Modern cable technology for sound has not had significant progress over many years. For example, Figure 8 speaker cabling design has existed since the earliest electronics days. Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers to come up with significant technical improvements, and many ways to fancy marketing and overrated descriptions to get attention.
Whether these new technologies really work is another issue, but here's a brief overview of the top 5 and what they mean:
1) SCC OFC, UPOCC, SGC, SGSCC, etc.
This is one of the most popular and flaunted current dills in the cable world. There are many names but usually an abbreviation of any variant of "single crystal cups". The idea is that your regular copper cables contain many crystals per wire length. This is because all metals form crystals during manufacture, and if under non-ideal conditions it will form many crystals in the ingot. As they are drawn into a wire wire, the crystals form distinct sections of cable, which are theorized to act as small resistors with different electrical properties. This causes the clay to sound. The SCC is drawn from a single crystal cube of copper, which is made under controlled conditions and thus also very clean (6N or 7N).
2) Smooth surface copper
This works in a manner similar to SCC, but through another approach. A special annealing process is used to pull out the copper gradually, resulting in a softer surface. The resistance of the cable is proportional to its cross sectional area. Therefore, if the cable surface is not constant, the cable is theoretically made of thousands of small resistors of different qualities. The smoother surface of the conductor is translated into a cleaner conductive medium.
3) Teflon / cotton dielectric (insulation)
This is perhaps one of the less controversial technologies around, because it has a position in proven industrial applications. Electrical characteristics of any conductive medium are scientifically proven to be not only dependent on the medium itself but also dielectric around the medium, ie the isolation. The better the insulation, the better the electrical properties. Teflon is one of the most practically optimal materials known for insulation. Its dielectric strength is extremely high, but it is easy to handle and acts as a good physical barrier. The use is other than the air (with the exception of the possibility of using vacuum), which obviously presents practical problems when needed to separate two twisted wires. One way to go around this is to use a layer of cotton. Cotton is very porous (it has many small threads separated by air). Again, this can be a good way to isolate the cable on a small scale, but it is not practical for speaker cables or high outputs.
4) Silver conductor
If Teflon is one of the less controversial technologies around, silver is one with significant support in the industry. Exclusive experimental materials that are impractical to use as cables are silver the best leader we know. It is used in advanced lab equipment to link signal paths with minimal distortion. It is used for medical applications, for connection wires in prototypes and in communications satellites. There have been controversies with many brands claiming that silver is hard. This argument has some reason, because silver has incredibly high frequency performance (hence their use in demanding applications). But this factor also shows that the quality of the attached equipment is inadequate. Silver is known to be highly insensitive to any shortcomings in other components used. Logic tells us that it is not silver that is hard, but it is rather the most honest.
5) Cryogenically treated material
If silver is the least disputed design, it may be the most out there, the idea to top our 5th. Cryogenic treatment means that you cool a material to extreme temperatures (-180 degrees C or -300 degrees F), which was originally used to treat some forms of steel to improve hardness and strength. In fact, the effect on steel inner structure encourages the formation of finer grain. Ironically, this theory is in complete opposition to that of single crystal cups, aimed at reducing the number of grains. In addition, increased hardness is at the expense of increased brittleness, thereby increasing the number of microfractures in the material. Nevertheless, there are a lot of companies out there who claim superior performance due to this technology.
There is no doubt that many of these techniques are controversial. But what is never in doubt is our ability to judge for ourselves. Use your ears and listen to yourself. It is the best advice anyone can give to the audio enthusiast.