AWG is short for American Wire Gauge, a standardised system of measuring the cross-sectional area of Vacuum Valve. This is utilized to see 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? Why one cable looks thicker than another though they have identical AWG? Is AWG a good 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 pretty straightforward to calculate. Go ahead and take area (pi x radius squared) to have the cross-sectional area, and search in the AWG chart (example below) to work through AWG. When a cable has multiple strands, an identical operation is performed to work through the cross-sectional section of each strand, that is then simply just multiplied by the number of strands to have the total AWG. However be mindful when comparing this figure as AWG will not be linear. For each extra 3 AWG, it is actually half the cross-sectional area. So 9 AWG is about 50 % of 6 AWG, which can be half again of 3 AWG. Hence 3 AWG is quadruple the thickness of 9 AWG.
How does AWG affect electrical properties? You would’ve noticed right now that this smaller the AWG, the larger the cable. Larger cables could have less DC resistance, which translates to less power loss. For applications to home theatre, this is actually true as much as a degree. A guideline is that for smaller speakers, a cable of approximately 17 AWG is plenty, whereas for larger speakers anything up to 12 AWG or maybe more will provide you with great results.
Why some cables the exact same AWG look different in thickness? Two factors dominate here. Firstly, the AWG only takes into consideration the interior conductors. Therefore, a cable manufacturer could easily raise the thickness from the plastic jacket to help make the cable appear thicker. This isn’t necessarily bad, as up to and including point increased jacket thickness reduces other unwanted properties. Just make certain you don’t do a comparison by sight.
The other factor why Audiophile Cables may look different in thickness is just 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 look thinner or thicker than they are.
Is AWG an excellent indicator of quality? In a nutshell, no. A sizable AWG (small cable) may easily be not big enough for a particular application (as an example, you shouldn’t be using a 24 AWG cable to run your front speakers). However, AWG is actually a measure of quantity, not quality. You need to make sure that your speaker cables are of a minimum of OFC purity.
Does AWG matter? How so? AWG certainly matters. You should be sure that the cable you are using is sufficient to handle the power you’re planning to put through them. Additionally, if you are doing a longer run, then fxxwky more thickness will be required. However, some people get caught up excessive in AWG and end up forgetting the truth that once a sufficient thickness is reached, additional factors enter into play. This then becomes more a matter for “audiophile” features to solve, such as using better quality materials including silver conductors or improved design.
Wire gauge is certainly a good fundamental indicator of methods sufficient MUZISHARE X7 is for your application. However, it is in no way a judgement on quality, or even a specification to check out exclusively. Typically of thumb, after about 11-12 AWG, thickness becomes much a lesser factor, whereas for many hi-fi applications 18-19 AWG will be the minimum cables to utilize.