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

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fr0g's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
bigblue235:

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.


 



Well spotted.. Wink

Indeed... Speed of sound at sea level is about 340 metres per second... (which is noticable)
Speed of light (pretty much the same as electricity).. approx 300 million metres per second ( almost a million times faster)...so no, you will not notice a "delay" with different cable lengths.

(Ever notice in a thunderstorm, you see a lightning flash... thats ~instantanious...then a second or 2 later... thunder...Thats the delay)

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

Meh. I wish zoe ball was here.

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

No fair enough, I can see all the arguments for and against, mine is more based on the impedence / resistance affecting the sound. For the sake of a few pounds, I keep the same lengths and don't worry about whether it may or may not be affecting the sound

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

I made a boo-boo in that I thought my front speaker cable lengths were all 1m when I went down the bi-amping/bi-wiring route.  They're not - they're 1.5m.  So now, I have 3x1.5m cables and 1x1m cables for my fronts - there is no problem I can detect.  If something does go pear-shaped I'll let you know...


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fr0g's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
professorhat:
No fair enough, I can see all the arguments for and against, mine is more based on the impedence / resistance affecting the sound. For the sake of a few pounds, I keep the same lengths and don't worry about whether it may or may not be affecting the sound



And surprisingly, I agree. I have equal lengths and would try always to do so for a front pair.

...and I think all 3 elecrical properties can affect the signal...whether that difference is audible, I dunno... Wink
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
fr0g:

professorhat:
No fair enough, I can see all the arguments for and against, mine is more based on the impedence / resistance affecting the sound. For the sake of a few pounds, I keep the same lengths and don't worry about whether it may or may not be affecting the sound



And surprisingly, I agree. I have equal lengths and would try always to do so for a front pair.

...and I think all 3 elecrical properties can affect the signal...whether that difference is audible, I dunno... Wink



Of course, I would always go for equal lengths as well - especially when upgrading and selling on, with sceptics out there, equals will be easier to sell. However, my amp is on one end of my rack and therefore closer to my right speaker. The Odyssey 4 is thick cable and I did not want an extra 75cm of cable curling up behind my rack. I had one 2m and one 2.75m lengths terminated. As fr0g said, I don't think the mother in law's ears would detect a difference there!
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

Interesting duscussion... The argument of having the same lenghts to prevent slight variances in impedance & resistance is a valid one BUT if the cables are 6 metres long and one speaker is just 1 metre away from the amp: what do you do with the remaining 5 metres? Right: you bundle them up or tidy them together in a way that may very well lead to more interference or variances in electrical properties in the cable itself... Seems like a classical "Catch 22"-ish situation...


 All my speakers will be run by different lengths of cable and I will probably never notice it. And my guess is: no one ever will Big SmileWink

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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
fr0g:
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)


Funny that because call the other side of the world or even the middle east and there's a few seconds of delay. I think the word exageration creeps in here!


Granted in a speaker run its going to be milliseconds at the most but arguably anything out of sync is not going to sound as good as anything in perfect sync even if you can't discernably hear the difference in timing per se. I guess some will believe in even lengths some will not. However, if you want to guarantee something as near perfection as possible then its the only way to do it, at least so far as left to right is concerned.

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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
bigblue235:

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



 I know but having a longer run of cable has a similar effect as it delays the sound to your ears by a few millisecs.

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

Sorry, but there is no exaggeration here. The pseed of light is 300000000 metres per seconds (or 186282 mph in old money). That is about 7 times around the earth in a second. Electricity in a copper cable travels at 99.9% of that speed. A metre difference in cable gives a delay of 300000000 of a second, which even the people on this forum cant hear Smile


The speed of a phone call cannot be compared due to the various exchanges and processing the signal goes through

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

Sorry, but there is no exaggeration here. The pseed of light is 300000000 metres per seconds (or 186282 mph in old money). That is about 7 times around the earth in a second. Electricity in a copper cable travels at 99.9% of that speed. A metre difference in cable gives a delay of 300000000 of a second, which even the people on this forum cant hear Smile


The speed of a phone call cannot be compared due to the various exchanges and processing the signal goes through



Exactly. As I said, a few posts up - it's a myth that you need to have equal lengths.
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professorhat's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?

I'm not sure about all this myth stuff... sounds like some sort of mystical wizard told us all to do it! I'd say it's a recommendation based on proven science (for once!) that may or may not affect the sound depending on the difference in lengths - if you're not sure or can't be bothered to test, just use the same lengths, whereas if you want to try it out and find that it doesn't affect the sound don't use the same...

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

In my humble opinion there should be a blind test with several different (and also ridiculously different!) cable lengths in the next issue of WHAT HI-FI CoolCoolCool!!!

bigblue235's picture
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Re: Speaker cable lengths - Same length on each speaker or not?
Alsone:
 I know but having a longer run of cable has a similar effect as it delays the sound to your ears by a few millisecs.


There are delays with both, granted. But the difference between them is so huge it's impossible to compare them.  


Delay on amps is all to do with distance from speakers, I've never heard of anyone setting a delay in their amp because of the length of their speaker cables Smile


FWIW, I have equal lengths on my cables too, just.. because!


One of my mates is a scientist in this field and I'm wary of giving him 'advice' in hi-fi. But there are some things that don't make sense scientifically, but seem apparent in real-world testing. One of these being a blind test with speaker cables (cable talk 3.1 vs QED SA) in which the 'better' cable was picked out with ease.


If it makes you happy, do it. If you don't care, I don't think you'll suffer too much!

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