Copper Vs. Tinned Speaker Wire

By Rachel Lucio

Composition of speaker wire has minimal impact on audio quality.
i speaker wire image by Paolo from

There are small differences between copper speaker wire and tinned speaker wire, none of which ultimately affect the quality of audio produced. Environment and location are pivotal when determining which type of wire to use.

Copper Wire

Copper is an ideal material for speaker wire due to its conductive nature. Plain copper speaker wire is composed of the copper wire covered by a plastic casing. Though copper wire is some of the least expensive speaker wire, it produces a quality result. One drawback to copper speaker wire is that it tends to corrode and may eventually break at the corrosion point.

Tinned Wire

Tinned speaker wire is wire that has had solder applied to it to prevent corrosion. Tinning has no impact on audio quality. Tinned speaker wire is used in marine applications due to its resistance to corrosion.

Audio Quality

Copper and tinned speaker wires produce essentially the same level of audio quality. What is more important than the type or material used, is the stereo wire gauge. The longer the stretch of wire, the lower the gauge or thicker the wire should be. If speakers will not be placed in close proximity to the receiver, a low gauge wire should be employed.