Speaker Cables - System Build Priority

If you were to order all the things that come together to build a system and treat the environment from most to least important, where do place speaker cables?
I’m starting with $20 10’ 12ga Media Bridge cables from Amazon so I’m sure my question is quite different than most.
The new system layout will allow me to use 4-6’ cables. I still have to get a preamp and treat the room but I’d like to change the cables now to eliminate unnecessary length.
In my case I think speaker cables will probably be a more significant change than most. But in the case of a more developed system are speaker cables the last thing you tweak?

I would recommend spending your money on speakers, sources, and amps first then audiophile interconnects and speaker cables last as they can wait until you have the system fully fleshed out and possibly until funds are replenished. One man’s viewpoint so take it as just that.


I saved some money on DIY with Mogami to keep the speaker cable length as short as possible between speaker and power amp.

I learned Mogami from one of Ask Paul video.

Not so easy, anyway as you build a house from fundamental basis growing up, I suggest:

Current (dedicated line > sockets > power distributor)
Power Regenerator
Sources (Phono Pre and DAC first > TT and Transport and Streamer then)
Room treatments
Subwoofers (stereo)
Current part II (main power cord for regenerator then amps/preamp and sources)
XLR interconnects
Speaker cables
Digital interconnects
Tweaking (racks, isolators, washing machine, tubes, fuses, EMI RF absorbers and treatments, LPS and so on)
Reading and investing in knowledge (be aware this forum can help and can tempting you!)
When you arrive here, oh well… start again from the beginning…

This is not a hobby, this is a rabbit hole, a never ending story.

And is wonderful.

Pay attention: before starting, during the journey, always… never forget. The largest part of your budget and your time must be for music. Vinyls, CDs, streaming, ripping and so much happiness in your life you need to receive and to share with the ones you love.

Enjoy, good luck!


FWIW, if I were starting from scratch, I would focus on the room first and choosing speakers second. Since the speakers will arguably be around for a while (and I think they are the most critical, fundamental component of a system - but for the room), I would make speaker cables a priority, relatively speaking.

Speakers and speaker cables are arguably two pieces of the same component.

Taking that logic further, taking into account the interaction of the cables and speakers with the amplification system means (to me) amplification is the next key component(s) to focus on.

The tricky question is: what comes first amplifier or speaker cable? One could argue that amplifier, speaker cable and speaker are really all one sub-system in a stereo system.

Given the time and resources, I would try to piece together this trifecta of system components with an eye toward maximum synergy and performance at a price point I could afford.

Have fun.

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I also think the degree speaker cables matter depends on the amplifier/speaker interface as I’ve found different amp/speaker combos to respond less or more apparently to changes in speaker cables. My PSA M1200/Tidal Piano Cera combo really responds to different speaker cables more audibly than any other combo I’ve ever owned in fifty years. My second system with Decware Zen Torii II amp and KEF R500s is less fussy and speaker cable changes don’t present nearly as many differences as the other system. These observations comparisons were made with Cardas Golden Presence, Furutech FS Alpha 36, Luminous Audio Synchestra Reference, and 50 year old Western Electric 10ga. DIY speaker cables.


Personally I second placing speaker cables somewhere in the middle. Meaning Speakers > Components (amp/pre/source/DAC/ect) > Speaker cables > interconnects > power > anything else.

Also a good rule of thumb might be to think about cables as 10-20% of your budget. While the right set of cables will bring your speakers to life a well built entry level will also serve you great in the meantime. Almost all the cable manufactures that have been mentioned here offer a entry level product, or a DIY product. These can be a awesome value if just starting out. For me audioquest Slip 14/2 wire was something I kept in my system through different configurations and it sounded great though all of it and it was just until recently (joined the Transparent cult, lol…) that I retired these cables.

Pardon the metaphor but I like to think of cables like the salt in cooking, not enough and the food could still be enjoyable, just right and whatever you’re eating will taste more like itself too much and you might just taste the salt.

Here’s another opinion. My order of importance would be:

  1. Speakers. Get the best you can afford. If possible, make sure you’re at least somewhat familiar with them. If you have room to pull them away from the walls do so. I seriously recommend room treatments. At minimum put something to absorb sound at the first reflection points. If you want to pull every bit of performance from your speakers and have lots of room then consider this. L.O.T.S. Loudspeaker Optimization Techniques for Soundstage! - YouTube

  2. Amplifier. It should be determined by the sensitivity of your speakers and the size of your room. Remember it’s better to have more power than you need than too little power.

  3. Preamp. This is for separates. Ignore this for integrated amps or receivers. Get the best you can afford.

  4. Sources. Avoid Crossley turntables! :stuck_out_tongue:

  5. Cables and other tweaks. Start off with some inexpensive cables. It’s better to have a little more length than you need then to have too short cables. I recommend Blue Jeans cables as good starter / back up cables.

If you’re going to experiment with audiophile cables then start with speaker cables and work your way back to the sources. Do your homework and research cable companies before buying and make sure they have a good return policy.

Good luck!

Many thanks all. I appreciate you sharing your experiences. This helps a lot.
The idea that speakers, amps, and speaker cables form a subsystem makes a lot of sense. That makes speaker cables relatively important, which I think is the general consensus.
For context I could have added that I’m in the process of replacing speakers and amplification as I set up a better listening space. I have been running a Schiit Ragnarok2 integrated and, until a couple of months ago, a pair of Salk Song surrounds.
For better or worse the Salks were replaced with a pair of Spatial Sapphire M4 a couple of months ago and a M1200 pair were inserted a few weeks ago. (It was only today that I actually decided to keep the amps. What 90 dB 4 ohm speaker needs 1200W?). The Ragnarok has been feeding the M1200. I still need a preamp but the DAC (Schiit Bifrost) and main source (Blue Sound Vault2i) and related cabling carry over.
From what I’m hearing I think it’s time for speaker cables, but not all in at this point.

If its “clean” power and you don’t have any issues with controlling the throttle, I think it is pretty hard to have too may watts (within reason). There is just something about the control and headroom that comes with a high powered amplifier that can really grab and grip the transducers, IMO.


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When it comes to this stuff I’m the guy on a Ducati putzin along at 5 under.

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I’ve owned a pair of Spatial speakers for about five years now and contrary to what Clayton’s specs indicate those big Eminence woofers like horsepower. For inexpensive high performing speaker cables that you can DIY it’s hard to go wrong with the Dueland dual 12 gauge from Parts Connexion. You can run them with bare ends which is what Dueland recommends or add the connectors of your choice and Chris carries dozens of choice.

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I will look at them first. Thank you.

Here’s a cable 101 question. So many site have notes similar to this from Analysis Plus: “Note: Prices shown are for a pair.”
What is considered a pair: A single cable with a pair of conductors, or a pair of cables?

It’s two cables in a pair when listed on manufacturing websites or sales. When purchasing it will say single cable or pair. The single cable is popular in the home theater world for a center channel speaker.

Makes sense. Thank you.