View Full Version : Cable length
20-04-2003, 06:34 PM
I am seriously considering re-locating my DVD player, which would mean getting a new component cable (probably about 1.8m long) and a new, shorter digital coaxial cable.
Because the player will sit on a rack, less than 0.5m above the amp, I would like to buy a purpose made digital cable of about 50cm (or maybe less).
The question is... I vaguely recall speaking to a guy from Nordost at the Bristol Hi Fi show who claimed that any interconnect should be at least 1m long otherwise it could actually degrade sound quality.
Anyone have any views, or preferably facts, on this?
Also, I find it interesting that none of the cable manufacturers have yet jumped in the Pioneer i-Link bandwagon. Sure, there's not much of a market for them yet but, considering the signals they carry, the ones Pioneer include free with the 757ai look woefully cheap. A gap in the market there for someone?
20-04-2003, 06:42 PM
Sorry for hijacking here, but on a similar subject, I remember hearing that speaker cable should be at least 3 metres long and exactly the same length for both speakers. For instance, front left and right lengths should match, rear left and right should match etc. Does this sound correct?
20-04-2003, 06:45 PM
I would guess that in an ideal world, all front three speaker cables should be roughly the same length - if you have the option, it would make sense to do this I'd have thought. That said, in the average viewing room, I can't see front speaker cable runs of more than 10m being needed very often and at those distances, I doubt the signal having to travel a little further would make much difference. It makes sense not to 'bunch up' or coil the cables though.
20-04-2003, 06:46 PM
I have seen it stated that the minimum recommended for a S/PDIF cable is 0.75m because of the potential for reflections caused by poor impedance matching at the plugs to arrive back at the transmitter too soon and interfere with the original signal. Can't say I really subscribe to this view. The reflection is likely to arrive back at some point and cause problems anyway. But no doubt Nic or someone else will supply some facts to support or contradict this view.. ;)~;-)~:wink:
20-04-2003, 07:14 PM
still trying to get time for your last link, it was on;y 40 pages odd!!!! Cable length and rise time are inticately linked, the reality is there is allot more to this situation, fast rise time MAY give rise to cable lengths probles, slow rise times well no.
I am still playing with my oscillacipe on this one, but BEE very supicious o an cable supplier who recommends longer leads.
21-04-2003, 05:36 PM
Regarding speaker cable lengths. The idea behind making them all the same is NOTHING to do with the amoutn of time it takes the signal to travel down the cable. It is to do with the electrical load the cable presents to the amplifuer attached to the end. With manufacturers of hi-end audio amps going to great lengths to match electrical characteristics of each channel of their amps (even to the point of matching transistors in Naim's) they didn't want it all falling down at the end.
Speaking of Naims. This is possibly where you heard about the "never less than 3m" rule. They designed their amps with the idea of the speaker cable being part of the circuit. That's why they are VERY keen you use their own speaeker cable (or speaker cable with same electrical characteristics). With a Naim if you use to short a speaker cable....or even worse a short bi-wire speaker cable you can go from hearing the distortion to actual catastrophic failure of the device........oops!
Hope this is some use
15-09-2003, 12:00 PM
found this posting at bottom of the pile. It helps a bit but not yet enough. I brought it to the top as reference before/after placing your 'length' vote.
15-09-2003, 02:19 PM
So in my instance because of the location of my rack and my front 3 ideally the speaker cables would be 1m, 3m and 5m if I did not want metres of extra cable lying around.. Will this make any difference to the sound?
16-09-2003, 08:35 AM
Will this make any difference to the sound?
No. At those lengths any difference is probably not even measurable, let alone audible.
16-09-2003, 08:53 AM
Excellent.. just what I wanted to hear :)~:-)~:smile:
16-09-2003, 09:25 PM
Excellent.. just what I wanted to hear :)~:-)~:smile:
. but he's just said it aint audible!
18-09-2003, 11:49 PM
Are you sure you don't want to keep them all the same length Matt :twisted:.
19-09-2003, 08:19 AM
A swerve back towards the original topic ...
Depending on the configuration, the longer cable runs are either
a) speaker cable
b) interconnect cable.
Is there any electro-audiophile reason for prefering (a) to (b), and why?
19-09-2003, 06:35 PM
Where practicable, it is usually better to use the shortest speaker cables you can. The next best thing after active speakers, is to use monobloc amps sited immediately behind/next to the speakers, with short, thick speaker cables. Otherwise, long runs of speaker cable can significantly reduce the damping factor of a good amplifier, leading to less 'control' especially in the bass. :(
Of course, siting the power amplifier near the speakers usually increases the distance from the pre/processor so long interconnects have to be used. Best practice is to use balanced connections for this where they are available. Failing that use good quality, well screened interconnects to avoid problems of noise and hum pickup in the long cable runs. Best to run such long audio interconnects well away from video, digital and power cables. :thumbup:
20-09-2003, 08:03 AM
Charlie, another straightforward answer to my simple questioning, for which many thanks.
Let me follow up with a two-part supplementary:
Clearly the three front speakers must live at a distance from the two surround speakers, so some longer cable runs are always required. I was thinking that it was then a simple matter of where we place our kit - though I am hearing, and even listening to, more and more 'active speaker' advocacy. (Dunkyboy, you are not alone.)
My kit can be regarded as two independent sysyems, one system for HiFi and one system for AV, but they are interconnected, via pre-out from the AV amp when doing the Home Cinema thing. On such occasions, the main HiFi speakers act as AV surrounds. (For the confused at this point, we re-position the chairs ...)
So, should I then locate each system to be close to its main speakers? This would minimise speaker cable run (which otherwise would be about 5 or 6 metres), but would have the consequence that the interconnect between the AV amp and the (HiFi) power amp would have to be either 6 metres, 'as the crow flies' ( scope for a better metaphor surely) under the floorboards, or longer as it meanders the skirting board (or is that skirts the ...).
The Nord Flat seems to be emerging as the speaker cable of choice, but what should I be 'laying down' as the long interconnect?
Trust that I've kept my questioning simple in Part A.
So now a for a diversion of particular relevance to my set-up.
As it happens, my main speakers are, I am told, now the weakest part of my HiFi system - which, since that is a relative statement, I attribute to the massive upgrade of the rest of the HiFi system: Meridan 602. into AudioSynthesis Dax Decade into AudioLab 8000S. If I do upgrade I may leapfrog bi-wire, bi-amp and go straight to active. In my case that would mean feeding directly from the Dax , which acts as both a dac and a pre-amp, into the active speakers.
But recall that room geography means that the HiFi mains are my AV surrounds. And at present I pipe the effects from the L/R surround pre-outs to the AudioLab 8000S in its AV power mode. Given that the active speakers, selected for their HiFi role, also have the AV surround role, this would have to change, I've just this minute realised, but how?
I guess the answer may lie with the Dax Decade. For HiFi it is the DAC & pre-amp. I'll have to check whether it could take the pre-out from the AV amp. Any ideas Charlie, as I know that you are familar with the Dax Decade?
20-09-2003, 05:05 PM
Firstly, the advice I gave is what is generally recommended by audiophiles, but the rules are not hard and fast and I haven't necessarily followed them! :o~:-o~:eek:
Do, by all means, go and listen to as many active speakers as you can. There is not a huge choice out there, and if, at the end of the day, you happen to prefer the sound of a speaker that is only available as passive, then go with that and power it with a conventional power amp. The speaker probably makes the biggest difference to the overall sound of your system, technology has moved on a bit from your Dittons, and if you are replacing your main L&R Hifi speakers, you really want something which you like and does justice to your front end. Speaking personally, if only Martin Logan did an active version of their speakers, I would buy them like a shot! :nod:
As it happens, I use 6.0m lengths of Nordost Solar Wind bi-wire speaker cables to drive my surrounds. They work pretty well in spite of the length. 8)~8-)~:cool:
As for advice on what interconnects to go for, I can't really give you specific advice. a) I haven't bought any interconnects for quite some time and products keep changing. b) I bought Transparent cables which are somewhat idiosyncratic and would be extortionately expensive to use for long runs. c) Choice of interconnects is a very personal thing and you need to choose ones that you like the sound of and meet your budget. There is really no alternative to borrowing a load of different types and trying them in your system first. Nordost make some nice flat interconnects, but I have some doubts about their noise-rejection properties over longer lengths. You could also see what http://www.scorpioncables.com/ have to offer. But given that these are only going to be used for surround duties under 'Part A rules', I wouldn't go spending huge amounts on them. Just get something well screened and low-loss. :thumbup:
If you do decide to go active, then the best hifi sound would undoubtedly be derived by using the built-in attenuator in the DAX Decade as your volume control and drive the active speakers directly from the DAX. :bow:
However, if you want to still use these speakers as surround channels this will give you a problem. AFAIK the DAX Decade does not have any analogue-in facility, it only switches between a number of possible digital inputs. And ideally you would want it to have a unity-gain AV through mode which again it does not have. You would I think, be forced to continue to use the pre-amp stage of your 8000S to feed your active speakers - the power amp in the 8000S effectively becoming redundant. You could of course at a later date swap the 8000S for a better analogue pre-amp, which will keep you on the upgrade treadmill... :thumbup:
20-09-2003, 05:15 PM
many thanks again, for a reply that I'll take some time out to ponder.
I did go check the Dax Decade and could find no sign of analogue input. Perhaps when I've thought some more I'll share the question with David Heaton, who's been a gent throughout.
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