A friend of mine said that RCA cables are just speaker wire and that I could buy the end connectors and wire them to speaker wire and they would work the same. I tried this, it doesn't work. What am I doing wrong or is my friend way off? any help would be great thanks.
your friend is correct, an rca plug attached to speaker wire will work the same as one you can buy from the store. Be sure when you attach the wires to the plug, you dont let any wire fragments stray and short the connection.
Actualy, your friend is WRONG.
RCA cables are ment for line level signals, such as the one coming out of your CD or tape deck. The wire used is a shielded coax type, similar to TV coax. They need to be shielded as the signal is prone to interference.
Speaker wire, for the most part, is not shielded. There are some audio systems that do use RCA connectors on thier speaker wires. I think it's an attempt to make for an easy(no tools required) hook up. Cheap shelf systems and Bose come to mind.