Creating space between interconnects & keeping cables off the floor


I strongly doubt this is an original idea, but since I came across it on my own, I thought I would share it and solicit the opinions of fellow Audiogoners. Conventional audio wisdom seems to be that power cables should be elevated off the floor and interconnects should not interconnect with one another (i.e., cross)  if at all possible. If you have a minimalist system, that may not be a major problem. But if you have a lot of separates and only a narrow space behind your racks to accommodate all the connections, it can become a real problem, as it was for me. Various companies offer various (but generally expensive... and not always effective)  solutions for this. For instance, since I use mostly Shunyata power cords and conditioners, my first instinct was to try their Dark Field Mini separators for the web of interconnects behind my system. While these may work as advertised for the thicker and heavier interconnects that Shunyata makes, they were useless on my thinner, but beloved Nordost interconnects, which lacked the weight and the mass to keep the Minis from falling to the floor. Ditto with my Ocos speaker cables. Short of redesigning my entire system, I didn't know what I could could about it until, one day, while walking down the wrong aisle at CVS in search of dental floss, I came across packages of wooden clothes pins. Forgetting all about the dental floss, I bought them on an impulse, took them home, and discovered they make stable lifters and separators for normal width cables. They attach easily to my speaker cables and, spaced about 3 or 4 feet apart, keep them about 3 inches off the floor. If you use them to separate interconnects behind your system -- with the grip end around one cable and the other cable sandwiched between the handle end, the separation is about 1.5 inches... A really cheap, easy and, as far as I can tell, effective way to help tame the tangled web of wires behind one's system. But I'd be interested in what others who have tried this have to say about it. Thanks
mross1949
Hi mross - I like your clothes pin idea.  I wonder if you might benefit by incorporating some rubber bands so as to make a double headed spacer.  Use a rubber band or two to hold the overlapping "legs" of two clothes pins together.  This would provide grips at opposite ends.  

Personally, I keep my mono block power cords off the floor using 3" solid hardwood blocks (birch, I think) from an on-line craft supplies seller.  I manage to keep my speaker cables separated and off the floor just running them across the top of the furniture I use for an audio cabinet.  The other interconnects and power cords behind the rack are separated and kept off the floor as much as space, length and gravity will allow. I do use some cut up rubber flip flop soles to keep ICs off power cords where those cross.  Elsewhere that crossing and contact of wires must occur, I try to make it happen at right angles (or as close to 90 as possible).  I must not be a true audiophile because I don't get too obsessive about "dressing" my wire.
Ghosthouse,

Re: rubber bands, that's a good idea and I'll try it, as I've got a couple of places, back in the abyss behind the racks, where the additional separation might be helpful. Thanks! As for being a "true audiophile," in the sense that I think you mean it, I prefer the term "audiophiliac" because I think it conveys a more disturbed quality. I'm still trying to figure out which one I am -- and haven't ruled out the possibility of seeking professional counselling. Bests,

Michael
You will graduate to true audiophile in a pico second, as soon as you suspend all cabling and cords using strong thread or fishing line from eye hooks in the ceiling. A small rubber band connecting the cable or cord to the thread or fishing line will provide a second line of isolation defense.

Fishing lines from the ceiling to suspend the cables in mid-air... I've heard about that and trust that you're right. There's only one problem with that and it's a four letter word: W-I-F-E. Do I really want to jeopardize a successful 38-year-long marriage in a quest for that last little decibel of pristine sound?Maybe if I had a better system...
mross1949 OP
14 posts
05-11-2016 4:43pm
Fishing lines from the ceiling to suspend the cables in mid-air... I've heard about that and trust that you're right. There's only one problem with that and it's a four letter word: W-I-F-E. Do I really want to jeopardize a successful 38-year-long marriage in a quest for that last little decibel of pristine sound?Maybe if I had a better system...

There are alternatives to everything.

;-)

Slices of pool noodles for cables behind the rack.

Not meaning to hijack the thread, but since you're all here already ;-):

I'm about to setup in a new room, and will need to run my speaker cables across the space I need to be able to walk through to get to my LP and CD racks. To protect them from getting stepped on, I was thinking of running each cable through the middle of a cardboard mailing tube, with pool noodles supporting it inside. Acceptable, soundwise?

Actually, there's nothing wrong with crossing cables.  Problems can arise when when cables are run parallel and electromagnetically induce currents in each other(http://cas.umkc.edu/physics/wrobel/phy250/lecture6.pdf).  Distance is your friend, in those cases, as the fields diminish per the Inverse Square Law(http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/forces/isq.html).  You also want to avoid coiling any cables/wires, as they then become inductors(http://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/inductor/inductor.html).
I'm about to run cables of different length, 11' left channel 4' right, would this cause any concerns. Somewhat off topic but...
Danham, it is unlikely to make any difference, although it is conceivable that in some systems it might.  However, even if it does make a difference there is no reason to assume that having one 11 foot cable and one 4 foot cable would necessarily sound worse than having two 11 foot cables.  It is just as conceivable that it could sound better.  See my two posts in this thread.

As is usual in audio, however, there are others who will disagree.  Regards,
-- Al

Thanks Al. On my retirement budget I have to make audio purchases stretch.
bdp24, If you're serious....

First, wouldn't that create more of the so called "skin effect" or at the very least another layer of insulation the signal is having to deal with.

Second, If you're going to step on the wires without the other add-ons, aren't you likely to step on them with the add-ons?

Third, I'd be concerned about any static electricity forming with the "pool noodles".

Fourth, Are you really serious? haha!

geoffkait, I thought of doing a similar thing years ago regarding hanging my amp from the ceiling. Thankfully, I came across your springs.

I do a somewhat similar thing with rubber bands integrated on my Dedicated Audio "Cable Towers". Another layer of isolation.
This gives me a thought for yet another thread... The most outlandish things you've ever done or thought of for isolating your system components?

At one time, I had thought of drilling three/four holes through my floor for large threaded rods that would be sunk into the ground below, up through the floor, where the rods would be surrounded by rubber grommets at floor level for a seal, that would support a platform for my amp.

As you can see, no WAF here!
I remember reading, years ago, Bob Ludwig's Gateway Mastering facility... he had holes dug deep into the ground filled with concrete that were the supports for his Eggleston Works speakers. Those pillars were not tied into the concrete (floor) slab.
Thought I would toss in my 2 cent opinion. One day the wife and I were listening, and I picked a power cord up, and she said hey what did you do? I picked up a power cord off a cable riser no less. I did it again, then she did it for me, I could not believe what I heard. After giving it some thought, like a lot of you guys did, I came up with 5
ceiling hooks, 5 s hooks, and a roll of 20lb fishing line. I wound up suspending 6 power cables, 4 IC's, and a pair of speaker cables.
The finished project resulted in of the biggest changes in our system bar none, and it cost under 10 dollars! Better deeper more defined bass, overall sound more relaxed or organic, and believe it or not,
another layer of hidden information revealed! As far as looks ours
was laid out symmetrical, and looks pretty cool, the wife thinks so too. All I can say is hanging all cables is a must! 
How far off of the floor did you find the best result?
I find it cool that you always refer to your system as yours. You and your wife. You are one lucky guy!

I already have hooks in my ceiling from years of listening to  various acoustic panels. So, I'm not afraid of this sort of thing.
Thank you! I truly mean OURS, she's the best, the only one in the house that likes the system more then her is Mr Black our cat, no joke!  

Slaw, I hung the speaker cables 6-10 inches off the floor, 4-5 feet
off the floor for the rest. I will post pictures of my system in the next month. IMHO should be a mandatory rule in setting up a system,
I know I wish I had known about this 30 years ago, it really is  that good! I forgot to mention from 100db and up you can actually see some of them sway slightly in the air. Look forward to hearing about your results Slaw!

I’ve not had a cable on the floor since 1990, when Enid Lumley of TAS, espoused the idea that something to do with "skin effect" caused cables lying directly on the floor to sound blurrier.
What the hell, thought I. I got up immediately and poised the cables on the edges of hardback books (thick ones, like War and Peace) and much to my surprise, since I had a Versa Dynamics, WATT/Puppies and Jadis and Goldmund electronics, heard the difference immediately. (I also had had two dedicated circuits installed earlier, and a Tice, so I could trust my ears).
I have no idea why, but keeping interconnects apart from each other - and from power cords - eliminates a sort of blur to the sound that makes inter-transient silences between notes noticeably better. And really, it costs nothing to try it out with hardback books either stood up with the books wide open, so that the cables aren’t touching a solid block of the book. I tie my interconnects with string. I even do tests for friends who say, "Oh, you have golden ears (right!). I won’t hear it." I just instruct them to listen to a singer’s voice (one they like, because it holds their interest. The other night it was Linda Ronstadt) and they hear it instantly.
I have Shunyata Dark Cable Elevators, too: several iterations of them and they do work. But you could HEAR the effect by using CD covers, hardback books (paperbacks seem to fall over too easily) or anything else where you have the cable just on the EDGE of whatever you’re draping it over. Don’t lay it across the entire surface of anything: that’s almost as bad as having it on the floor. It seem that the more it hangs in free air, the purer the sound. I do the same with power cords, although I have tube traps all around the room, and simply sick the power cords between two stacked tube traps.
EVERYTHING makes a difference.
And turn off your microwaves, dedicated circuits or not. Must be something in the microwave circuitry, but I’ve tested it in several friends’ homes with completely different equipment, and they have dedicated circuits, too. You’ll hear it in the 3-5k range most easily (triangles and their overtones, or glockenspiels).
Crazy hobby, but it need not cost a fortune. The room is the most important factor. The other night a new buddy, who’d never heard my system before, moved a tube trap. I just about blew my stack (silently) as I had said 3 times, "Don’t touch ANYTHING." And last night, hearing Ronstadt, I moved the trap he touched, and experienced annoyance: with tube traps, the slightest move of the cylinder (either rotating it or moving it down the wall in fractions of an inch) can cause you to lose extremely subtle improvements, such as hearing the "d" on "kicked" or even the "k". So do keeping the interconnects separated!
gbmcleod
287 posts
06-06-2016 1:11pm
"I’ve not had a cable on the floor since 1990, when Enid Lumley of TAS, espoused the idea that something to do with "skin effect" caused cables lying directly on the floor to sound blurrier."

I build some of Enid Lumley's cable tunnels which protect the cables from both static electrical charge and structureborne vibration. The cable tunnels are constructed using lengths of three pine 2X4s painted with anti static liquid. The cables are suspended from the top piece of the cable tunnels using eye hooks and thread.  

Cheers