Cable length methodology - longer speaker or IC better?

I just moved into a new house. I’m grateful in that I have a new room to play with. In my previous system all my components were right next to each other allowing for short interconnects, also the speakers were (not optimum) about 5 feet apart.

In my new room (18’x20’x10’) I can place my speakers at optimum locations, but the room and furniture are forcing me to make a decision on component placement.

I can either locate my amplifier (BHK 250) closer to my speakers and use 8’ speaker cables with longer 16’ balanced IC’s. Or I can locate my amp on my component rack (off to the right side of the room) and run longer speaker cables with very short IC’s. Any pros/cons for longer speaker cable or longer IC’s? Is there any scientific methodology to go one way over the other? If I could experiment myself I would, but I only want to buy one set of cables. My gut tells me longer IC’s is the answer, but I’m curious if anyone has experience with this. Cheers

Like with most audio questions there is no absolute answer and you’re likely to hear arguments on both sides. :thinking: I’d suggest going with your gut - use longer ICs and shorter speaker wire. This choice is partially influenced by your use of balanced ICs which are suitable for long runs without any appreciable loss, and that longer speaker wire will compromise your amplifier’s damping factor.

I agree with audio.bill. I prefer to run longer ICs and allow for a shorter run of speaker cables. Any interference induced into the balanced IC will be null.

I recommend 2 BHK 300s and very short speaker cables (with long ICs) :grinning:


This passed through my head more than once! I would love to upgrade from the BHK250, but it’s not feasible at the moment. I keep looking at my room thinking “damnit, monoblocks would be nice.” I never had the space before. Maybe next tax season!

I have always done short speaker cables. But I think it depends on your setup. Are you able to have the amp near the speakers? I currently have a stereo amp and have it positioned between both speakers (dead center). My room is dedicated to audio so it isn’t an issue for me. If you are able to position the amp where shorter speaker cables will work I stay go for it.

I believe Galen weighed in on this in the Iconoclast thread and was in the short speaker cable / long interconnect camp, and provided an explanation based on the load and impedance matching between the pre and power amp and between the power amp and speaker load. Worth searching that out.

Just thought I would share Paul’s view’s on this topic too.

and again more recently:

Good luck with the new house!

Nice! There’s a plethora of content, thanks for pointing that out. Cheers

I’ve always read or heard; balanced IC’s are “right at home” or “meant for” longer cable runs. Case-in-point; Pro Audio, which involves longer cable runs quite often, almost exclusively utilizes balanced IC’s.
I would think that theory still holds true for Home Audio/Audiophile applications.
You should be alright with long IC’s (balanced) and shorter speaker cables.

I just ran a 32 foot long set of Belden BAV XLR’s to my new D&D 8c speakers. No problem at all. As @RTDoherty said - it’s what they’re meant to do.