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  1. #1

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    Default long cable run vs long speaker run

    What have you found works better...a long run with IC's or a long run using speaker cable.......run would be around 16 feet so maybe not a real long one but was curious if there was a difference in sound...need to move my rack but can keep amp close to speakers if needed....thus a choice between the two..thanks

  2. #2

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    Longer speaker runs. IC's should be kept shorter due to the low voltage signal, and high input impedances of the amps.
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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    Thanks Ben.......

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    I remember reading somewhere that voltage drops begin when the IC is over 4m long. I prefer shorter IC's and thick speaker cables.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    longer speaker runs. Ic's should be kept shorter due to the low voltage signal, and high input impedances of the amps.
    b-i-n-g-o!

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    I think Cardas Neutral Reference ICs claim to have the same sound regardless of length...but a long run of those would be pretty spendy.
    Steve Carlson
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  7. #7

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    Odd. Every engineer I've ever talked to has said the opposite.

    Here's a article from Bryston that I remembered on this topic:


    The length and resistance of the loud-speaker cable in your audio/video system is very important. In fact, any speaker cable is a compromise and the shorter you make your speaker cable the more accurate the sonic result.

    Keeping speaker cables as short as possible is essential for maintaining good (damping) control over the loudspeaker drivers. Music is a dynamic 'transient' (stopping and starting) condition and the better the amplifier can control the motion of the drivers in your loudspeakers the better the performance. The normally extremely low output impedance of the power amplifier will be compromised by any addition of 'series resistance' associated with speaker cables. Therefore, no cables (as in powered speakers) are best followed by keeping the speaker cables as short as possible.

    Most loudspeakers have impedance curves which will vary all over the map with frequency but this does not mean that adding a small series resistance due to loudspeaker cable is unimportant. In fact, if you add some small resistance between the amplifier and the speaker, you will create an interesting result. The loudspeaker's frequency response will start to vary directly as its own impedance! The magnitude of this effect increases directly with the magnitude of the series resistance added. So what you can end up with is a frequency response from your speaker which is a direct mirror of the impedance curve of your loudspeaker. This undesirable effect can be minimized with short, low resistance cables and low output impedance amplifiers (no tubes please). The output impedance of any decent modern power amp will be practically zero ohms (Bryston amplifiers are typically .01 ohms). To optimize the damping factor (ratio of speaker impedance over amplifier output impedance plus speaker cable impedance), any resistance between the speaker and the amp is undesirable.

    If we had a perfect amp with an output impedance of zero ohms and a perfect speaker cable with a series resistance of zero ohms then the damping factor would be infinite.

    Note: In this case the damping factor would be infinite regardless of speaker impedance (something, even if it changes, divided by nothing is always infinity).

    At the other extreme, power loss in your speaker cable contributes to audible dynamic compression because: Cable Power loss = Current SQUARED X Resistance of speaker cables. On dynamic peaks, output current can be in the 'tens of amperes'. That squared, times what might seem an insignificant amount of cable resistance can cause significant power loss.

    This may explain to some degree why some people hear substantial quality increases in their systems when they bi-wire or tri-wire while others claim little or no improvement. In some cases the extra set of speaker wires would significantly reduce the resistance (and improve the damping factor) between the amplifier and the loudspeakers, especially in long runs. With the advent of multi-channel audio systems utilizing rear/back channels usually positioned 20 to 30 or more feet away from the amplifiers this lack of control becomes a serious issue. The Bryston PowerPac Series of amplifiers are an attempt to minimize this problem by allowing the amplifier to be placed adjacent to each loudspeaker or attached directly to it (ex: PMC loudspeaker) using long interconnects (preferably balanced). By the way, the reason that cable length is relatively unimportant for component (Preamp to Amp) interconnects is that the magnitude of signal current in the conductors of interconnect cables is so small the power loss is insignificant.

    You must always try to preserve the dynamic integrity of the recording so reducing the resistance of your loudspeaker cable is one giant step it the right direction.
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  8. #8

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    If you run Balanced(XLR) cables long runs will not be a problem
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    [shrug] I don't know the science...it's just what the Cardas website says:
    Cardas Neutral Reference interconnect is a perfectly neutral reference cable. It sounds the same at any length, whether one or thirty feet, between any component, at any originating or terminating impedance. Neutral Reference is perfectly symmetrical and non-directional. It can be terminated either single-ended or balanced. Neutral Reference has extremely low capacitance, inductance and reactance.
    http://www.cardas.com/content.php?ar...&product_id=24
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  10. #10

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    Sorry- my post wasn't in response to yours. I've always heard long IC's are better than long speaker cables. Especially XLR.
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  11. #11

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    XLR was built specifically for longer runs. At this point, I will redirect you back to post #2.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

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    I like post 7 since that is what I got going on. I have 4--3ft runs of DH labs T-14 going to my speakers.2 runs to each speaker in a shotgun config.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    XLR was built specifically for longer runs. At this point, I will redirect you back to post #2.
    At this point I'll direct you to any physics book. I'll allow that there's plenty to be argued outside of physics, but post #2 is ass-backwards; the two things he cites are in favor of long IC's.
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by danz1906 View Post
    If you run Balanced(XLR) cables long runs will not be a problem
    x2...
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  15. #15
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    I don't know if the industry is a good mark for this discussion, but it's very easy to find 1m ICs and 4m speaker cables from almost any manufacturer. The other way around is a little harder...

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    I don't know if the industry is a good mark for this discussion, but it's very easy to find 1m ICs and 4m speaker cables from almost any manufacturer. The other way around is a little harder...
    That ratio is probably tied to the ratio of monoblocks to multichannel amplifiers.
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  17. #17

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    Everyone is taking it way to far. Did any one of you look at the lengths my man is trying to go??? 16 feet. At this length there is no problem what so every if you want IC or speaker wire. It does not matter. I have run Ic's unbalanced 35 feet no problem. I have run 200 feet cat 5 converted unbalanced Ic's no problem. I have run 50 foot runs to rears with 16 guage , speaker in small crossed over at 80hz, absolutely no problem a receiver not a power amp handling these speakers with ease.

    If you want your amp in your rack , run speaker cable, depending on the duty of the speaker and where you are crossing them over, use at least 16 guage wire, 14 guage for large setting. Nothing more needed. If you want the amp in the room near the speakers, good quality unbalanced IC's at 16 feet will be absolutely fine with no problems at all.

    Dan
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  18. #18

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    Dan,
    Wow that's quite far. Never heard anybody run IC's that long. Did the cables pick up noise any noise?

    As to running long IC's. I think having a pre with low output imp should help a lot.
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  19. #19

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    My South wall speaker setup has the gear on a West wall. I use single ended ICís 22 feet in length from a ModWright tube pre amp to my InnerSound active crossover bass amp (Solid State). No hiss or hum from the speakers. CP memberís dkg999 and heiney9 have been here, ask them. I use ICís made by Sanders Sound Systems. He uses a Belden Brilliance coax. It is a thin coax (like ľĒ OD) and has a stranded center core which makes it very flexible. They were also very reasonably priced, ~$127 for 22 feet, and I am not missing any sound.
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    Thanks for the input all............thanks for the info Dan..........

  21. #21

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    I've run Signal Analog II's 15' before without any problem. I wouldn't hessitate to do it again either.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    I can't hear differences, so I used the simple cost method, ie which cost less?

    Interconnects were $3.33/foot while speaker wire was $30/ft...so I now have 6ft interconnects and 2ft speaker wire.

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