Instrument cables rated and compared. A buyers' guide!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bongomania, Sep 26, 2011.


  1. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    We always have threads about "which cable to buy", and "are Monster cables worth it", etc. and those are entertaining, but it's hard to find consistent, reliable recommendations in those threads. You don't know if the person saying "I love my XYZ cable" actually has much experience with a range of cables; and you don't know if they even know what's actually so great about XYZ. Some people are convinced that because they paid more, they got a better cable. They'll swear on Elvis's grave that they hear tone improvements--but often it's either imaginary, or a misunderstanding. They may be comparing a new 10' cable with a corroded old 20' cable, for example. They may just have a preference for higher or lower capacitance (which matters with a passive bass). Some cables look amazingly good, and way too often that fools people into believing (really believing) they sound amazing too.

    Anyway, here's my attempt at a more balanced and useful set of comparisons:
    Analysis of Audio Cables

    Of course these are just my opinions, and YMMV.
  2. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse

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    Nice analysis. Thank you for another great contribution!
  3. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

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    Can someone sticky this post?

    You didn't do my Soundlinks cables!! Those're my favs!
  4. Dub Wood

    Dub Wood

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    Awesome Thank you for this!
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  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002

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    Yes, I can :)
    Staccato likes this.
  7. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process... Gold Supporting Member

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    wow... barracuda flagged this as "Porn"...

    Must be some sexy cables!
  8. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

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    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system
  9. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging! Supporting Member

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    Interesting comparison, Bongo. Thank you!

    I've developed a preference for insulation that doesn't melt readily while soldering, and jacks that are stout, reliable, and can be assembled without worrying about losing small screws. Did those kinds of DIY factors come into play during your comparison?
  10. anonymous02282011

    anonymous02282011 Guest

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    Nice job Bongo.

    Can someone explain the relationship between capacitance and sound?

    (For example, does higher capacitance mean less higher frequencies?)

    muchos gracias!
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes, that's the basic meaning.

    The whole picture is much more complicated that that. The relationship between passive pickups, their tone and volume controls, the cable, and the amp or whatever the cable is plugged into, work together to create a "hump" in the frequencies just below the point where the highs start to get rolled off. It's like a little boost in a narrow EQ band, usually in the "high mids", and this affects the tone in the same way an EQ can.

    This effect does not occur with active basses, or from the output of active devices like pedals.
    Winoman and Staccato like this.
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Not yet, because my first goal was to provide guidance for somebody shopping off the rack. I'll keep that idea in mind though!
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Mogami Gold added to the list. It's a decent cable, but it doesn't make the top 5 cut.
  14. snyderz

    snyderz Supporting Member

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    Excellent job. Just curious though as to how you determined ruggedness? Stomp a cable with your boot heel? Roll a heavy amp over it? Have a drummer trip over it?
    Thanks
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    I went as far as I could without actually cutting the cables--because I'm already throwing money out the window as it is, I can't afford to make it a total loss. So I bent them at right angles, yanked and twisted them, and yes--stomped on them with my boot heel. I didn't do the "drop a cymbal like a guillotine" test. If I could afford to throw the cables away, you can bet your butt I would torture them until they failed. :)
    powmetalbassist likes this.
  16. godblender

    godblender Supporting Member

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    Yay horizon!!!
  17. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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  18. Joacocool

    Joacocool

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    great contribution! I found really useful your compressor reviews! And now This is awesome! some manufacturers will offer you money!
  19. tonym

    tonym Supporting Member

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    Bongo, your compressor reviews are invaluable and I appreciate all the work that goes into these excellent reviews.
  20. meRTKendrew

    meRTKendrew

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    Great job Bongo. I think the DIY factor is huge for a lot of us. How easy a cable is to fix is a lot more important to me than almost anything else. The jacks have to be solid and easy to solder, because I would much rather fix a cable than buy a new one.



    -RTK
  21. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    The tricky thing with considering these from a DIY standpoint at this time is that the really solidly-assembled ones would require major surgery for me to even "get at" the solder joints. Really I'll have to reserve that angle of inquiry until I have the luxury of destroying the existing assemblies. Of the ones where I was able to access that inner section, many of them even encase the soldered segment in a block of vinyl resin, which is literally not removable--so the only option is to throw away the plug. :(

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