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Cable Noise

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by spyingcracker, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. spyingcracker


    May 27, 2004
    I was just plugging my bass into the amp when I realized that the cable is picking up noise. Not like it's not insulated, but if I move the cable around, the sound of the cable comes through the amp.

    What causes this, and do I have to get a new cable to remedy the problem?
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yes, new and better.
  3. Even expensive cables have a problem whereby repeated strain causes a breakdown of the insulation. There's really nothing you can do about it except buy a new cable.

    This is why a lot of guys make their own cables, by the way. You go through a lot if you gig even a little bit.
  4. This is why, if you can, change all your jacks over to XLR. The amount of cable noise problems you have will drop like, well, something that drops really really fast. Yes, it's expensive, but it allows you to run longer cables, and use much heavier-duty cables.

    Rock on
  5. The way you coil the cable for storage also has a big impact. Any method that puts a sharper-than-usual curve in the cable will eventually abrade the insulation through. Cables should only ever be coiled in circles.
  6. spyingcracker


    May 27, 2004
    Ok. Thanks for the information. I guess I'mma order me some new cables, then.
  7. JJd2sc


    Jul 31, 2003
    Marietta, Georgia
    Is the quality of homemade cables comparable to storebought? What about the ease of obtaining the parts/assembly/price?
  8. How good are you at soldering? The cable itself can be purchased in bulk as a commodity, as can the plugs, strain relief clips, etc.
  9. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
  10. spyingcracker


    May 27, 2004
    Sadly, I don't own a soldering iron, nor do I know how to solder. If I did, I would be all over making my own cables.

    Minger, I plan on ordering from Bayou Cables. I hear he makes great stuff.
  11. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Wow, you don't know how to solder?

    Well, hes a quick tutorial: Plug in the soldering iron (under 15 bucks), let it heat up, and then put the solder on where you want it soldered to, and then just put the inron on both surfaces - and viola!, its done.

    Er, it takes a little bit of time to get used to, or at least not burning yourself or using an excessivly high amount. Started soldering in say, 7th grade I think.

  12. Hey Eric, is it safe to use XLR as their own extension cords? I was just wondering if it was safe since I've been using the technique more and more.

  13. Actually, you want to heat the surfaces of what you want soldered, and melt the solder using the heated piece, not the iron.
  14. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Indeed. And soldering is an art, with a relatively steep, though brief, learning curve. Not knowing how to solder isn't at all unusual, but all it takes is a word of proper instruction and a bit of practice to get the hang of it. Not putting the iron to the solder is an important bit of such information...
  15. kipsus

    kipsus Physicist

    Sep 18, 2005
    Vilnius, Lithuania
    I make all my cables and even some effects. It's cool to be able to pick the right jack for each cable and each bass. :) And what's more, some very-very old (probably older than me) cable from my basement proved to be much more rugged and noise free than any reasonable solution from local music shop. Not as nice though.
  16. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Oh. Well, it worked with the stuff in school I guess...but thanks for the tip.
  17. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    i just finished making my own cable. i suck at soldering. lol...
  18. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA

    Would you care to explain this? I cannot see how this would help. A bass is an unbalanced signal. Unless you add a transformer to make the output of your bass balanced you gain nothing cause you still have an unbalanced signal. The only noise rejection benifit of an XLR(and really it is just a balanced line, you could use a balanced 1/4") is that the signal is balanced and therefor cancels the noise that is common on both sides of the signal.

    How is it going to let you run heavier duty cables? Most XLRs are a shielded twisted pair vs the single shielded conductor of a standard instrument cable, thus a cable of the same gage would be larger and give you no advantage. In any normal length of cable (I'll be extreme here and say 50', but this likely holds true for more) you will notice no change by increasing the gage of the wire. Copper is copper, not matter what monster cables or any of the audiofools with $500 speaker cables tell you.
  19. Might he be referring to low impedance electronics? IIRC the original LP Recording and LP Recording bass had the low impedance pickups- supposedly allowing for longer cable runs...
    Just melting solder onto the metal is a 'cold solder joint' waiting to happen, especially if you're going to be using it on something like an instrument cable. Hope that saves you a bit of heartache!:)