Other Amps

Speaker Cables - What Do I Need to Know Before I Buy?


Hello GDPers!

Tomorrow will be NAD over here and I need to shore up some last minute goodies. I went for a head and 1x10" cabinet setup this time around. I've only ever used combo amplifiers in my life, so I need some help with purchasing a speaker cable.

I did a quick Google search and it seems that the factions are firmly split between "a very high quality cable is a must to maintain tone integrity" and "it has absolutely no effect on your tone." I'm sure the truth is somewhere in the middle, but I have no experience or electrical engineering background to make an informed decision. I don't have a space or the time to procure materials and solder one up myself either (what many online recommend).

Any brands that you would recommend? Any features or specifications for which I should be on the lookout?

Thanks in advance for the help!


Don't be taken in by snake oil salesmen. The main thing to look for is heavy wire---18 gauge or more. The lower the number, the heavier the wire. DO NOT use coax---standard guitar cable. Twisted pair or zip/lamp cord is what you're after.


Go one bigger than lamp cord, and you're fine. Make sure the plugs are good quality and well attached. Stay away from anyone trying to sell you something expensive.


Big can of worms. Good luck.

There is a difference. You just need to decide how picky your ears are and how much you wanna pay.

Scott Rust makes the most amazing cables I’ve ever seen. He makes a lot for studios. If price is no object you might get in touch with him.

Most speaker cables available at music stores work fine. Belden cable and Neutrik/Switchcraft 1/4” jacks as a minimum quality. 14 or 16 Ga wire. I’ve had pretty good luck with Monster and Planet Waves. Just don’t use high impedence guitar cable.


"Just don’t use high impedence guitar cable. "

Being naive, a while back I wondered what the difference was between a 1/4" guitar cable and a 1/4" speaker cable...

Definitely use a speaker cable for amps and cabs. Don't use a guitar cable!!



super low capacitance loading and uber heavy duty w an affordable price= georgels.com I have had the same set of two 15" George L cables in my pedal/gig case for the last 15yrs. I keep another set here in the shop for testing amps and pedals, I replaced the ends w soldered switchcraft connects in the shop to be ultra precious for listening purposes but the black set for my rig are stock. The only whiners toward George L cables are the ones that try to put the solderless connects on themselves. Dont do it, buy the factory made ones. These survived a mid 90's Guitar Player magazine shootout for durability btw.. the nuts over there dropped a ride cymbals edge on them mimic'ing a cymbal stand falling over in a gig, striking the cable w a perpendicular blow on a concrete floor. It was one cable that wasnt severed or mutilated. Did I mention super low capacitance loading, so there is almost no signal loss.

Funny too when players call these cables "too bright" just because they've been using cables that are blocking the highs in their signal chain. Like a guy eating fast food every day and wondering why he cant go to the bathroom daily...

Which sounds just like the stories my wife likes to gross me out with when she comes home from the dental office at dinner time. " Oh I had this really nasty man in my chair today who looked like he hadnt brushed his teeth regularly for yrs, and after I finished working on his teeth he started sliding his tongue around behind his teeth, asking me WHAT ARE ALL THESE HOLES??!" ...he was used to a solid wall of plaque and sludge that felt smooth and when all the sh$t was removed there were actual teeth that the tongue was sliding over!!

Ughh, I dont know how my wife has survived being an RDH all these yrs. Anyway, you get my point.. tone ignorance is dirty, dirty. Clean tone requires proper aural hygiene! :)


SwitchCraft plugs and jacks, Sears Hardware heavy black 2-Conductor stranded Lamp Wire.

I have 3 made for my various rig configurations...it's easy, and you can size to the desired length.


Yep, I've always used Switchcraft plugs and jacks, along with whatever "zip" type wire that I've had on hand that was 16 or 18 gage.

Cheap and easy, and has always sounded good to my ears, except for the playing! lol


My old school electrical engineer brother in law laughs and laughs at the uber high end cable fad, things like monster cable etc. There is little or no science behind it.

Oh and my electrical technician brother also finds it very funny...as did the older guys that worked at the Ma and Pa electronics shop .

They said they smiled and sold the boutique stuff because people got mad if you tried to save them money and tell them that they go with cheaper but just as functional alternatives.


Thanks for the help everyone! I found a reasonably priced 12-gauge wire with good plugs on it. We'll see how it goes!


Use mains cable with jack plugs on it.


Tube or solid-state amp? Tube amps aren't fussy about it...anything 18 gauge or bigger. For solid-state use 14 gauge. Lamp cord from Home Depot is fine. Don't make it longer than you need. Long runs with solid-state amps should be twisted pair to keep radio stations out of the feedback loop.


Anything more expensive than lamp cord is just snake oil.


I can hear the difference between guitar cables but I can't hear a difference between speaker cables. I use nice thick speaker cable that is sold to car sound system nuts, completely OTT for cars but with decent jacks make great speaker cables, lasted me years. My fave guitar cable is Klotz La Grange, endorsed by Steve Vai but I didn't let that put me off. Nice sweet top end. I've tried others but always gone back to Klotz (now sold as AC110) Like most gear, different things suit different players. I tried Canare but it didn't suit me. Mogame is pretty good also.


If you stay under 18 feet, most good quality guitar cables sound fine. When you go longer than that, you can really hear the capacitance in all of them...some more so than others. I'm probably the only one who picks out cables with an LCR meter.


Capacitive Coupling is an odd and difficult to quantify thing, but if you have been around it, you always remember the negative effect...

Mine was with Operating Room Diagnostic Imaging Equipment...long runs through floors and ceilings to make connections to Operating Table gadgets.

Some cabling just fine, others a nightmare...

We "smoked" quite a few resistors one night as everything oscillated and multiplied!


ONCE, I had the outer sleeve of the plug come unscrewed, slide down, short the terminals and cost me an output transformer. Now I use electrical tape or shrink tube.

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