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Once I upgrade to my new system and move stuff around I will have to increase the speaker cable length from 14' to 30'. I have a pair of Mirages M5, using bi-wire Audioquest.


Should I have a good quality 30' speaker cable, or try to move the future Bryston amp close to the speakers and have 25' good quality XLR interconnects between the pre amp and the amp?


GK
 

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Speaker cables are essentially immune to length induced distortion effects so long as their gage is adequate, and XLR connections have very good noise rejection characteristics.


Lengthen whichever one is cheaper. Personally, I'd lengthen the speaker cables.
 

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If you are trying to minimize insertion loss and distortion, which I assume you are if you are going through the effort of bi-wiring, you are better off minimizing speaker cable length and using longer interconnects. Something to consider is a xlr-xlr snake like the pros use. You only have one cable running from processor to amplifier instead of a bundle of interconnects.
 

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If you are talking about only 30 feet of cable run, a good XLR cable, a simple speaker cable (12 gauge and above), and even an ordinary RCA interconnect (made of a good audio or RF coax) will all do just fine, without any perceivable loss of sound quality whatsoever. Also, risking ignition of a flame war, I would say that the only significant effect of bi-wiring is to modify the psycho-acoustic processing in your own brain. :D
 

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You should never lengthen your speaker cables. Have your amps as close to the speakers as possible. Use longer interconnects, preferably XLR terminated. I disagree with Bigus comments as to the length of speaker cables and immunity to length induced distortion effects.
 

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So long as the speaker cable is of sufficient gage for the length, and is not designed to purposefully add any filtering effects (through capacitance, inductance, or otherwise), then the difference between three feet and thirty feet will be utterly inaudible.
 

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oneobgyn, spidey07,


What is the foundation of your comment? I mean, provided that a thick enough speaker cable (say, 12 gauge or above in this case) is used in order to sufficiently reduce DC resistance, how can a 30-feet run of speaker cable possibly "induce distortion" or other degradation of sound quality? I have never encountered such phenomena.
 

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It is true that an amp will react better with a larger gauge, shorter speaker cable. The amps ability to control the drivers (dampen etc.) is much better, but frankly this is not nearly as noticable as noise in the signal feed. I heartily suggest a high grade interconnect. You don't need to get crazy on price (usually the mid priced cables are the best value). We have done a lot of tests to verify this and have found if you lower your noise floor, this seems to be the most significant increase in audio system performance. I hope this will help you...it really does make a difference you can hear.


Steve W.
www.audiodesignsinc.com
 

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??


I thought you said he should shorten the speaker cable and go with the longer interconnect. Steve seems to be suggesting to use the longer speaker cable and the shorter and (supposedly) quieter interconnect.


So do you agree with him or not? Or are you just saying you agree because he disagreed with me?
 

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Quote:
What is the foundation of your comment
In all honesty.....20 years experience.


I've said it a few times but as an EE I completely understand why it shouldn't matter (I can totally argue with myself. :) ). But it does and my ears tell me it does. When I've used short speaker cables I notice better control on the speaker drivers. Everything just tightens up.


Funny how many speaker manuals state "use the shortest speaker wire possible and locate your amps as close to the speaker as you can". I can see no hidden agenda or need to push product in that statement.


This is all just first hand experience of course and not conjecture or guessing.
 

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When I've used short speaker cables I notice better control on the speaker drivers. Everything just tightens up.
Yeah, I do believe you. However, as I said, that may well be due to a change in the psycho-acoustic processing in your brain originating from your very knowledge that you are using a shorter (hence presumably better-sounding) speaker cable. You cannot possibly exclude this possibility until you do a completely blinded comparison.

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Funny how many speaker manuals state "use the shortest speaker wire possible and locate your amps as close to the speaker as you can". I can see no hidden agenda or need to push product in that statement.
I, too, see those statements occasionally (not too often these days, though; they tend to say "thick enough" wires, which is more accurate). Anyway, I would simply take them as a warning for uninformed users who might try to use wires too thin for the length. The fact remains, what matters here is NOT length itself, but DC resistance of the wire (which is, of course, proportional to length divided by cross-section).


These are my conclusions from both scientific reasoning and 25 years of experience as an "audiofool."
 

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It is true that an amp will react better with a larger gauge, shorter speaker cable.
Yes, it is true, unless the wire resistance is so low that it is already less than a few % of the impedance of the speakers themselves. And as long as you use a thick enough cable, this condition is always met. Do not forget that the speaker unit itself uses much thinner wires inside, for the voice coils per se and crossover inductors. As compared with these parts, the resistance of speaker wires is minuscule -- again, as long as you use a thick enough cable for the length.


As for the required wire gauge for the length, see this article written by the founder/former chief engineer of McIntosh Loudspeaker Division (I have posted this previously, but it is really a good read).
 
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