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Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

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leebanun's picture
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Hi,

I am hearing contrasting advice in magazines and shops. I will be installing silver anniversary cable soon. Should i keep the cable run for each speaker the same size or is it ok to keep the front speaker cable lengths the same and then the rear speaker runs the same? Its a costly setup so i do not wish to have extra metres of cable gone to waste if its not required. But if it effects performance then i WILL! Many thanks in advance

matengawhat's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

i'm a firm believer in keeping lengths the same for pairs - so the front two sohuld be same length and the back to the same but front to back doesn't matter

hifi_nut's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
matengawhat:
i'm a firm believer in keeping lengths the same for pairs - so the front two sohuld be same length and the back to the same but front to back doesn't matter



Agreed plus I kept the centre speaker length the same, I think...........

R

professorhat's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

Indeed, there is no need to ensure the front leads are the same length as the rear leads. You just want to make sure the left and right fronts are the same length (e.g. 2 metres each) and the left and right rears are the same length (e.g. 10 metres each). This is also why people quite often go for cheaper cables on the rears as it saves a substantial amount of money considering the lengths required.

Mark Ellis's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

One thing you're always certain of on here is a consistent answer...


See here - only a matter of days ago:


http://whathifi.com/forums/t/104782.aspx 


Wink


 

professorhat's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

Obviously all of us who think you should have the same length were away that day!!

Gerrardasnails's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
professorhat:
Obviously all of us who think you should have the same length were away that day!!




It really is a myth that you need to keep the same lengths.
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Screen - Samsung UE46D8000.  Sources - Dell Zino HD 410; Sky HD; Sony BDP S550; Wyred 4 Sound DAC1.  Amps - Yamaha RX-A3010; SimAudio Moon I-3 RS.  Speakers - Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand; Vienna Acoustics Waltz Grand centre; Proficient Audio W690 rears; Monitor Audio RSW12.  Cables - Van Damme Blue 4mm speaker cable; Townsend DCT300 and Atlas Voyager interconnects; Van den Hul Optocoupler.

hifi_nut's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
Gerrardasnails:

professorhat:
Obviously all of us who think you should have the same length were away that day!!




It really is a myth that you need to keep the same lengths.




Possibly but it just seems to make sense to keep 'pairs' the same.


R

Paulthefilmfan's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

Yeh, like the Prof said. I have done this too.


On a more interesting note...My dad had his system wired up with some uneven lengths in it and so I got behind there and sorted it out one weekend and we both noticed that the sound was much more cohesive and intergrated as a whole and therefore much better to listen too.

matengawhat's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

any cable provides a resistance - the longer the cable the more resistance and more loss of detail through degredation of single although we are talking over massive lengths but i strongly believe you should always run matched pairs - for example try using different length interconnect say a .5m to a 3m on the l and r channel and you'll soon see the timings screwed

fr0g's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
Gerrardasnails:

professorhat:
Obviously all of us who think you should have the same length were away that day!!




It really is a myth that you need to keep the same lengths.



I pretty much agree...to a point. But it is only the same myth as different (decent) cables sounding particularly different.
The main difference in any cable is the differing electrical properties... Impedance, Capacitance, and inductance.
If you half a cables lengths, then those values all change by a factor of 2.

My opinion, is it doesn't matter so much, as long as it's not a crazy difference like 1m and 10m, and that there WILL be a difference, but that it is probably inaudible...

Personally I keep them the same length, but I wouldn't care so much for rear effects.

I have different cable now for main stereo pair, centre, and rears... Has it affected the system...nope.

I upgraded my fronts recently on a trial basis, and felt there was a smidgen more detail...But that is with hyper critical music listening... For AV I simply could not tell the difference.


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Gerrardasnails's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
fr0g:

Gerrardasnails:

professorhat:
Obviously all of us who think you should have the same length were away that day!!




It really is a myth that you need to keep the same lengths.



I pretty much agree...to a point. But it is only the same myth as different (decent) cables sounding particularly different.
The main difference in any cable is the differing electrical properties... Impedance, Capacitance, and inductance.
If you half a cables lengths, then those values all change by a factor of 2.

My opinion, is it doesn't matter so much, as long as it's not a crazy difference like 1m and 10m, and that there WILL be a difference, but that it is probably inaudible...

Personally I keep them the same length, but I wouldn't care so much for rear effects.

I have different cable now for main stereo pair, centre, and rears... Has it affected the system...nope.

I upgraded my fronts recently on a trial basis, and felt there was a smidgen more detail...But that is with hyper critical music listening... For AV I simply could not tell the difference.



From Townsend's website:

The Townshend Audio EDCT Analogue and Digital Interconnect and Speaker cables are rapidly acquiring a reputation as being the best cables one can buy. They are simply natural and satisfying components for the discerning listener. They neither add nor take away from the sound and are never fatiguing or irritating; they are just right! We even recommend the use of our Isolda speaker cables in un-equal lengths, as there is no change in the sound as the cable gets longer!

If a manufacturer insists on the use of equal lengths of speaker cable, then it is an admission that the cable changes the sound with length and therefore is imperfect!

From Chord's website:

Does speaker cable need to be used in equal lengths?
Different lengths of speaker cable will mean that the amplifier will be driving a different electrical load on each channel. This is extremely unlikely to cause any damage but it would be worth checking with the manufacturer of your amplifier before doing so. Whether or not different lengths of cable will have an audible effect on the sound is much harder to answer. We have carried out listening tests using different lengths of speaker cable and have been unable to notice any difference. The lengths we used were three and five metres and six and ten metres. As long as the lengths are not wildly different there should not be a problem.



__________________

Screen - Samsung UE46D8000.  Sources - Dell Zino HD 410; Sky HD; Sony BDP S550; Wyred 4 Sound DAC1.  Amps - Yamaha RX-A3010; SimAudio Moon I-3 RS.  Speakers - Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand; Vienna Acoustics Waltz Grand centre; Proficient Audio W690 rears; Monitor Audio RSW12.  Cables - Van Damme Blue 4mm speaker cable; Townsend DCT300 and Atlas Voyager interconnects; Van den Hul Optocoupler.

Alsone's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
Gerrardasnails:

professorhat:
Obviously all of us who think you should have the same length were away that day!!

It really is a myth that you need to keep the same lengths.


 I disagree. If the lengths are different then there's a delay between the signal reaching the right speaker and reaching the left and this puts the sound out of sync.


As others have said, keeping the lengths the same on pairs is important but front to back doesn't matter so much as most amps allow delays to be introduced to slow the signal to the fronts to compensate for the longer run to the back.

fr0g's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
Alsone:
Gerrardasnails:

professorhat:
Obviously all of us who think you should have the same length were away that day!!

It really is a myth that you need to keep the same lengths.


 I disagree. If the lengths are different then there's a delay between the signal reaching the right speaker and reaching the left and this puts the sound out of sync.


As others have said, keeping the lengths the same on pairs is important but front to back doesn't matter so much as most amps allow delays to be introduced to slow the signal to the fronts to compensate for the longer run to the back.




Sorry. A delay...Well the signals speed means it would go around the world 7 times in one second, so the chance of you hearing a delay in a few metres, is...guess)
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fr0g's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
Gerrardasnails:

fr0g:

Gerrardasnails:

professorhat:
Obviously all of us who think you should have the same length were away that day!!




It really is a myth that you need to keep the same lengths.



I pretty much agree...to a point. But it is only the same myth as different (decent) cables sounding particularly different.
The main difference in any cable is the differing electrical properties... Impedance, Capacitance, and inductance.
If you half a cables lengths, then those values all change by a factor of 2.

My opinion, is it doesn't matter so much, as long as it's not a crazy difference like 1m and 10m, and that there WILL be a difference, but that it is probably inaudible...

Personally I keep them the same length, but I wouldn't care so much for rear effects.

I have different cable now for main stereo pair, centre, and rears... Has it affected the system...nope.

I upgraded my fronts recently on a trial basis, and felt there was a smidgen more detail...But that is with hyper critical music listening... For AV I simply could not tell the difference.



From Townsend's website:

The Townshend Audio EDCT Analogue and Digital Interconnect and Speaker cables are rapidly acquiring a reputation as being the best cables one can buy. They are simply natural and satisfying components for the discerning listener. They neither add nor take away from the sound and are never fatiguing or irritating; they are just right! We even recommend the use of our Isolda speaker cables in un-equal lengths, as there is no change in the sound as the cable gets longer!

If a manufacturer insists on the use of equal lengths of speaker cable, then it is an admission that the cable changes the sound with length and therefore is imperfect!

From Chord's website:

Does speaker cable need to be used in equal lengths?
Different lengths of speaker cable will mean that the amplifier will be driving a different electrical load on each channel. This is extremely unlikely to cause any damage but it would be worth checking with the manufacturer of your amplifier before doing so. Whether or not different lengths of cable will have an audible effect on the sound is much harder to answer. We have carried out listening tests using different lengths of speaker cable and have been unable to notice any difference. The lengths we used were three and five metres and six and ten metres. As long as the lengths are not wildly different there should not be a problem.



Eh.
The Townsend quote is pure and utter BS and in fact would put me off using them entirely. I am pleasantly surprised how truthfull Chords quote is...
.
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bigblue235's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
Alsone:
As others have said, keeping the lengths the same on pairs is important but front to back doesn't matter so much as most amps allow delays to be introduced to slow the signal to the fronts to compensate for the longer run to the back.


I think there's maybe a bit of a misunderstanding here. You set delay because of different distances from your lugholes to the speakers, not because of different lengths of speaker cables Smile


You delay the sound to whichever speakers you're closest to. If, as with most folk, your seating position is close to your rear speakers, you'd set a delay to the rear.