Speaker wire length


Does the front speaker cables have to be the same length as the rear speaker length for a 7.1 home theater system? I have all the speaker cable lengths equall now but have a whole lot of spare on the closer sets of speaker cable and would like to trim for authetic's. Any suggestions

New member
Username: Voriand

Post Number: 8
Registered: Feb-05
No. Speaker wire length makes virtually no differece in a Home theater environment.

Cut the excess if you like.

Thanks, voriand

Silver Member
Username: Dmwiley

Post Number: 366
Registered: Feb-05
My advice would be to keep the lengths to the same speakers as equal as possible. In other words, if your left front speaker is 8 feet away and your right is 5 feet away, cut two 8 foot lenghts.

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 467
Registered: Jan-05
Interestingly enough, my front speaker lengths are roughly the same length(10-15ft), but when you bring the rear/back runs into the equation........whoah....

You need to run the wire to the the speaker, and the length should only coincide with exactly what is needed to make the connection. All of my surround/back runs have varying lengths ranging from 25 to more than 60 feet dependent speaker position within the room.

Bronze Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 79
Registered: Dec-04
A few extra feet of speaker wire will add a tiny bit of impedance, inductance and capicitance.
It will also delay the signal by something less than 2 billionths of a second per foot. Which will of course cause a phase shift.

Such small differences will be completely imperceptible - unless you have 110% perfect hearing and are using GMA Europa speakers, in which case it will be unbearably awful. ;-)

Bronze Member
Username: Canuckinapickle


Post Number: 76
Registered: Jan-05
<laughs> ! Well said diablo! :-)

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 470
Registered: Jan-05

The reality is that unless you have your component rack sitting in the exact center of your listening area, you'll have varying lengths running to each surround/back speaker, and receivers are designed to account for such variances.

Your receiver would automatically account for speaker distance and wire length during auto-setup. For those with ears that good and who are that picky, you can manually adjust the mls delay for each speaker via your manual menus to match your personal preferences. I've manually played around with them with my setup, but found the delay settings calculated from my auto-setup was as good as anything. If you have an old receiver without the calibration abilities.....well, then I suppose it's a whole different ballgame.

It's probably safe to assume that anyone with ears that technical, and high-end speakers to match, also has a receiver/combo capable of calibration to account for varying speaker distances and wire lengths making the delay issues moot.

New member
Username: Voriand

Post Number: 10
Registered: Feb-05

If you give advice, give advice with facts based on physics. Sound waves move much slower than the speed of an electron. The receiver setup only uses the distance of the speaker relative to the listener.

Wire length makes no difference unless you get hundreds of feet and coil it up in a ring to increase the inductance. And even then you probabaly would not notice a damn thing in terms of sound delay.

Speed of sound is 340.29 meters per second
Speed of an electron is 299,792,458 meters per second. (actually not quite that fast but damn close enough)

Thus delays set by the reciever are much more important for speaker distance and NOT speaker wire length.

Cut the excess and make your wiring neat and visually attractive.


Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 474
Registered: Jan-05

I agree that for practical purposes, your statement is correct with respect to sound delay, however the Yamaha2500 does measure wire. When you run through the YPAO, it clearly shows that it measures both wire length, and relative speaker distance(as you noted) while running through the setup routine. That is, unless Im completely mistaking the OSM readouts as it runs through it's paces.

Bronze Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 58
Registered: Feb-05
Both Paul and Voriand are correct the length of speaker wire is totally inconsequential unless you are talking about hundreds or thousands of feet of wire. Typically 14AWG has a DCR about 2 Ohms per thousand feet, With larger gauges even less. The general rules are to a) use wire no smaller than 16AWG and b) for runs of more than 50' go with larger wire 12AWG or larger. I'm not familliar with the Yamaha but you can be sure your reciever does not care if you front three channels are diffrent lengths or the same on your rears or vice versa. With a very long length of speaker wire say 500', there may be problems with high capacitance,this is the most importance consideration not inductance and certainly not resistance. Diablo a few extra feet of speaker wire will not cause a phase shift in a speaker,phase shifts are not caused by speaker wire but have to do with crossover components inside a speaker and the amplification interaction with it. If a long length of wire causes a problem with a speaker than that speaker is probably defective and/or poorly designed. I usually cut my wire in equal lengths because I am a sucker for uniformity and I loath irregularity,but as stated previously this is not necessary. Lastly I would like to know more about these "magical" speakers- GMA's that several people in this forum rave about. Anyone know a phone# or their website address? E.Ramsey

Silver Member
Username: Stealth_c

Dublin, CA USA

Post Number: 156
Registered: Jan-05
Only one person seems to rave about them here.

Horrible site if you ask me though...

Unregistered guest

europas "make the worst recordings sound ok". more magical than hifi :-)

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