Using balance to compensate for speaker distance


I recently installed a couple of shelves in my room to hold my Paradigm Atom monitors. They're on a wall perpendicular to the amp, which means that the speaker cable to one monitor is longer than to the other (I know that ideally, they're equal lengths, but for that to happen I'd have to buy more...). One speaker is also a bit further away than the other. Is it ok to use the amp balance to correct for this? And while I'm at it, is it ok to connect two speaker wires using butt connectors?

Any responses would be greatly appreciated
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I'm in essential agreement with Bob. Although I would say give it a try, and see if the resulting sound is satisfactory to you.

The balance control will allow you to compensate for the slight volume difference between the two speakers that may occur due to their different distances from the listening position. However the arrival time difference (which cannot be compensated for with the balance control) is likely to be more significant, and will result in what are called comb filtering effects on that part of the signals which are common to the two speakers (the mono component of the signals). I believe the subjective result of that will be a slight cloudiness or loss of clarity. But see how it sounds to you -- all of that may be minor enough to be acceptable.

I wouldn't worry about the cable length difference, unless the difference is really extreme and your speakers have very low impedances at some frequencies, which might increase the significance of the differences in resistance and inductance between the two sets of cables.

I don't know what "butt connector" refers to either.

Good luck!

-- Al
I would not use a Butt connector;what kind of cable are you using and what length do you need?
Ralph from Atmasphere has a spool of fulton gold that he is giving away for the cost of shipping;this cable in its day was extremely recommended and really started the cable era of audio as we know it today;so if you are casually listening to music this cable may work fine for you.
You can email Ralph using his user name Atmasphere if interested;he has been answering several threads lately on horn speakers and balanced cables where his offer for the spool is.
Ordinarily I would certainly advise against unequal length cabling and absolutely discourage butt connectors whatsoever. And I surely wouldn't place speakers on a wall mounted shelf. You would have to buy more cable? So you buy more!
Even at $80 per cable foot, I still bought the extra 10 feet because that's the proper approach.
Specifics of this rig aren't posted; however looking at your previous posts it seems possible that this is a budget system, already so compromised to the point that it hardly matters anyway. You just want to play some music; refinement isn't your goal? No offense (you did encourage *any* responses) but at this basic level you might as well just do whatever you want with it, because it will make very little if any difference at all.
Well trust me: had I space, I wouldn't need wall-mounted shelves. And had I money, I wouldn't have to worry about the cable issue. The increase in bass caused by the nearness of the speakers to the wall isn't ideal and definitely muddles the middles. But it's better than my past solution: perching the speakers on 6ft tall bookshelves, angled downward at an almost 40 degree angle (ask me how I did that!). Hopefully, some foam isolation pads will help focus the sound more while I keep the speakers on the shelves.

As for the cable, I'll probably buy more eventually (and will definitely consider the gold stuff that was mentioned), but butt connectors are at least better than soldering, which I'd think would mess with the impedence more.

In reference to the balance, the distance difference between the two speakers probably isn't enough to lead to comb effects. Its only a few feet. But very interesting...something I hadn't thought of.

...AND FINALLY! As to my "compromised" system, I ask the accusing party to look into his wallet and tell me exactly what is compromised! The value of a pair of Paradigm Atoms is quite substantial---particularly when budgets and space considerations are far from ideal. Everyone should have a pair, if only for the garage.

Thanks for all responses.
The ears localize sound sources by two mechanisms: Arrival time and intensity. If the arrival times of the two speakers are not simultaneous, good soundstaging can be maintained by correspondingly increasing the intensity (loudness) of the farther speaker. So to answer the original question, yes it's perfectly legitimate to use the balance control to offset the effects of having one speaker closer than the other. The results won't be perfect, but they'll be better than if you do nothing about the difference in arrival times.