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Thread: Unique cable search

  1. #1
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    Unique cable search

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    Greetings, colleagues.

    I have a unique situation (I think). And I need HELP! 😊

    So a few years ago, I commissioned a luthier (in Ireland) to build me my dream-guitar. It is a double-neck acoustic-electric, hand-made from Carbon Fiber. The guitar sports two 6-string necks, each tuned differently. The idea was to have an instrument that (ergonomically) allowed me to play either tuning, without stopping to ‘change guitars, or stop to re-tune a single guitar.


    Originally, I ordered the guitar to not feature a microphone-supplemented pickup. This is because in the past, I always seemed to be cursed with on-stage feedback (when playing with others, amps, PA’s, drums, etc). So, I reasoned to go with Piezo pickups, only. I decided on installing two Dtar Wavelength 18v pickups (Seymour Duncan+Rick Turner design). So each neck has a piezo pickup (under the saddle) and thus, the guitar has two 1/4” TS connectors (on the side).

    But her is the kicker. Later on, by accident, I acquired two small “overhead/choir mini condenser microphones” (phantom powered). These mics are the size of a pinky-finger. One day,, I dropped the mics inside my carbon Fiber guitar body. And after tinkering a bit with placement, levels, compression and EQ, I was caught by surprise by the tone and resolution I had stumbled upon. The mics now capturing an extended image with more sustain. Perhaps they might not work best for live use. But at least in a studio environment, the mics gave me something desirable (and convenient).

    So it got me thinking about the output section of the guitar; Needing two unbalanced outs (for the piezos) and two balanced outs (mini XLR), for the mics. I don’t wish for a ‘spaghetti-mess of cables, feeding to amps or mixers (yuck)! I would like a manageable cord solution that preserves as much signal as possible. I am searching for a guitar snake, of which is not heavy and inflexible. Is Neutrik the better option for connectors?

    Love to hear your ideas😊, please comment!

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    Pretty much anything you end up with is gonna be a snake of some sort.

    So whether you build/spec a particular cable or simply lace some cables as a harness, it is the same.

    Were it me I'd build it, BUT I have all the tech and tools req'd. Granted, not much is req'd for cable fab, but it's something that no all musicians can do.

    Pretty sure you could combine the piezo outs into a single stereo cable (two conductor/common shield). You could go 1/8" (3.5mm) to lose some bulk. But i don't think you can share the same shield/ground with your mic cables and still have dependable noise mitigation. It might work until some stray lighting signal started messing with your electro-pixies and then it'd crackle all night. So keeping those grounds separate (mic/piezo) is probably best.

    Again, you could combine your mics into common ground XLR4 setup. As a snake cable, stereo+XLR4 is not hardly impossible, but you'll pay for it. Again, I'd look to lacing and a woven synthetic over-sleeve, say 1/2", that would make a pretty nice run and be stage-hardened. I don't think this will ever be as flexible as a mic or guitar cable, but won't be a fencepost by a long way. It could lay nicely, certainly. I've put more into harnesses that laid and gripped quite nicely, anyway.

    Neutrik is a name-brand premium connector, of course. I have a big drawer of them. Can't go wrong. But Canon is every bit as good in almost every respect. So is Switchcraft, AT&T, and the occasional Amphenol. It's very often that people shop name brand for no reason - and i do mean no reason. I was once trapped into the Mogami cult back in the 90s. Roger Nichols used them so should all of us, right? MOST of the time -- almost all the time -- the reputation of these brands are based on rare or unthinkable situations. If someone says a brand is rugged, and some like Neutrik are, it's not because they conduct electricity any better, but sometimes hold up better if a roadie steps on one plugged-in or a cart rolls over one without bending. If you're counting on that, go for rugged.

    But figure this, the Neutrik 1/4" plug is not and cannot be any stronger than anyone else's simply because no matter how big the shell is, it's still a cantilever 1/4" shaft. I've not found a better XLR connector than the original Canon. And even then, i've never, ever, broken one. So in my estimation, the connector world is a very mature technology and anything but the Cheapistan crap is gonna perform pretty darned well.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ponder5 View Post
    Pretty much anything you end up with is gonna be a snake of some sort.

    So whether you build/spec a particular cable or simply lace some cables as a harness, it is the same.

    Were it me I'd build it, BUT I have all the tech and tools req'd. Granted, not much is req'd for cable fab, but it's something that no all musicians can do.

    Pretty sure you could combine the piezo outs into a single stereo cable (two conductor/common shield). You could go 1/8" (3.5mm) to lose some bulk. But i don't think you can share the same shield/ground with your mic cables and still have dependable noise mitigation. It might work until some stray lighting signal started messing with your electro-pixies and then it'd crackle all night. So keeping those grounds separate (mic/piezo) is probably best.

    Again, you could combine your mics into common ground XLR4 setup. As a snake cable, stereo+XLR4 is not hardly impossible, but you'll pay for it. Again, I'd look to lacing and a woven synthetic over-sleeve, say 1/2", that would make a pretty nice run and be stage-hardened. I don't think this will ever be as flexible as a mic or guitar cable, but won't be a fencepost by a long way. It could lay nicely, certainly. I've put more into harnesses that laid and gripped quite nicely, anyway.

    Neutrik is a name-brand premium connector, of course. I have a big drawer of them. Can't go wrong. But Canon is every bit as good in almost every respect. So is Switchcraft, AT&T, and the occasional Amphenol. It's very often that people shop name brand for no reason - and i do mean no reason. I was once trapped into the Mogami cult back in the 90s. Roger Nichols used them so should all of us, right? MOST of the time -- almost all the time -- the reputation of these brands are based on rare or unthinkable situations. If someone says a brand is rugged, and some like Neutrik are, it's not because they conduct electricity any better, but sometimes hold up better if a roadie steps on one plugged-in or a cart rolls over one without bending. If you're counting on that, go for rugged.

    But figure this, the Neutrik 1/4" plug is not and cannot be any stronger than anyone else's simply because no matter how big the shell is, it's still a cantilever 1/4" shaft. I've not found a better XLR connector than the original Canon. And even then, i've never, ever, broken one. So in my estimation, the connector world is a very mature technology and anything but the Cheapistan crap is gonna perform pretty darned well.
    I love your reply. Thanks for caring so much as to comment to this degree. I have thought about all you said (in some cases before you commented).

    I have settled to keep the two stock dTar TS connectors (on the guitar). As for the mics, I decided to mount them and solder to mini XLR connectors. They will feed into phantom powered preamps in my rack. So the TS outs are low-Z unbalanced TS and the mics are low Z balanced mini-xlr. I will take photos soon.

    NOW...i need a special snake!

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    See video (copy/paste) youtu.be/A0qsWqC2C9w

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    So things have changed. A few of you were right (with comments you made)...Thanks!
    I decided to remove the AT Pro 45 mini condenser mics. Although I saw them as having potential, (through this journey I found an easier way.)

    The thing is, when I was doing all those test recordings, I didn’t care for the sound of the piezo. It sounded plastic, and the transients didn’t have that feathered detail and air. (that’s what led me to try the internal mic.) A company called Audio Envy was recommended to me by BendBound on the Hoffman Forum; to build a custom 4 channel snake.

    I ordered it,,,anxiously plugged it in to record,,,and that’s when everything changed! Now the piezo’s sound fantastic…and the mics where basically unnecessary. LOL!

    So I am having Audio Envy modify the ‘4 channel snake to give me 2 channels of headphone and two channels of DI.

    Anyway,,, I always thought cabling didn't make much of a difference. So that’s why I wanted to share. I don’t know how many other people are in this situation, but I really think this could help others out��

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