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Which scenario is better for sound quality?



1) The standard scenario where you either have a reciever or a preamp and amp really close together .... and thus have long speaker wire lengths.



2) Using multiple amps so you can place them closer to the speakers. This lengthens the connection between the amp and preamp, but shrinks the length of the speaker wires. How about using balanced connections?




Which scenario is likely to yield the best sound?
 

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I know nothing about this, but I've often wondered why companies with "advanced" digital processors didn't build monoblock DACs and use serial digital links for each speaker at 24/192KHz or whatever to run to the speaker, then use a monoblock or closely placed two channel amp to power the speaker. This way the analog runs are all very short, and you can use digital in the noiser runs through the walls.
 

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spearce, That's essentially what Meridien does; it goes even one step further by putting the DACs and amplifiers inside the speakers.


Raistlin, most "audiophiles" recommend long interconnects and short speaker cables.
 

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Claude, that's nice to hear that someone has thought of running digital to the speakers, and that it has worked for at least one company....


I wonder why more aren't doing it.
 

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Here is a similar problem for those who own front projection systems and have to deal with long connection distances, however they configure their system. If someone could recommend a coax or toslink repeater, then this might even be a better idea for audio hookup. Keep the processor and amps close to the front speakers, and the dvd player close to the projector. The maximum standard length for coax and toslink is around 12 ft. With a repeater, is should be possible to stretch the distance between the dvd player and the surround processor to 20 ft.


The only drawback to this idea is the rear surrounds. Whether you use pre-out wire or speaker wire, the distances can get as high as 25 ft.
 

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Well, in most cases it won't make any difference at all. Usually you're better off with the longer runs being from amp to speaker, since this minimizes the opportunity for hum and EMI pickup. If you use balanced line-level connections, then arguably the advantage shifts the other way. But as noted at the beginning, in the vast majority of systems it simply won't matter.
 

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If your speaker wire guage is low enough (saw 12 AWG) then it seems like shorter interconnects would be better. I would guess that long interconnects are more likely to pick up noise as the other post mentions.


Do balanced interconnects completely eliminate noise? It seems that if your amp is differential balanced inputs, then the noise should be eliminated from long interconnects.
 

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The theoretical answer is long interconnects and short wires but that's mostly because interconnects have a HF roll off that extends way way beyond either human hearing or the abilitity of your equipment to even reproduce (depending upon design). That said, there are of course, mitigating factors such as does the preamp or whatever you're using have the ability to drive a long distance interconnect. Hence it's advisable to consult the manufacturer to determine what the limits are. When driving a long distance interconnect, people generally opt for lower capacitance/foot values. Cost can be readily contained by opting to make such interconnects oneself. For nominal lengths of interconnects, as one would use in their typical setups, issues of capacitance are moot and even the humble and ubiquitous RS Gold's will do a faithful job without compromising the signal. Nonetheless, there will always be those who state they can hear the difference in one foot of either type of cable to which I can only say...remarkable. If one is concerned about long speaker cable lengths due to high frequency attention, one can always look towards minimizing inductance which can be done in a variety of ways.

As far as balanced interconnects and the equipment that they connect to, its advisable before purchasing, to ask the manufacturer specifically how they implement the 'balancing'. There are various ways to do this and sometimes the balanced connections are not so truly balanced after all. If there's any interest, I'd be pleased to elaborate.
 
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