Crutchfield Speaker Wire Recommendations: science or myth? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 46 Old 03-21-2015, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Crutchfield Speaker Wire Recommendations: science or myth?

"Matching cable length
Ideally, the lengths of wire running to your three front speakers should be the same. The longer the wire, the greater the resistance. Using the same length of wire for all three front speakers ensures they all get the same amount of power and thus produce sound at the same volume. But don't worry if the wire lengths for your three front speakers vary by a couple of feet or so ? a difference this small probably won't create any noticeable differences in output. It's also a good idea to have the lengths of wire for your surround speakers match each other, though they don't need to match the length of your front speaker wires."

From:

http://wwv.crutchfield.com/learn/lea...e.html?g=22100

Does this really matter or are the differences insignificant and/or dealt with via receiver EQ (auto-cal)?

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post #2 of 46 Old 03-21-2015, 06:02 PM
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Usually insignificant.

I'll be back later...


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post #3 of 46 Old 03-21-2015, 06:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post
Does this really matter
No. For the difference in the lengths of wire used to be so drastically different that it was the slightest bit audible the speaker placement would have to be so poor that the difference made by the wire would be the least of your problems.
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post #4 of 46 Old 03-21-2015, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post
"Matching cable length
Ideally, the lengths of wire running to your three front speakers should be t

Does this really matter or are the differences insignificant and/or dealt with via receiver EQ (auto-cal)?
It doesn't matter. AVR Auto Cal is typically dealing with huge response issues, anything caused by wire is so tiny it won't be noticed or corrected.
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post #5 of 46 Old 03-22-2015, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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That's what I thought but I wanted to confirm, thanks.
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post #6 of 46 Old 03-22-2015, 08:15 AM
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I recommend against getting audio advice from dealers and reviewers.
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post #7 of 46 Old 03-22-2015, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
I recommend against getting audio advice from dealers and reviewers.
Yeah, that was my first reaction when reading this info...

I was only reading it in the first place since I just bought a pair of Cambridge S20s from them and I was exploring links on the product page.
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post #8 of 46 Old 03-22-2015, 08:14 PM
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18 AWG is about 6.4 m-ohms/foot (0.0064 ohms/ft). A difference in length of 10 feet is thus about 0.064 ohms per wire, 0.128 ohms for the pair, hardly significant in an audio system. And most of us use larger gauge so the difference would be even less.
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post #9 of 46 Old 04-29-2015, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
I recommend against getting audio advice from dealers and reviewers.
Can you be more specific with regards to reviewers? And where exactly should I get audio advice from?
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post #10 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post
Can you be more specific with regards to reviewers? And where exactly should I get audio advice from?
Sure. When reviewers talk about features and specs all is well. As soon as they talk about sound quality, things fall into the bottomless pit of hearing bias. In other words what they say may be meaningful or not. You simply can't know without a bias controlled listening test. As an example, I and others have done bias controlled comparisons with cables and have proven that they have no sonic characteristics at all unless they are incompetently designed and made. In other words, if it actually alters sound, you don't want it. Since audiophiles claim that they all alter sound, then you are back to ground zero. Humans suffer from hearing bias. Nothing we can do about it.

Until somebody creates a bias controlled style of reviews, there is no truly meaningful way to get sound quality advice. You can get good advice about set up and use of the equipment right here on AVS forum. But when it comes to sound quality you will need to depend on yourself.
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post #11 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 05:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
When reviewers talk about features and specs all is well.
A good review covers all the bases, both objective in that they include a full set of measurements, and subjective in that they include the reviewers personal observations. There is some benefit to a totally objective review, if you're an expert in the field you can rely on measurements alone, but most people who read reviews aren't experts, so it's up to the reviewer to provide both objective data and subjective listening impressions. There is no benefit to a totally subjective review where there is no data to support the reviewers opinion. Unfortunately most reviews are totally subjective.
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post #12 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
Unfortunately most reviews are totally subjective.
And worse they are prosaic. If a reviewer says a speaker system has thin bass and the specs support that, I would view that as a comment with a good chance of being meaningful. When a speaker wire lifts veils and enhances dynamics, you can bet that the comment is not meaningful. It is prose. The trick is knowing which is which and the industry is not at all helpful in this regard.
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post #13 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post
Can you be more specific with regards to reviewers? And where exactly should I get audio advice from?
Sure. When reviewers talk about features and specs all is well. As soon as they talk about sound quality, things fall into the bottomless pit of hearing bias. In other words what they say may be meaningful or not. You simply can't know without a bias controlled listening test. As an example, I and others have done bias controlled comparisons with cables and have proven that they have no sonic characteristics at all unless they are incompetently designed and made. In other words, if it actually alters sound, you don't want it. Since audiophiles claim that they all alter sound, then you are back to ground zero. Humans suffer from hearing bias. Nothing we can do about it.

Until somebody creates a bias controlled style of reviews, there is no truly meaningful way to get sound quality advice. You can get good advice about set up and use of the equipment right here on AVS forum. But when it comes to sound quality you will need to depend on yourself.
Ok, thanks that helps.
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post #14 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 09:11 AM
 
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When a speaker wire lifts veils and enhances dynamics, you can bet that the comment is not meaningful. It is prose.
+1, and not only is it prose, it's fiction of the fantasy genre.
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post
Ok, thanks that helps.
May also be helpful to know that I have asked FMW to give us details of those tests and he has always refused. I suspect he is concerned they would not stand to scrutiny. In that sense I put no more weight on his assessments than any reviewer.

Back to your original question, what they say is good hygiene. You are supposed to wash your hands when you go to bathroom. Do you get sick if you don't? You may or may not depending on what you did in said bathroom and your body . Same is here. With enough speaker wire differential and speakers with certain impedance, we can show objectively that it can be audible.

And no, contrary to what was said, room EQ does not necessarily correct for such differences or else you would have ruler flat frequency response after they are activated and this is never the case.

The thicker the wire you use and the shorter that it is, the less you need to be concerned about this. Down to no worry at all. Or, use roughly equal length wires and you are assured there is no issue. Same as washing your hands everytime you go to the bathroom. You eliminate any reason to worry or investigate what is going on.
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LOL!
Enough with the anecdotes.

I'm surprised you didn't provide a link to your investigative report regarding speaker wire.
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post #17 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 11:10 AM
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Crutchfield Speaker Wire Recommendations: science or myth?

Concur. The OP asked if Crutchfield's advice about cable length was reliable or "mythic." Think it's been answered.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
No. For the difference in the lengths of wire used to be so drastically different that it was the slightest bit audible the speaker placement would have to be so poor that the difference made by the wire would be the least of your problems.
If you really want to be picky, you can place your speakers in the optimum position, which would likely mean that they are not all the same distance from the amp(s) driving them, but still cut all of your speaker cables to the same length. A little extra slack in the ones that could have been shorter won't hurt anything.

I cut the speaker wire for my LCR speakers all the same length, even though I could have cut the center and right cables a couple feet shorter. I did the same with my surround speakers (though they are a good 20 feet longer than the ones going to my LCR's). Even though I doubt there is an audible difference, it's nice to have them the same length for a few other reasons...

1) Once you have determined what the longest length you need for your LCR's is, you can simply cut the others the same length rather than measure each one out separately. This saves time and, unless you're longest run is significantly longer than your shortest run could have been and this extra length makes the difference between having to buy another spool of wire or not, I wouldn't sweat it.

2) Less chance of making a mistake and connecting a shorter cable to the speaker where you would need the longer cable. If they're all the same length then you can't get that part wrong, at least. Of coarse, you still need to make sure that the wire connected to your left speaker is the one that you are connecting to the Left terminals on your amp, etc. And you still need to make sure you haven't reversed the polarity (though I believe some AVR's are capable of detecting when you have your speakers wired out of phase and can correct this internally).

3) Most importantly, having them all the same length gives you the flexibility to move your amp from one side of the room to the other without having to swap speaker cables around or cut new ones. When you originally set your room up, you might have your amp on the left side of the room. Inevitably, a year later, your spouse will want to rearrange furniture and move it to the right side of the room. As long as they don't want it moved from the front of the room to the back or vice versa, you'll be ok.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
...
Back to your original question, what they say is good hygiene. You are supposed to wash your hands when you go to bathroom. Do you get sick if you don't? You may or may not depending on what you did in said bathroom and your body . Same is here. With enough speaker wire differential and speakers with certain impedance, we can show objectively that it can be audible.
...
Once again, washing your hands after using the bathroom is as much (if not more) for other people, not for yourself. It prevents the spread of infections to others.

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post #20 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
No. For the difference in the lengths of wire used to be so drastically different that it was the slightest bit audible the speaker placement would have to be so poor that the difference made by the wire would be the least of your problems.
No one has really mentioned length so I will put in my upcoming project. Lcr will be a passive soundbar so let's say all three are at 4 feet. One surround runs straight around the wall, say 18 feet of wire. The other surround has a very long wall to go by and back around, almost 40 feet.

If I understand correctly I should use thicker wire. 12 gauge? Just in case.
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post #21 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 05:22 PM
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Just as 12" will be likely be more than adequate for your amorous interest, so will 12 gauge copper.

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No one has really mentioned length so I will put in my upcoming project. Lcr will be a passive soundbar so let's say all three are at 4 feet. One surround runs straight around the wall, say 18 feet of wire. The other surround has a very long wall to go by and back around, almost 40 feet.
If I understand correctly I should use thicker wire. 12 gauge? Just in case.
Use this to calculate the required gauge and you will know for sure:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/spe...rassistant.swf
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post #23 of 46 Old 04-30-2015, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
I recommend against getting audio advice from dealers and reviewers.
Unless said dealer strives for accuracy. When people say the front cables should be the same length, they're ignoring the ability of the system to do its job.
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When people say the front cables should be the same length, they're ignoring the ability of the system to do its job.
More accurately they're ignorant of how wire works. That's OK if you're a consumer, you need not be an expert to do that job. It's unconscionable for anyone claiming to have any degree of technical expertise.
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post #25 of 46 Old 05-01-2015, 05:58 AM
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More accurately they're ignorant of how wire works. That's OK if you're a consumer, you need not be an expert to do that job. It's unconscionable for anyone claiming to have any degree of technical expertise.
I worked for an AV contractor in '05 and they sent us to CEDIA. One of the "training" classes I attended was for Audio Setup and Calibration. To quote the movie 'Used Cars', "Worst case of false advertising I've ever heard".

The guy spent half of the time telling us how cool he and his company were fro doing a lot of six-figure jobs and when it came to speaker cable, he told us Monster was one of the best and that all speaker cables should be the same length. One of the guys I was with asked if we should coil the excess and store it inside the wall and I bet you can imagine the answer.
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The guy spent half of the time telling us how cool he and his company were fro doing a lot of six-figure jobs and when it came to speaker cable, he told us Monster was one of the best and that all speaker cables should be the same length. One of the guys I was with asked if we should coil the excess and store it inside the wall and I bet you can imagine the answer.
It wouldn't be the first example of an installer who's knowledge base extends no deeper than the advertising copy of the products he sells. It's not like an electrician, who must actually pass a test to prove he has a clue to be licensed.
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post #27 of 46 Old 05-01-2015, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
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It wouldn't be the first example of an installer who's knowledge base extends no deeper than the advertising copy of the products he sells. It's not like an electrician, who must actually pass a test to prove he has a clue to be licensed.
Oh, if only they would keep a firm grasp on whatever clue they have. Some of the electricians I have worked around must have had well-lubed tongs. When I ask for a dedicated 20A circuit for the AV and for all of the receptacles used by all of the equipment to be on that circuit or, at least on the same phase, they look at me like I have three heads. Then, there are the ones who think it's OK to bundle high and low voltage cabling. Doing one now where someone installed a directional Munster Cable HDMI backward, with no chance of re-running it and didn't install receptacles for two DirecTV receivers.
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Quote:
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Oh, if only they would keep a firm grasp on whatever clue they have. Some of the electricians I have worked around must have had well-lubed tongs. When I ask for a dedicated 20A circuit for the AV and for all of the receptacles used by all of the equipment to be on that circuit or, at least on the same phase, they look at me like I have three heads. Then, there are the ones who think it's OK to bundle high and low voltage cabling. Doing one now where someone installed a directional Munster Cable HDMI backward, with no chance of re-running it and didn't install receptacles for two DirecTV receivers.
Yes, indeed, makes you wonder about some of them. And, to find the right one, not so easy.
Same goes for plumbers.
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post #29 of 46 Old 05-01-2015, 04:11 PM
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LOL!
Enough with the anecdotes.

I'm surprised you didn't provide a link to your investigative report regarding speaker wire.
I gotta tell you, I found that report useful. My front speaker runs are about 65 feet. So when I went to three way triamping and needed more speaker wire, I bought Parts Express based on Amir's report.

I mean for a few extra bucks literally, the quality is a little better than Monoprice.
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post #30 of 46 Old 05-01-2015, 08:16 PM
 
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Doing one now where someone installed a directional Munster Cable HDMI backward,
Directional cable? Don't discount the electrician's savvy, there's no such thing as a directional cable.
Quote:
When I ask for a dedicated 20A circuit for the AV and for all of the receptacles used by all of the equipment to be on that circuit or, at least on the same phase, they look at me like I have three heads.
You can't have dual phase with a single 20A 110v circuit, so they might have thought you were asking them not to do something that couldn't be done to begin with. As for not mixing phase in general, it's not only not an issue, it's standard practice in pro-sound, where 220 break out boxes to 110/110 outlet banks are commonplace.
There's nothing wrong with bundling low and high voltage cabling either. You wouldn't want to bundle audio and AC cabling, but as that's not something covered by NEC you wouldn't expect the average electrician to be aware of it.
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