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The Audiophile Speaker Cable Dispute PDF Print E-mail
Written by MonaMoody   
People everywhere put lots of time, energy, passion and money into their hobbies. This is certainly true for audiophiles, for whom sound quality is of utmost importance. They will often take what others might see as extreme measures to have a system that will produce superior audio quality. Naturally the components of such a system will determine how good the sound output is and the better the components, the better the system. For this reason, many use audiophile speaker cable but there is no consensus on whether these have a significant impact on the actual listening experience.
by MonaMoody


People everywhere put lots of time, energy, passion and money into their hobbies. This is certainly true for audiophiles, for whom sound quality is of utmost importance. They will often take what others might see as extreme measures to have a system that will produce superior audio quality. Naturally the components of such a system will determine how good the sound output is and the better the components, the better the system. For this reason, many use audiophile speaker cable but there is no consensus on whether these have a significant impact on the actual listening experience.

The point on which most do agree is that the characteristic of speaker wire that has the greatest effect on sound quality is resistance. Lower resistance will result in improved sound quality while higher resistance will result in less clarity and crispness.

Lowering this factor can be achieved in one of three main ways: decreasing the length, increasing the thickness or some combination of both of these. The conducting properties of the material used have an effect as well but there is less agreement on the extent of this. Copper is the most widely used but silver is said to have a lower resistance but also a significantly higher cost.

Beyond silver cables in both purported quality and cost are audiophile speaker cables. It can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to purchase such wires for an audio system. This will not even be a consideration for the vast majority of those purchasing speaker wire, but for a true audiophile it's certainly worth at least considering.

This is where the true debate begins. With little agreement on how much of a difference can be heard in the sound quality and a significant difference in price, these cables are claimed by many to be a waste of money. These people believe that the difference isn't even audible and that one can produce practically the same quality of audio from much less expensive wire. It's not unheard of for this side to say that coat hanger wire can be used nearly as effectively at a small fraction of the cost of the high-end equipment that some prefer.

There are some true audiophiles, however, that swear that the difference is audible. There are claims that, when combined with other top shelf components, these cables can produce sounds rivaling that of live music. They say that they can easily tell a difference between the sounds produced using run-of-the-mill wires and these much more high-tech ones.

Arguments fall on both extremes and everywhere in between. The common ground that is often found is that the opinions are strong and difficult to change. While the quality of the sounds produced can be quantified in some manners, listening is a much more subjective experience and thus it is much more difficult, if not impossible, to measure in scientific terms.

There is no clearcut answer on whether audiophile speaker cable is worth the extra money that they are bound to cost. In large part the lack of a simple answer is due to the fact that it is ultimately up to each individual to decide what they deem to be worth it or not.

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