How best to arrange cables in this room...

Hi all,

I may be moving my system to a new room in the near future, but the only drawback is the best placement for the speakers is on either side of the fireplace, which would mean my rack would need to go off to the side (image below - hopefully it loads).

In this arrangement, I'm not sure how best to run the speaker cables. Getting equal length cables would leave a ton of extra cable by the speaker closest to the rack. Also, I can't run the cable through the wall with the fireplace (which would be more ideal) so a solution to keep it somewhat hidden going to the far right speaker would be great since I don't love having cables all over the place.

I figure this is a fairly common 'problem' so wanted to get some ideas on how to go about it.

Worst comes to worst, I can put my rack in front of the fireplace, but id prefer to avoid that if possible.


What is the floor?  under the floor is your best option if available.


Otherwise, I'd look at running it around the base of the fireplace, hidden by a rug perhaps.

Equal length cables are always recommended, I've played with un-equal length and never been able to hear the difference.  



I'm doing a similar re-arrangement of my living room with speakers on either side of the fireplace. I've got a non-working fireplace, so we're just going to put the power amp on the floor of the fireplace and have holes for running the cables from the amp to the speakers on either side. I'm also going to have smaller racks on either side of the fireplace (one for my headphone system, one for my 2-channel) for symmetry.... 

don't even concern yourself with unequal length cables its a none issue at these lengths. 




…”Equal length cables are always recommended, I’ve played with un-equal length and never been able to hear the difference. ”


I have to agree. While I did not do this when I was tremendously experienced with high end audio. In the end, I always have purchased equal length cables. If you are an audiophile, then go for equal lengths. I doubt I could stand realizing I had vastly different lengths. An audiophile system is the result of having no small compromises, they add up. But if you are just looking for good sound, then get different lengths.


Hide the extra cable behind the rack… or under the rack. This is what I always do.

When you are putting your new system together, if you can, I'd put the components on the side wall and use long RCA's to your amp placed on the fireplace hearth behind your speakers. I would never locate my components in the room's corner, especially the turntable. Too much potential for sonic degradation due to vibrations, etc. If that doesn't work for you, you might consider moving your speakers out further in your room and placing the components behind one of them and the running one of the cables around the base of the hearth. Differences in sound from cables of different lengths is more of a mental thing than a sonic reality. FWIW.

@ghdprentice   While I don't disagree with what you say, I worry about loops of cable are the basic inductor shown in any electrical physics book.   It is a small inductor, but it is an inductor.

No wrong answer here but I've been going with unequal length cable over coiled cable. 

Now if you can hide the extra cable without loops, then you have avoided both potential pitfalls.


@carlsbad2 The floor is wood, unfortunately. I did think about getting one of those quarter-round wire hiding trim things to secure the wire in front of the fireplace at least, but I'm not sure I'll be able to find any big enough for the thicker cables. There might be some sort of little white bracket/clip thing i can install to hold it up off the ground along the top of the trim though maybe. Worst comes to worst it just runs on the floor, but I worry about it being a trip hazard, etc.

Yeah, there's some debate about varying lengths vs not, but really the only way to hide that much excess since it would be 6+ feet longer for the speaker further away would be to coil it and maybe zip tie underneath the rack. I think I would probably agree with you on varying lengths vs coiled.

@larsman I wish I had that option! The fireplace is used occasionally or else I'd just put the rack in the middle there in front of it. On the floor in front isn't really an option either since I have pets and the tubes would be a problem. 😅

@newbee Turntable will be against a wall on a rack, but not in the corner of the room. The furthest speaker away from the rack will be near a room corner, but not up against it - will be pulled out a few feet. I also plan on getting some treatment for behind the speakers as well. It's a bit of an odd layout with the fireplace off-center which makes this particularly annoying.


Lets see a picture of the fireplace! Best and most creative solution wins the prize! (Whatever that my be)

@designsfx Unfortunately, don't have a photo at the moment since I don't live there quite yet (moving, so planning ahead). The fireplace is gas and built into the wall, so there is no hearth and I can't just put the amp in the fireplace. In a perfect world I'd just have the fireplace removed, but that would be a pretty crazy expense vs just making the space work. While I'd love to buy a home based on ideal positioning of my audio equipment, my hands are a bit tied since it isn't just me making the calls 😛

The alternative to this room is a spare bedroom that is 10' x 11.5' approx, which is significantly less space, especially since my new speakers will be on the larger side. In some years down the line (probably 5-6) I can move it to the loft space thatll be freed up then, which is roughly 13 x 15, which is more manageable, but will need to make this work for now.

@fuzztone it may be possible, though it creates some issue if I want to replace the cable with something else. It's wood flooring, so can't easily just tuck it underneath. Would basically end up being a semi-permanent solution. I'm in Texas, so basements don't exist here outside of extremely expensive concrete tomb style encased ones, so I'm assuming the floor would need to get pulled up.


So is the fireplace a brick/block build or a hollow box with an insert? If the latter it may be possible to pull the firebox and run a large conduit across the base/slab towards the rear of the enclosure. You could sweep up on both sides to a j-box and pull your wire through. 



Yes, always trade offs. Best would be to use monoblocks located next to speakers and use long interconnects. I am really luck my system is no longer in a common area. 

While I don't disagree with what you say, I worry about loops of cable are the basic inductor shown in any electrical physics book.   It is a small inductor, but it is an inductor.

Coiling wire increases inductance, but coiling cable doesn't, since both wires in the cable produce magnetic flux in opposite directions.  That is how non-inductive resistors are woven (bifilar resistors).  It is also principle of common mode choke with inductance for common mode signals and zero inductance for normal mode (differential) signals.  In addition most of speaker cables' wires are twisted (would be stupid not to) and twisting greatly reduces cable's magnetic field for wavelengths much longer than twist pitch (wavelength at 20kHz is 10km).

As for uneven cables - if you believe that speaker cable affects the sound it will be proportional to length.  If it is inaudible to you, then the only think to consider is how hard would it be to sell them in the future.

@ghdprentice this is true. one of the amp options I am looking at are triode labs americano 45 mono blocks, which are pretty small form factor each and could possibly work placed near the speakers. A lot easier to hide interconnects vs speaker cables. Still deciding on whether I want to stick with integrated or go the monoblock route though, but that's a conversation for a different thread 😂

@kijanki Great point about future re-sale. Would be near impossible to sell varied length speaker cables.

If you go with monoblocks and longer interconnects I'd make sure to use balanced cables, preferably a star quad setup for noise rejection.

I had the same issue in a previous house and I drilled two small holes in the floor and ran the right speaker cable under the floor. The wall to wall carpet hid the holes when I moved.

All the best.

You say wood floor, but wood floor on concrete slab or raised foundation with a crawl space? If the latter, just run your cable through the crawl space.

By the end of all of this the OP will opt out and go with a wireless system! 🤣

Seems like the best option will probably be having junction boxes installed on either side to feed the wire through the fireplace enclosure to the other side. Shouldn’t be too terribly expensive to have installed.

That or hide in some trim somehow.

Either way, with this approach im looking at roughly 22+ ft long speaker cables (which is going to be pricey), but less expensive than getting mono blocks and a pre-amp, I suppose.

Ok...some things to consider then. Thanks!

Here.s what I did in a similiar situation and it works for me 😋



SORRY, couldn't resist...

My biggest concern with all this is having to get 22'+ long speaker cables and will be using a SET amp. I just...don't have room for the amp between the speakers :(

Every gas fireplace I have come across is basically a small, steel firebox with a 6"-8" exhaust pipe that gets routed outside the home, surrounded by wood framing and drywall, creating a huge "shell" enclosing a lot of wasted space inside.  You can have any local A/V or Custom Integration company fish the speaker cabling through the giant, hollow framed box to the other side with minimal effort and with no issues to the speaker cabling.  


@paradisecom good point. I didn't even think about A/V install companies to do it for some reason. I'll see how it plays out. I may be able to sacrifice use of the fireplace and just put the rack in front of it (im in Texas after all, how many times a year is it going to be relevant to use a fireplace), but have some convincing to do.

The price of 22'+ speaker wires would be a healthy chunk of change, and having to deal with probably 12' extra wire on one side would be a little annoying, but there's options.

If it was me, I would move my listening chair to near the fireplace!

On the uneven cables, my bedroom system’s speaker cables are unequal by about 6’ and I hear no effects. 

The price of 22'+ speaker wires would be a healthy chunk of change, and having to deal with probably 12' extra wire on one side would be a little annoying, but there's options.

@mmcgill829 , 25 ft SVS Soundpath ultra speaker cables should run you a bit under 200 $/ pair. It tends to have a thicker meatier sound and looks decent. Don't bash it a priori because it is "affordable" by audiogon standards, i.e., try it before you bash it. I use it for long run surround channels and have also tried it back to back for mains against AQ cables that cost more than some rigs. I seem to prefer the SVS cable with some mix of components.