What's The Difference Between Speaker & Power Cables?
One way to tell the difference between the 2 is to check the strands.
Speaker cables have more strands than power cables. But power cables have thicker strands.
Speaker cables have more strands to carry current better. Power cables on the other hand have thicker strands to provide more voltage.
A heuristic you can use if you're unsure of what cable to use is to go with the thicker one.
Thicker wires and purer copper leads to better sound.
Another way to tell the difference between the cables is speaker cables come in twisted pairs of wires.
Power cables are usually solid conductors instead of stranded conductors like speaker cables.
Speaker wires can also be identified by their wire gauge.
Does it feel heavy?
If the wire gauge feels heavy, you got yourself a speaker wire.
These are the tell-tale signs to look for to differentiate the two.
But both cables share a lot of similarities. This includes conductors, gauge size, and more.
An important concept to remember between the two is how each deals with signal.
Speaker cables transmit signals from an amplifier to speakers. A large part of a speaker's quality is determined by how well it can transfer a signal without distortion.
Power cables on the other hand are rated on how well it can deliver current and how well it can defend against electromagnetic interference.
Some power cables even have similar gauge sizes depending on the situation. There are many variables to look out for differentiating the two.
Why Do You Need Power Cables?
Power cables are purchased for one reason:
Connecting with power cables shows immediate upgrades. Some of these differences include little to no distortion, and clearer reproduction of music.
Reproducing clear music means increased speed and accuracy of electrical current.
The distortion in music from speaker cables happen due to power line noise integrating with the music.
A power cable brings out the minor details you wouldn't notice with a regular speaker cable.
All of these upgrades relate to a power cable's ability to handle a lot of pressure. It can handle high voltage levels and maintain order.
Power cords also have the advantage of bringing the sound out of components.
An example of this is a power cord extracting more current from the amplifier than a regular speaker cable.
Since power cables can handle a lot of pressure, they also have the advantage of shielding.
Now, both speaker and power cables can have good shielding, but power cables are more likely to have better shielding from stock options.
Better shielding leads to quality capacitive filtering and protection from external factors.
For those who don't know, capacitance is a technical term describing how cables store charge.
You don't want high capacitance because you want as much charge filling your speakers as possible.
Should You Get Power Cables?
Power cables are a nice addition, but they're not necessary.
Most forums where this question is asked are on audiophile sites. This means only audiophiles care about this.
A casual listener doesn't need a power cable.
Furthermore, they might not even know the difference in sound once installed.
But there is one factor you need to watch out for:
Thin wires will cause impedance from the amp. If there is any way to check wire size, make sure you check them.
Other then that, It all comes down to preference when it comes to cables.