AES/EBU cable length; CD to DAC- 1.5 m or very short?


I an running a 1.5 m cable between a CD transport and a DAC, however, because of a rearrangement of gear I can now us a .5 m cable between the CD transport and DAC. I am aware of the argument that a minimum of a 1.5 m cable should be used between transport and DAC, as propounded by Steve Nugent. I also have read that if you can go really short, that is not only OK too, but perhaps even better. 

Theory is fine, but wondering what peoples' actual experience has been. Keep the 1.5 meter length or go to .5 meter? I have been and will continue to be listening and comparing for myself, however, I am curious about other folks' experiences. 
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I like you have shifted my components into their final spots in my new cabinet about 4 years ago, going from a 1&1/2 meter Acoustic Zen MC2 digital cable to a 1/2 meter Acoustic Zen MC2 cable. Spent a weekend going back and forth trying to detect a difference, there was none to my ears. I did break the shorter cable in before the testing back and forth.

CD transports tend to have slow rise-times, so in order to prevent more jitter being added due to reflections, go with 1.5m minimum.  See my white-paper:

https://positive-feedback.com/Issue14/spdif.htm

This has been verified by double-blind testing at Canadian hi-fi magazine.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio


Thank you Steve! 
Short cable allows to avoid reflections. The common rule is to use cable that has propagation time shorter than 1/8 of transition time one way, making it about 2ft for 25ns transition time (assuming 5ns/m propagation time). I would not go more than 1 foot, since internal connections inside of the transport and DAC also count.  If it is not practical than go 1.5m-2m.

Jitter is inherent in any cable you use. It is not physically possible to eliminate all jitter in cabling. The key is findng the right equipment (DAC) that totally rejects all jitter. You can try 100’s of cables and many will sound different and some will sound the same and the audibility will vary according to each track you play - there is NO right cable for equipment that does not reject ALL jitter - it is a merry-go-round.

Cranesong website has some files with and without jitter that you can listen to here.

http://www.cranesong.com/jitter_1.html