My father was a musician and audiophile... his sons (including me) understand the concepts behind it.
He used a McIntosh tube amp (those giant black cage things from the 1950's) and built his own speakers (HUGE things!) He also wired in a 30A box to power the things in the basement. When those McIntosh amps fired up, the entire house would fill with sound. He used 12 gauge cables to wire the thing up and was not concerned with power cords except if it was the correct gauge. His years as an engineer, musician and audiophile lead to some strange setups but he said he "kept the snake oil out".
Years passed and I was building systems, checking things out, doing "blind ABX" testing and reading information. There was a publication called Audio that delved into testing speaker wire in the late 80's... I think the report was around 27 pages long. The gathered "golden ears" musicians, recording artists, engineers and regular folks off the street to listen to their $250,000 audio system built into a custom sound room.
I remember the tests because they used oscilloscopes to compare signals between cables, being it Kimber, Monster Cable, 12 gauge 220V extension cord, $1,000 a meter cables etc. They found at frequencies between 5 and 20,000 hertz... there was NO DIFFERENCE between any of the cables! If they pushed it to 200,000 hertz... there was a slight tilt to the waveforms when comparing the wazoo to the extension cord. Yep, bats could tell the difference. The ultra-high frequencies can start inductively couple through the insulation at those frequencies so if you are a bat...
Basically, they then ran all the people through ABX blind testing using wazoo CD players, turntables etc through and the results were... no difference! The conclusion was that speaker cables constitute fraud on the part of companies selling them. How many audiophile publications would say that?!
I tested it out on a set of Infinity Betas ($10,000 in 1990 four-piece set) Used Nachamichi mono-blocks to power them (not my system BTW) Since I was in Italy at the time, I used some 12ga 220V heavy duty extension cord VS $400 speaker cable. We went through the routine one weekend with 6 guys and could not tell the difference... we did notice the difference when using 18 gauge zip cord though. The owner was happy because he was moving and needed longer cables for his new house.
I then got into PA and used some good ol' psycho-acoustic techniques to set the system up. Carver 993 bi-amped speakers (two 15", two 6.5" midrange cones, two 1" horn loaded compression drivers) I ran the crossover at 400Hz/5KHz at lower power outputs and 1000/5KHz at high power outputs. Rapco 12 gauge cables with Phoenix Gold banana plugs connected it up. Set a 24dB brickwall at 40Hz and boosted the 40/50/62 Hz bands at +6dB. The boost fell off to -4dB at 125Hz and gave the illusion of deep rolling bass
The speakers sat on a hollow stage for the "bass board effect" (as my dad called it) and the amps were a 1,500 Peavey digital amp (12 pounds) for the bass and a Carver M1.5t fan-cooled amp for the mid/highs. I used a single octave RTA and 1/3rd octave CD and other tests to make sure everything was positioned correctly. It sounded very good for PA and blew away many other more expensive systems. I generally kept it at 2 speakers but, at times had to hook more amps and speakers for output. A Tripp-Lite 20A power conditioner was used to protect the system and it worked well.
While doing PA, I got suckered into building a few automotive systems. Yeah, one of them blew the glass out of the car kind of thing. I liked the Polk and Infinity speakers for mid/highs and Kicker Competition dual 12" subs in sealed boxes. A very educational experience trying to get those things to sound right. My signiture was a very clean sound with ultra-deep bass with the "boom" adjusted out (cut 125Hz trick) Another trick was using two 8" woofers in the front crossing to the 12" subs in the back at 70Hz so there was a soundstage. If I could not use 8" woofers in the front, I would pull out the psycho-acoustics tricks and underlap the cross overs (18dB/Octave sub and 12dB Octave mids/highs) Set the sub for 85Hz and mids/highs for 125Hz and get a natural hole in the response. Adjust out with the settings and roll. The great thing about car audio is it is so tough to make it sound right that all the rules are thrown out the window... sometimes the strangest combinations sounded the best.
So now the speaker wire BS is in AC power cables?!
Uhhhhh, well... that is a new one on me! Gee... my stock power cables feeding 1KW+ Peavey digital/Peavey analog and Carver amps worked fine. I hope we are not talking about DETACHABLE power cables! If you are worried about the power, get a Tripp-Lite hospital grade UPS that takes incoming power, filters it then sends it to the batteries. DC is taken off the batteries and fed through to recreate a 120VAC sine wave. We use those to protect $200K laboratory analyzers and they work well. Forget the cables, get a hospital-grade UPS power conditioner! Use a 12 gauge power cord with hospital grade plugs if that is your fancy... it works well on equipment that is a hell of a lot more sensitive than audio amplifiers.
Nowadays, my system is much more basic... Onkyo receiver, JVC DVD player, fiber cables, 12 gauge Rapco/Phoenix Gold banana plugs, Infinity Overture 1 speakers and a 12" AR subwoofer. 1" domes/4" mids/8" sealed powered (150W built-in amps) going to the AR at 80Hz. Very, very good sound and has a high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) The system is very small, very heavy and performs at 98% of my giant audiophile systems of back in the day.
One day when I settle down, I'll build a home theater with discreet amps, ELF subwoofers and wazoo speakers. Wire them up with Rapco Professional PA cables/Phoenix Gold banana plugs and hospital grade Tripp-Lite power conditioning. I'll spend my money on the room and speakers, not snake oil cables and completely forget $1,000 AC power cords!
I admitt, it was fun messing around with a rack filled with 4,200 watts of power/EQs/cross overs and power conditioners... always something sexy about rack mounted components. For now, I just move the speakers around and find their huge phonebook like size allows for better adjustments for imaging. The small 12" sub is much easier to position correctly VS the giant 4 ft. towers of the old days. But... I still miss the giant KEFs... rosewood is a keeper.
I'm still an audiophile, but a very critical one... anyone have a green marker so I can cover the edge of my CDs so the laser won't defract?