Short and sweet
Why is short sweet, and simple better?
Are we averse to complexity or do we simply object to clutter?
When I want to grasp a concept or understand a new idea, it’s always helpful to drill past the particulars until I can reach the core of meaning. In this way, I can wrap my head around something complex without drowning in details.
Of course, it is the details that make the whole work. Change one of them and the outcome is different. For example, modeling a power amplifier as a representative block within a system assumes the perfect device. If we’re trying to make a judgment about what speaker cables should work in the system we’re likely not taking into account the details of the amp driving those cables: damping factor, power bandwidth, etc.
Yet, it is those very details that often get the best of us when we sit down to listen.
Short and simple are indeed sweet, but it’s the details that often tell the story.
If you’re digging for answers, we’re here to help.
Short vs. long
If we have a choice (and we almost always do), we’d prefer short speaker cables to long interconnects. This because passing unimpeded music down a speaker cable into the complex load of a speaker is far more of a challenge than sending music between two low-level sources or controllers.
Sources and controllers are almost always easy loads. Low impedance out and higher impedance in. The signal size isn’t too big and properly designed equipment and cables have an easier time making it from point A to point B without too much trouble.
That’s hardly the case when delivering high powered, high voltage signals to speakers. Here, the challenge of passing music unimpeded is magnified by 30 times in the voltage realm and thousands of times in the current world. To make matters worse, speakers are finicky, demanding clients. Their impedance is all over the map. To get music to sound right we must deliver both voltage and current without distortion or modification.
As a rule of thumb, it’s good to arrange your system around this idea of short speaker cables. When we’re at shows it’s not a problem because we want the audience to see our equipment while the music’s playing, so all cables are short. But, near the speakers is not sonically the best place for sources and controllers, but hey! it’s a show and we’re here to get people into the equipment. At home, we’d like to keep our sources as far from the speakers as we can.
When it comes to speaker cables, short’s the ticket.