"Wires" and cables are the same thing. "Better" is a matter of personal opinion, and the "why" of it is still a mystery to most of us.
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What I am really asking is I can purchase high grade speaker wire pretty inexpensively. Say $50, if I choose to put spades or banana plugs on the price will go up but still pretty inexpensive. I see cheap cables for $100's and the prices rise dramatically from there.
So the question comes down to why pay so much for cables when I can simply buy wire and save a lot of money. Do the cables perform that much better?
Well, most audiophiles opt for cable that is more expensive than 'off the roll' wires. So presumably they will sound better, or else they would not do it.
I personally have quite a bit of money tied up in cables and I certainly feel it is money well spent.
Maybe you could borrow some decent cables from someone and compare. Then you can decide for yourself.
As roxy54 commented, the why is generally a mystery, but that doesn't make it not true. Personally, I think very low voltage signals benefit significantly from better quality wire/cable.
Cables / Wire are the '3rd rail' of hi-fi.
Several different camps all with their own drum to beat.
The RCI camp. Fundamental good measures are the key to good cabling.
Exotic design camp. Everything from multi-strand magnet wire to #12 solid for speakers or Silver / gold or even single crystal copper. DIY has a field day with this one.
Tone Control camp. Some cables / wires with 'known' problems have a following. High capacitance anyone?
Since I'm not rich enough to go with the cable of the week, I'm necessarily in the 'fundamental' camp. I chose well made cable from a known manufacturer and terminated some myself. interconnects are all factory terminated. I probably have 'only' 250$, tops, in cable.
it depends on what system you have , once I had stereo, all NAD system with, total cost msrp near $2000. There was no difference between borrowed hi-end cables, and 1 level cables from well known manufacturer (ie AQ), or cheap speaker cable from Home depot.
I used second option, because they were a lot better built, and convenient to use, nice banana plugs, etc.
Today, in a lot more interesting and better system, I do not imagine the listening without my choosen cables, total cost of them msrp is the same as all NAD based system mentioned above.
I became aware of speaker cable differences when I bought better speakers (Vandersteen 1Bs in maybe 1991 or so)...before that I simply bought larger gauge for longer runs, such as for pro PA needs. Back then I found that some AQ sounded better than whatever I had before, and that lead me down a long road resulting in a "cable museum". Now I'm into solid core, and it's clear that the more revealing your gear is the more important good cable seems to be...or at least more obvious.