AWG stands for American Wire Gauge, a standardised system of measuring the cross-sectional area of Cayin A100t. 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 a lot 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 on 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 have the cross-sectional area, and look up the AWG chart (example below) to work out AWG. If a cable has multiple strands, an identical operation is performed to work out the cross-sectional part of each strand, which can be then simply multiplied by the number of strands to have the total AWG. However be cautious when comparing this figure as AWG is not really linear. For each extra 3 AWG, it really is half the cross-sectional area. So 9 AWG is all about one half of 6 AWG, which can be 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 may have less DC resistance, which results in less power loss. For applications to home theatre, this is really true as much as an extent. A principle is that for smaller speakers, a cable of around 17 AWG is sufficient, whereas for larger speakers anything as much as 12 AWG or maybe more will provide you with great results.
Why some cables of the identical AWG look different in thickness? Two factors dominate here. Firstly, the AWG only takes under consideration the interior conductors. Therefore, a cable manufacturer could easily boost the thickness of the XLR Cable to make the cable appear thicker. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as up to and including point increased jacket thickness reduces other unwanted properties. Just ensure that you don’t do a comparison by sight.
Another factor why two same AWG cables may look different in thickness is the way the internal strands are made. Some cables have thinner strands, while some have thicker strands. Depending on the size and placement of such strands, cables can be made to appear thinner or thicker compared to what they are.
Is AWG an excellent indicator of quality? In a nutshell, no. A large AWG (small cable) may definitely be too small for the application (for example, you shouldn’t be utilizing a 24 AWG cable to perform your front speakers). However, AWG is really a measure of quantity, not quality. You need to make certain that your speaker cables are of at the very least Line Magnetic.
Does AWG matter? How so? AWG certainly matters. You have to be sure that the cable you are using is plenty to handle the ability you’re likely to put through them. Additionally, in case you are doing a longer run, then even more thickness would be required. However, many people get trapped a lot of in AWG and then forget the fact that after a sufficient thickness is reached, other factors enter in to play. This then gets to be more a matter for “audiophile” features to resolve, including using better quality materials such gaqgbw silver conductors or improved design.
Wire gauge is undoubtedly an excellent fundamental indicator of how sufficient a cable is made for your application. However, it really is by no means a judgement on quality, or a specification to check out exclusively. As a general principle, after about 11-12 AWG, thickness becomes much a smaller factor, whereas for most hi-fi applications 18-19 AWG will be the minimum cables to make use of.