New cable recommendations - speaker and preamp->amp - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 4 Old 07-07-07, 07:06 AM
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New cable recommendations - speaker and preamp->amp

I'm replacing a bunch of MIT cables I have. The speaker cables I have don't allow me to place my amps where I'd like. I'm putting my equipment rack in one corner of the room. My I need to have my speaker cable lengths the same? ie...the right speaker is a LOT closer to the amp than the left speaker. Rather than spool up this cable and have to make it look nice....can I just order a length that lays just right. I'm gonna do the math on current carrying size of bi-wire 14 gauge vs 10 or 12 gauge.

I also have MIT interconnects between my Anthem AVM2 and Anthem MCA2 and MCA3. They are RCAs. I have the option of using XLR. I'm going to place my amps in the same rack as my preamp. Should I stick with RCA, or go with XLR. If nothing else, the XLRs allow a lot of extra space on the back of my amp.
Anyone have good sources for XLR cables (on the order of 3-4 feet).

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post #2 of 4 Old 07-07-07, 08:01 AM
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Re: New cable recommendations - speaker and preamp->amp

Hi there, Scott,

While I'm not sure there will be any clear-cut sonic difference, I do have my main speakers wired (actually, bi-amped) with the same length of cable to each, even though the left is much closer to the amp than the right. Even though the guage is sufficient (12 gauge for all), there are resistive, capapacitive and inductive properties to the cable that could cause a change in the sound subtly. I'm no one for fancy cables and esoteric designs that are well-advertised, but I do know that those properties of a cable will change with the cable length.

My surrounds and center use whatever length of cable necessary, and therefore they don't match the lengths of the mains or each other, but I tend to be a little more "loose" on surround stuff than two-channel audio.

My preamp and amplifier both have balanced jacks. In the past, I've used the balanced outs (on a different preamp) to my amp and thought I heard an improvement when going back to RCAs!!! (Perhaps an improvement in bass?) If either the preamp or the amp manufacturer did a poor job in implementing the balanced section of the outputs and inputs, I'm sure this is possible (but perhaps not likely). Neither of my devices is "fully balanced," I believe -- they just invert the signal at the output or input in order to get the benefit of noise rejection for long cable runs, which is a nice feature. I was using 1 meter balanced cables, by the way, and the same length RCAs also.

I got a new preamp a week ago, and I haven't bothered to hook up the balanced yet. I may or may not. Since I've started bi-amping my mains, it's much, much easier to use RCAs in my system. My amp has dual RCA connectors for each channel, so it's easy to daisy chain the inputs for bi-amping. If I wanted to bi-amp with balanced connectors, I would need a Y-splitter. Since I don't have any lying around, and I haven't been motivated to find any, it just sits in single-ended mode.

I really do like the look, finish and positive fit of the XLR connector itself. It just looks pro. To me, that in and of itself is reason enough to use them, if desired. However, I doubt you will hear any sonic impact, either positive or negative, with a run of that distance. FWIW, I bought mine on eBay from a guy that hand builds them using Neutrik connectors and Canare wire. He did a very nice job, but I have no idea who it was...

Good luck!

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post #3 of 4 Old 07-07-07, 02:56 PM
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Re: New cable recommendations - speaker and preamp->amp

Thanks for the great reply Otto.
I kinda feel the same way. There probably isn't a big difference if one cable is longer than the other...but it just seems right to have them the same. I might take it as far as doing the center as well.
I like the possitive connection and feel of the xlr too. I think I found the guy on ebay. He sells 2@1 meter xlr cables for $40. I've emailed him about making an odd set...5@1 meter, one a little longer to my BFD, and then another from BFD over to my HGS-18.
Thanks again.
post #4 of 4 Old 07-09-07, 08:26 AM
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Re: New cable recommendations - speaker and preamp->amp has some articles on cable length and balanced vs. RCA.

General gist is that for short runs, speaker cable length doesn't matter (although it never hurts to have them the same ) and also that unbalanced is fine for short runs, so long as the cable is not picking up noise.

That's really the only advantage of the XLR balanced connection -- true noise rejection. A huge issue for large stadium PA work, not so much for home theater. That said, if you do have to run you cables very close to power cords or digital cables, the noise rejection may come in handy. I wouldn't worry about it, though.

If you need RCA cables, I've always liked the Bluejeanscable stuff. Honest, no frills, excellent quality cables. For my own custom installs, I use the same Canare ends he does, only I also use the Canare cable instead of Belden. No real reason, I just wanted to tool up for one type only, since I am a VERY small operation (side business at home).
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