AWG means American Wire Gauge, a standardised system of measuring the cross-sectional area of Vacuum Tube. This is used to determine how much current a wire can handle. AWG causes much confusion for consumers, as the standard can be a little difficult to understand. Is 12 AWG much better than 14 AWG or vice versa? Why one cable looks thicker than another even though they have identical AWG? Is AWG an excellent indicator of quality? Does AWG matter, and if so, how? These are all good questions, and we’ll get to them shortly. Firstly, let’s briefly touch on how AWG is actually calculated.
How is AWG calculated? If a cable was a solid circular wire, then AWG is rather straightforward to calculate. Go ahead and take area (pi x radius squared) to get the cross-sectional area, and search in the AWG chart (example below) to determine AWG. When a cable has multiple strands, a comparable operation is performed to work out the cross-sectional area of each strand, which is then simply just multiplied by the amount of strands to obtain the total AWG. However be cautious when you compare this figure as AWG is not linear. For each and every extra 3 AWG, it is half the cross-sectional area. So 9 AWG is all about one half of 6 AWG, which is half again of three AWG. Hence 3 AWG is quadruple the thickness of 9 AWG.
How does AWG affect electrical properties? You would’ve noticed by now that this smaller the AWG, the bigger the cable. Larger cables will have less DC resistance, which translates to less power loss. For applications to home theatre, this is certainly true as much as a degree. A rule of thumb is the fact that for smaller speakers, a cable of approximately 17 AWG is sufficient, whereas for larger speakers anything up to 12 AWG or more provides you with great results.
How come some cables the exact same AWG look different in thickness? Two factors dominate here. Firstly, the AWG only takes into account the inner conductors. Therefore, a cable manufacturer could easily boost the thickness from the plastic jacket to make the cable appear thicker. This isn’t necessarily bad, as as much as a point increased jacket thickness reduces other unwanted properties. Just make sure that you don’t compare them by sight.
The other factor why Copper Colour Cable may look different in thickness is how the internal strands are created. Some cables have thinner strands, while some have thicker strands. Depending on the size and placement of those strands, cables can be created to appear thinner or thicker compared to they are.
Is AWG an excellent indicator of quality? In a nutshell, no. A big AWG (small cable) may certainly be not big enough for the application (for instance, you shouldn’t be using a 24 AWG cable to perform your front speakers). However, AWG is actually a measure of quantity, not quality. You need to make sure that all of your speaker cables are of a minimum of OFC purity.
Does AWG matter? How so? AWG certainly matters. You have to be sure that the cable you are using is sufficient to handle the power you’re planning to put through them. Additionally, in case you are performing a longer run, then fxxwky more thickness could be required. However, some individuals get swept up a lot of in AWG and end up forgetting the truth that when a sufficient thickness is reached, other elements come into play. This then becomes more a matter for “audiophile” features to settle, like using higher quality materials like silver conductors or improved design.
Wire gauge is certainly a good fundamental indicator of methods sufficient MUZISHARE X5 is for your application. However, it is in no way a judgement on quality, or even a specification to consider exclusively. As a general rule of thumb, after about 11-12 AWG, thickness becomes much a lesser factor, whereas for many hi-fi applications 18-19 AWG would be the minimum cables to utilize.