I have to chime in on this one, the topic of wire is wire, has been beaten to death already, but I'll cover it some more.
Originally posted by SasquatchBump
RCA's- there is NO I repeat NO audible difference between a set of $15 and $50 RCA's.
the only thing to look for is proper shielding and gold plated ends. when you're driving in your car, you will not be able to hear a difference between a knukonceptz RCA and a monster RCA. I believe JLaine did an experiment with a cord from a house lamp with RCA ends and there was no audible difference.
Power Wire- Wire is Wire. You're going to get a little bit of electronic noise wherever you go for wire. I personally have done experiments with Electronic Noise Testers and even the human body gives off noise. Again, the shielding on the power cable only has to be about 2 millimeters thick to be effective.
Secondly, the only difference you MIGHT have between expensive power cable and cheaper power cable is the strand count in the cable. Higher strand count means that you will be able to have more voltage run through the wire which means more wattage that your amps can pull. If the strand count is the same, There is NO difference.
hence, the Monster Cable marketing ploy is just that, a marketing ploy. In home audio, there is a difference between the RCA's that come with your DVD/home entertainment system and cables bought seperately. Thats in HOME audio. In car audio, with the "tainted" sound medium which your car is, there will be no audible difference.
Copper wire is copper wire, yes and no, in regards to RCA cables, the main difference is in construction. If you are buying cable made with Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) you should be safe, NON-OFC is what the cheapo RCA's are made out of and will eventually oxidize. This will alter the sound of the cable adding "coloration" This will happen over time and your ears will not notice the change, they will simply adapt to the cable. When taking about a higher grade cable, it mainly has to do with its features, Twisted Pair, different shield types etc...Will you hear a difference in your car? Depends on how much bass you have been exposed to I would consider it peace of mind knowing you have a good cable.
Now every RCA is not created equal, we now have Silver Plated cables, Silver is a much better conductor (even has a lower resistance then gold) Silver does often improve higher audio frequencies and is known for being "brighter" then copper cables. So if you compared a copper RCA to a Silver or Silver Plated RCA I think you would notice a difference. Again though in your car moving at 60mph, I could see it hard to notice a difference. Another thing I must point out in Car Audio is that bass is usually emphasized more (I am guilty of this too ) So distinguishing differences can be hard.
We receive a lot of questions about noise and how it may be getting in to a system. One thing everyone seems to over look; If you have noise in your system, it may not be your rca cables. The cable merely relays the signal from the source your amp /preamp. Now if the signal is noisy before it gets to your RCA's replacing them will not stop your problem. Obviously RCA's can "absorb" noise over the 15-20ft run they have, this is why shield cables are available. But may not be the origin of the noise.
As for power wire, again OFC is the most important thing. Home Depot and Lowe's cable is NON-OFC and with the opaque jacket you wont even see it oxidize. Eventually this will cause a larger voltage drop and result in your amp running hotter, creating distortion and maybe even failure in extreme cases. Another good additive is tinned strands, tin will never oxidize, so for added protection, we tin our OFC cable (plus it looks pretty ) The tin also serves functional, but I'll leave that technical aspect for later. Also as mentioned, the more strands the more current the cable can flow, so what you want to look for - OFC, high strand cable.
So wire is not wire, be sure when shopping the cables you purchase are OFC.
no one really needs moster cables, but there is a definate change in signal quality as you go up the ladder. wires that ur neighbour used in the 70's to hook up his 8 track, prolly wont sound as good as $40 set of rca's