Speaker cable lengths doe it matter they are not equal???


Hello to all ...
This is my first time on this site so please pardon my "rookieness" at this. I am setting up a new system after being out of audio for years. My current setup demands that one speaker is relatively close to the components and the other not so much. In other words they will not be equidistant forcing me to have one speaker cable longer than the order a rough estimate is that one will be 8 feet and the other 16-20 feet.
The question is what is best:
1. Leave them different lengths
or
2. Make them the same length and hide the excess as best as possible on the closer speaker (would end up being coiled)

i understand that presumably the impedance would differ because of the length difference but would that be noticeable?? As I said I am no expert that’s why I came here to hear feedback from the experts out in audiogon land!
Thanks for your replies lets see what you all think........
qbndds
the other issue is it will be very hard to sell if you change your set up, and you will almost certainly have to buy new...but if you are choosing inexpensive cable it may not matter...there are many threads on this issue, with of course varying opinions
You are correct regarding impedance differences with length.
I, too, have to run long lengths of speaker cable, though it is mostly for aesthetic reason...
In my opinion, I would run two identical lengths of cables. Though it costs more, it will give your amp a break and should sound better, as well.
Rather than coil the excess, try to disperse it randomly (I know- sounds easy), but it would negate any magnetic distortions that coil wound cable may induce.
If anyone can give you the exact science of this, it would be Agon member Almarg. Perhaps you should PM him.
Keep it equal, but I am skeptical that any difference would be audibly significant 
Gdnrbob, thank you kindly. Qbndds, welcome to Audiogon!

As JL35 indicated this question has been discussed in a number of prior threads, and opinions vary. It seems safe to assume that no comprehensive body of experimental data exists on this question, encompassing a broad range of systems, rooms, listeners, and combinations of cable lengths. So all that is available is opinion.

It is certainly very possible, and perhaps probable, that it will make no perceivable difference either way. If it does make a difference, a majority of the opinions that have been expressed in past threads favors keeping the lengths equal. I see it differently, however, putting aside the question of the resale value of the cables.

The degree of virtually all explainable speaker cable effects (including those whose audible significance is debatable or doubtful) is directly proportional to length. That would include the effects of resistance, inductance, capacitance, skin effect, proximity effect, dielectric absorption, and propagation delay, among several others that could be cited. The one exception to direct proportionality to length that I can think of would be antenna effects, which in many and probably most cases won’t have any significance, and if there is any significance of antenna effects it figures to be completely unpredictable with respect to length.

Therefore:

**If** the cables are such that their intrinsic sonic characteristics and the interaction of their technical characteristics with the particular amp and speakers would result in the longer cable behaving in an essentially neutral manner (i.e., having effects on the signal that are audibly insignificant), then the shorter one will too.

**If** on the other hand the cables are such that the longer cable DOES NOT behave in an essentially neutral manner in the particular application, then it seems to me that there is no way to predict which of the following two alternatives will be better/preferable:

(a)Using equal lengths, thereby making the colorations introduced by the cables the same.

(b)Using unequal lengths, thereby reducing/minimizing the colorations introduced by the cable in one channel.

And in fact I see no reason to rule out the possibility that (b) might actually sound BETTER than (a).

The bottom line, IMO: Choose whichever alternative you prefer based on non-sonic considerations. And if you decide to go with the equal length alternative, as suggested by Gdnrbob it would seem to make sense to try to avoid tight coiling (or closely spaced paralleling) of the excess length in one channel. Although, again, that may not make any difference.

Regards,
-- Al

I am running 2 different lengths of the same cable in my secondary system and I notice no difference from before I shortened one of the cables, to before they were shortened.  I have a 23 foot cable and an 8 foot cable.  No difference in sound.
you will notice no difference
Post removed 
Thank you all for the responses so far as an update since someone asked I plan to run:

Jeff Rowland Continuum S2 amp (with DAC)
Raidho D1.1 speakers

Looking for a CD transport 


Thanks again to all and specially Almarg for your detailed explanation I think based upon what I see as a concensus of opinion I am leaning towards the best cable possible at different lengths will post here how it turns out!

What would be interesting is if a dealer had some different length cables and try them yourself at the store. Of course the biggest downside is resale.

That said about 25 yrs ago a dealer did a demo of different speaker cable lengths. If I recall correctly it was a 5ft and 15ft run. I heard an ever so slight difference. Kind of like a slight reverb to the sound. At first it sounded a bit better like the room doubled in size. But as we switched back and forth I did prefer equal lengths. FWIW my rack is off to the side and if I did unequal lengths I would need 1M and 5M. But I have 2 - 5M sc's and zig zag the excess. Should I ever decide to upgrade the cables they will be easier to resell.

Again I can't recommend enough to try and demo different lengths if at all possible even if its some cheap bulk cable from a hardware store.
Qbnnds, re: CD transports, you probably should start another thread, but I suspect you will get a wide range of opinions. Also, it would help if you give a price range. BTW- nice system.
Almarg, You're welcome. I always enjoy your posts for their knowledge and clarity.
gdnrbob

Thanks, I think you are right. I will start a new discussion re: CD transport
Post removed 
Cable length should be the same for impedance and best sound.If you looked under the right thread (cables) you would see this same question has been asked many times.
Speaker cable length wont matter, especially when the diff is only a few feet
Impedance difference in 8' is negligible.
Depending on your amp, though, a coiled (inductive / capacitive ) load might be fairly audible. - if you coil up the excess.
Kind of surprised that different lengths do not make a difference. I have always believed (supported by dealers) that equal lengths was key for optimum sound. Resale would be a consideration and also you are running very nice high end gear probably with good cable I believe equal lengths is important. Use to run 2 twenty foot lengths bi-wired to accommodate room set up similar to yours.
When I upgraded my Transparent cables recently. I was told to keep the lengths the same.
But, later thinking, I was confused. If the network boxes are supposed to overcome wire resistance/discrepancies, then why could they not make them so that the shorter and longer lengths have equal properties?
Almarg, if you are listening, what are your thoughts on this?
Hi Bob,

As far as I am aware Transparent and the other makers of cables that incorporate network boxes haven’t ever published schematics or other detailed information defining the circuits that are in those boxes. Without that kind of information, and conceivably even with it, I can’t provide a meaningful answer to your question.

But in any event no such box will convert the wire that is being used into a transmission medium that is theoretically ideal (i.e., zero resistance, inductance, capacitance, dielectric absorption, etc., at all frequencies that could conceivably be relevant), and so the same kinds of considerations that have been stated above for boxless cables would seem to apply, albeit perhaps to a different degree. As well as the same dependence on opinion, since as I said earlier it can be presumed that "no comprehensive body of experimental data exists on this question, encompassing a broad range of systems, rooms, listeners, and combinations of cable lengths."

Also, although it doesn’t necessarily directly relate to your question, I’ll add FWIW that I would imagine that in at least some of those cases the values of the parts in the boxes (ohms, pf, etc.) might be chosen differently for different lengths of the particular type of cable.

Best regards,
-- Al

For what its worth I am considering runiing "anti-cables" with this system they specifically ask:
"length of run to left speaker.....length of run to right speaker..."
They state that with their cables (solid copper) as long as the ratio between the cables is no more than 2:1 "with their cables it makes no difference".

So as I prefaced my intro to this thread and being a "rookie" it seems that this is one of those issues to which there seems to be no definitive answer. My original thought/belief was that due to differences in the impedance of the wire they should be kept equal, however, given the necessity to coil the excess wire to the closer speaker that seems to be a greater issue.  So as it stands today I am leaning towards two different lengths as per the manufacturer's (as of this writing Anti-Cables)recommendation.  I am considering Morrow as well and will contact them for their opinion.

Its been fun listening to all your varied opinions as a "greenhorn" ultimately as in art I guess beauty is in the "eye of the beholder" so the proverbial pendulum will continue to swing between equal lengths ..... same length!

Thanks to all!
Qbndds, you are welcome. It was a nice thread.
Another FWIW, I would get a ’liitle extra’ length so that you have some ’wiggle room’. I can’t tell you how many times when I tried to keep things short, I ended up having more problems connecting components that had to be shifted to a convenient location just to plug them in.
HTH
Bob
gdnrbob-
thanks for the heads up will definitely keep that in mind 
An interesting question and one which I have direct experience with. When I graduated from Kimber-garten ten years ago I purchased some Audio Note Lexus speaker cable. It was a 2.5m demo set at an attractive price. The cables are also a serious upgrade on my little Scott integrated vs the 8TC I used at the time. A few years later I wanted a set for my little Scott 299B that is in the 'den', so I ordered a set of 3.5m cables so I could have more room to move speakers about, The length and difference in sound quality is not as important in a satellite system. Several folks including Neli and Bob Neil told me there is no difference in sound, I hear a pretty big difference between the two sets of cables. The longer set has a lower sort of pitch or timbre that is easy to hear but hard to describe. I am quite happy with the Lexus cables given their match to my other components. Neli sent me a $3k set of Spx cables to try and they exposed serious flaws with my speakers and so the lesser priced copper cables sound better in my system, allowing minor flaws to remain hidden. hehe
Jim
healthman:

One take-away from all this for me is you can drive yourself nuts with all the "what-ifs" in the hi-fi arena at the end of the day if it works and sounds ok to YOU then DFWI! (you fill in the words)!
Speaking from personal experience using BJ10 in length of 12 and 6 ft respective I noticed a distinct coloration/distortion of the high frequencies on the speaker with the 12ft run. This distortion/coloration disappeared when using equal length of same cable. FWIW.