another. So what’s the truth? Are some types of speaker wires better? Is splicing a good idea and, if you do choose to splice, will it reduce the overall audio quality?
Properly performed splices should cause no audio problems. Several methods can be performed to get the perfect splice. The easiest method is to use a wire nut to clamp two wires together, but the most durable method is to solder them. Just avoid simply taping wires together, as this can be risky.
If you’re interested in adding some extra length to your setup, splicing is a great choice. Of course, you could always replace the wire with a longer one, and for extended runs, this might be the best idea. We’ll get more into that later. So, ready to learn about splicing? We’ve got all the information you need. Read on to learn more.
How Does Splicing Speaker Wire Affect Overall Sound Quality?
When it comes to splicing your speaker cables, you’re going to hear some conflicting ideas. The issues mainly come down to what people’s opinions are on what sounds good. As you can imagine, this varies widely from person to person. For an audiophile, splicing cables may be right out. Yet for more “reasonable” audio enthusiasts, it really won’t matter too much.
Splicing your speaker cables can be an incredibly effective way to extend the length of your cable runs. If it’s done well, you really shouldn’t notice any difference in your audio playback. If it’s done poorly, however, it can lead to audio dropouts and even short circuits.
What Do you Need for Splicing?
Luckily for you, performing a proper splice is easy to achieve. You can splice using a few tools and hardware you may already have lying around your home.
Most importantly, you’ll need to use a high-quality speaker wire, like this InstallGear Speaker Wire (on Amazon). This will ensure you get the highest quality result from your splice.
As a note, there are some issues that may crop up with extended lengths. For lengths over 100 ft, you may need to source a higher gauge speaker wire. Look for 14 to 12-gauge wire for longer runs, even with splicing.
How Does Splicing Speaker Wire Work?
Splicing is actually rather simple. If you connect the cores of two different wires, then the electric signal can pass through the complete cable without much issue.
There are several methods to accomplish this, and the one you opt for is up to you. Each one can provide a quality splice, given that best practices for splices are followed.
You can perform a splice by using:
- The Soldering method
- The Crimping method
- Or The Wire nut method
It’s worth noting that while you can get a quality splice using any of these methods, a soldered connection will probably last the longest. However, soldering is the most involved of these methods, and of course, not everyone will own a soldering iron or even know how to use one properly.
So, for the easiest splice, go for either the wire nut or crimping method. We’ll walk you step-by-step through the wire nut method below.
The Wire Nut Method:
- Strip ½” of the wire coating off one end of each wire.
- Twist the wire pairs together.
- Using a Wire Nut (on Amazon), feed the twisted wires into the opening.
- Twist the nut down until both wires are secure.
- Using Electrical Tape (on Amazon), wrap the newly spliced wire for extra protection.
If done correctly, you shouldn’t have to worry about audio interference from the splice.
You may be tempted to strip the wires, twist them, and then simply wrap them in electrical tape. While this is still splicing the wires, it’s in no way a reliable way to do it. The worst-case scenario for a splice like this is an electrical short circuit — which could completely ruin your system. So approach this splicing method with caution!
Does Speaker Wire Length Affect Sound Quality?
Put quite simply, yes, it does. But in most cases, this only becomes an issue if you’re running wires at extended lengths. In most cases, a speaker wire run of under 100ft shouldn’t cause any problems. After that length, you may start to see some degradation in quality and interference.
In these situations, it’s recommended for you use a thicker gauge wire. Normal 16-gauge wire will do just fine for lengths up to 100ft. But any length longer than 100ft will require a thicker wire of 14 or 12-gauge.
Is Thicker Wire Better for Speakers?
When it comes to using thicker gauge speaker wires, it’s another hotly contested debate. On one side, you’ve got the audiophiles who will go out of their way to try anything that might limit interference.
For them, it’s a constant battle for quality. Using a thicker wire is just part of making sure you never hear anything come from the speakers other than the intended audio.
For your average listener though, thicker gauge wire, like this 12 AWG Wire (on Amazon), just isn’t worth the hassle. Sure, it makes sense if you’re trying to wire speakers that are 300ft away, but it comes with a few other issues. For one, splices are much harder to achieve with a thicker wire.
In most cases, you should only use a thicker wire gauge if you have a long speaker run. In other cases, it’s just overkill and probably unnecessary.
What’s the Best Speaker Wire?
When it comes to speaker wire, there are plenty of options on the market. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the marketing lingo: gold-plated this, conductive that. In the end, almost any speaker wire can carry a signal to a destination without interference.
Sure, some are better than others. But overall, you can even use a cheap speaker wire with your setup and not see any noticeable issues.
What you might run into issues with is interference. Since speaker wires are essentially antennas for RF signals, it’s easy to pick up extra electromagnetic energy out in the world. If you’ve ever heard someone talking from your speaker when they aren’t in use, you’ve been a victim of RF interference. The only way to combat this is to use shielded speaker wire (on Amazon).
You may still want to source a wire with a high build quality. When we say “any speaker wire will work”, we mean that you don’t necessarily need to shell out big bucks for a “high quality” speaker wire.
Finding a mid-tier quality brand is your best bet to get a high build quality that will last for years of use. Speaker wire, like this wire, from14 AWG Wire from GearIT (on Amazon) should be more than fine for general purposes.