Fear of harm is actually a significant hurdle that stops many people from getting into the world of audio. When some people learn that most high end speakers need to be connected with speaker wire, they think electricity, shocks, and get the heebie-jeebies.
It’s perfectly understandable that the idea of electrically wiring anything might make someone nervous, but the truth is that the amount of power that actually flows into speaker wire is generally far too little to cause actual harm – or even notice for that matter – if you did manage to get “shocked.”
Can live speaker wire shock you if you touch it?
Technically yes, but you probably wouldn’t even able to even feel it.
Without bogging you down with too much electrical engineering, a single channel of a residential grade receiver or amplifier will rarely put out more than 100 watts and will only average a fraction of that. That’s about 20-50 times less watts than a standard United States wall socket is rated for.
And that’s assuming you straight up touch a live speaker wire that’s not connected to anything at all, when in reality a live wire is probably already connected to a speaker, in which case the electricity is far more prone to continue along the highly conductive and low resistance speaker components rather than into your skin which has much higher electrical resistance. If you accidentally brush a finger along some point of a speaker wire/terminal when it’s on, the odds that you’d even notice are very low.
Now, if someone cranked up the volume on a 1000 plus watt amp and grabbed bare wires coming from all channels at once, yea they might get a bit of a jolt, but for the vast majority of us that aren’t a cast member of Jackass, nothing like that will ever happen.