Speaker cable vs. interconnect cable length

I am faced with either running long interconnect cables from the receiver to the external amp with short speaker cables or long speaker cables with short interconnects. The total length will be about 25 feet. Which scenario would be better?

Go with short speaker cables and long interconnects.
Actually, a very deep amp from front to back or speakers that are about 20ft deep should solve your delima nicely!

Sorry, couldn't resit.

You'll probably get answers from both camps here. My experience tells me 9 times out of 10 short speaker cables, longer I/Cs. Reason: Long I/Cs are typically being driven by an active source typically feeding an active load. With speaker cables, they are driven by an active source (the Amp) feeding a passive load (the speakers).

Hope that helps a bit Icsi.

Howie, Robert and now me: ditto, peace warren
Yes, it's been debated at length, to no resolution, which is a good indication that it doesn't matter all that much. If it's more convenient to do it one way rather than another, do it that way and don't worry about it. Apologies to those for whom worrying is the whole point. ;-)
Pabelson, LOL! Better watch out, you will be banned from audiophiledom for using common sense.

ICSI, normally longer IC's and shorter cables. Unless you are using a passive preamp the cables will have a more easily audiable difference. The shorter the cable the less the difference.
Icsi, I too am in the short-speaker, long-interconnect camp. My $285/foot AQ speakercable is 4 feet long. My interconnects are longer. But then the cable to the surround speakers is about 30 feet long.

However there are some audiofiles/fools (I'm in the latter group), including the owner of Mapleshade Records, who believe there's some magic MINIMUM length for speakercable. Mr. 'Mapleshade' (I still can't find his name after looking at 4 pages on his site) believes that speakercable should never be shorter than 8 feet. I'm sure he's smarter and absolutely more experienced at these things than I, so I neither agree nor disagree with that, I just ignore it. I recall hearing this '8-foot rule' decades earlier, too, but I have no recollection where.

With "Apologies to those for whom worrying is the whole point", to quote Pabelson*, I absolutely do NOT worry about different speakercable lengths, I just make 'em as short as they need to be to reach the 2 speakers. After all, if you believe that cable is evil (= audible) and hence should be using as little as possible, why make both channels equally bad? There's nothing wrong with having one channel a little-less-bad than the other.

* WELL said, my friend; I love it!
Think about the length of line level signal cables used between microphones and recording equipment. Fifty feet or more. Obviously not a problem unless you have lousy wire or high impedance outputs.

Besides, having long interconnects qualifies you to argue about Balanced/Unbalanced.
Thanks everyone for your advice. It looks like short speaker cables (4' to 8' in length) and long interconnects (18' to 25' in length) is the concensus here. I hope the sound is not affected by the long interconnect length. FYI, I will be running interconnects to three monoblock amps for the L/C/R front speakers.
I recently went through this same debate, and went with 40' balanced interconnects. I was nervous when I fired it up, as I had a fair amount of time in running the wire and terminating the ends. The good news is that it sounds great, not noticeably different than 3' interconnects.

- Eric
If you are going to go with long IC's, you should get balanced interconnects.
Just get decent cables. I wouldn't worry so much about interconnect length. In my experience, a 3ft IC will be noticeably better than one that is 20ft. But it's not like the sound deteriorated into something unbearable. In fact, you'll probably lose a bit of dynamics and sound a bit rolled off "in comparison" that's all.
Well, the common wisdom is long ICs/short speaker cabling. This is true if you have unlimited money, but long high-end ICs will be prohibitively expensive. My experience is that using a 1-meter pair of very high caliber IC (like Stealth Indras or Kubala Sosna Emotions or PAD Dominus's to name a few that I have tried & enjoyed) is a better route even if you need a long pair of midgrade but respectable speaker cables (I use Cardas Golden Ref).
Again, this is just my experience.
Since the majority of the audiogoner's recommends long interconnects, I would like your recommendations on what I brands I should consider. Thanks...
Icsi, SEARCH and read. There are probably-millions of words in the 'goN about interconnects.
Yup, lots of words with interconnect. But I thought there might be preferred interconnects for the lengths (18'-24') I had in mind. Thanks...
I'm reviving this thread, becuase I am now faced with the same situation. It seems that if one has to look at long ICs, using balanced is recommended. But what if (as in my case) my amp only has RCA inputs? Is there any value at all in using a balanced cable which then has to go through a Balanced / RCA converter?
Tonyptony...If you use rca inputs/outputs (with an adapter)the interconnect will be an unbalanced interface even if the wires and XLR connectors are configured for balanced use. When balanced interconnects are used in unbalanced mode signal pin(-) is just grounded to the shield.
That's what I suspected. So, in a case of an RCA IC, is it still a better idea to go long IC / shorter speaker cable?
Tonyptony...You will get all kinds of opinions on this. Mine is that if your preamp has output impedance of about 100 ohms or less (ss usually runs around 50 ohms) long interconnects should be no problem. For tube circuitry, where 600 ohms is not uncommon, I would keep the interconnects to less than about 8 ft.
Yes, I have a SS preamp, but I'd be looking at ICs on the order of 20' or so.
If it were me I would go with the 20 foot interconnects.
I agree with Eldartford, with SS it shouldn't be a problem. I have a high gain tube amp with an output impedence of 600 ohms. I use 25' IC's and can detect no loss of information when compared to 3' IC's. Just keep the IC's away from anything which might introduce noise, such as parallel power cords, transformers, etc.
Tonyptony, Depending your budget, the new Harmonic Tech Cyberlight cables (in non-balanced RCA type) have absolutely zero loss over very long runs. This is due to thier fiber optic technology. No need to use balanced cables for long runs anymore. Although the 1 meter run is expensive, the 5 to 8 meter cables start to become cost competitive with the other long state of the art cables out there. Go to Harmonic's website and read the reviews. I think the concept makes sense, should change the future of cables, and ordered some last week.
Tgun5, that's out of my price range. I like the concept, though. We use stuff like this all the time at work - that is, wire to fiber converters. Mostly either for digital data or streaming video. The fiber converters we use, however, are not that small.
Interconnect carries just signal
Speaker cable carries signal and power
More issues with long speaker cable
Use short speaker cable
Our experience would indicate that short speaker cables/ long interconnects will out-perform long speaker cables/ short interconnects almost every time.

The circumstances under which one can "get away with" long speaker cables would be in a system which utilizes extremely efficient speakers ... something exceeding 95db/watt where current requirements are vanishingly low.

Yours in Music,
I seem to remember Fulton suggesting an optimum length for the interconnect(anyone remember this?). I thought it was something like 27 inches, but when I measured some Fulton browns, they were like 53 inches(approximately). I believe that Transparent audio says there is an optimum length per type of cable. This doesn't pertain so much to your particular problem, but there doesn't seem to be another thread about interconnect length. I just want to mention that the 8 feet+ that Mapleshade recommends was probably done with much work(i.e. I trust them).