long speaker cable run or long balanced IC ??

I am setting up a new system and deciding on placement of equipment. I will have most of my equipment (source, preamp) in a rack on the side wall. I will be using balanced interconnects. I am wondering what is better: keep amps on the stand on the side wall and have longer speaker runs or put the amp closer to the speakers on the front wall and have longer IC runs. Also, is it critical/important to have all cables the same length ?
This subject has been discussed quite a lot on Agon. Here are some threads to read through:


Hope this helps
The usual answer is long interconnects and short speaker cables.
A few claim the reverse works better for them.
But the majority go for long interconnects and short speaker cables.
And various pair lengths are fine for interconnects.
If your question ws about speaker cable lengths? Then the opinion is divided between OK for different lengths of speaker cables, OR, better to be equal length speaker cables. I personally try to use equal lengths, but if the difference in length was within 50% or so... I would not worry. Thus if one is 5 ft and the other is 10 ft long I would not worry. If one is 2 ft long and the other is 20 ft long... I would not want to do that.
I have though a lot (myself) about moving the amp to the side of one speaker, instead of as now where it is between them. I do have equal length wires now so it sits in the middle. But if I was to do it again I might go for the side position and have somewhat unequal speaker wires....
Even though one would only NEED to be 2 ft vs 10 ft or so.. I would buy a longer short side to get them to be more alike... so i would buy 5 ft for the short side even if I did not need it.
Long interconnect and short speaker cable.
If there were just one kind of amp, there would be only one answer, but tube amps and SS amps have completely different output characteristics. Generally speaking:
Tube amps are more comfortable with short speaker cables.
Solid state amps don't mind long speaker cables as long as those cables are not overly capacitive.
Yes, of course there are exceptions, but these guidelines work with a high percentage of the amplifiers out there.

But short speaker cables will work with all amplifiers and will most likely be an advantage. The real question would be what preamp is the OP using rather than amplifier since some preamps may not like long interconnects.
The most ideal circumstance for long interconnects is when the interface is balanced AND the output impedance of the component driving the cable is low. So I second Ron's question about what preamp is being used.

The higher the output impedance of the component driving a line-level interconnect, the more important it is to minimize length, although that importance will be greatest in the case of unbalanced interfaces.

Also, low cable capacitance will work in the direction of making longer interconnects acceptable.

Factors which increase the importance of keeping speaker cables short include:

1)Low speaker impedance.

2)Wide variation of speaker impedance as a function of frequency.

3)Damping factor and woofer control being particularly important to the particular speaker.

4)High output impedance of the amplifier, which is equivalent to low damping factor. That is typical of tube amps, consistent with Joe's comments above.

In general, my vote goes to long interconnects/short speaker cables, particularly in this case since the interconnects are balanced.

-- Al
All very helpful.

I will most likely me driving aerial lr5 ( power hungry) with a wyred4sound preamplifier (80-113 ohm output impedance). Amps will most likely be wyred4sound high powered mono blocks (sx-1000)

While I realize the speakers are a rough load, not sure if this is considered high or low output impendence for the pre.

Seems like the short speaker cables make the most sense.
Yes, the preamp output impedance is quite low, for purposes of deciding about cable lengths.

The main concern is that it should be low enough to avoid significant interaction with cable capacitance, which would roll off the highs, and result in sluggish transients. A preamp output impedance of 100 ohms or thereabouts is easily low enough to avoid that, in relation to the capacitance of any length of cable that is likely to be used in a home environment (even 50 feet or more).

Combine that with the fact that the interface is balanced, which will minimize or eliminate noise pickup and ground loop issues that might otherwise be sensitive to cable length, and it sounds to me like the choice is clear.

Best regards,
-- Al
Quicksilver Audio's Fullpreamp has an output impedance of only 1.5 ohms. The previous version of this preamp has an output impedance of 12.5 ohms. Most likely the reason these preamps match well with whatever amplifier you decide to use and long interconnects are obviously not a problem.