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same length speaker cable?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by coxy, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. coxy

    coxy
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    Does speaker cable have to be the same length to both speakers???? and if not why?

    thanks !
     
  2. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    That is a question of timing, in order to make the sound arrive at the same time to both speakers... The longer the cables, the bigger the delay, but if they are of the same lenght, they will have the same delay and the sound will arrive at the same time. I have both of the same length, but I actually don't know how big the difference can be, let's say, in msec/meter... I will do some search in the web, I have been always curious about that. So, if that number is rather small, it doesn't matter unless you have very long cables, and in that case you will have more problems because of signal damping...
    I know I am not actually answering, but give me time to search!
     
  3. Flimber

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    Methinks this has more to do with electrical characteristics than 'timing'.

    Mike.
     
  4. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Rubbish. The speed at which an electrical signal passes through a wire is many hundreds of thousands of times faster than the speed of sound through air. That means that a length of cable tens of metres long would make the same difference to the timing as moving the speaker by a distance of a tenth of a millimetre.

    The issue with cable length (in so far as there is one) has to do with impedance. (I'm carefully not saying "resistance"). If you have one very long cable and one very short one then the long cable will have a higher impedance. This means a) that speaker will be slightly quieter, and b) as the impedance of the speaker varies across the frequency spectrum the fraction of the total impedance accounted for by the cable won't be the same in both channels, so there will be a slight difference in the frequency response profile between the two speakers.

    If you are one of those people who believes that very expensive speaker cable sounds much better than 10-gauge multi-core copper wire, then it would be logical to also believe that whatever influence the cable is having on the sound will be more significant in a long cable than in a short one. For example if the cable somehow contrives to make the sound "bright" then a longer length of cable might exaggerate this effect. Again, this would lead to slight differences between the speakers.

    So in practice it is a good idea (at least in theory) to keep the two cables the same length. But in practice it may not matter that much, so long as you aren't using ultra-cheap, thin cable and very long runs. By the time you get up to something like Maplin's 69p per metre cable I doubt you'd hear any difference at all between a two metre run and a three metre run.
     
  5. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Thank you, Nicolas B. But better read the whole thing I said, before... I think I included what you said, didn't I? Although I didn't give a so lenghty explanation. Both effects occur, what I didn't know, but now thank to you I do, was which effect is dominant.
     
  6. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    i challenge anyone here (get it?!) to hear the difference between a 2m and a 3.5m length of chord oddysey cable that i use, cos i can't!
    are you sure its not what dealers say to make you spend more on cable? there will be scientific prrof that tells you that a longer length will not sound as good as a shorter length, but can you actually HEAR the difference rather than measure it? thats my view anyway!
     
  7. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Back in my student days I did at one time set up a pair of speakers where one cable was about 3 metres and the other about 15 metres because I happened to have one made up with the right plugs on. This caused the speaker on the long cable to be much quieter than the other - had to turn the balance control from twelve o'clock to three o'clock to compensate. But this was a pretty extreme case using incredibly cheap, thin cable.

    This is true, but exactly the same scientific theory "proves" that you can't hear the difference between your Chord Odyssey cable (at about £17 per metre) and Maplin's 69 pence per metre stuff under most circumstances. Are you happy with that assessment? :)
     
  8. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    i am happy with that, although the cheapo stuff would be a copper strand wheras the chord is a silver strand so it wouldn't be a fair comparsion. i'm just trying to say that if the two lengths of cable were of a similar length, say within 2m of each other, it would be very difficult to hear a differnce. and anyway, with the excess length of cable left over, it would have to be tidied up, usually coiled, which would cancel out the plan anyway! thats enough rambling from me anyway! i know i'm right and thats all there is to it:D :p
     
  9. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    It would be entirely fair. Silver has a lower resistance than copper, but all that means is that for a copper cable to have the same resistance as a silver one, the copper has to be thicker. Or, to look at it the other way, silver wires can be thinner than copper ones without raising the resistance.

    So long as you're talking about speakers whose impedance doesn't drop much below, say, 3 ohms and runs of cable that are less than, say, 5 metres long the difference in impedance between Maplin's 69p stuff and your Odyssey cables can't be audible. Unless you think the cables are defying physical laws, which you clearly don't.
     
  10. Flimber

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    Yay, a good ol' fashioned Cablefight :D

    Mike.
     
  11. CJROSS

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