Long interconnects or speaker cables?

January 3, 2023
 by Paul McGowan

8 comments on “Long interconnects or speaker cables?”

  1. Does both being “short” provide the best arrangement?

    My speaker cables are 2.5m and XLR interconnects are 1m. With a minimal stacked “two component” floor height of 12″ (set between the speakers-CD source variable outputs driving power amp inputs) and wide dispersion stand monitor baffles centered at 40″ listening height, there is no sonic deterioration of imaging or soundstage holographics (as compared to my previous component rack off to the left wall)!! 🙂

    Ted

    1. Yup, it’s short/short for me too.
      1m interconnects & 1m – 1.55m (R – L) for my loudspeaker wires.

      I can’t see the point of having your preamp a long distance from
      your power amp(s), unless all of your source components are
      going into another room to minimise vibrations.

  2. The one part of Jim’s question that you did not answer was that if cable quality. In your opinion will a Microphone cable work as well as a $$$$ brand X xlr cable.

  3. XLR microphone cables are used by pros up to 50 meters and more without any problems. Think of big stages and distances to the mixer desk. And if it is a good pro cable there was no difference when driven by low impedance like 50 ohms. Earlier standard was 600 ohms when used with tube buffer stage an an output transformer. So a few meters will make no problems at all. Of course the receiver amp should have also a balanced input. But I do not believe that a shorter speaker cable will make much difference if big enough cross section and of copper. But this is an endless debate which I cannot win.

  4. What is the definition of „short“ here? If the shortest speaker cable would always give the best sound quality compared to a „longer“ one, then everybody should have mono power amps or even active speakers.
    My personal experience shows that I never got significant improvements in sound quality from more expensive or high-end interconnects – except phono/tonearm cables. But loudspeaker cables from XLO, Nordost, Shunyata and Ansuz rendered huge improvements. To a lesser extent but still significant improvements could be achieved from “better” power cables. However, in the end you need a minimum length of loudspeaker cables for getting an acceptable width of the sound stage – unless you go for mono amps or active loudspeakers.
    But the most important and basic “tweaks” for improvements in sound quality are acoustic room treatment, set-up, DSP- and measurement based equalization and crosstalk cancellation followed by vibration control and clean mains power supply.

  5. Looking to the trends in audio then the active loudspeaker driven over wireless connection will be a big part of the future. Of course cable connection will also stay since there is more freedom in using different equipment. Beside this many studio monitor speakers are active today although this is a long lived concept since the 1970ies I guess. German company Klein+Hummel made some of these for radio stations. Due to lack of a passive divider network many of the speaker chassis efficiency mismatch problems and adjustments are gone.

  6. As long as the stuff between your speakers are towards the rear of or behind the speakers it shouldn’t be a problem. Paul suggests putting bookshelves there as a diffusion to improve sound, so other things besides bookshelves cannot be bad as long as they are closer to the front wall and not closer to the front main speaker baffles.

  7. It’s relatively short and short for me. 1.5m AQ Well Signature XLRs to the mono-blocs and 1.5m Snake River Signature Series Bi-Wire Speaker Cables to the speakers. I have also used setups with 1.0m and 1.0m cables, but the 1.5m cables allow more flexibility.

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