Speaker wire - equal length or shortest?

If you have to make the choice between running wire of equal length to your speakers or to run the shortest run possible what should you do? My components are located
on the side of my listening room. The distance to the far speaker is twice the distance to the close one (roughly 35 feet vs 20 feet) What should I do? (re-locating my equipment or speakers is not an option at this point)
For best performance, run long interconnect cables to the amp, and short (equal) length runs to the speakers. Interconnect cable is typically less expensive than a similar length of speaker wire, and is less damaging to performance. If you have absolutely no other choice but long speaker wire, keep the length the same for both channels.
I agree with Albert. It is less important to have the interconnects the same length (but desirable if they are), but definitely, different speaker cable lengths is quite audible and irritating over time.
Re: Albertporter's post-
yep.just like the man sez.

It certainly is not RHUBARB what has been said above. You'll probably find us all in agreement here. Best,
Although Albert et al are correct, you specifically stated that you did not want to move any of your equipment. So the advice here should be to use 35ft long equal length speaker cables unless you can move your amp between the speakers.
Not everyone agrees about different lengths. Of course, the wires to the speakers should be as short as possible, but you won't be able to tell the difference between different lengths to the speakers unless the disparity is really big and you have very sensitive hearing (maybe). The only reason(s) different lengths would sound different have to do with resistance capacitance and inductance if those things have an audible effect (I dont want to discuss this, but believe on a completely non-scientifc basis that they do). The signal travels too fast to make an audible difference in arrival time.

I use different lengths in 2 fairly revealing systems (ratio of 1.5 to 1)and am pretty sensitive to differences in cables and have no problems at all.

But, if you are uncomfortable with this, and with 70 feet of wire I hope you're not using something really expensive or else have ore money than you know what to do with, use equal lengths. Why not?
Assuming you use a low-resistance (think thick) speaker cable, you can get away with different lengths. An extra 15 feet of high-resistance cable could result in some FR imbalance between channels. But given that one of your runs is 35 feet, you should be using a low-resistance cable anyway.
Sumiko claims that their OCOS cables can be run with unequal lengths with no sonic consequences.
I have heard a demonstration of the OCOS which seemed to support the claim. But you need to like the sound of the OCOS. If you like it you will call it fast. If you don't like it you will call it lean and perhaps a tad metallic. I have no doubt that it would sound great to most ears in the right system, but also awfully thin and bright to most ears in the wrong system. Just beware it is not a middle of the road type cable - definitely tipped in one particular direction.

Paulwp - good on ya sport! For being a dissenting voice - I can respect that. I have also heard systems (with Kimber 8TC as it happens) that had unequal long lengths and I did not find it at all irksome. So Albert got it right - same lengths does matter, so that is what you should do if you want optimum performance, but mileage will vary depending.

So you need to balance risk and return. There is a risk you will be unhappy with the unequal lengths, and how much would you have saved, the distance between your speakers cannot be that great can it?

I got really close to a RHUBARB for a moment, but do not want to devalue it right now.
Use equal lengths absolutely. Also realize that for a run that long you are better off with a networked design cable such as MIT or Transparent. Group delay is a significant degradation factor in any cable, but especialy in longer runs of interconnect or speaker cable. Only networked designs are compensated to achieve corrections for the time distortions encountered.
Thanks for all your comments, this is really a great resource! I swear I don't know anyone within a day's drive that can give me an intelligent answer to any audio question so it is nice to have this. I will try to answer a few of your questions regarding my question. Cost is not an issue to the extent that I already have the speaker wire all run in two 35 lengths. I real question is to I hack off 15 feet or not off the long run. It sounds like "no" is the general answer. The wire (to complicate things) is actually 2 wires (I am bi-amping) the 12 gauge goes to the highs and 10 gauge goes to the woofers. So I think I am OK with regards to thickness. At least I am not trying to run everything through 22 gauge zip-cord. The quality is OK with the 10 gauge retailing for $3.50 a foot (Phoneix Gold Reference II High Definition InnerSpace 210 wire, it is twisted with a clear outer jacket) My wife is the accountant at an audio store so we get it at cost, $.84 a foot. How's that for mark-up? I am not going to invest any more than that at this point, I just about dropped dead when I saw what some speaker wire goes for. It seems like audiophiles are in an endless search for definition and when they find it it is too bright. I have actually heard that some people recommend DOWNGRADING your wire for a smoother sound. Going as far as saying that you can get the same warm sound of a tube amp by just running a wire that is a bit too small to your speakers. I guess it can tone down the harshness of a solid-state amp/pre-amp or something.

Back to the subject at hand, I would worry more about running 35 foot lengths of inter-connect than speaker wire. Just not enough force behind the signal at low volumes for all the info to get the amp intact IMHO.

As far as group delay goes do you mean that certain freq. will be delayed down the wire and result in time distortions? I assume you must otherwise equal lengths would solve the problem if all the freq. left the amp and arrived at the speaker at the same time. At what length might this be a problem? And is this more or less of a problem for speaker wire vs interconnects?

Anyway I figure my biggest problem with having my gear on one wall and the speakers on another is having to choose between looking at my speakers and looking at my gear. Plus to make adjustments I need to turn my head and that screws up the sound field making it hard to concentrate. Someday I will have them on the same wall, maybe then I will drop some serious change on wire once it is only 8 feet long.


Actually, the lower signals in an IC interact less with the wire than the higher signals. So definately use a longer IC if you can put your amp near(between) your speakers and then use the shortest speaker cables possible. Group delay, where lower frequencies can move more slowly through the cable, is more of a problem for speaker wire due to the larger interaction.
There is a gentleman named Frank Gow at Audio Classics in Vestal, NY. He is an audio wiz, who said to me that cables DO NOT have to be of equal lenghts!
go to parts-express.com and read the forums on audio cable. You will find a lot of interesting stuff about speaker wires, etc. Length is not near as important as you might think unless your talking hundreds of feet in difference or 12GA. vs. 28GA. wire.