Longer speaker cables or interconnects


I have a feeling that this may be a topic that has already been discussed to death, but the only thread I’ve found so far is one at Stereophile.

I will I’ll be moving into my new home with a new semi dedicated semi anechoic listening room, and I am just realizing now that maybe the 25 ft speaker cable runs vs the 3 to 4 ft interconnect runs that I was used to in my old NYC loft for decades is maybe not the optimal ratio.

I presume that that I don’t want a long interconnect between the turntable and the preamp.

I’m looking for various points of views and justifications for them. Remember, one caveat is that I’m the kind of guy who will spend only a moderate amount of dollars for interconnects and speaker cable. Thank you all.
6b4bd886 1149 44b4 9602 7f1f77975542unreceivedogma
Thank you steakster.

It seems the preponderance of opinion is to put the amps near the speakers. However, I wonder about the wisdom of placing two Julius Futterman OTL3s converted to triode with eight 6LF6 tubes each on the floor next to Altec 604Cs and the likelihood of the tubes picking up mechanical vibrations from the drivers.

Thoughts?
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I use long speaker runs and am currently getting some of the best sound I have had. As long as the gauge is at least 12ga you will be just fine. No worries about signal loss etc.....

I use 10 gauge. No loss of bass or sound quality at all compared to 8 foot runs as I have compared with my particular 10 gauge cable.


What are the components?
Tangential to the topic but...Futterman OTL! Nice amps, indeed. I had a NYAL Mosode 300 and then it suddenly stopped working. Nobody on the west coast at the time (~10 years ago) seemed to be able to fix it.
dill,

the components are:

Cartridges - Koetsu Onyx; van den Hul Grasshopper, Benz Micro, Grado for the 78s
Arm - Sumiko MMT
Table - VPI HW MK IV with SAM
Preamp - Beard P505 upgraded with Jansen caps
Amps - Julius Futterman OTL3s, converted to triode and upgraded with Jansen caps by Jon Specter, formerly of NY Audiolabs (the manufacturer of these amps) and cousin of Al Cooper of Highway 61, Blood Sweat & Tears founder and Stills Cooper Bloomfield Super Sessions
Crossovers - Mastering Labs, upgraded with Jansen caps
Speakers - Altec Lansing 604Cs
Subwoofer - Velodyne ULD-15

kacomess,

I know George Kay of Moscode. If you want it fixed, I can connect you. He lives in New Hampshire. 

elizabeth,

i have akways had trouble getting slamming but clean bass. 

jperry,

thanks for the link but I’m not going to spend $2800 for amp platforms for the same reason I’m not gonna spend a lot of money for cables.

My whole system cost cost me no more than $17,000. I prefer to find a way to get 90% of performance of a $200K system while spending 10% of the money. I am more or less at that spot, if I include what I just spent on the listening room.

eg my solution for isolating the table from vibrations - rather than spend $1000s on an isolation platform was to simply bolt the platform that the table was sitting on to a 18” thick brick wall. I will do that for the table at the new space. I also kept the dust cover down when playing music, as the arm and cartridge could sometimes generate feedback from the speakers.
I'll defer to an expert whose advice tends to make a lot of sense because he justifies his claims either with measurable scientific fact, or from his extensive experience in the industry.  Plus I've learned a lot from watching his video series and fact-checking some of his claims.  For your needs, I recommend watching the video in its 7-minute entirety.  (Actually you can skip the first 1:30 without missing any relevant information if you want.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5WFZx6-2hA
“i have akways had trouble getting slamming but clean bass.”

That’s indicative of lack of isolation for electronics. Also, while the wall is often a better location than the floor, especially trampoline floors and upper floors, the problem remains the entire building structure is shaking, including the walls.

Everything should be isolated, including cables. - old audiophile axiom
It’s not an issue. Even cables running thousands of miles exhibit minimum loss or signal or time distortion as long as there are no breaks and freedom from interference.

The speed of a signal through a cable is not far off the speed of light.
cd318
It’s not an issue. Even cables running thousands of miles exhibit minimum loss or signal or time distortion as long as there are no breaks.

>>>>>>Strawman argument. The AC power is not the audio signal. The AC signal doesn’t travel all the way from the power company when you turn the ON switch. It’s available instantaneously. The voice signal degrades over distance due to a number of things, repreaters, vibration, etc. The standard for analog signals over transmission lines is lower than the audiophile standard. Bandwidth for voice is very limited, for example. Besides if the voice goes overseas it probably goes over satellite, which would be a 50,000 mile round trip in itself.

cd318
The speed of a signal through a cable is not far off the speed of light.

>>>>>You think you can sneak one by the goalie? 🏒 Vibration is continuous. The only way the audio signal can escape the influence of vibration is to travel instantaneously. Faster than the speed of light. Which photons have not learned to do yet. The audio signal travels very fast yet the song lasts several minutes. It’s a sitting duck. 🦆
I assume your amp is not balanced and you will be using RCA ICs.   If so you are certainly better off with the longer speaker cable runs.  No issue at all for you. Again, gauge matter with these long runs however.   What gauge are your current speakers cables? This is the more important question. 
I have always had the best results using short speaker cable and longer interconnects, balanced or single-ended, especially with tube amps. I would put the amps on a thick wood platform next to the speakers/crossovers and run the interconnects to the preamp.
I have always had the best results using short speaker cable and longer interconnects, balanced or single-ended, especially with tube amps
+1.  I have monos with short speaker cables.

I don't think you need to use the amp stands I posted, but as @dill recommends you should use some sort of amp stand. A maple platform with feet or something less expensive would be a plus.
The speaker cable was close to the best that Monster - a new company at the time - had to offer in 1985. I’m not sure of the gauge, actually, but it is quite thick. The system is still in boxes. 
Asking a single ended vintage tube preamp to drive very long ICs will not be the most ideal choice in this specific system. What is the gauge of your speaker cable? 
jperry,

if the wood stand is on a wood floor, even if on feet, I don’t know if that is simply delaying the inevitable.

Maybe the amps get bolted to the brick wall also.

My old home was on a busy manhattan intersection. I could feel vibration through the building almost constantly. Mortar was always flaking off the wall, and as it was a party wall, I took that as being caused not by moisture, but by vibration. My new home is much much quieter.
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cd318,

No one has been on the other side of a black hole, unless maybe you are metaphorically referring to some members of this community: who knows how fast whatever can travel there, including and especially bs.

That aside, yes, Einstein, among others, would be surprised. 


The other side of a black hole? Gentle readers, you see what I’m forced to deal with? When is the next incoming class, September?

cd318, you don’t even know what a repeater is, do you? Oops, did I just repeat myself? 🙄
Geoffkait, was it you that I was referring to? 😳

speaking of the speed of light, geoffkait just broke the 10,000 barrier. Well done, mate. 

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unreceivedogbone, You’re fast. Just not fast enough. I like your hat. 😬
Yes Geoff, now that you hit 10,000 posts, can 20,000 be very far away?
Nope, Geoffkait going after Mapman for Don't Have A Life!   LOL!!!
Casey at bat. Oops, he struck out! That’s a shame.
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Seriously, if a cable can carry a signal for over a thousand miles without harm, what's a meter or two here and there?

Imagine the mileage of cabling they use to use in recording studios during the so- called golden age.

If Nat King Cole, Sinatra, Peggy Lee can sound that good 70 years ago under those conditions then its absolutely pointless to worry.

The OP is right to spend his money carefully on cables because no system ever built can yet improve on the original recordings. At any price.

Sometimes remastering from original sources can remove the smear imposed by too much mixing down / or by mastering from worn tapes. 

Regarding the isolation of your turntable you should try to enhance the decks ability to prevent outside resonance from interfering with the tracking. Hopefully, if its not a budget deck, the designer has already done most of the work for you.

Imagine? Imagine is right. Your imagination is running away with you. 🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️
"The speaker cable was close to the best that Monster - a new company at the time - had to offer in 1985"

Wow, that's old, has it turned green yet?

dill,

no moisture. Sorry.

Old? The speaker’s serial # puts them at 1954, the year I was born. 

Now that’s old!
Unreceivedogma, it appears that your preamp provides two RCA outputs. "Output 1," at least in stock form, has an EXTREMELY high output impedance of 100K, that was apparently suitable for use with a matching Beard power amp, but very definitely would not be suitable for driving long cables or a majority of other amps. "Output 2" has a specified output impedance of 600 ohms, although I wouldn't be surprised if that number rose to considerably higher values at deep bass frequencies.

Also, it appears that your sub has an external crossover/amplifier, with a fairly low input impedance of 20K. I don't know what the input impedance of your amps may be, but I suspect it is relatively high.

Before providing any suggestions, my questions at this point are:

1)How are you connecting the OTL amps and the sub's crossover/amplifier to the preamp? If one is connected to "Output 1" of the preamp and the other to "Output 2," which is connected to which?

2)By any chance do you know if the capacitor upgrade that was performed on the preamp included the output coupling capacitors?

3)And if so, do you know what the values of the new output coupling capacitors are, i.e., the number of uF (microFarads)?

4)If you know the input impedance of the amps, that would also be relevant information.

Also, a minor correction for the record, if I may: The musician you referred to is Al Kooper, not "Cooper." As you may be aware, also, prior to his BS&T days he was a member of the Blues Project, a great group IMO!

Regards,
-- Al
I went to The Cooper Union, I’m always making that mistake. Oops.

As for for the rest of your questions, they will have to wait until everything comes back out of their boxes.

That said, I have been running the Beard with the Futterman from either output with no discernible difference for 28 years. Specter returned the Beard to stock (except for the caps) two years ago, he did everything on the OTLs also and then tuned it all to the room.

The sub is a new addition to the system. I’ve used it only for a month or so before packing it up and haven’t really had a chance to fine tune things, but it sounded good though not great and made the Altec sound noticeably clearer. It went to output two.

all the caps were upgraded. Every one. 
OK. Given that, and pending any further info you might be able to provide after the equipment is unboxed, and given also that the 604c is specified as an 8 ohm driver, I suspect that with this particular equipment what would be best is:

-- Connect Output 1 to the amps via the shortest possible cable length. And preferably with cables having low capacitance, for example Blue Jeans LC-1 (12 pf/foot).

-- Connect Output 2 to the sub’s crossover/amplifier via whatever cable length is necessary. If the output impedance of Output 1 with the cap upgrade is anything remotely close to the original 100K spec it would not work well with the sub.

-- Connect the speakers to the amps via whatever cable length is necessary.

Generally speaking, low speaker impedance (which is not the case here) tends to increase the importance of minimizing speaker cable length. High output impedance of a component providing a line-level signal (which is certainly the case here) tends to increase the importance of minimizing interconnect length (although much less so in the case of a sub, for which cable effects on the treble region are unimportant). The use of unbalanced as opposed to balanced interconnections also tends to increase the importance of minimizing interconnect length.

Again generally speaking, my reading of the many previous threads in which the long speaker cable/short interconnect vs. short speaker cable/long interconnect subject has been discussed has been the same as yours, that "the preponderance of opinion is to put the amps near the speakers" (quoting from one of your earlier posts). However the specifics of your particular equipment appear to greatly overshadow any such generalities. Bill (Grannyring) had it right!


Good luck. Regards,
-- Al
Almarg,

stock 604B, C, and D were 16 ohms. They can be modified to 8. When I had them re-coned, I kept them at 16. Jon said the Futterman much prefer the 16.

E and up are at 8.

I will ask Jon about the output impedance of both taps. I’m sure he must have thought of it and never explained to me, figuring it’s tmi, but you never know.

Thanks for the advice. Looks like I have had it more or less right all along.
stock 604B, C, and D were 16 ohms. They can be modified to 8. When I had them re-coned, I kept them at 16. Jon said the Futterman much prefer the 16.
Even better! 

I had seen the 8 ohm number in the listing for the 604C near the middle of this page, but a further search confirms that 16 ohms is correct.  Thanks for pointing that out.

Regards,
-- Al 
@almarg Way back when, I saw The Blues Project many times at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village. Every year on a long Thanksgiving weekend, the Cafe hosted a blues festival called The Blues Bag - 24/7 for 4 straight days. It was some kind of wonderful - from what I can remember of it. ;-0

Al Kooper has been busy all these decades as a musician & music producer. As a goof, he produced for The Rock Bottom Remainders. Barbara Kingsolver wrote a hilarious short story about their endeavor in ’High Tide in Tucson.’ I love these quotes from their Wiki page.
"Roy actually coined the term for our genre of music; ’hard-listening music.’ " – Dave Barry

"Your band’s not too bad. It’s not too good either. Don’t let it get any better, otherwise you’ll just be another lousy band." - Bruce Springsteen
The Blues Project was started by Danny Kalb. I never expected to see this amazing basketball trick shot on a musician’s website. Fast forward to 30 secs in. Watch it in full screen.
Thanks, Steakster.

Looks like David Kalb is Danny’s brother, as indicated on Danny’s website. He looks to be a good deal younger than what I’d expect Danny to look like in recent years, though. In any event, it appears that Steph Curry has nothing on him :-)

Great quotes re The Remainders. I hadn’t heard of them previously.

The majority of my listening is to classical music, but the Blues Project’s "Projections" album is one of my all-time favorite rock albums. Although I like just about all of the songs on it, my favorite is "Steve’s Song," sung by Steve Katz, who as you are no doubt aware was also an original member of both the Blues Project and BS&T.  I also like "Sometimes in Winter" very much, sung by Steve on the self-titled BS&T album.

Thanks again. Best regards,
-- Al
Well, speaking of Bruce Springsteen, I saw him Upstairs at Max’s Kansas City, right after his first lp was released. I was sitting in the front row. Clarence was dripping sweat all over me.

I saw Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris there, van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainright, The Dolls, Tim Buckley and others.

then there was that night at The Bottom Line. A friend was the sound engineer there. We were waiting two hours for Miles Davis to start his set. I asked my friend after, wtf? He said Miles was flying high as a kite on coke, it’s hard to get your rocks off in that state but he would not go onstage until he did. It took six women servicing him.

best - ud
Almarg 6-18-2018
Looks like David Kalb is Danny’s brother, as indicated on Danny’s website. He looks to be a good deal younger than what I’d expect Danny to look like in recent years, though. In any event, it appears that Steph Curry has nothing on him :-)
Steakster, after doing a bit of additional research I'm thinking that the Danny Kalb whose site links to David Kalb's basketball video may be a different Danny Kalb than the Blues Project person.  Here is the Wikipedia writeup on the Blues Project's Danny Kalb, which doesn't appear to mention any of the lengthy discography shown at the first link.

Best,
-- Al
@almarg      Good police work!  Same name, both musicians - but, two different people.   You deserve a TV show about solving audio mysteries - perhaps, with an occasional murder of a spouse whose marriage had an impedance mismatch.  LOL.
Springsteen at Max's? Still in his Dylan mode?
Wow!
cd318,

Yes. Between his 1st and 2nd LP. He was a scrawny, skinny kid then. And Parsons, that was between his two LPs of course, he was dead a mere 5 months or so later. I sat in the front row at that and most of the other shows, which as you would know if you were ever there was almost literally sitting in the lap of the artists. A friend was a waitress downstairs and she would get me in early and for free through the back. I met Debbie Harry through her, as Ms Harry was a waitress there before Blondie, but of course back then she was just Debbie and I didn't get to know her well. I eventually saw her again though with Blondie, also saw Bowie, Talking Heads, Dave van Ronk, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper (with a "C"). I missed Phil Ochs :-(

I miss those days. Micky Ruskin was a special guy, Max's was a special place, upstairs and downstairs. I think Micky died of lung cancer at a very young age, maybe 50. Mickey helped artists in need. I think I paid for only half of what I ever ate and drank there, as I myself was a struggling artist at the time and he would just wave the tab. It was no wonder he was broke all the time, but he did built up quite a collection of 60s artwork by chamberlain, Marden, Warhol, Poons, Andre, Weiner etc because they would run up these huge tabs and then just pay him with an artwork. They would be worth a fortune these days. The walls were like an art gallery.

The Bottom Line had superb acoustics, maybe the best of any club that I have heard. Miles set itself was great, but as you can imagine he was horrible. It was the Agartha period: great music but in hindsight it was also a glimpse of the beginning of the end.
Springsteen. The new Dylan. 
@unreceivedogma,

First of all my rig is in no way in your rigs league. Let’s get that straight right now. I notice you play your albums with the dust cover on. Well, my first so called ’audiophile’ turntable was a Pro-Ject RPM 5.1 SE and I couldn’t believe it when the owners manual said specifically not to play albums with the dust cover on as the dust cover tends to vibrate from the speakers and the turntable when the turntable is playing! Is it is just a dust cover only? For when the turntable is not playing? And not for sound reproduction? I'd enjoy some feedback on the above comments here.

I thought this was nuts, but tried it anyway, and you know what, I have been playing albums that way ever since. No matter what tuntable I am using at the time. I found through listening tests that the sound is better when no dust cover is used!

There’s a long standing debate of what the stylus can and and cannot hear or read. Is the stylus similar to a mic? Or does it only read what is transcribed when in the grooves of vinyl?

Maybe the closed turntable dust cover/lid thing is a holdover from the 70’s when our parents would buy us those cheap-o all inclusive thingys so us kids could have our ’blue lights in the basement’ parties. Ahhh...Those were the days weren't they? Never realising that the old RCA or Magnavox that mom and pops had upstairs was actually a way better rig!

As to interconnects and speaker wire I think you said you had something similar to the old Monster cable back in the day? I know you didn’t want to spend a lot of money but with a $17,000 rig, I think you can afford more for interconnects and speaker wire than you give yourself credit for.

I would suggest you take a look at Morrow Audio speaker wire and interconnects especially since they have a 60% off sale going on too right now. When you have good speaker wire and interconnects you can almost run them as long as you want.

I’m using Blue Jean Cable speaker wire and interconnects and have 25’ each for my dual subs with no problems in sound degradation whatsoever. Cheers mate.



The word you’re looking for is resonant cavity.
Tyray,

Actually, the dust cover is usually up. But with about 10% to 15% of my records, beyond a certain volume, say 85 decibels or so, the cartridge picks up feedback hum from the speakers. When the dust cover is down, the problem disappears completely. The cover does not “chatter” at all. I presume Westfield must have dampened it somehow. And, I presumed from that experience that it must actually be better to have the cover down all the time, but I get lazy and I otherwise don’t hear a difference. With the new room, that may change.

As for the cost of equipment generally, never mind cable, I’m from the David Halfer school of audio. You shouldn’t have to mortgage the house for good sound. I see someone has brought an updated version of the old Dyna70 back, still regarded as one of the great designs of all time. I still have my Dyna MK III monoblocks for the day that I finally get around to bi-amping my speakers.

i did not pay for that Koetsu. It was a gift from a very well known rock musician / environmentalist via his engineer. No way do I spend $10K on a cartridge. That said, it is way better than my Benz Micro. 
@unreceivedogma, having read a few Springsteen biographies before his recent autobiography I was pleasantly surprised at how candid he was. He didn't gloss over his problems with perfectionism or forget those who gave him a helping hand.

It's must be kind of strange for you to have been involved in a scene which has since gone down in history and been catalogued hundreds of times. The closest I got to Max's was via the Pistols LP. 

Regarding the turntable feedback I wonder whether the lid is picking up the airborne feedback when its up and transmitting it to the headshell. It might be worth removing the lid completely to see if it disappears entirely.

In any case 85db or thereabouts is pretty good. Many a deck would start dangerously howling by then.