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Which cables to leave long, speakers or XLR? (1 Viewer)

RobWil

Supporting Actor
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Mar 17, 2003
Messages
733
Chu...Yo dude..thanks! And I had 2 Sierra Nevadas at lunch....I love going away luncheons!


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BTW this is what an XLR Connector looks like for future reference
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What do those plug into? The external device you were talking about? If the XLR cables run from the amp to preamp, what up? I've never seen a connector like that.

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With short runs (1 to 6 foot) there generaly is not any issue
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So what if I have a 10-15 ft run. Do you think I would benefit from balanced cables?
If not, what type of cables are best for amp to preamp connections? Just regular audio cables? Would the cable type alter the sound of the signal like a CD to preamp cable does or is it a different type of signal and cable type isn't that important?
 

Brett DiMichele

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Sep 30, 2001
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Brett
Chu,

If you noticed in my post I mentioned "Chokes" and "Females"
so I must be into that kinky rough stuff.. :D

I say up to 15' you are okay with regular low level phono
lines assuming they are of very good quality with at least
90% Braid sheilding but I would try to stick with 100% Braid
coverage. Also look for 22Awg center conductors rather than
the more diminutive 24 to 28Awg used in other cables.

When you start playing with cables this long you really are
better off to make a trip over to Parts Express's web site
and order thier Dayton Locking RCA's and thier ProSound
Mic Cable. The plus about the Mic cable is that it's got two
22Awg center conductors and 100% Braid. You can use a single
center conductor for regular phono applications and use both
conductors for Balanced applications and it's affordable.

There are other drawbacks to running 30' of speaker wire.
You increase the Inductance of the wire when going with very
long runs (even on 12AWG) and this could put more demand on
the amps.

Rob,

Those XLR Plugs go directly into the chasis of equipment
that uses that setup. Here is a picture of the back of my
Pre Amp notice it has In's and Outs in true Balanced config
that's where you use those connectors at.

 

RobWil

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
733
Thanks Brett....I guess with my rinky-dink setup regular ole coax audio cables will do :frowning:
 

JamesDB

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Jan 30, 2003
Messages
84
Hi RobWil, just a thought...

You know that you can still go for a convertor box for your longer runs. To me there is some sense in this because although the box may be around $220 US or less, you save a lot on the XLR cables. Try to look up this site.

http://www.sonifex.co.uk/redbox/index.shtml

Look at RB-UL1 for a simple stereo rca to xlr. The bidirectional one is a bit more and you might want that one for futureproofing.

There are other manufacturers out there too that might be cheaper. I saw one at Radio Shack the other day that was also active,... I think it was more like 160 US.

You won't get the benefit of internal balanced circuits in your preamp, but with XLR your long runs will act much less like antennas and if you move to a bigger place it'll grow with you easily. :) I'm in Los Angeles BTW, would love to know what your setup is.
 

RobWil

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
733
Thanks James....appreciate the input.

I'm currently using an Integra DTR-7 for pre-pro, 105x5, dts,dd,dpl, thx select, 2 audiosource amp ones monobridged for the fronts (200wpc x 2), Polk Audio LS50's front w/ matching CS350SL center, Klipsch KG5.2's for now in rear, Toshiba DVD (cheap), H/K HD7600II CD, direct tv (old RCA satellite receiver), Mitsubishi VCR, H/K cassette, Mitsubishi 50" rear projection TV, blah, blah, blah :)
Currently using Belden 1694A coax cable from preamp to ext. amps and regular 12ga. copper from amp to speakers.
Canare L-5CFB coax from CD to preamp.
This has basically been put together hodge-podge but now trying to incorporate a little thought process.
Sounds pretty nice to me but always looking for (and sometimes finding!) improvement :)

Ooops....forgot the Infinity IL120S sub....(in cherry!)
Also, I would say I listen to music 85%/movies 15% depending on whether or not it's wed or fri or leap year, etc :)
 

Chu Gai

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Joined
Jun 29, 2001
Messages
7,270
To explain a little about the general statement, long interconnects & short speaker cables, one has to look at what happens to the signal as we lengthen each. The connection between the preamp and the amp by and large has an incredibly flat and wide frequency response. It extends far past the limits of audibility. Now as the interconnect length gets longer, all else being equal, eventually there'll come a point where there'll be a slight roll-off of the highest frequencies. This maximum length before the possibility that this roll-off becomes audible depends primarily upon the capacitance of the cable. The lower the capacitance, the further you can extend that length. Of course it also depends on whether you can actually hear that high (most can't and our sensitivity to high frequencies decreases with age and exposure to loud sounds). It also depends upon whether the preamp is capable of driving a long length of interconnect. That's manufacturer specific.
With speaker cables as we increase the length, all else again being equal, there tends to be a more rapid attenuation of the higher frequencies. If the length is long enough, given that we can actually have sensitivity, there will be an audible change. Moreover, as the length increases, the net cable resistance increases proportionally which does reduce the effective power going to the speakers. For those of us who've dropped the price of a car on an amp, one might be looking at having spent $100 or more per watt. Myself, I'd be looking to squeeze every damned watt into those speakers. Hence I'd likely be opting to put the amps close to the speakers and just run a longer length of interconnect from the preamp.

So where do most of us fit in? Maybe we have about 10 feet or less running to our front speakers. Maybe 25 feet? running to our rears. Not as much relevent information is coming out of the rears. Me, I'd just choose the least expensive approach which is running something like 12 gauge copper all around and just getting a decently made interconnect, the capacitance of which is largely a non-issue since the length is maybe a meter or so. I wouldn't agonize over whether I'm running RCA's or XLR's.

Now you're just starting out Rob so you might want to make some conscious decisions as to how you might want to set things up for the future. If you just don't want to worry about the possibilities of emi/rfi then consider purchasing products that include balanced XLR connectors. That'll provide you with flexibility and you'll find that decently made XLR cables are fairly inexpensive. Maybe you're going to monoblock everything...making the move towards separates REALLY separate. Just think about it.

And Brett, what can I say other than I've heard that Angelina Jolie might find your use of those terms intriguing :D
 

Brett DiMichele

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2001
Messages
3,181
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Brett
Rob,

What Chu said..... In 100% Agreement with him..

I wouldn't agonize over it.. XLR is nice.. Cables are
affordable (because Balanced is a pro venue setup you can
get great cables without a side of magic cable fairly dust).

But I wouldn't loose sleep over it.. XLR's and Balanced are
great features.. If you want them, in the future as you
upgrade change over to them.. But I wouldn't fret over it!
 

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