Cables off the floor, why?

Over the few weeks I have been a member of the forum I have seen pictures of individual setups where cables are supported to keep them off the floor, this is also commented on by people in different threads.

I cannot work out why there is an emphasis on keeping cables off the floor, and on some systems there is foam round some cables to stop them touching another cable, again I’m totally lost as to why.

Is there a real benefit in all this cable stuff as what I’m seeing mystifies me.

Maybe this is basic stuff I should know but it’s never been mentioned to me by anyone until seeing this on the forum.

Some help on understanding this would be very welcome.



Cable dressing can be an art and an emotive subject in itself.

Separating power / signal / speaker cables is always a good idea to reduce interference and / or hum.

I recall when I made the change from one tall rack to two short racks. No humming before the move, but hummed like anything in the new position.

Checked all the connections and cables again and found that the low frequency speaker cables were running along side some mains cable.

You cannot always get the perfect separation, but if you have to have speaker cables near mains cables, cross them at 90 degrees, rather than being parallel.

I’m sure someone else will come up with a better and more detailed reason.



It depends on the level of your system. The higher the quality of the equipment, the more that careful cable placement matters. Sometimes in can be to avoid vibration from the floor getting into the cable.

Low level signal cables will be more susceptible to magnetic, RF and vibration than high power cables. If a wire comes close to a mains cable then it should cross it at right angles rather than running parallel as the mains magnetic field is high.

It is a very long time since my college days so I suspect others will give better or more in depth responses.


I thought that modern day cables were shielded to prevent this type of interference? At least that’s what the marketing blurb tells me.

Clearly I have a lot to learn.


It’s a psychological condition called OCD

Obsessive Cable Dressing :smile: :+1:


You are correct, it is a self inflicted pain by naim for using non shielded cables.

Could you explain how vibration affects a cable? I’ve never heard of this.

I lifted cables off the floor once and used it like that for several years. Partially, this is the decoupling of microphonics from a reactive surface along the cable and then mechanically coupled to the amp. The very thing Naim cables like PowerLine and HiLine are designed to mitigate.

I felt that it was marginally better but subtle. I certainly can’t claim it as nonsense without more fair analysis.

But in that system, the layout lent itself to doing this without the cables being visible. Currently, we have more of a studio feel to the living room and while I’m happy for the cables to run across the floor a bit, cable lifts in my line of sight would detract from the enjoyment of a listening session more than any sonic benefit they might bring. So now, I consider their benefit somewhat of a moot point. I just bought better speaker cables instead.


So I can buy shielded cables from most hifi stores or via the internet but cables supplied by Naim aren’t shielded?


Shielding change the character of a power cable and other cables like Ethernet, signal cables. It’s said dynamics are compromised for example. My guess is Naim found the positive things with a non shielded cable were greater than the negative things.

If you have listened through headphones and in the same time touch the cable you will easily hear the negative impact of microphonics from vibration that moves via the cable into electronics or say a speaker.


I believe some non shielded cables are susceptible to static build up affecting performance.
Static can travel on floors - especially carpeted. Cable lifters could help here.
Static also attracts dust. Cable lifters could help with vacuuming around and under cables. :innocent:


Super Lumina speaker cables are shielded
I read somewhere the PowerLine is unshielded because it sounds better, that I can believe.
Add to that a shielded 4mm power cable is far too stiff for domestic use.

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It’s not as simple as shielded equals better. There are:

  • Unshielded speaker cables
  • Shielded with a grounded screen
  • Shielded with a floating screen
  • Unshielded with grounded drain wire
  • Unshielded with floating drain wire

And all of those exist at nearly all price points.


So your vacuum cleaner doesn’t suck it up :innocent:


I agree that the quality of the equipment makes a difference as to the benefit of cable dressing. When I got a SC to replace a HC in my system (282/250DR) while I could hear the improvement in SQ, but it also sounded so edgy/harsh as to be unlistenable. (Witch Hat Morgana leads) Then read in the forum about the importance of keeping all the input leads separated, I already had kept the mains leads separated as possible, but when I separated all the interconnects, the harshness went. I used bits of washing up sponges to keep the leads away form each other. Best wishes Amer

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It’s largely empirical, though it can be rationalised it doesn’t make the rationale true. My Rega kit didn’t care about any of this stuff, my 500 series seems to be rather dependent on these setup details and can disappoint if they’re ignored. I’d rather arrange the boxes so nothing needs propping up between the boxes but the power and speaker cables still lie on the floor.

Absolutely, in many cases shielded don’t sound better unless you must have shielding to protect a very noisy environment. A shield adds capacitance to the conductors which can smear high frequency signals.
The best is usually regarded as parallel or ladder line… but can be susceptible when passing over or very close by metallic objects

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Not necessarily, the dielectric used plays a bigger role.

Sure but capacitors are made using dielectric……. Get a capacitance bridge and measure for yourself, if you know about electronics you won’t be surprised :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The real counter if you want to shield is to use a transmission line in an unbalanced construct, but of course you will need matched impedances… or put up with the compromise and counter tonal filtering with something like silver alloy plated conductors


The compromise is a non shielded cable subject to RFI.