If you don't mind damaging your amplifier, wire nuts or twist and tape are excellent solutions to lengthen speaker lines. Wire nuts are designed for solid conductors and should not be used for stranded-to-stranded connections. The wires inside audio equipment are usually paired in parallel with other similar pairs. If one conductor is disconnected, the remaining conductors will still have current flowing through them - this waste of energy can cause damage over time. To prevent this, some amplifiers have dual power supplies: one that uses only two conductors, and another that uses all four. This allows the amplifier to operate correctly even if a pair of wires is broken.
Twist locks are useful for tying multiple lengths of cable together. They can also be used to secure cables to metal surfaces. Because of their plastic coating, they won't damage copper or aluminum conductors.
Tie wraps are thin strips of fabric or rubber used to bundle or tie down cables. They're commonly seen after installations when it's necessary to keep cables out of the way until they're needed. Modern versions can be removed without cutting the cable itself.
Cutting speaker cables is not recommended because it will damage the insulation on the copper conductors which could lead to short circuits if not treated carefully. Cut cables should always be disposed of properly using electrical tape to seal any cuts before they heal over.
By the way, if you want to know what the ideal gauge of speaker wire is for your system, check out my speaker wire 101. "Terminating the wire" refers to the process of attaching a connector to the end of a length of speaker wire. For most applications, we usually just use regular old house wiring as our terminating method. It's easy and cheap, which is why it's popular.
But speaker cables come in different gauges, and some manufacturers claim their cables are optimized for certain types of systems. If you're looking to improve the sound quality of your system, then you may want to consider using heavier-gauge cable. The thicker the cable, the better because more metal conductors mean less resistance between your speakers and your amplifier/DAC.
The term "termination" is often used interchangeably with "clamping" or "lacing". They all refer to the same thing: using something to cut off (or clamp onto) one end of a piece of cable so you can connect it up to another item. Most commonly, we use electrical connectors for this purpose. But other items such as paper tape, rubber bands, and plastic ties have been used in the past; anything that can be easily closed up and kept under control while connecting two wires together is fine.
Before you can work with speaker wire, you must cut it down to size and expose the metal wires inside the plastic casing. You may do this by stripping the wire using a wire stripper and then cutting it to size with scissors or a knife. The metal inside the insulation should always be kept separated from the metal wire itself.
Stripping the insulation without also touching the metal core of the wire will destroy its ability to carry current. When working with live electricity, every bit of exposed metal needs to be protected from contact with other objects. If you're not careful, you could cause an electrical shock by touching the metal shell of the wire after it has been stripped.
After the insulation has been removed from one end of the speaker wire, you can use your electronic equipment to connect it up in a circuit. The good news is that most components available today are designed to work with balanced signals, which means that they don't care if there's an odd number or an even number of wires coming out of a connector. For example, two wires going into a jack is considered balanced information, while three wires (A, B, and Ground) are considered unbalanced. In fact, some connectors are designed to work best when there are more than two wires connected to them at any one time!
Unbalanced signals are used for sending audio information into devices such as amplifiers and receivers.
There's a good method and a bad way to splice speaker cables. Twist the speaker cables together and secure them using electrical tape. However, tape deteriorates over time, and the slightest push on the wires may readily separate that type (typically a Y) of connection. A speaker wire spool (matching the gauge of the existing wire) is all you need to do a perfect job of joining those two cables.
The best way to join two cables is to use an electric drill and screw terminals. First, twist the ends of the two cables together. Then, using a pair of needle-nose pliers, squeeze the center conductor of one cable into one of the holes in the screw terminal until it touches both the center and outer conductors. Repeat for the other cable so they're not visible. Finally, insert the whole thing into your electric drill and drill several small holes in each cable about 1/4 inch from the end. Stop when you reach the innermost layer of fiberglass insulation; don't drill any deeper. Use a sharp knife to cut between the holes to create a new channel for electricity to flow through.
This process will work with up to 2 meters (6 feet) of cable. Any longer than that, and you'll want to consider using one of these products instead: splicing tapes or sleeves. They're designed to make splicing speaker cables easier and more reliable than using tape.