Speaker Cable Length Differences: Do they matter?



Audioholic Ninja
I couldn't bring myself to read through this whole thread... sorry. *blushes
I am reminded of the story of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and a thing she was known for:
Grace Hopper is famous for her nanoseconds visual aid. People (such as generals and admirals) used to ask her why satellite communication took so long. She started handing out pieces of wire that were just under one foot long (11.8 inches (30 cm))—the distance that light travels in one nanosecond. She gave these pieces of wire the metonym "nanoseconds."[29] She was careful to tell her audience that the length of her nanoseconds was actually the maximum speed the signals would travel in a vacuum, and that signals would travel more slowly through the actual wires that were her teaching aids. Later she used the same pieces of wire to illustrate why computers had to be small to be fast. At many of her talks and visits, she handed out "nanoseconds" to everyone in the audience, contrasting them with a coil of wire 984 feet (300 meters) long,[39] representing a microsecond. Later, while giving these lectures while working for DEC, she passed out packets of pepper, calling the individual grains of ground pepper picoseconds.
(from wikipedia)

Thus I ask... if 11.8" is a nanosecond... and 11808" is a microsecond... and a microsecond is 1000th of a millisecond... (you see where I'm going with this?)...
I can't find a great quote, but we likely hear a latency of 2-3 milliseconds as two events. So lets get uber conservative and say that the speed a signal travels through that wire is only a FIFTH of what she claimed... so one microsecond might be only 2361" x 2000 for a conservative latency... that's 4.7 million inches of wire! we are talking about POTENTIALLY causing an audible latency.
Yes, this is a silly example, and my math may very well be wrong. :p But I will say I don't hear anything amiss with my cable lengths cut to size for each speaker run, as opposed to cut to equal lengths for all speaker runs. In fact I'd be willing to bet that a 25' run to your left speaker and a 5' run to your right speaker will sound no different.
Anybody wanna set up a DBT and give this a spin? I'll bring 60" of wire. You bring the 4.7 million inches!

By the way... does Roger Russell tell us what guage we need for a run that long?



Senior Audioholic
We still have one of those Admiral Grace Hopper nanosecond's up in the attic. It was a handout at a lecture.


Senior Audioholic
Upon connection to my receiver and speakers, it seems the speaker wire is too thick to fit in the tiny hole at the back of my speakers.

Any clue?

Try WD-40 she’ll work every time no exceptions :p

  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis