Speaker cable, length matter?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by nickolp1974, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. nickolp1974

    nickolp1974
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    I'm a couple of days off installing all the speaker cables in my dedicated 7.1.4 cinema room. What are your thoughts on speaker cable length to pairs of speakers, I've always made them the same and just coiled the excess but is it really important? My head is telling me I should I should just do what I've always done.
    As an example my atmos fronts, I can get away with 1 cable being 2.2m shorter and the same for the atmos rears. Thoughts??
     
  2. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    Bearing in mind electricity moves at 186000 miles per second, how much difference do you think an extra metre or so will matter in terms of timing ?

    Capacitance is of minimal consequence at this frequency and the resistance difference will be a fraction of an ohm.

    Its only if you get more than 5-10 metres difference in length that you would need to be concerned regarding any possible difference in cable interaction with the signal.
     
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  3. Spyro

    Spyro
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    I was looking at this a little while ago with regards to electrical theory and the direction of current flow in a cable. I too thought that electricity, (electrons), flowed at near the speed of light but was surprised to read they could probably be overtaken by a slug! The reason given was that a copper cable is made up of atoms consisting of protons ,neutrons and electrons. It’s only the electrons that flow and in a typical household wiring system the billions of free electrons shuffle along the cable at about 25 to 30 millimetre per minute. This is because all of the billions and trillions of atoms in the way that they need to work their way through. The reason you get instant sound out of your speakers, or instant light from your lamp is that the cable should be looked at like a copper tube tightly packed with a row of copper marbles, as one is pushed in the front it instantly causes the one at the end to pop out. In the case of an amplifier and speakers, the individual electrons don’t flow down the cable at the speed of light but bump into one another causing the electrons already at the speaker end of the cable to instantaneously pop out. So I suppose there would have to be quite a difference in cable length to notice any difference in the speed the electrons popped out of each of the ends? Obviously this is very simplistic, (but about as high level as I can understand), and things like voltage, amperage, cable size and the specific copper cable physical characteristics all have an impact. Seems to make sense?
     
  4. nickolp1974

    nickolp1974
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    Thanks chaps, great explanation @Spyro never really thought about it before but now I have a little more understanding.
    I can get my wires in tonight now ;)
     
  5. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    The speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second and the speed of an electrical signal in a wire is 285,102,627 meters per second - based on a high power speaker cable. that's a tiny difference in real terms.

    People will often quote the "shuffling electrons" thing as the reason why you can hear the un-measurable difference between 1 speaker cable and another - and how speaker cables can be directional - with an AC signal...

    Sorry if I sound slightly disparaging, but I understand how signal level cables can make a difference - mainly down to the capacitance of the cable, but this does not apply to speaker cables. The same with HDMI. SPDIF digital cables can make a difference, as there's error correction to the signal, along with issues around jitter, so a poor cable could lead to more errors and hence, more correction. HDMI does not have error correction and the signal is too high frequency for jitter to affect it and therefore they either work - perfect picture and sound, or they don't - visible picture errors and sound drop outs.

    Of course, there's those that will tell you different...
     
  6. Spyro

    Spyro
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    Hi noiseboy72 why do you say you are disparaging? The explanation I read about and relayed above supports exactly the statement you made previously that the different length speaker cable wouldn’t make a difference because the input/output of the electrical signal would be instantaneous and unmeasurable between the two over such a short length. The article also never mentioned the shuffling electrons altering the sound?
     
  7. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    I was keen to avoid any offence or rubbishing others ideas. I'm glad we are on the same pafp.
     

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