Odd length speaker cables


Given the considerable cost of most high end speaker cables and corner equipment placement in a non dedicated room I am in need of 18 foot run and a 5-6 foot run. How much detriment coiling 12 feet of cable on one side will have for signal path versus difference if one obtains 2 cables of different length?
endoit
Never "coil" speaker wire. It will cause
inductance. As far as the lengths, you're going to get
recommendations from both camps. Many feel that different
lengths don't matter. IMHO, they should be the same length.

If the system is just for casual/background listening, it
probably doesn't matter.
I agree about NOT coiling the wire. Consider a Z/fanfold instead. As far as lengths you may want to go to a home depot and pick up 42 ft of cheapest wire you can find. That way you can cut 2 18ft and 1 6ft length and try that to see if you hear a difference. Also consider if you do get a high end cable of different lengths resale will be tough.
My unusual set-up requires 16ft on one side and 9 ft on the other. I have tried every possible combinations. Equal lengths with one side coiled, equal lengths with no coiling but a mess, name it. Cheap cables, expensive cables, homemade cables, Home Depot cables, heavy gauge, light gauge, and probably a few other combinations.

What works for me: I use a 16ft on one side, and 9ft on the other. This shifts the stereo image to the short side on the 9ft run.

I counter-balance this by advancing the 16ft side speaker about a foot in front, and the image centers beautifully.

I have always used this way to get a virtual channel balance control even with even-length cables for micro-adjustments.

Not saying it would work for you but worth I try!

Good luck
Sonicbeauty wrote: What works for me: I
use a 16ft on one side, and 9ft on the other. This shifts
the stereo image to the short side on the 9ft run.

I counter-balance this by advancing the 16ft side speaker
about a foot in front, and the image centers beautifully.

How can you possibly relate these? Moving the speaker 1foot
changes the arrival time (at the ear) by a bit less than
1millisecond. Changing the cable length by 7inches changes
the arrival time by about 0.0006microseconds.
I too agree that coiling the excess length is undesirable. And that having significantly unequal lengths would probably decimate resale value.

A point to keep in mind is that if you can manage to find speaker cables for which the longer cable behaves in an essentially neutral manner with your particular speakers and amplifier, imposing minimal sonic effects on the signal, the shorter one will too. The higher the impedance of your speakers, the easier it will be to find such a cable, although significant trial and error may still be required.

And I agree with Kal's point, that if in fact having unequal lengths has adverse sonic consequences in some systems, propagation delay/arrival time differences are NOT the reason. Although I think his reference to 7 inches should have said 7 feet, and therefore "about 0.0006 microseconds" should have said something like "less than 0.01 microseconds," at most audible frequencies. That figure would be somewhat greater at deep bass frequencies, btw, but still thousands of times less than the arrival time difference resulting from a 1 foot difference in speaker-to-listener distance.

Regards,
-- Al
A few years ago I murdered a perfectly good extension cord looking for a good speaker cable. Needed 6 feet on one end and 12 feet on other. Tried other lengths (2 ft-15ft, 6ft-20ft etc) and found that any mis-match of length more than 20% was sonicaly notable. Have tried more recently "better" cables with similar results. Shorter-longer not better-worse, just different. Moving speakers around will change perception due to different sonic presentation of different cable lengths. Regards to all that have commented on this aggravating topic. Mike
Thanks everyone. I spoke to a local dealer who " does not believe in significant difference". He claims that years ago he conducted double blind studies with groups of audio enthusiasts, repeated each test 10 times and less than 20% were able to tell a difference 20% of the time. He moved to a smaller space fiew years back and has a 50 and 30 foot run of silver sonic that he cant use and will part with for a $100. I will pick it up and experiment myself.
Your dealer is wrong.
The better the equipment the more you will notice the difference in the uneven cable length.

Really, IMHO you should go as short as possible.
I think you should rethink your equipment layout and try to make the runs close to the same.
Your dealer is wrong.
The better the equipment the more you will notice the
difference in the uneven cable length.

Well, that assertion should settle it for once and all. All
you have to do is be able to accept it.

I can't.
I don't believe 99.9% of people could tell the difference. Granted, its not optimal, (on paper) but, can YOU hear it? In a blind test, I would put my money on no every time.
I experimented with different lengths of cables due to an odd room setup. I obsessed over the issue myself. I could tell no difference with unequal lengths whatsoever. I don't mean any disrespect, but it seems a little far fetched to think anyone can hear difference in microseconds due to unequal lengths of cable.
Zydo. I agree with your statement:

''I don't believe 99.9% of people could tell the difference. Granted, its not optimal, (on paper) but, can YOU hear it? In a blind test, I would put my money on no every time.''

And Kr4's scientific contribution:

''How can you possibly relate these? Moving the speaker 1foot
changes the arrival time (at the ear) by a bit less than
1millisecond. Changing the cable length by 7inches changes
the arrival time by about 0.0006microseconds.''

Kr4, let me tell you how I relate. I use a very sophisticated instrument: My ears.
Sorry, Sonicbeauty, but you did relate these two variables in your statement and there is no scientific justification for it.

What works for me: I use a 16ft on one side, and 9ft on the other. This shifts the stereo image to the short side on the 9ft run.

I counter-balance this by advancing the 16ft side speaker about a foot in front, and the image centers beautifully.
Since you assert that you can fix the problem by moving the speaker a bit, you are extremely lucky or it is the result of something else.