AWG is short for American Wire Gauge, a standardised system of measuring the cross-sectional area of Cayin A100t. This is used to figure out how much current a wire can handle. AWG causes much confusion for consumers, as the standard can be a little hard to understand. Is 12 AWG better than 14 AWG or the other way around? How come one cable looks thicker than another even though they have identical AWG? Is AWG a great 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? When a cable had been a solid circular wire, then AWG is fairly straightforward to calculate. Take the area (pi x radius squared) to have the cross-sectional area, and appear up the AWG chart (example below) to work out AWG. When a cable has multiple strands, a comparable operation is done to work the cross-sectional part of each strand, which is then simply just multiplied by the amount of strands to get the total AWG. However be careful when comparing this figure as AWG will not be linear. For each and every extra 3 AWG, it is half the cross-sectional area. So 9 AWG is all about 50 % of 6 AWG, that is half again of three 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 the smaller the AWG, the bigger the cable. Larger cables will have less DC resistance, which means less power loss. For applications to home theatre, this is actually true as much as a degree. A rule of thumb is that for smaller speakers, a cable of around 17 AWG is sufficient, whereas for larger speakers anything up to 12 AWG or more will provide you with great results.
The reason some cables of the identical 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 in the HIFI RCA Cable to create 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 ensure that you don’t do a comparison by sight.
One other factor why two same AWG cables may look different in thickness is the way 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 made to appear thinner or thicker compared to what they are.
Is AWG a great indicator of quality? In a nutshell, no. A big AWG (small cable) may certainly be too small for the application (for instance, you shouldn’t be utilizing a 24 AWG cable to perform your front speakers). However, AWG is actually a way of measuring quantity, not quality. You need to ensure that all your speaker cables are of at the very least Line Magnetic 218ia.
Does AWG matter? How so? AWG certainly matters. You should be sure that the cable you happen to be using is enough to handle the ability you’re going to put through them. Additionally, should you be doing a longer run, then even more thickness could be required. However, many people get caught up excessive in AWG and then forget the reality that when a sufficient thickness is reached, other factors enter into play. This then becomes more a matter for “audiophile” features to solve, like using higher quality materials such gaqgbw silver conductors or improved design.
Wire gauge is certainly a good fundamental indicator of methods sufficient a cable is made for the application. However, it really is by no means a judgement on quality, or a specification to look at exclusively. As a general rule of thumb, after about 11-12 AWG, thickness becomes much less of a factor, whereas for many hi-fi applications 18-19 AWG will be the minimum cables to make use of.