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HomeTips & GuidesSpeaker Harness: All You Need to Know

Speaker Harness: All You Need to Know

A speaker harness helps transmit the signal from the amplifier to the speaker. Specific cables are reserved for this role, and the specs are suited for sound signal transfer. For more insights on choosing the right speaker wire for your car, let us get started. 

What is speaker wire made of?

Most speaker wires you will encounter will be made of copper primarily because of the material’s excellent conductivity. Copper is also renowned for its relatively low resistance. But you may still come across speaker wires made of silver. 

Silver is better than copper in conductivity but often has loads of impurities, which affects the wire’s performance. Moreover, silver is more valuable than copper, meaning it would cost quite a fortune compared to the latter. 

It is the cardinal reason why copper is the preferred speaker wire material. 

What types of plugs are used in Speaker Wire?

Different lugs. 

Different lugs. 

There are two main types of plugs synonymous with speaker wires. 

Cable Lugs

It is a special connector attached to the speaker’s wire exposed end that allows easy screwing to another device. But they are not all too effective, especially considering they are prone to getting loose after some time. 

This is why some mechanics prefer to connect speaker wires directly instead of using these lugs. However, they are convenient, so it is better to check their state regularly rather than ignore them altogether. 

Tighten them occasionally, especially if they are in a high-vibration location in your car, as they’ll undoubtedly get loose. 

Banana Plugs

Male Banana Plugs are for use with car amplifiers. 

Male Banana Plugs are for use with car amplifiers. 

As per their name, they have a banana-shaped end that allows easy plugging into a secondary device like an amplifier. They do not require screwing, and this means they are easy to use than cable lugs

You can easily disconnect them when need be and reconnect them back with ease. 

What Is the Best Gauge Speaker Wire for Car Audio?

Installing a speaker in a car. 

Installing a speaker in a car. 

The wire gauge is important, especially when you intend to carry the sound signal over long distances. Signal quality deteriorates with the wire length. Hence, to offset this, use a thicker speaker wire. 

It is also why there are different wire gauge recommendations as the audio signal carrying distances increase. Check the table below for the ideal speaker wire gauges based on the transmission length. 

Recommended Speaker Wire GaugeWire Length
Below 80 feet16 AWG
80 to 200 feet14 AWG
Over 200 feet10 to 12 AWG

Another critical consideration when changing speakers is the power rating of your subwoofer. Most cars use a 16 AWG cable, so this wire gauge size will suffice when replacing the primary subwoofer. 

However, you will require thick wires to install a more powerful subwoofer than the car’s speaker. A gauge of 10 to 12 AWG will suffice. The table below summarizes the ideal wire gauge sizes concerning the car’s speaker power ratings. 

Recommended Speaker Wire GaugeSubwoofer Rating
16 AWG100 W AWG
12 to 14 AWG100 to 200 W RMS
10 to 12 AWG300 W RMS and Above

What Is the Best Length of Car Speaker Wire?

Car speaker wire and other audio system parts. 

Car speaker wire and other audio system parts. 

When choosing the length of a car speaker wire, there’s one fundamental rule: Always choose a length some inches longer than necessary. It ensures you don’t run out of wire to relay the signal to where it is required. 

So, always be armed with a tape measure when determining the wire length. You also need a long string that runs all the size of the wire you intend to fix. Also, consider the wire length that will be lost around corners. 

Next, lay the string next to a tape measure to know the wire length you need to cut. Ensure you cut at least two extra feet of the wire. 

How do I Connect my Speaker Wire?

There are several rules of thumb when making connections with your speaker wire. 

First, you must ensure you get the terminal polarities right. Hence, you must connect the amplifier’s positive terminal to the speaker’s positive end. Usually, the speaker wires are color-coded to aid you in the connections. 

Also important is that car speakers are in dual setup for the stereo effect. Hence, when you connect them correctly while matching their polarities, you will have speakers in phase. Reversing their terminals will render them out of phase and harm their performance. 

For example, there will be a significant dip in the speaker’s bass function. Also, overall, the sound quality will dip. Therefore, getting the connections right for the best results is important. It will ensure you reap the most from your car’s sound system. 


It is easy to ignore the car speaker wire as it’s not as predominant as others, like the battery cable. However, there are details that you must consider regarding this wire, such as the type and gauge. In this guide, we’ve provided all the insights to ensure your car system is top-grade. 

I am Lillian Yang, having been a sales manager for over 10 years.

I have received many positive reviews from customers. They have praised our excellent service, on-time delivery, and high-quality cable assemblies.

For your projects, please provide cable assembly files/images/smples, etc., so that I can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

Contact me now and let’s get started on building your wire harnesses!

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