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What do you do with all that speaker wire?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Ken Custodio

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Posted May 21 2002 - 02:24 PM

I think I have a pretty standard arrangement of my HT equipment. I have the TV in the center, with two audio racks on both sides of the tv, and then finally the speakers on the outside of the audio racks. My speakers are about 8 feet apart. I have the receiver and power amp in the left audio rack. I need to have about 10 feet of speaker wire to reach the right front speaker. But on the left I need a lot less length of speaker wire since the amp is on the same side. I have the speaker the same lengths. What does everyone do with extra speaker wire? I heard that it is bad to coil the speaker wire. Any ideas?

Ken
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#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Allan Jayne

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Posted May 21 2002 - 02:28 PM

It is not necessary for speaker wires to be the same length.

Unless you might re-arrange the equipment requiring a longer length in the future.

But it is a good idea to have two extra feet when you cut speaker wire in case you have to redo connections. If your connections are not soldered, be prepared (not always necessary) to undo and redo all connections every three years to clear up oxidation and sometimes the wire end will break off.

It is OK to coil the excess speaker wire, I suggest a coil about 12 inches in diameter.

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#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Juan Castillo

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Posted May 22 2002 - 01:50 AM

sorry to jump in here, but why 12". I have about 12 extra feet of speaker wire going to my passive sub, that I did not want to cut, so I coiled it and ziptied the coil to keep it so. Now, I believe my coil is around 12", but that was just hapenstance.. any science behind it? Your URL did not work.. Thanks Allan

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted May 22 2002 - 03:23 AM

If I might jump in here:

A lot of people say to "never coil your speaker wire". This is because a coil of wire is called an "inductor" and is a part of many electronic components. (Every transformer is an inductor. The driver in most speakers is an electro-magnent made with a coil of wire/inductor. etc) Making a coil of speaker wire can have undesirable side-effects.

(In truth, how thick the wire is, how tight the coils are, the diamater of the coil, etc., all have an effect.)

If we said "It's OK to coil your wire" meaning a loose loop of 1 or 2 circuits in a 12" circle, somebody would hear this, ignore the details and tightly wrap his excess speaker wire around his hand and tie-strap it (near his power cords as well). This could have a impact on his sound.

The simpler/safer advice is to use up the excess by creating large "S" curves with the wire.

The superior advice is: "cut your speaker wires to fit, leaving a foot or so of room for play".

Hope this helps.

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Westly T

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Posted May 22 2002 - 03:41 AM

As said above, the wire lengths don't need to be the same, see my post here:
- Wes

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#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Ken Custodio

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Posted May 22 2002 - 10:40 AM

The only problem I have with cutting one speaker wire shorter than the other to fit my system is that I have MIT Terminator 2 speaker wires and if I cut one of them I will have a hard time selling them, if I decide to Posted Image
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#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Ten_Smith

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Posted May 23 2002 - 03:15 AM

You could also braid the wire, and I don't believe there are negative repercusions from that. I'm sure others will chime in if it could affect sound quality..

To braid,
1) fold the wire at its midway point
2) Tie the folded end of the doubled wire (as opposed to the end with two loose ends) into a figure 8 loop knot.
See link for picture:http://www.iland.net...figure8loop.htm
3) Reach through the loop and pull an inch or two of wire through (holding both strands) creating a new loop.
4) Reach through new loop and pull another inch or two through, creating a new loop.
5) Repeat 4 until the requisite amount of wire is 'braided'.
Not the best description, its much easier if you see how its done.

An advantage of braiding over looping is that you can deploy as little or much wire as required, and easilty re-braid when your done. And, unlike looping, the wire never gets tangles. Works like a charm on 50 foot extension cords.

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Allan Jayne

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Posted May 23 2002 - 05:28 AM

I would suggest not making sharp bends or folds in the wires when trying to hide the excess. That would spoil the resale value of the cable too.

I do believe that large coils won't do any harm to the sound. The speaker cable has both positive and negative wires. When coiled up, when current goes down the positive wire one way around the coil, it comes back the negative wire the opposite way around the coil, so any magnetic effects cancel out.
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#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Michael Lomker

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Posted May 24 2002 - 04:48 AM

I have MIT T2 wires as well...and I do coil them because I got a good price on some 10' cables and I only needed half of that. You might not want to coil cheap speaker cable for inductance reasons, but heavily shielded fire hoses like the MIT aren't going to be affected.

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted May 24 2002 - 08:09 AM

Quote:
it comes back the negative wire the opposite way around the coil, so any magnetic effects cancel out.

This is true for the same section of wire held rigidly in parallel with each other.

But both wires are creating magnetic fields around them. When you coil the wires, the each loop is now affected by the magnetic fields of all the near by coils. Sometimes they add, sometimes they subtract.

If you coil the wires behind the receiver (to hide the mess), you now have 5 separate sets of wires interacting with each other. Basically a 5-wire open-air transformer.

Complicate things by having a few power cords running current at 60hz near these coils - well, its a mess.

If you are going to coil, make sure to do it behind your speakers away from all other wires if possible. And DONT BE NEAT! Making the coils different sizes so there is some space between each loop is actually better because it does not allow the magnetic fields to interact as much.

Quote:
heavily shielded fire hoses like the MIT aren't going to be affected.

So you have SHIELDED speaker wires? These are not typically shielded, only interconnects.

But even if they were, that shield is basically your second conductor, or in the case of an interconnect, an "antenna" directly tied to the signal ground of your equipment.

I'm afraid the same issues apply to your MIT cables.





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