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How much cable length is too much?
John 31415926
post Jul 19 2012, 07:34
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I just rearranged my home office and the Mac (running iTunes) is now about as far away from the receiver/amp as it can be. It's looking like the only way to connect the Mac to my receiver is to run an audio cable up the wall, through the attic, across the room, back down the opposite wall, and into the audio system ...

... to the tune of about 40 to 50 feet of cable distance.

I think I had a length like this a while back and I vaguely remember getting some hiss, although I don't know for a fact if that was the cable length causing that or something else.

Right now I've got a spool of 18 gauge speaker wire, would that do the job?

I guess it's two questions.

1) How much length is too much to connect a computer to a receiver?

2) What gauge wire is required for such a length?



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uart
post Jul 19 2012, 12:31
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QUOTE (John 31415926 @ Jul 18 2012, 23:34) *
I just rearranged my home office and the Mac (running iTunes) is now about as far away from the receiver/amp as it can be. It's looking like the only way to connect the Mac to my receiver is to run an audio cable up the wall, through the attic, across the room, back down the opposite wall, and into the audio system ...

... to the tune of about 40 to 50 feet of cable distance.

I think I had a length like this a while back and I vaguely remember getting some hiss, although I don't know for a fact if that was the cable length causing that or something else.

Right now I've got a spool of 18 gauge speaker wire, would that do the job?

I guess it's two questions.

1) How much length is too much to connect a computer to a receiver?

2) What gauge wire is required for such a length?


Shielding is far more important than the wire gauge here John. Use a well shielded cable, not speaker wire.

Apart from shielding, the other really important issue here (as David already mentioned) is grounds loops. Ground loops can allow relatively large currents to circulate in the ground or shield wires, and can result in significant hum. If you experience this (hum with a direct analog line connection) then one way to test if it's a ground loop issue is to also run an extension power cable from the computer to the receiver. So that the receiver (and everything thing electrically connected to it!) is getting its mains power directly from the same power board as the computer. This gives a single ground point. I've solved several ground loop issues in the past using this technique.

This post has been edited by uart: Jul 19 2012, 12:34
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