Different lengths for the left and right speaker cables: is this a problem? - diyAudio
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Old 18th January 2004, 03:46 PM   #1
Bricolo is online now Bricolo  France
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Default Different lengths for the left and right speaker cables: is this a problem?

Hi,


Is this a problem if the left loudspeaker has a longer cable (to the amp) than the right one?

The room setup will be:

Left----------------------------------Right-----------Audio Rack
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Old 18th January 2004, 04:14 PM   #2
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Hi Bricolo,

I alway try for the same length on left and right for a couple reasons. One is simply that my system could be laid out differently next month and would be mad if one of the cables were too short. The other is I want both speakers to present the same loading to the amp. It's not a big thing, but in our hobby, little things add up.
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Old 18th January 2004, 04:15 PM   #3
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For background music and casual use go for it. Plus or minus a few feet shouldn’t be that beg a deal.

For serious listening, it is a big deal. The more equal the signal paths on each channel the better.
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Old 18th January 2004, 04:28 PM   #4
Bricolo is online now Bricolo  France
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So, should I use the same lenght for both speakers, even if the right one is closer to the amp?
I'll keep some feets lying on the floor...
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Old 18th January 2004, 04:35 PM   #5
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Take a look here and you'll see I have some extra wire on floor for the right mid-bass and the left horn is a bit stretched. This is because each stereo pair are the same length.
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Old 18th January 2004, 04:50 PM   #6
GM is offline GM  United States
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>I'll keep some feets lying on the floor...
====
Just don't coil it up or it will become an inductor.......

GM
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Old 18th January 2004, 05:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by GM
>I'll keep some feets lying on the floor...
====
Just don't coil it up or it will become an inductor.......

GM

Thats it.

Trigon
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Old 18th January 2004, 05:44 PM   #8
bradley is offline bradley  United States
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I'm not an engineer, I've never even been in a holiday inn express, but I have heard a few reasonable sounding things on this topic. I don't know what loading is presented to the amp by different lengths of cable but it may be a concern. I do know that the difference in speed between a signal through wire and the speed of sound on its path from the driver to your ears is sufficient that a few thousand feet of difference in length between the cables would be equivalent to moving one of your speakers half an inch backward or forward in the soundstage. Is it really worth fretting about a few feet of cable? Well, listening fufillment often requires, lets be honest, peace of mind whereever it can be demonstrated that something could make any difference at all. Building immobile concrete isolation pads for all of your equipment may arguably be beyond the pale, but cutting your speaker cables to exact lengths should probably be done just as a matter of course. Why not?
A real concern is having too much cable anywhere coiled up with zip tie. This, by any other name, becomes a choke. Speaker
cable shouldn't be doubled upon itself.
Another little bit of barstool trivia concerns the electrical conductivity of gold. So many connections are gold plated and the reason is little appreciated. Gold is actually not as effective a conductor as pure copper. It is superior for connections for two other reasons. It is less prone to tarnish and oxidization, so more reliable, but more significant is its malleability. It is soft enough to distort and conform to the surface it is pushed against so that the added surface area now mating the two parts more than compensates for the golds (relatively) poorer conductivity. If you are soldering leads that are gold plated, you should twist them very tightly together before soldering or you are actually negating the benfit that the gold plating offers. You'd be better off without it in the way. I wonder sometimes how often gold plating is offered simply as a gimmick. For the same reasons associated with its amazing malleability, you can plate a cable end in it with such an extremely thin layer that the cost is almost approaches nil. Cheap gold. Kind of counterintuitive eh?
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Old 18th January 2004, 05:57 PM   #9
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Hi Bradley,

I agree with most of what you've said, but WRT the "cable-is-cable and copper-is-cooper" view on speaker cables I would refer you to this article by Nelson Pass. He wrote it more than 20 years ago for Speaker Builder magazine.
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Old 18th January 2004, 07:44 PM   #10
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When I worked in a Hi-Fi store we tried to answer the question.

We had access to different lengths of cable and could try combinations, short + short, long + long and short + long.

The short answer: (small pun) Our ears told us the system sounded the same with all 3 combinations noted above.

The un-scientific explaination we came up with: The distortion the cable imparts on the music comes from the 1st 1 or 2 feet. After you have gotten the cables sonic signature, length does not seem matter much.

Another conclusion we came to: If you are on a budget, you would be better off spending your money buying unequal lengths of superior cable than buying more cable of less expensive stuff.

Example A:

30 ft of Acme brand cable costs $30.00
You make 1 ea 20 ft run + 1 ea 10 foot run

or

Example B:
40 ft Huge brand cable costs $30.00
you make 2 ea 20 ft runs

Go with example A, if Acme sounds better in your system.

For what it is worth.

Aud_mot
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