Interconnect lenghts

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joe, Nov 30, 2002.

  1. Joe

    Joe Stunt Coordinator

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    How far can you run an interconnect cable between an amp and a pre-amp without degrading the signal or causing some other problem? Also, what is a better trade off; longer interconnect cables with shorter speaker wires or vica-versa?

    The equipment I would be using with this is a Rotel stereo amp with a Rotel pre-amp.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Joe,
    Good question, indeed. Is this a 2 channel application, or for a 5/6 channel HT one ?
    There is no hard fast rule here, or if there is, then the battle of words/theories continues.
    If you look around all the 2 channel, and HT Forums, on all the 'For Sale' sites ,like AUDIOGON.COM, for instance, then you will mostly see no more than 3 meter interconnects being sold (in fact, mostly 1.5 meter interconnects).
    But, and this is a true "but", some serious guys, with serious systems, like to run long IC's(quality IC's, I may add ;^) to amps and then short speaker cable to their speakers.
    Sit in your sweet spot and think for awhile about how best to achieve simple cable runs, least obtrusive, easy to connect, out of sight, (can I elevate my speaker wire off the floor more easily, if this is your inclination) and decide from there.
    My personal opinion is the basic formula (just my experience when buying and selling wire "down the road"), which is-- IC's no longer than 1.5 meter, and a speaker cable pair no longer than 8 feet. You will be in the "mix" for a quick resale of both sizes and types if you decide to sell.
    For an HT, this formula applies to your front three speakers and all wires connected to them( i.e., the 1.5 m IC max length) For the surrouds, all bets are off and just run low end speaker wire there, with no more than the 1.5m IC rule applying for separate amplification.
    Take a long study of what is sold on www.audiogon.com in terms of interconnects, and speaker wire. Study the lengths sold, the types, the connectors, the age, condition, the feedback of the user. Good to read this stuff, as the lengths, quality, the manufacturer, the users impressions all add into how you may best want to set up your system. And just let your wallet take you from there.
    Far from a science, but a little homework can save you months of floundering. Sometimes it is good to follow what is commonly sold and traded, than order a 12 foot IC and wonder down the road just "why in the hell did I do that".
    Good Luck,
    BOK
     
  3. Joe Tilley

    Joe Tilley Supporting Actor

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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong but, I believe the shorter the interconnect cables the better as they are more prone to picking up noise. But by this I don't mean that getting a 1foot cable & trying to stretch it between components but rather don't make it excessive if you don't need to.
     
  4. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Shorter IC performance depends on their construction, the makers design, your setup, power cords too close etc, ad infinitum............. , rack distance, if it applies to your components positioning. Not a hard rule here.
    If you can keep the IC's away from offending sources, then yes, go with .5 IC's, 1 meter IC's, 1.5 meter IC's...... It is ALWAYS system dependent.

    If one has a poorly constructed speaker cable, then what acts as the bigger antenna for RF ? A crappy IC in a poor setup can accentuate an existing ground loop condition, as well as act as an excellent RF antenna.
    There is no "one must" do the short/long IC vs the short/long speaker cable. My point--- there is no hard rule here.

    All things aside, I would use 1 meter IC's and a 8 foot cable. But systems vary, flexability applies. Buy good stuff !!!!

    BOK
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    We had this debate several months ago dealing with external subwoofers. Should you run a long IC to the sub, or long speaker wires?

    There were arguments on both sides, but the general opinion was long interconnect, short speaker wires were prefered.

    A few items:

    - Coaxial cable specs are published by rolling out 100 feet of the stuff and bragging about the frequency response.

    - Many high-end video systems run coax 30-60 feet to projectors with little problems. (And these are video frequencies, not audio).

    - Several high-end designers like Dunlavy put mono-block amps behind each speaker just to keep the speaker wires under 6.5 feet. (Dont ask me how he arrived at that number.)

    - We know a LOT about running power down long runs of wires since that is how electricity arrives at your home. There is lots of leakage/roll-off/etc with long runs. Un-powered signals in an interconnect bypass a lot of these issues because they are not pushing current.

    So for my system: Long interconnects are prefered over long runs of speaker wire.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    the theoretical answer would be long interconnects however one would need to be dealing with longish lengths for theoretical to result in audible.
     

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