I've never tried it . . . may or may not be noticeable, but why would you do that? I wouldn't unless it was very temporary.
30 responses Add your response
I for one don't see anything weird about the question. Not sure if it's clear to everyone that he is apparently referring to biwiring, with one length going to one section of each speaker and the other length going to the other section of each speaker. Presumably he already has one or both sets of cables on hand.
To address the question, if the longer cable behaves in an essentially neutral manner, which in part would mean that it has adequate gauge, and inductive reactance that is adequately low in relation to speaker impedance (which would usually be the case at these lengths, except perhaps to a slight degree with some electrostatic speakers), then the shorter cable will also behave in an essentially neutral manner. At least, that is, if the impedance characteristics of the two sections of the speaker are not considerably different.
If the longer cable does not behave in an essentially neutral manner, then there is no way to predict whether it would subjectively be better or worse to have both cables of equal length, and therefore probably behaving in a similarly non-neutral manner (depending on speaker impedance), or to have one of them in a shorter length, and therefore probably behaving closer to neutrality.
Also, if the two sections of the speaker do have considerably different impedance characteristics, having equal lengths will not assure that the two cables behave similarly.
Personally, at these lengths I would treat it as a non-issue.
Sometimes you're left with mismatched lengths of cable for a variety of reasons...it happens, and I've found that if it's good cable you can't hear any level differences between speakers. You simply can't. I have used differing cable lengths in the past, but find that same length cables are easier to sell when you upgrade.
Not, as many have said, you can hear the difference but there is the ability to measure the resistance difference in cables, often of the same make, type and length. Whether that translates to 'hearing' difference is debatable as the amps performance can have a more substantial impact. Enjoy the music and stop fussing about the gear.
12-11-13: SimaoI agree with Mustang also, as implied in the last line of my earlier post.
However, the fact you cited that signals propagate through wires at near light speed has nothing to do with it. Resistance, inductance, and capacitance, and their potential effects, are all directly proportional to length. Skin effect, dielectric absorption, antenna effects, impedance mismatch effects, effects related to purity of metals, and other such effects that some would argue can be audibly significant are also affected by length.
On another note, I would add to Mustang's comment that EVEN IF there is a difference (which I doubt), as explained in my earlier post there is no reason to necessarily expect that using two 3-meter cables would sound better than using one 3-meter cable and one 2-meter cable. It could just as easily sound worse.
Not sure if it's clear to everyone that he is apparently referring to biwiring, with one length going to one section of each speaker and the other length going to the other section of each speaker.this was not at all clear to me, and if it had been (guess I should read more carefully) I would not think the question weird at all. I just couldn't imagine buying a single pair of cables different lengths . . . especially when you have mono block amps.
What if one cable is coiled or bent more than the other? Or one is an inch higher off the floor? Or if one is over wood and the other carpet? If one bends to the right and the other to the left? Well, that last one happens a lot:-)
3 feet difference and same cable? No way you will hear any difference my friend. No way. No chance. Never. Will not happen. Unless you hear strange voices in the night also?
Reasonable question actually, but near countless other things will impact your sound and this one happens to fall waaaay down the list of things to be concerned about. The condition of one spade vs. the other will have more impact.....look at that first. Oh no don't go there as life as you now know it will be over and audio anxiety will overtake you. No don't look at those spades! Just walk on by.....
12-12-13: GrannyringNothing is perfect. Isn't the goal to eliminate as many possible factors for higher quality sound? Why take a chance and just use 2 same length cables.
There are tons of explanations why cables, fuses, fuse direction ... SHOULD sound the same but they all sound different to me in MY system.
12-13-13: KnghifiWhy assume that unequal lengths won't be better than equal lengths?
As I indicated earlier, I see no reason to make that assumption, at least in the biwire situation the OP appears to be describing. And a similar argument could probably be made for the more usual situation where the length difference would be between channels, rather than between the connections to high and low frequency drivers in each speaker.
Is it better to (a)have the two cables of equal length, so that their sonic effects are similar, or (b)to have one of the cables shorter, so that its sonic effects are reduced?
Either outcome is possible in any given system, as I see it, if in fact it makes any difference at all.
Why assume that unequal lengths won't be better than equal lengths?I agree, anything is possible. What unequal lengths do you suggest OP start with? How about 75 Meters on the right and 1 Meter on the left? OP, I hope you have DEEP DEEP pockets. Good Luck!
Isn't the goal to eliminate as many possible factors for higher quality sound?
That's one possible goal; another is to create a musically satisfying system that successfully conveys the artist's intent, recognizing that there is an unbreachable, qualitative chasm between the best reproduction of a recording of a musical "event" and the original musical event.
I apologize for not weighing in after starting the thread... family stuff that took me out of town. Anyway, I appreciate all of the comments and I should have been clearer in my initial description. I am bi-wiring from a set up mono amps (Jeff Rowland 725) to YG Acoustics Kipod speakers with the passive bass module. I have the shorter run (2 mtr) going to the bass module and the longer run (3 mtr) going to the mid-range with jumpers to the tweeters. I hear no difference between the sound of the speakers in this configuration, just wasn't sure if there might be long term damage from the length difference to crossover components or drivers due to the mysteries (at least to me) of electron flow; impedance, resistance, etc. Hard to imagine there would be. On another matter, the outside covering of the longer pair is a slightly lighter shade of gray than the shorter pair. Should I be worried? Thanks again for everyone's help in this matter.