Home » Audio » Speaker » Length of Speaker Wiring (Will it affect the sound quality?)
Length of Speaker Wiring [message #89160] Sun, 11 November 2018 18:15 Go to next message
Reggie is currently offline  Reggie
Messages: 18
Registered: November 2018
Chancellor
My title is my inquiry. I have two speakers mounted at the back corners of my living room. The main control is in front, so the wiring is quite lengthy. I have a feeling that the sound quality will be better if the cables were shorter.
Re: Length of Speaker Wiring [message #89171 is a reply to message #89160] Mon, 12 November 2018 09:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
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Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

If you must run long cables, make sure they are large diameter wire gauge.

Re: Length of Speaker Wiring [message #89178 is a reply to message #89160] Mon, 12 November 2018 18:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Reggie is currently offline  Reggie
Messages: 18
Registered: November 2018
Chancellor
Hello Wayne. Do you have a rough estimate on the ratio between the cable diameter to the length between the speakers and the main control? Correct me if I'm wrong, but how I understand it is that the bigger the diameter, the better the sound quality.
Re: Length of Speaker Wiring [message #89193 is a reply to message #89178] Tue, 13 November 2018 09:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17404
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

No need to estimate - You can calculate:

Wire gauge - Resistance per 100 feet (both conductors, e.g. 200 feet total path length)
24 - 5.134
22 - 3.228
20 - 2.030
18 - 1.277
16 - 0.803
14 - 0.505
12 - 0.318
10 - 0.200

For best results, do not exceed 10% of the load impedance. So if the speakers are 8Ω, then choose a speaker cable that's around 0.8Ω or less. Speaker wire that's 100 feet long would need to be 16 gauge or larger to meet this goal.

For acceptable results, you can double the cable resistance to 20%. That increases insertion loss to 17% which is approximately 1dB.

Re: Length of Speaker Wiring [message #89245 is a reply to message #89160] Sun, 18 November 2018 10:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Reggie is currently offline  Reggie
Messages: 18
Registered: November 2018
Chancellor
Thanks for those inputs. How do we double the cable resistance? What happens if we exceed the 10% load impedance? Like, say we use 1Ω speaker cable for 8Ω speakers?
Re: Length of Speaker Wiring [message #89248 is a reply to message #89245] Sun, 18 November 2018 12:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17404
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

When speaker wire resistance increases, the sound output begins to drop. It also will start to affect the response curve, creating a bulge in response where loudspeaker impedance peaks and falling where loudspeaker impedance dips. This usually occurs in the bass and around the crossover frequencies.

The trend starts around the 10% value I mentioned, but it's slight and barely noticeable even with measurement equipment. As wire resistance increases past that point it becomes more and more noticeable, and by the time the wire resistance equals the load, it will have become very obvious.
Re: Length of Speaker Wiring [message #89368 is a reply to message #89160] Sun, 16 December 2018 03:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cwemoy is currently offline  cwemoy
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Registered: May 2016
Master
Really important information in this thread since I had no idea that the length and the diameter of the wires go hand in hand. I guess there is still no harm in using thick wires for short runs
Re: Length of Speaker Wiring [message #89928 is a reply to message #89160] Sat, 16 March 2019 07:47 Go to previous message
Reggie is currently offline  Reggie
Messages: 18
Registered: November 2018
Chancellor
Hey there Wayne. Thanks for your help. I asked my friend at the electronics shop to explain to me what you just stated above, and he helped me set up my home theater speakers based on your calculations.
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