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Old 14-01-2003, 08:13   #1
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Speaker cable length

How vital is it to have cables the same length for the rear speakers? I know you should for the front, but stereo imaging shouldn't matter so much behind. Also my speakers cannot be symetrically behind me.
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Old 14-01-2003, 10:29   #2
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I don't believe it is vital to have the centre & rears at the same cable lengths, but the fronts should be for stereo imaging.

It may help if the speaker symetry is similar though.
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Old 14-01-2003, 14:24   #3
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I have to bow to the great She person when it comes to the final positioning. Can't mess up her decorating
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Old 14-01-2003, 17:04   #4
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Speaker cable length is irrelevant to stereo imaging.

If one speaker was 1 m long and the other was 11 m long, the difference in timing between the sound coming out of your two speakers would be 50 nanoseconds i.e. the one with the 10m cable would have a 50 nanosecond delay (the signal in speaker cable travels at about 200,000,000 metres per second). A 50 nanosecond delay is equivalent to a 0.015 millimetre difference in positioning between your two speakers. If your speakers are positioned to that degree of accuracy, well done you (and please don't move your head, don't even breath or you will lose the stereo imaging! please!!)

The longer speaker cable will however have more resistance, capacitance and inductance. If your speaker cable is of poor quality (i.e. thin) then this may have a fractional effect on the sound: the most usual effect would be to reduce the bass slightly on the speaker with the longer cable (like a fraction of a notch of your 'Bass' control knob if you have one on your amplifier).

Thus although there may be a theoretical difference in speaker response due to your cables being different lengths, you are extremely unlikely to be able to detect it with your ears, even if you have 'golden ears' and you do careful A/B tests. The difference will be very small. It will most likely be less than the natural variation between the two speakers in a pair, and it will almost certainly be less than differences introduced by your room and the furniture in it - I presume you are not listening to your music in a perfectly symmetrical anechoic chamber?

To put it another way, if you have shorter cable on one speaker than on the other then you will be likely to get slightly (very fractionally) more bass on that speaker, which is a good thing, right?

Anybody who tells you differently is trying to sell you speaker cable which you do not need ... or carrying advertisements from people who will try to sell you speaker cable which you do not need.

(Anybody who does not agree with this, before you flame me, kindly take the trouble to go and get a degree in physics or electronics (or better still a postgraduate qualification) first. Thank you in advance.)
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Old 14-01-2020, 17:55   #5
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Sorry to revive this old thread but as the question was asked before, I had no choice.

I am setting up a 2.1 system in our second home cinema based on the Pioneer VSX 933 receiver and a pair of Cambridge Audio Minx Min 22 speakers boosted by their x201 subwoofer. I discovered today the Richer Sounds have dropped the price of the 22s significantly and so decided to get 3 more and make it a 5.1 system But in order to get the cables from the receiver to the rear speakers, I'll have to go through the wall into the eaves space and over the loft, coming through on the other side. Actually, the layout of the room makes this easy but the speaker cables will have to be some 18 feet long; Will that affect sound quality even if I choose good ones?
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Old 15-01-2020, 07:33   #6
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on the rears you probably won't notice anything as they are used for ambiance more than anything. Also for rears, don't worry about getting decent cable, just use the bog standard stuff they have at richers, you should be fine
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Old 15-01-2020, 18:05   #7
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I decided to get Cambridge Audio's Symphony 300, which is not too expensive at GBP 2.19 a metre; I need about 6 metres on either side.

The only thing that concerns me is the flimsy looking front speaker stand for the Minx Min 22. They assure me that it is the best option but it looks rather frail.
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