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Thread: Using quality cables

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    Question Using quality cables

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    Recently on the Line6 forum, I was turned on to the idea of using quality instrument cables as opposed to the cheapo cables that I have. So I went out and spent $30 on a nice 20 foot Planet Waves instrument cable.

    I'd have to say that it is a nice cable, but I really don't hear the difference in sound quality that everyone preaches about.

    Although, I guess what I am most interested in is eliminating noise from my signal path. In fact, I am in the process of going to great lengths to do it. My stratocaster is completely shielded, I have the quality planet waves cable going into my new Marshall MG100DFX which is plugged in via a planet waves surge protector.

    I used to be big on effect pedals, and then I got a POD xt. Well, now I am moving on as I bought a Marshall MG100DFX and I am bringing back some old effects and selling the POD. Pretty much I plan on having my strat go into my Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Wah-Wah --> Boss DF-2 --> Voodoo Labs Micro Vibe --> Marshall MG100DFX. To power the three pedals, I will be using the godlyke power-all little thingy which supposedly does not allow AC hum (in addition to the planet waves surge protectors which cut down on hum too).

    And here's where I finally get to my question. How crazy do I have to get for a quality signal path and low noise? I mean, let's face it. I've got the nice planet waves cable going into my amp now. But when I bring three pedals in, I'll have to purchase two planet waves patch cables ($33), plus another planet waves instrument cable to go from the last pedal into the amp ($35). And if I wanted to use my effects loop on my marshall (which is what I want), then I'd have to buy two 10 foot planet wave cords running @ $30 each. So we are looking at a total of $100 give or take a few bucks for two patch cables between my three pedals, and a 10 footer planet waves to go into the first pedal from the effects send and another to go into the effects return out of the third pedal.

    Is that crazy? When I look at the big picture, $100 is WAY too much to spend on just cables. Hell, I've got enough 6 inch radioshack patch cables and 10 foot cables up the wazoo. So in your opinion, is it possible to justify spending $100 to get those quality cables? Will it really improve the sound quality / noise THAT much? Or should I just stick with those radioshack cables and george's music cables that I've already got?

    Thanks.

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    my feeling about instrument cables is that you will usually do ok as long as you aren't running crappy/broken ones, or plugging them into flaky jacks. my practical experience tells me that crappy cables break/short easily. this is very bad. pricier ones are less prone to do so. i always get ones i can easily open and repair if the ends get mucked up.

    i would a/b this cable in the place of each cable-try it replacing guitar to first pedal, then use the old one and try the new one in place of first pedal to second pedal, etc. at least you should be able to weed out really crappy cables that way. aside from that, quality cable lasts longer, and your milage may vary. i tossed out most or all of my non-openable cables, because they were junk. i'm running 10-15 buck a pop 10-20 ft cables, mostly.
    the eyes are not here|there are no eyes here|in this valley of dying stars|in this hollow valley|this broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

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    cables

    Don't go too crazy with cables just yet. I've never been a proponent of all the Monster Cable hype, because thats what it is...for most people. Sure, a high quality cable is necessary, but there's no need to buy a cable that advertises "better sound transmission" for whatever style of music.
    WHY?
    Because your signal is only as good at the weakest thing in its path. Meaning, if I buy a bunch of expensive, all gold wire cables to improve my transmission, and then plug it into a crappy stompbox, I just killed all the good I was trying to do.

    I build most of my cables, because its cheap and I know how well they're constructed. You can get a kit from George L that has a bunch of good quality wire and a bunch of ends and go to town. Goerge makes very good stuff, but I've never priced it out. I'm not sure how expensive it is, but I know tons of people who swear by it for short patch cables.

    Eric
    -I build my own amps because I'm a poor musician-

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    One thing you want to think about is longer cables need to be larger wire size. Smaller wire will reduce the signal strength on a long run.



    bd

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    I agree totally. Most cable-hype is only hype and nothing more. Certainly a better built cable will last longer and be less prone to shorting out, and that is where the value is. If you want to compare that absolutle crappiest instrument cable you can buy with the absolute best you can buy, you will hear a difference ( assuming everything else in your signal chain is top-notch). But between average priced cables, there is no audible difference.
    It certainly isn't worth worrying about too much. Get some decent cables and worry about music instead.

    Now mic cables are a different story. I wouldn't skimp in that department.

    Just my experience.

    Aaron
    http://www.voodoovibe.com

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    Thanks for all your comments. You all reassurred what I was feeling deep down --- $100 is way too much for me to spend for some quality cables. I mean, like Eric said, I've got three $100 stompboxes here. What's the point in gold cabling and all that if they are just going to run through stompboxes?

    It's good to hear that these expensive cables aren't more for quality sound but quality construction. I treat all of my gear with the utmost care, and I've only ever had one cable go out on me (and someone had borrowed it from me!). But I'd be more than happy replacing those little radioshack patch cables every once in a while. And I wouldn't even mind if one of my cables went out on me on stage. I'd just go to my crate, get another one, and plug it in. It certainly isn't worth $100 for that guarantee. It isn't worth it to me, at least.

    Thanks.

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    oops! You used the dreaded "R" word.

    Any cords you get from that place are the bottom of the barrel.

    Aaron
    http://www.voodoovibe.com

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    my friend says....


    ......that for mics, get the best ones you can buy, he uses monster cables.....for bass or guitar, get chords made for what your using. they have some kind of different make up and build to make them work differently or what not. reduces those wierd sounds you hear when you just let your guitar sit there plugged in and other stuff with the signal...



    i really dont have a clue though



    freak

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    Forget what the idiot salespeople say. Here are the facts and why:

    Cables for guitar and bass: These instruments have such a limited bandwidth that there is no improvement in cables other than made well with decent cable and long life. Monster is full of it with their "frequency alignment" rap. The bandwidth of the guitar is like from 200hz-4000hz. The bass is even less. Bear in mind that a guitar amp has a very narrow frequency bandwidth. A 100 watt guitar amp sounds MUCH louder than a 100 watt stereo amp. This is because a stereo amp must alot power to a huge frequency bandwidth (like 20-20Khz). A guitar amp concentrates all of the power to like a 4khz bandwidth.

    Cables for mics: Microphones will have a frequency bandwidth covering 20-20Khz and more. The mic signal path will definately benefit from good cables (even Monster).

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    Originally posted by c7sus
    BLUE Kiwi cable is the best bang-for-the-buck in manufactured MIC CABLES, IMHO.

    Monster is good if for no other reason than the lifetime warranty. Buy them used off Ebay, save a tone of bread, and when they are fucked up take them to GC for a replacement.

    Do I have to explain EVERYTHING to you guys?

    Well said.......

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