AWG means American Wire Gauge, a standardised system of measuring the cross-sectional area of Cayin Audio. This is utilized to determine how much current a wire can handle. AWG causes much confusion for consumers, as the standard can be a little challenging to understand. Is 12 AWG much better than 14 AWG or the other way round? How come 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 regarding how AWG is actually calculated.
How is AWG calculated? If a cable was actually a solid circular wire, then AWG is fairly straightforward to calculate. Consider the area (pi x radius squared) to get the cross-sectional area, and look the AWG chart (example below) to work out AWG. When a cable has multiple strands, a similar operation is done to work out the cross-sectional section of each strand, which is then simply multiplied by the quantity of strands to get the total AWG. However be cautious when you compare this figure as AWG is not linear. For each extra 3 AWG, it is actually half the cross-sectional area. So 9 AWG is approximately one half of 6 AWG, which can be half again of 3 AWG. Hence 3 AWG is quadruple the thickness of 9 AWG.
So how exactly does AWG affect electrical properties? You would’ve noticed at this point that this smaller the AWG, the larger the cable. Larger cables will have less DC resistance, which results in less power loss. For applications to home theatre, this is actually true approximately an extent. A guideline is that for smaller speakers, a cable of around 17 AWG is sufficient, whereas for larger speakers anything approximately 12 AWG or more will provide you with good results.
The reason some cables the exact same AWG look different in thickness? Two factors dominate here. Firstly, the AWG only takes into consideration the inner conductors. Therefore, a cable manufacturer could easily raise the thickness of the HIFI RCA Cable to make the cable appear thicker. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as as much as a point increased jacket thickness reduces other unwanted properties. Just make sure that you don’t do a comparison by sight.
Another factor why two same AWG cables may look different in thickness is just how the internal strands are created. Some cables have thinner strands, while others have thicker strands. Depending on the size and placement of these strands, cables can be produced to check thinner or thicker compared to what they are.
Is AWG a great indicator of quality? In a nutshell, no. A sizable AWG (small cable) may easily be not big enough for a particular application (for instance, you shouldn’t be employing a 24 AWG cable to operate your front speakers). However, AWG is a measure of quantity, not quality. You ought to make sure that your speaker cables are of a minimum of Line Magnetic 508ia.
Does AWG matter? How so? AWG certainly matters. You need to ensure that the cable you might be using is sufficient to handle the ability you’re likely to put through them. Additionally, should you be performing a longer run, then even more thickness would be required. However, some people get trapped too much in AWG and forget the reality that after a sufficient thickness is reached, additional factors come into play. This then becomes more a matter for “audiophile” features to solve, like using better quality materials such gaqgbw silver conductors or improved design.
Wire gauge is undoubtedly a good fundamental indicator of methods sufficient a cable is for your application. However, it is actually by no means a judgement on quality, or even a specification to check out exclusively. Being a general principle, after about 11-12 AWG, thickness becomes much a smaller factor, whereas for most hi-fi applications 18-19 AWG would be the minimum cables to use.