OR you could get MUCH better 5 foot cables than the 10 foot ones for the same price.
The other point could be if the cables have a signature coloration that complements your system, or what you like... the length might have an effect on that, or it may not.
I agree with Elizabeth, get the very best you can afford. I would also suggest keep the speaker cables as short as you can get by with. Power cords, again they are by the foot cost, so that must be concidered. If you agree with that power cords can improve your system, than the longest you can afford to maximize the benifit.
Jadem6 is right. Shortest possible speaker cables and longest possible power cables (but there is a point of dimmenshing returns beyond about 6 feet).
Just a question on the same topic. I wonder if it is harder to sell cables under 8 feet? This might be a factor when considering purchases.
Be careful, there is nothing worse than a cable not long enough to reach, some speakers like Thiels need at least 8 feet between them and depending on circumstances maybe 9 to 10 feet. So if you ever change speaks... Also resale is not as good IMHO.
I disagree with the statement "get the very best you can afford." This implies that more money will buy better sound, which may or may not be true. It is very possible to put together a rather mediocore sounding system with very expensive components. I say get the one that sounds the best in your system. Of course, this means you must audition various cables in your system, which is a lot more effort than simply buying the most expensive thing you can afford at the moment.
Pops & Bloom are right, speaker cable 6ft shortest length or you will have no resale value, I doubt you can hear the differnece between 6ft or 3ft speaker cables anyway.
Power cords go with 2 meter or 5-6 ft length, same reason
for resale value and practicality.
In any kind of cable--IC, speaker, or power--you generally want it the shortest that it takes to get between whatever points it's connecting. Of course, you'll want some slack to facilitate moving, installing, positioning, and such. But don't use 15 feet if you only need 10, for example. Increased length only adds series resistance, series inductance, and shunt capacitance to the overall circuit.
70242: Since you are back and able (and into the numbers of this all). There is talk by certain manufacturers (not all involved in cable) that a certain minimum length is required with some cable and some components to achieve best sound, or signal transfer be it may. Off hand, Bel Canto suggests (in regard to their DAC) that the analog IC's be the same, or even better, longer than the digital IC for the best sound. Mapleshade claims that their speaker cable sounds best when used in 8 to 12 ft lengths under normal circumstances (note the maximum length). In regard to digital cables I have read that 42" (think that was it) is the optimum length and that it had something to do with completing a full "wave length" or "cycle"
that is produced with the tranmittal of digital signals. I don't have a clue as to what these people are talking about, but in the case of Mapleshade I was talked out of using their speaker cable until I could shorten the length of my runs. The alternative was using the cable un-twisted and isolating each wire (four total) from each other by 12" (which is a 36" spread). It also seems that I have read that some PC's work better when they are a minimum of 5' long. I would seem that if any of these claims are true, that shorter is not always better. The one that interests me the most is the "digital wave, or maybe they used the word "cycle" length. Has anyone else, that understands them, read these claims.
I read something similar a while ago about length of digital coax cable. I can't remember which company it was, but they were talking about the ringing in the cable. Some of the signal echos in the cable, and if the cable was less than 1.5M long, then the digital echo could interfere with the signal currently being processed. They claimed that 1.5M was the shortest cable that should be used for digital connections, but I found it funny that after explaining all of that, that company sold 0.5M, 1.0M digital cables as well.
In reply to Dekay and Panzercat and regarding the length of digital cables, there are indeed certain design parameters which dictate the "ideal" length and these include keeping relflected waves to a minimum. Speaking as a manufacturer we only make digital cables with a minimum 60" cable (approx 1.5 meters) length as we have found this gives the best performance for our particular cable topolgy. I think Kevin from Muse would be the best qualified to comment on this subject in general due to his expertise in the digital field. Hope this helps? Regards, Richard.
Four foot or eight foot makes no difference. You only need wire large enough to deep from degrading the damping factor of your amp. Power cords are not in the signal path and therefore cannot effect fidelity. They only need to be big enough to deliver the required current which is not very much.
Oy, Steve's crusade continues on yet another thread... Different PCs, ICs, and SCs do make significant sonic differences in high fidelity systems. They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, They do, No matter whatchya say, I heard it.
It's not how long it is, it's how you use it...
Oh, CABLE length! Excuse me; I thought we were talking about something else. Wrong chat area.
Dekay: there's no evidence of any sort of "ideal" length of cable other than the shorter the cable, the better. Period.
For analog signals, the wavelengths of 20 Hz to 20 kHz range from about 15,000 kilometers to 15 kilometers, multiplied by the cable's velocity factor (usually from 0.7 for coax to 0.95 for twin conductor). So there's not even an appreciable fraction of a wavelength involved there, and thus no need to get into transmission line theory.
For AES3 digital, the cable should have a characteristic impedance of about 110 ohms (which is approximately what most pro mic & signal cables exhibit) to match the source and load impedances of the digital devices. There's no need to match "wavelengths" or any such thing because even a reasonably close impedance match will keep reflections far below the threshold where they might corrupt data or cause jitter. Keep in mind also that the digital data is not carried directly on the cables but is encoded onto a carrier. This further helps isolate the data from effects of cabling to maintain its integrity, and it also frees us from worrying about polarity in AES3 interconnects.
And as Stevemj said, power cables are not in the signal path and will not affect audio performance. As long as the audio devices get the power they need, there will be no effect on the sound. Low-powered devices such as CD/DVD players, DACs, etc., have regulated power supplies that can tolerate a fairly wide range of AC voltage without losing any performance.