Speaker Cables - Optimal Length

Greetings. This site rocks! I have learned so much here. I am relatively new to this hobby and this is my first post...

My current setup is...

Mcintosh MC275 Gordon Gow Commemorative Edition
McIntosh C22 Reissue
Rega Planet CD Player - Original
JBL L100T - Paid $100. Great Value for now but will upgrade

I recently bought some Kimber 8TC. I decided to buy two 15 foot cables although I currently only need about 8 feet per speaker because I wanted the flexibility of moving and rearranging my room. After buying the cables, I noticed that most speaker cables are generally 8 feet. My questions are...

1. Why are speaker cables generally 8 feet? Is it because of signal degradation issues?

2. Are my Kimber 8TC 15 footers too long?

3. I do not have them terminated yet. The instructions state that bare wire is preferred, and/or spades or banana plugs. Is it advisable to keep them bare?

4. Anyone using a similiar setup to mine and can give me any cool feedback on how they do things (not necessarily just cable related) would be appreciated.


The shorter the better. 8Ft. is the longest before degradation is supposed to occur. Jallen
12 inches, with each speaker driven by its own amp. The money you save on speaker wire will buy the second amp.
I tend to go with the rule of thumb that says the optimum length should be long enough to go from the terminals on your amplifier to the terminals on your speakers. Any shorter and you'll be sadly disappointed.

There are some respected engineers that clain 8 ft is the magical legnth.
Formerly respected engineers.
Haven't really got into it, but some folks, like Mapleshade, claim that 8 foot is the minimum length. It may be true of their wire, and the opposite would be true for other brands, I haven't played with it enough. But, a lot of the things Mapleshade espouses, I am in agreement with.

I have used 5 foot lengths and 8 foot lengths and 10 foot lengths, and they sounded very different, but they were different cables. The 5 (AQ Dragon) and 10 foot (AQ Midnight) are from the same manufacturer and same AWG/construction, but one is silver, the other is copper. They sounded night and day different, with my preference being the Dragon so long as it did not make the sound too relentless(which it did for me at the time, but my system is much more relaxed now).
What a joke, there is no majik. 8 ft creates a good listener-speaker triangle, that's it. If an amplifier relies on cable inductance like Naim, you can use a longer cable or get another amp.

Kimber is a low inductance design cable so long lengths are ok.

Respected engineers indeed!:)

I too once thought that the shorter the better until I actually tried it. I had some 8TC and monoblocks so I figured why not put the monoblocks directly behind the speakers and use very short cables. Save a bunch of money and not have any colorations from the cables. It had to be better.

I hooked up my CJ Premier 12's and Wilson Witts with 6 inch lengths of the 8TC and it was horrible. There was a major increase in resolution but it was thin, bright, and lacking in bass to the point you couldn't listen for more than a few minutes. Not a subtle difference but a major transformation in the sound. I also experimented with short lengths of various types of stranded and solid core wire and it was the same each time. When I tried 3 foot lengths or longer it was very nice.

I contacted Kimber and they verified my results saying too short will not work well.

I don't know if there is an ideal length but my own experience says that you need at least a minimum amount. As for why 8 feet. I think that many of us have a power amp between the speakers and 8 feet is long enough to get there without spending the extra for longer cables. It also hurts resale to have odd lengths. Shorter cables are harder to sell because they won't reach unless you have monoblocks, and longer cables are harder to sell because you are paying for length most people don't need.