Does unequal speaker wire length matter?

My amp is not located centrally between my speakers. Due to the layout of my listening area, the amp is about 10 feet from one speaker, and adjacent to the other - and this will not change. I am currently using two 4-meter cables, but one of them need only be about 1 meter. I am looking to upgrade my cables, could I get away with unequal lengths and save a good bit of money?
Please don't try to "get away with it" - as you coined it. Different length might be without consequences in a MidFi system in a bar or so. Maybe you could "equalize" it with some balance settings in your pre, maybe in your case the difference is in such a short range that it might be tolerable, but we are talking high end here, right? And in that field especially the little things MAKE a difference.
Good luck!
Timing will be off resulting in a loss of soundstage and imaging. It will be similar to listening to a system that is wired out of phase. It could be bad enough that you would be better off with a boom box.

Lamp cord would be a better option than two very different lengths of cable.
At that length timing has very little to do with it. However, resistance is different over those lengths, which does matter. Sorry.
I have seen it done with transparent cable with Wilson speakers. There was no change in sound with this particular system.
Apparently upgrading ones cable is very popular these days. I get three or four emails about upgrading mine every day. Heh. I guess word got out.

Seriously, I prefer same length for like speakers. i.e. Front L/R are the same, the surrounds are the same. Currently my center is an oddball . Its length is different from the front L/R but, its a different amp, with different ICs, extra processing, etc. etc. so I really dont worry too much over it.

My opinion is, use the shortest pair you can get away with and deal with the excess on the closer speaker as best you can. Dont coil the excess too tightly.
Cables should always be equal symmetry in length considering that you have the model and awg wire the same. Like Dbw1 said, timimg has nothing to do with length mismatch, its resistance. Resistance in a speaker cable subtle to voltage drop which in turn cause signal loss. When this happen, your intitle to hear a few db or less which cause image to shift off center. This is why it so important that you have the same length on both sides.

Ignore the above advice and use the unequal length cables. According to the logic of the above posts the unequal lengths can possibly result in a slight image shift towards the speaker with the shorter cable. If this is true, then it can be easily corrected with the use of a balance control.
I was wondering the same thing again, and I know most audiophiles will say it is a no no, but if I do not really do critical listening, can I reallyhear the difference? Has anyone tried different lengths and actually heard the difference? Most don;t even have room treatments so how much issue can this really cause?

Please let us know your experience with different lenghts and Happy Listening.
While I wouldn't bet money I could hear a difference, I agree their could be some resistance issues , and factor in if you try an upgrade your speaker cables in the future, you will have a "tough sell" on your old un equal length pair of speaker cables.
Give me a frigging break ! What BS advice. It will
not make any difference, and will definitely not be
perceived by the human ear. At what speed does the signal
travel down the wire ? Perhaps 0.5c ~ 0.85, where c=speed of light, 186 000 miles/sec. That is the signal travels at
102300 miles/sec ~ 1581000 miles/sec. Even if one wire is longer than the other one by 10 feet, the difference in time for the signal to arrive at the speaker would be 0.00000002 secs. Damn, you boys have incredible hearing !
Timing will be off? Unless the disparity is great, you will never hear a difference. Keep them the same length and avoid pangs of audiophile neurosis. It's all in your head anyway.
Not every speaker cable manufacturer states that each leg of the cable be the same length. Alpha-Core states on its web site that their Goertz speaker cable does not have to be of equal length on each leg. My own personal experience has been that as long as the cables are relatively short (less than 15 feet), you will hear no audible difference between unequal lengths, PROVIDED the speaker cable has relatively low impedance.

High impedance in speaker cables causes frequency shifts, so it is possible that some "golden ears" could hear this frequency change with high impedance speaker cables. Of course, if a speaker cable has a high impedance, it's not particularly well suited to its task, and you'd be better off with another kind that follows good electrical design principles.
Sd hit it right on the head. Kudo's to him for taking into account the variables involved i.e. the actual electrical characteristics of the cables being used and how they will affect the system ( tonal characteristics and power transfer ) as a whole.

Other than that, i would try to stick with the same length if economically possible. If you ever want to change these cables for some reason, it might be difficult to sell such an odd configuration. After all, you are talking about 3+ feet on one side and 13+ feet on the other side. If you are worried about this, there are "decent" speaker cables that offer a low nominal impedance and can be bought for pennies on the dollar ( compared to "audiphile approved" brands ). This will give you solid performance with minimal potential for loss of investment should something change in the future. Sean
FWIW...One ohm of wire resistance is worth almost exactly 2dB when driving a 4 ohm speaker.

AWG #10 wire is 0.001018 ohms per foot. Ten extra feet of wire is worth 0.01018 ohms, and the resulting attenuation is 0.02 dB.
El: I think that most people are using speaker cables of 12 to 16 gauge on average with quite a few at the 13-14 gauge area. Couple the higher series resistance with a slightly inductive load and a higher nominal impedance ( 40 - 100 ohms ) and you'll have more realistic results. All of this is a moot point if using a cable that was properly designed for the application. Sean
When recordings are made, some of the many microphones that are usually used have much longer cables than others. Does this matter?
Sumiko OCOS cable is constant impedence whatever its length and they claim cables do not have to be of equal length (i.e., if one channel is 1ft and the other is 100ft you won't be able to hear a difference!).