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Mat-with-one-t

Cable lengths for speakers - viva la difference?

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Hi all.  I have a weird room that doesn't lend itself to the usual "gear between 2 speakers" layout, but rather would be much better with my gear on a sideboard to the sided the room.  Bigger is that this would take speaker cable across a door, however luckily I have made some allowances in the walls, so I should be able to run cable in conduit under the floor and bring it out through the wall.  

What I'm wondering is whether a different cable length for each speaker would matter?  I have one side that would reach (a 2.5m pair is currently in use - Osborn Silverlink cables to Osborn Epitomes), but the other would need to be at least 5.5m!  I scared about the potential price of a matched 6m pair of cables!  Ouch!

Also, are there cable types (copper vs silver for example) which lend themselves to longer lengths in terms of sound quality?

Cheers,

Mat

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I would buy unterminated cable. If you bought a terminated pair with mismatched lengths, they would be difficult to sell if you ever moved/swapped things around.  If you bought a 6m (unterminated) length for the longer side then you could always use it as a 3m pair at a later stage, and maybe a 4m length for the other side, so you could make a 2m pair.  Unterminated is usually much better value too.

Edited by seaninbrisbane

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9 hours ago, davewantsmoore said:

Even large differences in length do not make any difference

 

Well, not quite. It really depends on the HF impedance characteristic of the speakers, the length of the cables and the resistance/inductance of the cables. 

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8 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

Well, not quite. It really depends on the HF impedance characteristic of the speakers, the length of the cables and the resistance/inductance of the cables. 

 

(Surely) They would need to be very high resistance or inductance.... before big differences in length (say, 3m for L and 12m for R) would make a difference.

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4 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

 

(Surely) They would need to be very high resistance or inductance.... before big differences in length (say, 3m for L and 12m for R) would make a difference.

 

Nope. Some ESLs (and other speakers) possess impedance dips to well below 1 Ohm at HF. 'Normal' figure 8 speaker cable possesses an inductance of around 0.75uH/M (regardless of conductor size). Low inductance speaker cables, like Goertz MI-1 exhibits a figure of around 0.012uH/M. Naim speaker cables are around 3uH/M! With the lengths you mention, HF loss with many ESLs would be quite audible. Particularly if using a faulty cable like the Naim NACA5. 

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4 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

 

(Surely) They would need to be very high resistance or inductance.... before big differences in length (say, 3m for L and 12m for R) would make a difference.

 

Nope. Some ESLs (and other speakers) possess impedance dips to well below 1 Ohm at HF. 'Normal' figure 8 speaker cable possesses an inductance of around 0.75uH/M (regardless of conductor size). Low inductance speaker cables, like Goertz MI-1 exhibits a figure of around 0.012uH/M. Naim speaker cables are around 3uH/M! With the lengths you mention, HF loss with many ESLs would be quite audible. Particularly if using a faulty cable like the Naim NACA5. 

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3 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

 

Nope. Some ESLs (and other speakers) possess impedance dips to well below 1 Ohm at HF. 'Normal' figure 8 speaker cable possesses an inductance of around 0.75uH/M (regardless of conductor size). Low inductance speaker cables, like Goertz MI-1 exhibits a figure of around 0.012uH/M. Naim speaker cables are around 3uH/M! With the lengths you mention, HF loss with many ESLs would be quite audible. Particularly if using a faulty cable like the Naim NACA5. 

 

Yep, so you mean when the speakers are severe loads or (and) the cable is "faulty".

 

Just trying to clear up for anyone playing along at home, that there's no big deal for almost everyone who has 3m speaker cable on one side, and 12m on the other.  (You know, like a time difference, or similar)

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6 minutes ago, Sime said:

Does electricity travel at light speed?

 

For all intents, near enough. For (very high frequency) RF purposes, the differences need to be taken into account. For audio work, the difference is inconsequential. For really crappy, PVC coated, figure 8 speaker cable, the velocity is roughly 0.9 c (270,000,00 M/s). For RG213/U, the velocity factor is 0.66 (198,000,000 M/s).

 

Velocity factor of speaker cable is not an issue.

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6 minutes ago, Sime said:

Does electricity travel at light speed?

 

For all intents, near enough. For (very high frequency) RF purposes, the differences need to be taken into account. For audio work, the difference is inconsequential. For really crappy, PVC coated, figure 8 speaker cable, the velocity is roughly 0.9 c (270,000,00 M/s). For RG213/U, the velocity factor is 0.66 (198,000,000 M/s).

 

Velocity factor of speaker cable is not an issue.

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22 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

 

Yep, so you mean when the speakers are severe loads or (and) the cable is "faulty".

 

I believe I was very clear on that matter.

 

22 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

 

Just trying to clear up for anyone playing along at home, that there's no big deal for almost everyone who has 3m speaker cable on one side, and 12m on the other.  (You know, like a time difference, or similar)

 

Of course there will be no time difference, but there could be a frequency response difference.

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Just trying to sumarise for people playing along at home ;)

 

1 hour ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

There could be a frequency response difference.

 

.... if the speakers are a nasty load, and/or the cables are high resistance or inductance.

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Just now, davewantsmoore said:

Just trying to sumarise for people playing along at home ;)

 

 

.... if the speakers are a nasty load, and/or the cables are high resistance or inductance.

 

ALL figure 8 style speaker cables are high inductance. Under most circumstances, less than 10 Metre long cables will not present a problem. SOME figure 8 speaker cables (aka: Naim) are faulty and will result in frequency response problems with much shorter lengths. 

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19 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

 

ALL figure 8 style speaker cables are high inductance. Under most circumstances, less than 10 Metre long cables will not present a problem. SOME figure 8 speaker cables (aka: Naim) are faulty and will result in frequency response problems with much shorter lengths. 

 

Are Naim speaker cables faulty or are they just designed to work with Naim amps?

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1 minute ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

 

Are Naim speaker cables faulty or are they just designed to work with Naim amps?

 

Faulty. 3uH/M is an example of a faulty cable, which WILL attenuate high frequencies at modest cable runs, with easy speaker loads. That Naim amplifiers cannot use any other type of speaker cable, suggests faulty design on their part as well. 

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35 minutes ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

 

Are Naim speaker cables faulty or are they just designed to work with Naim amps?

 

Subjective, but I would tend to agree with ZB.   :)

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Thanks guys.  My load (feel free to chuckle) is a pair of Osborn Epitomes (90dB efficiency).  My rearrangement of the room would mean one speaker would need a run of about 2.5 metres or so, but the other about 6.5+.  

Ill need to run it under the floor, so will probably put inside plastic conduit to stop rats using it as floss.  

If anyone has a long run of Osborn Silverlink (so I can match) let me know!

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I read in a sound production magazine (either Sound on Sound or Home and Studio Recording) years ago (before the internet) the recommendation was to have both cables the same length and roll up the excess in the short run; in your instance, you'd have to roll up 2.5 metres 

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3 hours ago, ppaul said:

I read in a sound production magazine (either Sound on Sound or Home and Studio Recording) years ago (before the internet) the recommendation was to have both cables the same length and roll up the excess in the short run; in your instance, you'd have to roll up 2.5 metres 

 

Very bad advice. Rolling up a standard speaker cable will increase it's inductance. Such a problem will not occur with RG213/U however. 

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Very bad advice. Rolling up a standard speaker cable will increase it's inductance. Such a problem will not occur with RG213/U however. 



if you had to, would it be better to "roll up" in a figure 8 configuration?


Sent from my iPhone using Telepathy

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13 minutes ago, misternavi said:

 

 


if you had to, would it be better to "roll up" in a figure 8 configuration?


Sent from my iPhone using Telepathy

 

 

 

No. The cable should be stretched out as much as possible.

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