Author Topic: Longer IC or Speaker Cables  (Read 9676 times)

Offline shadowlight

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 946
Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« on: August 12, 2016, 04:41:59 PM »
I am currently using same set of speakers for dual duty in the basement and want to use two different set of amps/preamp for 2 channel v/s HT.  Is it better to get longer speaker cables or IC?  The 2-channel equipment will be closer to sitting position, while the ht stuff will be right in the middle low to the ground.

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11136
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2016, 10:19:01 AM »
Short SC and long ICs is much better than the opposite! And cheaper too. ;)

Because.... you want to minimize the resistance between the amp and speakers to get best electrical damping (detail) and resistance increases with cable length. Speaker impedance is necessarily very low (2-8ohms,) so keeping the impedance ratio to the amplifier good enough to maintain control of the speaker is always a challenge for the amp to stay lower impedance than the speaker. Adding longer speaker cables can add another ohm of resistance to the amp's source impedance, that's enough to wreck your electrical damping. It's like switching from steel control rod to a rubber band to control the speaker. 

But an amplifier has a very steady and very high input impedance of >10kOhm, so almost any line level source (usually <500 ohms) can easily maintain a good impedance ratio even if the source impedance increases by a couple ohms with longer cables. That small increase is much more critical when driving low impedance speakers than when driving a high impedance amp.

As long as your line-level driver of the distant amplifier has source:load impedance ratio of 1:>10 you should be fine with long ICs. It's all about the impedance ratios.

What preamp and what amp are you using for the 2 ch system?

Offline shadowlight

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 946
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2016, 11:36:04 AM »
Thx Rich.  I will be using a 41PL based preamp with 2a3 tube amp.  I might replace the 2a3 amp with a Response Audio modified Jolida 3502 (el34/kt77/kt88/6550) based integrated which can be converted to a power amp with a switch.

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11136
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 12:17:16 PM »
That preamp's source impedance is 165Ohms, that is very strong for a tube pre. You'll have no problem driving any amp. 

Offline BobM

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2016, 08:10:52 AM »
I know most people will say long IC's and short speaker cables, but I read an article by an engineer who proved the opposite is true. Here's a synopsis of his reasoning.

Interconnects carry lower signal strength, and unless shielded, can be more prone to RFI and EMI and other signal corruption than a speaker cable.

Speaker cables don't show any sign of signal degradation until they approach 25' in length. At that point you may begin to hear top end losses.

Long speaker cables are cheaper than long IC's (unless you DIY).

Now personally, I'm not proposing one over the other. I'm just pointing out there is another side to the argument. As usual in audio, as soon as you think you have an answer someone will reason the other way. The bottom line is to try it for yourself and see what is best, but that can be an expensive experiment unless you are borrowing equipment from others.

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you'll have to blow your nose.

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11136
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2016, 09:02:19 AM »
Good points Bob   :thumb:

Offline Triode Pete

  • Industry Participant
  • *
  • Posts: 1288
  • Strive for Perfection, Settle on Excellence!
    • Link to System Details & Photos
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2016, 01:01:52 PM »
I know most people will say long IC's and short speaker cables, but I read an article by an engineer who proved the opposite is true. Here's a synopsis of his reasoning.

Interconnects carry lower signal strength, and unless shielded, can be more prone to RFI and EMI and other signal corruption than a speaker cable.

Speaker cables don't show any sign of signal degradation until they approach 25' in length. At that point you may begin to hear top end losses.

Long speaker cables are cheaper than long IC's (unless you DIY).

Now personally, I'm not proposing one over the other. I'm just pointing out there is another side to the argument. As usual in audio, as soon as you think you have an answer someone will reason the other way. The bottom line is to try it for yourself and see what is best, but that can be an expensive experiment unless you are borrowing equipment from others.



Bob,
I'm in complete agreement with you... After many listening tests comparing the two, longer speaker cables & shorter IC's ALWAYS sounds better... Keep the IC's as short as possible...

My $0.02,
Pete

PS - If you want to start another debate, how about single-ended RCA's versus balanced XLR's??? There's a caveat there, too!
www.TriodeWireLabs.com
WT Reference/CA Maestro II
Vinnie Rossi Signature L2 Preamp, w/ DAC & phono stage
Innuos ZENith Mk. 3 Server
BorderPatrol P20 EXD w/EXS PS
Klipschorns - Volti hot-rodded
PI UberBUSS
TWL Loom

Offline jessearias

  • Certifiable
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2016, 08:45:09 AM »
From Pete: "PS - If you want to start another debate, how about single-ended RCA's versus balanced XLR's??? There's a caveat there, too!"

Would it be a correct guess to say that you can go longer with XLR cables than RCA's?  :?
Parasound A21, Parasound JC2BP, Oppo 205 BR/SACD Disc Player, Marantz ST6000 Tuner, GoldenEar Triton 2 speakers and Supersub XXL, Triode Wire Labs interconnects, power cables and speaker wire, PI Audio Uber, Mini and Digibuss, Border Patrol DAC

Offline tmazz

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 9272
  • Just basking in the glow of my tubes.....
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2016, 11:50:32 AM »
I would think that the caveat would be that there will only be a difference if the components you are connecting are true balance differential circuits and not just single ended circuits with an XLR connector  for convenience sake....... unless Pete had another one in mind.
Remember, it's all about the music........

Nola Boxers
Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
McIntosh MC 275
ARC SP-9
VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Sumiko Blue Pt. Special
Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Bluesound Node/Pioneer DV 563A
DigiBuss/TWL PC/MIT Cable

Offline Scottdazzle

  • Seeking Help
  • **
  • Posts: 60
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2016, 12:59:37 PM »
I know most people will say long IC's and short speaker cables, but I read an article by an engineer who proved the opposite is true. Here's a synopsis of his reasoning.

Interconnects carry lower signal strength, and unless shielded, can be more prone to RFI and EMI and other signal corruption than a speaker cable.

Speaker cables don't show any sign of signal degradation until they approach 25' in length. At that point you may begin to hear top end losses.

Long speaker cables are cheaper than long IC's (unless you DIY).

Now personally, I'm not proposing one over the other. I'm just pointing out there is another side to the argument. As usual in audio, as soon as you think you have an answer someone will reason the other way. The bottom line is to try it for yourself and see what is best, but that can be an expensive experiment unless you are borrowing equipment from others.



Bob,
I'm in complete agreement with you... After many listening tests comparing the two, longer speaker cables & shorter IC's ALWAYS sounds better... Keep the IC's as short as possible...

My $0.02,
Pete

PS - If you want to start another debate, how about single-ended RCA's versus balanced XLR's??? There's a caveat there, too!


+1 to what Pete said. Always keep ic's as short as possible.
Viva Hifi in Vienna, VA
email: vivahifi@gmail.com
Retired

Offline shadowlight

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 946
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2016, 01:03:59 PM »
PS - If you want to start another debate, how about single-ended RCA's versus balanced XLR's??? There's a caveat there, too!

Let's leave the back and forth for other forums  :thumb:.

I guess I will try both and see which one works better.

Offline rollo

  • Industry Participant
  • *
  • Posts: 5710
  • Rollo Audio - Home demo the only way to know
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2016, 12:45:20 PM »
From Pete: "PS - If you want to start another debate, how about single-ended RCA's versus balanced XLR's??? There's a caveat there, too!"

Would it be a correct guess to say that you can go longer with XLR cables than RCA's?  :?


   YES

charles
contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit us on Facebook
Lamm - Aqua Acoustic Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm Speakers - PI Audio Uberbuss - Triode Wire Labs- Kuzma - Furutech - Audio Hungry Qualiton - Fritz Carrera speakers -Gigawatt-Arion

Offline steve

  • Audiologist
  • *
  • Posts: 650
    • Reference components
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 09:43:29 PM »
I agree with Rich, shorter SC and longer ICs. Let's check out some data.

Imo, less than 25 foot cables, the EE who stated no sonic up to 25 feet is way off, as the data below clearly demonstrates.

I am currently using (10) 18 gauge wires in parallel, which are
only 6 foot lengths, and the perception is clearly realized in my years of testing.

Whereas DC wire resistance is not frequency dependent, wire inductance is. For comparison, the dc resistance, inductance, and impedance of various wire sizes and combo are listed below. These calculations are based on only 5 foot lengths, and at 20khz. We will interpolate to lower frequencies later. (nh is nano henries.)
 
     Single                Single          Single         5 parallel

18 gauge wire        13 ga.         11 ga.            18 ga.

2410 nh               2232 nh        2162 nh         482 nh

DC resistance
.0325                    .0104           .0066            .0065              

Inductive reactance
.30 ohms              .28 ohms     .27 ohms        .06 ohms  

For simplicity, a single 11 gauge wire, 0,27 ohms reactance is approximately 1/7 the impedance (Z) of a 4 ohm speaker Z. The response is Down somewher, guessing around .75db at 20khz.        
At 10khz, the Z is still 0,135 ohms. At only 5khz, 0,0675 ohms. Remember, this is for only a 5 foot length speaker wire.

A 25 foot length of single 11 gauge solid wire, at 20khz; we are talking 1.35 ohms reactance. At 10khz 0,675 ohms, at 5khz 0,34 ohms, and at just 2.5khz, still 0,17 ohms reactance.

Also note that while the 5 parallel 18 gauge wires equate to an 11 gauge wire in terms of DC resistance, the inductive reactance is nearly 1/5th that of the 11 gauge wire at 20khz.

Olsen's work demonstrated that harmonics are weighted. Thus the ear is extremely sensitive to harmonics being altered. (We are not discussing SPL changes across the entire audio band.) As the harmonic number rises, it takes less change to be perceived. The 3th harmonic is more sensitive than 2th harmonic, the 5th more than the 4th harmonic, the 9th harmonic than 8th harmonic etc.
 
The inductive reactance of the speaker wire will alter both the phase and the amplitude of the harmonics. Thus minimum Z is advantageous.

I live within 7 miles of megawatt TV stations, and no problem with interference entering via interconnects. Those ICs are not shielded. And any small 60hz hum, I simply dial out.

As I mentioned earlier, I agree with Rich, but I suppose there are some circumstances where the opposite could be advantageous.

I hope this helps one to more fully understand what is occurring in their own system.

All the best.
Steve

« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 10:03:09 PM by steve »
Steve Sammet (retired, owner, EE, SAS Audio Labs)
"V" Very Low Capacitance ICs
SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Tube Reference Preamplifier
SAS Audio Labs 25 W Triode Reference Monoblocks
2 way test Spkrs, 28 - 20khz  -3db (28hz)

Offline tmazz

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 9272
  • Just basking in the glow of my tubes.....
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2017, 06:12:46 AM »
Of course one thing that has not been addressed here is the WAF.

Before we moved and I had a dedicated audio room in the basement I could do whatever I wanted. But now that my stereo is set up in the living room , which is the first thing anyone sees when they walk into the house, there is no way I could get away with taking the amps out of the rack and onto the floor by the speakers.  :roll:

While most of us think that big boxes of glowing tubes spread all over the room looks great, there are not to many women that would consider making their living room look like a display and an audio show to be acceptable interior decorating.  :lol:

And all kidding aside, my wife has been pretty good about letting me place my equipment where the stereo will work the best and then doing all her decorating from that point so I think the least I can do is to keep the gear all tucked into the rack and make it as unobtrusive as I can.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 06:18:58 AM by tmazz »
Remember, it's all about the music........

Nola Boxers
Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
McIntosh MC 275
ARC SP-9
VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Sumiko Blue Pt. Special
Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Bluesound Node/Pioneer DV 563A
DigiBuss/TWL PC/MIT Cable

Offline jimbones

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 1045
  • Two plus Two Speakers
Re: Longer IC or Speaker Cables
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2017, 07:16:24 AM »
You can look at the numbers and theory all you want but in the end you just have to try it and see what works best or as Tom says, you may have other constraints that drive your decision. I used to stress the small stuff, now I am in enjoyment mode. Hey, if it doesn't work one way, just change it.
Modwright LS100 Pre, Wells Audio Inamorata Pwr, VPI Classic II/Dynavector 20X2L, Two plus Two Speakers,  Roon Rock, Auralic Vega DAC, Emotiva ERC-3, MIT, WireWorld, Wywires, Shunyata, TWL