Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

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94Tremoverb
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by 94Tremoverb » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:03 pm

For *tone*, the only factors that make any difference are:

Guitar cables - capacitance. *Not* resistance - the resistance of a guitar cable is about 1 ohm or so at most; it connects a source impedance of a few tens of Kohms to an input impedance of a few hundred Kohms, so the resistance of the cable is completely insignificant. But the capacitance very much does matter - it's a few percent of the values in the guitar circuitry and *larger* than the input capacitance of the amp usually. It also acts as a simple resonant circuit when combined with the inductance of the pickup coil, so it actually 'tunes' the sound by changing the frequency and height of the resonant peak slightly. The capacitance is responsible for the genuine and easily audible differences in guitar cables. (It's also directly related to length, so short cables inherently have less capacitance than long ones.)

Speaker cables - the quality of the connectors. The capacitance is irrelevant in a non-shielded cable and the resistance is still too small to matter compared to that of the speakers. (Assuming the cable is at least of adequate gauge.) But the connector quality can make a small difference - cheap connectors can have flimsy parts and too much contact resistance.

Power cables: none. (Assuming at least of adequate gauge.)

These are all provable with blind testing or direct real-time A/B switching, no matter what any snake oil salesmen will tell you.

The quality of the cable and the way it's made can make a big difference to the reliability though.

Given To Fly
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by Given To Fly » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:54 pm

TremoJem wrote:When I bought my first Tremoverb, the seller thru in a Mogami Gold Instrument Cable (W2524/Neutrik).

I compared this cable to every cable I had in my bag.

Hands down... NO comparison. I now use nothing but Mogami Gold for signal chain and make my own cables using Mogami W2319/Neutrik for switching FXLoops and Channels on the amps (Mesa foot switches that come with amps). I also use the W2319/Neutrik for my volume pedal that runs into the GMajor.

I am building a pedal board and will use nothing but Mogami for that too. I also ordered all Neutrik Gold locking jacks for signal and Switchcraft for switching. I ordered bulk W2524 and W2319 for signal and switching respectively.

I don't claim to be all knowing, but I do hear a difference.

Hope this helps.
I'm the same way! Whether its an XLR cable or guitar cable, I only buy Mogami Golds. The reason why is slightly different though. I used to have a true melting pot of a cable collection; something I had amassed over a 10 year period. I didn't really know what I had or what worked. So I decided, "I don't ever want to worry about cables again." So with Mogami's positive reputation and lifetime warranty I decided that would be the way to go. Now I know exactly how many cables I have as well as the type and length. Some people might think I'm a bit OC about it, I just don't want to spend time thinking about cables. :D

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thunda1216
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by thunda1216 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:15 pm

94Tremoverb wrote:For *tone*, the only factors that make any difference are:

Guitar cables - capacitance. *Not* resistance - the resistance of a guitar cable is about 1 ohm or so at most; it connects a source impedance of a few tens of Kohms to an input impedance of a few hundred Kohms, so the resistance of the cable is completely insignificant. But the capacitance very much does matter - it's a few percent of the values in the guitar circuitry and *larger* than the input capacitance of the amp usually. It also acts as a simple resonant circuit when combined with the inductance of the pickup coil, so it actually 'tunes' the sound by changing the frequency and height of the resonant peak slightly. The capacitance is responsible for the genuine and easily audible differences in guitar cables. (It's also directly related to length, so short cables inherently have less capacitance than long ones.)

Speaker cables - the quality of the connectors. The capacitance is irrelevant in a non-shielded cable and the resistance is still too small to matter compared to that of the speakers. (Assuming the cable is at least of adequate gauge.) But the connector quality can make a small difference - cheap connectors can have flimsy parts and too much contact resistance.

Power cables: none. (Assuming at least of adequate gauge.)

These are all provable with blind testing or direct real-time A/B switching, no matter what any snake oil salesmen will tell you.

The quality of the cable and the way it's made can make a big difference to the reliability though.
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Markedman
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by Markedman » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 pm

I recently bought new cables, Live wire premium. I had monster cables, not the extra expensive ones, they were about $30. Did I notice a difference? Huge difference in clarity and dynamic range. The first thing I noticed was the lack of hiss, second was the brightness where I had to adjust the tone quite a bit, as a matter of fact it has been about a month and I still don't have the tone where I want it yet, that's how much a difference cables have made for me. The third thing was when I moved around, the cable didn't make a sound when it scraped against the floor. The unshielded amp to speaker cable was about 30 years old and the patch cables were mixed. The amp to speaker cable made the biggest difference, I know this because it was the last one I bought and I purposely did a before and after with my son and his guitar playing friend judging the cables since they got them for me at GC. I haven't measured the capacitance of the new cables but I'll assume they're much lower than the old ones. I only use a few effects anyway, I've noticed the more effects and cables I have in the signal, no matter the quality, the less guitar tone gets through.
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by mesaboogie6L6 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:46 pm

I really like the way Monster Rock's are made, if you look at the connectors, they are encapsulated in very hard clear plastic, and they are flexible, I've stepped on them and it doesn't phase them at all. I bought my first Monster Rock in 2000, still have it as my main cable, well built and are guaranteed for LIFE.
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by brand0n » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:00 pm

i hear the coily ones are all the rage ;)
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zoeyku
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by zoeyku » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:01 am

I always get CBI Cables.

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knotts
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by knotts » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:49 pm

I just wanted to let everyone know that I was talking to the new guy at guitar center and he told me that cables made up like 50% of my tone...so there you have it. Don't waste your money on guitars or amps or any of that stuff. Just buy really expensive cables...

I may have posted this before but I'm still laughing about it.
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Given To Fly
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by Given To Fly » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:36 pm

knotts wrote:I just wanted to let everyone know that I was talking to the new guy at guitar center and he told me that cables made up like 50% of my tone...so there you have it. Don't waste your money on guitars or amps or any of that stuff. Just buy really expensive cables...
50% :shock:
If you have enough tone in your fingers you won't need a guitar; just play the cable.

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Jackie
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by Jackie » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:38 pm

Does that mean I lose 50% of my tone if I have a really good wireless?!? :shock:
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by sprocket » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:44 pm

It might ! lol .

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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by scott7d » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:16 pm

I consider myself to have a decent ear at this point when it comes to noticing small differences in tone. With that being said, can't say if you switch out all my cables on me that I would really notice anything.
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scoobyzjr
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by scoobyzjr » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:34 pm

I have had the same 20' Monster cable for 10 years. I recently purchased a 10' Lava cable. I like the Monster cable better and was cheaper. Maybe I did not like the Lava cable as much, because it was too stiff.

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Markedman
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by Markedman » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:23 pm

Cheap/lousy cables make a lot of noise when scraped across a floor. They tend to work intermittently at the worst time and wear out quickly. They add noise, and radio interference is enhanced because of cheap shielding and low quality wire. Any pro guitarist, unless they're just sitting there looking, sounding and acting like a toad, will benefit from quality anything, especially the small stuff like cables. Of course. instrument cables are different than speaker cables but length is crucial, more so with speaker cables, but there is a reason 18' 6" is optimum, not 100' for an instrument cable. Don't believe me? Grab a 100' speaker cable, hook it from head to cabinet, listen to the sound. Now put a live-wire elite 8 gage 4' cable in it's place and tell me you can not immediately hear a huge difference. Seriously, this shouldn't even really be up for debate, it's incredible this question gets so many different opinions. Quality cables are so important to my tone.
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Re: Are good cables REALLY worth the extra dosh?

Post by jpistolas » Fri May 23, 2014 5:09 pm

scoobyzjr wrote:I have had the same 20' Monster cable for 10 years. I recently purchased a 10' Lava cable. I like the Monster cable better and was cheaper. Maybe I did not like the Lava cable as much, because it was too stiff.
I've had a similar experience. Owned the same 15' Spectraflex for nearly 15 yrs. Gigged with it and never had to replace it at a single show. No noise and never one failure. Same solder joints as when I bought it. It's braided and tangles way less than the regular cables I have. I do however use George L's for my pedals and NO I don't solder them. If you put the ends on correctly and your pedals/jumpers are secured well & don't move they hold up fine. Never repaired one of those at a show either.

Basically reliability is my goal when buying cables. Thinking you hear differences is more snake oil mojo bs. Again, just my opinion.
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