To anyone looking from the outside, it might be strange to watch audiophiles spend enormous amounts of time and money searching for the perfect quality of sound. Sometimes, it might get even stranger - like when you see two persons debating about irrelevant things like speaker cable quality, like it’s something that could influence the quality of the sound. However, people on the inside know that every tweak to a sound system counts, and that speaker cables, in fact, are everything except irrelevant. So, their pursuit of high quality components rightfully includes a search for high quality cables. But for an average user, a person somewhere in between a novice and a full blown audiophile, is there a reason to obsess over speaker cables?
While the obvious answer might be “no”, it doesn’t mean that speaker cables are something that should be overlooked. First of all, speaker cables are something that gets old and degrade with time and use. They might start losing contact at a certain point, you can start noticing annoying differences in the sound, or they can just snap if they’re thin and you really abuse them. And unless you have wireless speakers, you’ll need the cables to connect the speakers to the amp so you can get the sound you want. So, speaker cables are very important and you should take care of them and replace them when when they need replacing.
But do different types of new, undamaged cables change sound quality? The short answer is yes, kind of, and it does require a further explanation. To be able to notice the difference, you need better than average equipment, and an ear to hear these things, because the differences in sound can be slight and can have more to do with your taste in sound than simple quality. So, while audiophiles claim the thicker the cable the better the sound, it actually comes down more to their taste than to actual sound quality. The thicker the cable the more expensive it is, that one’s true.
So, the bottom line would be that speaker cables suffer obsessiveness better than neglect, but until you’re ready to start calling yourself an audiophile and start investing some serious money into your gear, sticking to affordable speaker cables from reputable makers would be the best road to take. And even then, trying out a few different cables in the price range you’re comfortable with will help you find the sound you like the most.