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Amazon Basics 12 gauge speaker cable

Billy Budapest

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Usually I stick with known professional wire manufacturers (Belden, Canare, Mogami, Klotz, Van Damme, Van den Hul, and Gotham are my basic go-to’s), but I am relocating all my speakers to the opposite side of the room as my equipment and will need long speaker cable runs. So, given the cost involved, I decided to try something new, or new to me at least: Amazon Basics speaker cable.

I purchased a 200 foot spool of Amazon Basics 12 gauge speaker cable. The price was about $80. Keep in mind that 200 feet of two 12 gauge conductors is a heck of a lot of copper. Pretty high quality copper, too, at 99.9% oxygen free. Now, there is basically zero labor cost to making these since insulated wire is all machine-made, but I still can’t see how Amazon is making money off these.

Anyway, I am using it for three 30 foot runs to my front speakers and four 20 foot runs to my surround speakers, so I figured with the lengths involved that 12 gauge was the way to go.

I am not expecting any effect on sound quality whatsoever, but I will post my subjective impressions here once I am done with the project.

Here’s a stock photo of the fancy packaging;

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Aren't the Amazon ones aluminum plated copper?
 
Aren't the Amazon ones aluminum plated copper?
No, these are 99.9% OFC (a.k.a., tough pitch copper, what most speaker cables are made of). Copper clad aluminum is not a great idea for durability.
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Amazon sells both OFC and clad so always read the fine print.
It’s not even fine print. It’s prominent in the description that it’s OFC—although 99.9% oxygen-free copper isn’t usually called “OFC,” but instead referred to as “copper,” “pure copper,” or ”electrolytic tough pitch copper.” Regardless, it’s what most speaker cables, Ethernet cables, and other electronic wiring are made from.
 
So what is the verdict on the Amazon Basics cable?
It is specified as copper so I wouldn't doubt this. The weight seems right. A 100 ft spool of copper cable weighs about 8 to 9 lbs. so the 8.8lbs Amazon spec looks good [and their 200ft. weighs 16.3 lbs, so seems good too]. The bad 12AWG cables that Amir measured were suspected to be aluminum. Aluminum spools are a lot lighter weight so it is easy to know if it is not specified. Aluminum resistance should only be about 1.5X that of copper so I'm guessing Amir was seeing a contact problem with the poor measuring 12AWG cables.
 
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It is specified as copper so I wouldn't doubt this. The weight seems right. A 100 ft spool of copper cable weighs about 8 to 9 lbs. so the 8.8lbs Amazon spec looks good [and their 200ft. weighs 16.3 lbs, so seems good too]. The bad 12AWG cables that Amir measured were suspected to be aluminum. Aluminum spools are a lot lighter weight so it is easy to know if it is not specified. Aluminum resistance should only be about 1.5X that of copper so I'm guessing Amir was seeing a contact problem with the poor measuring 12AWG cables.
When I cut through the cables, I could see they were copper and not CCA.
 
When I cut through the cables, I could see they were copper and not CCA.
As you would expect since that is what they say it is. Is there some example of someone selling cables advertised as copper but actually being aluminum, so that anyone should worry about this?
 
I use 12 ga stranded copper that I buy at Home Depot. It's made to wire RV's.
 
I have been running speaker cabling since 1984. This Amazon 12 gauge wire is a fat 12 gauge. Several reviewers mentioned how much wire is packed into the insulation. I agree. It is marked every foot, making measuring and cutting a breeze. Not plenum rated, but the white outer skin is very tough, as is the inner insulation. I first bought this wire 3-4 years ago. I live in a salt water environment. Cheaper "copper" wire turns green with corrosion after a few months, even inside my home. After 4 years, this wire still looks shiny and new. I bought this wire the first time after reading many reviews for different manufacturers. I was interested in the interference fighting capabilities of twisted pair wire as well as high quality copper. I am pleased to say that when several well-known manufacturers have cut the gauge of their wire, this Amazon Basics wire is still the same quality as it was 4 years ago. Link: Amazon Basics 12-Gauge Audio... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0758CSSDN?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
 
As you would expect since that is what they say it is. Is there some example of someone selling cables advertised as copper but actually being aluminum, so that anyone should worry about this?
I hope not, but some people seemed to be questioning Amazon’s labeling on the spool.
 
First time around I used $750 of cable to wire up my HT. This time around I went with $150 of Amazon Basics cable, I haven't completes it yet, but 99.9% OFC should be OK. Good to know other experiences are positive.
For my fronts which are bi-wired I did end up choosing a 4-core monoprice which is apparently 99.95% OFC so hopefully that does better than the monoprice tested in the above results.
 
I hope not, but some people seemed to be questioning Amazon’s labeling on the spool.
Amazon has so many listings for 12 gauge wire, it seems that some reviews for disappointing wire are posted in the bulk (100-200 ft.) cable review. After reading recent reviews, I was delighted to see the same quality cable still being shipped. That's why I dropped the link into my comment - to make sure people get the product I was discussing.
 
First time around I used $750 of cable to wire up my HT. This time around I went with $150 of Amazon Basics cable, I haven't completes it yet, but 99.9% OFC should be OK. Good to know other experiences are positive.
For my fronts which are bi-wired I did end up choosing a 4-core monoprice which is apparently 99.95% OFC so hopefully that does better than the monoprice tested in the above results.

Why waste wire on bi-wiring?
 
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