Yes, gauge does make a difference -- just like size makes a difference, I suppose. However, beyond some gauge/size, it's not meaningful. For longer runs of speaker cable, it is necessary to use thicker wire (smaller gauge number) to ensure that the audio/electrical signal is transmitted as accurately as possible. Now, at what point does it NOT matter much? For front and center speakers in a high-quality audio system, I would not personally use anything smaller than 12 gauge. I use the following as a rough criteria: 1) speaker cable runs of 8 feet or less: 14 gauge is fine 2) speaker cable runs of 8-12 feet: 12 gauge 3) speaker cable runs of more than 12 feet: 9 gauge. However, for rear or side surround speakers, where audio quality is less critical, Monster Cable says that 12 gauge is sufficient for runs up to about 50 feet. I have 2 runs of about 35 feet under my living room (to power the rear surrounds), and I use a 12 gauge Monster Cable wire that works fine.
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