Mains cables dressing / tide

Hi all,
I spent time reading around about cables dressing,
I understood mains cables should be kept away from signals and speakers cables, what do you think is useful to tide mains cables?

  1. can they be kept together using velcro tides
  2. can they be put into a cable tray together?
  3. can they be folded at least cable by cable?
  4. is it useful to keep them away from hifi rack and floor or can they touch them without any problem?
    thanks for suggestions and most of all differences heard in sound applying your suggested solution


Ciao Guido

1, 2 & 3 are all good, use whatever works best for your set up.
I have a mix of power cables in plastic conduit, also tied with Velcro & routed as neat as possible around the rack.
There is nothing to gain by keeping away from the floor.

thanks Mike! so tightening together different mains cables should not impact the sound

Routing different power cables together will not affect the sound , but I’m just a simple electrical engineer, I expect some others will disagree.


If mains and signal cables are unshielded, cable dressing is particularly important, but I can’t see how power cables would interfere with each other.

As a first step, keeping power cables away from signal cables is good, and running the two side-by-side or twisted around each other is not. Whatever looks tidy on power cables will probably be fine. Bunching or folding beat coiling up in an tight & elegant circle with many coils for obvious reasons.

Some cables, most obviously Naim Burndies, are apparently designed to hang free, with as little contact with cables, wall or floor as you can manage. Opinion differ on how audible the difference is. However, even I can sometimes hear when I have made a mess of plugging things back in and have created a knot of cables twisted round each other - I get detail-destroying mush or an actual hum.

IMHO, if you can’t actually hear a difference between tidied and messy after a proper listen (not just the first few minutes after you switch on), there probably isn’t one, so your cable dressing is probably fine.


thanks Nick. Signal cables are left free, also burndy. I don’t know if might be possible to fold burndy, it is quite thick. as a matter of fact ultimate problem is on mains cables as they are pretty long and many, I will try with the pragmatic approach you propose: I will tie them and see if anything happens : )

Exactly right, but please don’t fold a Burndy - it’s top of the list for ‘just hang loose’.

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Power block to the right of the brawn stack, the powerlines loop underneath the Fraim as ordered as I can get them but not touching the shelf and rise up behind the power supplies without touching the wall on the way up, all well away from other cables except speaker cables and one optical, which can’t be helped.

Unfortunately the cable feeding the block passes by the skirting behind both stacks. A house rewire will eventually improve matters.

I’m not sure tidy is the word I’d use, out of sight might be better.

It’s already better than mine.

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The good thing with the Naim mains powered kit is the power input is all on the same side so you can route the mains cables together down to the floor and loosely arrange them out of the way underneath the rack to either connect to a power block or to the mains sockets directly. You can then concentrate on keeping signal cables away from the mains cables and try to avoid them touching the walls, floor or each other. Same with the Burndy cables.

Speaker cables will of course need to run along the floor, but again try to keep these away from the mains cables.

Ultimately, how well you can arrange the cables will depend on how much kit you have and the way you’ve arranged the kit in your rack(s). Good luck.

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thanks James, do you fold the mains cables or leave them free originating a rat nest? :smile:

I only have two Naim Power-lines to worry about so they drop down and are loosely arranged underneath my two racks and then they come back up again to the mains sockets. No folding of any cables. I use off cuts of pipe insulation to space cables off the walls where needed.

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thanks! nice! also the use of pipe insulation to space cables off the walls!

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Why should cables not touch the wall? They can touch the Floor and I guess also the rack but then why not the wall? Does anyone have an explanation?

It’s to try and avoid coupling vibrational energy from the walls and floor via the cables into the equipment, following the Naim approach where they try to mechanically decouple the sockets and plugs.With some cables you can’t really get them off the floor (speaker cables etc) but most interconnects tend to hang between the equipment so are easier to dress.

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Via RFI - the closer, the more. Whether you can hear this is another matter…

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I can only guess at the why but when I replaced my CD5x with a CDX2 high piano notes took on an unpleasant ringing quality. Amps were a 282/Hi/250-2 and speakers were Thiel CS1.6. Changing the rack from a Target to Fraim lite wrought a lot of improvements to the system in terms of musical coherence and my superline was no longer picking up a Russian radio station but it didn’t cure the ringing until I arranged the power cable so it didn’t touch the rack.

A change to close to the wall speakers, NBLs saw the ringing come back some times and now it was affecting vinyl too. When I looked I found that the speaker cable had been nudged by the hoover and was touching the wall, moving it off cured the ringing. This was a regular occurrence and I didn’t always know the hoover had been round until I checked the speaker cable.
Both speaker and power cables rested on an Axminster carpet and touched each other to some extent. It was the last section of cable near its downstream end that seemed to matter.

thanks, it is incredible how little variations might impact and are hard to predict. I moved the mains plugs within the mains distributor and the hum of the hicap dr dropped. it’s a continuous try and improve.
defenetely velcro ties help the cable positioning as do not damage cables and can be easy reopened

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