Speaker wires are critical to your audio system. They carry signals and power from one device to another, allowing you to have a single cable run from the power outlet to your speakers. They come in many configurations and uses, some with coaxial shielding and others without.
The two most common high-current speaker wires for car amplifier wiring are oxygen-free copper (Ofc) and copper-clad aluminum (Cca). While there are many differences between these two types of power wire, the choice depends on your preferred features.
To help you choose the speaker wire that will give you the best sound quality. It is essential to understand how these wires are made and what features make them better or worse when it comes to performance. So, let’s delve right into our discussion.
What is Ofc Wire?
An OFC wire is a type of electrical cable that consists of an insulated copper wire wrapped in an outer layer of fiberglass or plastic. This outer layer protects the copper from corrosion, which could result in short circuits and reduced lifespan. OFC wires are often used in car audio wiring because they’re easy to install and conduct electricity well.
The OFC features several standards defined by the unified numbering system (UNS) specifying the oxygen content in the copper composition. The oxygen content in OFE (oxygen-free electronic) stands at 0.0005%, while that in oxygen-free (OF) is approximately 0.001%. And the oxygen content in the Electrolytic tough pitch (ETP) ranges between 0.02%-0.04%.
All three standards conduct electricity with lower resistance and are used for high-frequency applications like telephone or computer wires.
- It’s relatively easy to install as it requires no splicing of wires.
- Wire has a lower impedance than coaxial cable
- The outer sheath of OFC cable is made of aluminum foil, which reduces noise interference and phase shifts.
- Delivers clear and crisp sound
- Excellent ductility and flexibility
- Better absorption of heat
- Reduced corrosion
- It’s more costly than CCA wire.
What is CCA Wire?
If you want to improve your amplification systems, copper-clad aluminum power wire might be a good option. Its wire is made by placing an outer layer of copper around an inner core of aluminum. The outer layer protects the inner core from physical damage and provides a convenient place to attach connectors.
The main benefit of copper-clad aluminum wire is its convenience and affordability. You can buy it at the Amazon store and install it in minutes. Also, this wire makes a great choice if you’re looking for something that works with your budget or schedule constraints.
The CCA wire conducts electricity much more efficiently than pure copper and is used in electrical cabling systems, such as data and power cables.
- More affordable than the OFC wire
- Superb mechanical strength to withstand damage during outdoor installations
- Lightweight makes the installation process easy.
- Perfect for low current load communication signals
- It’s more susceptible to corrosion and damage from physical contact with other signals
- Larger gauge wire size should be used to prevent skin effect.
Copper-Clad Aluminum vs Oxygen Free Copper Wire— Who Wins?
Once you have settled on the car stereo to install, it’s time to plan for the power needed to get your system up and running. The challenge lies in whether you should go for regular copper wires, OFC, or CCA cables. However, if you’re still stuck on the best car stereo to go for, click here and learn more about how much you need to revamp or replace your car stereo.
Before buying a CCA or OFC wiring kit, you need to know what each type of wire brings to your car’s audio system. So let’s dig in!
1. Current Resistivity
Copper-clad aluminum wires have a higher resistance when they’re warmer than when cooler due to the skin effect. This means they take more electricity to conduct electricity, making them less efficient at carrying electricity than oxygen-free copper wires.
2. Corrosion Resistance
CCA wires are more brittle and tend to corrode more quickly than oxygen-free copper wires. This makes them less durable and unreliable over time. Oxygen is the number one factor that causes the corrosion of metals. Removing oxygen in Oxygen-free copper wires makes them highly resistant to corrosion, thus making them more durable and better options for your marine equipment.
Copper-clad aluminum wire is more affordable than oxygen-free copper wire. This is because oxygen-free copper is more expensive to make and requires more money for the installation. In contrast, the costs for making copper-clad aluminum are lower, and installation is easy. However, ofc is more affordable in the long run due to minimized repair and maintenance costs. So, weigh the options before going all in on CCA wires.
OFC copper wires hold up better against vibration and impact than copper-clad aluminum wires. This explains why they’re often used in heavy machinery or construction projects where such forces are present.
The table below summarizes the differences between OFC and CCA wire.
|Features||OFC Wires||CCA Wires|
|Ease of Installation||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Takeaway||Excellent for high-frequency systems||Perfect for low current load|
And that’s it, our complete analysis of these two wires—CCA vs OFC speaker wires. As you can see, OFC wires take the day with superb features to pride in. In summary, if you’re looking for a wire that will guarantee longevity, efficiency, and excellent conductivity, then you should go for the OFC wiring kit.
However, if cost and weight are top priorities, you should choose CCA wire, the cheaper alternative to pure copper wire. For best results and durability when working with CCA, use a larger gauge wire size. The decision of your preference solely lies with you.