Can Speaker Wire Go Bad? (Explained For Beginners)

In your home or studio, you may have many speakers for your stereo system. What if you need to replace the speakers or just want to rearrange your systems?

But as your systems are getting old, you might think should I replace my old wire? You might think can speaker wire go bad with age? It can be a hassle if it can go bad, and you could potentially ruin a speaker.

Well, speaker wires do not go bad with age very easily. If you take care of it and put it in a good environment, speaker wires can last many decades without going bad.

But if you don’t take care of it, it can go bad to some extent which I will explain in details.

Can Speaker Wire Go Bad

So How Does A Speaker Wire Go Bad With Age?

If you leave the speaker wire without proper care, the exposed copper wire can deteriorate over time. The bare copper wire gets exposed to the environment for a long time and, as a result, becomes heavily oxidized and corrodes the wire, turning the copper green or black.

As the copper wire corrodes due to oxidation, it will affect the conductivity of the wire. This means the sound quality from the wire will become unstable and poor. 

Copper wires that stay connected to the speakers and amplifiers for long periods can also be affected by oxidation.

You should always avoid having a bad speaker wire because it can cause harm to your speakers or amplifier. 

How To Prevent Speaker Wire From Going Bad

There are several ways to prevent speaker wires from degrading. First thing first, make sure all cables are properly taken care of. This means getting the wire away from a moist environment where It can get oxidized quickly. 

I have mentioned that if the speaker wires get connected to the speakers and amplifiers for a long time, it can also get oxidized and deteriorate.

To prevent this corrosion, you should always unplug and re-plug your wires once in a while.

Even if you have a speaker cable that is exposed to corrosion from oxidation, you can always remove the affected portion of the wire by cutting it back a few inches. 

After doing this, you would usually still find the bright copper. This means the wire is still in good condition and could be used to drive speakers if you wanted to.

It’s important to clean all connection points on your speaker wire once in a while. Doing so will leave you with a clean, shiny, and fresh-looking copper. This will help protect your connections from oxidation.

It would be best if you also were careful with speaker wiring. Poor connection of the wires and 

It’s worth mentioning that today’s commercial speaker cables are more robust than earlier generations. Thankfully, improvements in the grade of copper used in speaker wire production have helped to extend speaker cables’ already lengthy lifespan.

This is because today’s speaker cables are composed of oxygen-free copper. Oxygen-free copper is less prone to corrosion. As a result, oxygen-free copper outperforms traditional copper. If you want your speaker cables to survive a long time, make sure you use oxygen-free wire.

What Exactly Is A Speaker Wire?

Speaker wire, also called speaker cable, is a wire used to connect speakers to other sound equipment. The most versatile type of speaker wire is copper.

It’s affordable and low in resistance but prone to oxidation over time. Copper can be insulated with other materials like plastic casings or rubber insulation bands to protect the material from corrosion and keep it from deteriorating over time.

In contrast, silver cables offer clearer sound signals but are also more expensive because they require mining the material at a higher rate than copper does.

Copper-clad aluminum cables consist of an aluminum conductor covered by a thin layer of copper. These types of wires are typically safer on your wallet but have a higher resistance than pure copper wires do – they aren’t quite as effective at transferring signals.

Oxygen-free copper cables consist of pure copper wires refined to remove oxygen and other impurities. These types of wires are the most expensive but also offer the clearest sound signals.

There are many different kinds of speaker wire out there today, offering varying benefits, quality, and price points.

And determining which speaker wire is right for you often depends on your exact needs when it comes to your home theater system or surround sound setup.

Can speaker wire be too long?

Yes, the speaker wire can be too long. When using speaker wire, it’s best to avoid having the distance between the amplifiers and speaker longer than 50 feet.

If it is longer than 50 feet, there can be some interference and can cause a lower sound quality.

It also depends on the quality of the wire. A thicker Speaker wire or expensive cable can produce quality sound without sound loss much farther. But even with the thicker and quality ones, more than 50 feet is not an ideal distance. 

It will still have some audio quality loss after the 50 feet. 

Can Small Speaker Wire Affect Sound Quality?

Although using a thin cable won’t impact sound quality (i.e., you won’t detect a difference), it can waste power and cause speaker volume loss.

For speakers up to 50W for 4-ohm speakers and around 100W for 8-ohm speakers in relatively short distances, most people use about 18AWG wire (25ft or less).

Is It A Good Idea To Cut Speaker wires?

Cutting speaker wires is perfectly acceptable and safe. However, when cutting speaker wires, make sure they are not connected to any device or source of power.

When buying a bundle of speaker wires, you’ll need to cut it down into manageable lengths. Occasionally, a change in location or environment may necessitate modifying or cutting your old speaker wires. Before any work can be done on it, the metal wires inside the insulated plastic casing must be exposed.

If you need to cut a speaker wire, ensure it is not connected to any speakers or the powered amplifier’s output.

To cut a speaker wire safely, you must first unplug it before cutting it. A pair of plier-style wire cutters, or even a knife or scissors, can be used to cut speaker wires.

To figure out how much speaker wire you’ll need, measure the distance you’ll be running your wire through. This can be accomplished by running a rope or string from your amplifier to your speaker.

Always remember to add an extra inch to your measurement to account for any slacks.

This will prevent you from cutting and joining speaker wires that may be unnecessary due to a miscalculation of the wire length required for your setup.


In this blog post, I have outlined that speaker wire can go bad if not taken care of. The copper can get heavily oxidized if left without treatment.

So, be sure to follow our tips on making your speaker wire last a lifetime and be a long-time assistant!

Jacob Miller

Hi, I'm Jacob Miller, and welcome to AudioOver, a platform designed to help aspiring music producers create music from home. With a musical background inspired by my award-winning father, I've been passionate about music since I was young.

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