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Cables...does it matter that much..?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KlarkKent, Jun 28, 2002.

  1. KlarkKent


    Dec 17, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Hey guys,

    Purchasing several cables for my rig...

    1) Bass guitar to pre-amp,
    2) Pre-amp to Power amp
    3) Power amp to Cabinet, (That will depend on the cab I get, which will be within a week)
    4) Tuner to ???????( I need some advice here....actually...a rack tuner, does that go through the effects loop or before/after the pre-amp).

    So, I'm not a complete novice here, I know they are all going to be 1/4 inchers, or maybe a speakon, but I have never put together a componant system. There's a variety of cables from "good" to Tara Labs, and everything in between.

    So, what are the crucial connections that need a Tara Lab or a Monster Cable, ...that will make a signifigant difference in sound. I have some dough but I'm not rich and I don't want to over do it . Whats your experience/advice.
  2. Listen


    May 19, 2002
    yeah, i bought a cable, and every time i would step on it, it would crackle and pop, just buy a decent one, nothin fancy
  3. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    im torn when i comes to cable. i dont want to believe it makes a difference but my ears tell me different. i went to the la bass exchange and took my fretless fbass 5 string. i played through an ebs hd 350 and a berg 310. i played using my el cheapo ernie ball cable the cheaper grade tara labs cable(which wasnt cheap) and the more expensive tara labs. i couldnt hear a difference between the two tara labs but could hear a huge difference between the tara labs and my ernie ball cable. more low end and a clearer top end. i still didnt buy the cable but i might pick one up eventually.
  4. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    the cable that gows from your power amp to speakerthats the important onebuy the shortest fatest cable you can afford
    It also is the one that takes the least abuse

    I dont know much about the brands quality but I know monster cable has the best custermer support Ive ever seen You can literally walk into a authorized dealer with one of thier cables and the dealer will replace it (if they have the same one)no receipt no questions no problem

    good luck
  5. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    I was getting loud pops whenever my cable plugged into mty bass moved,and was told that some cables' jack diameter is a little shy of 1/4" and the slight play can cause intermittent contact.The solution I found was 2 higher end cables:oops:ne called Excalibur and the other Planet Waves.They share one design feature which is that both have a spring loaded system on the jack that by pressure maintains a snug fit with the recepticle.No more pops for me.
    For speaker cable,I recently got a pair of 5' 12 guage cables and they do make a difference compared to the skinny junk I was using.They deliver more of the amp's current to the speakers so less power is wasted.
    Speakon connectors are fortunately becoming more widespread on amps and cabs,and they are superior to jacks in that they allow a greater contact surface,plus they lock so only severing the cable will cut your sound...
  6. Stu L.

    Stu L.

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    When I was in home theater sales, I could SHOW you how Monsters are better.

    I personally am going to purchase some Planet Waves to see how they do. They also have a lifetime warranty, and seem to be constructed about the same.

    We'll (I'll) see. :D
  7. tim4003


    Apr 30, 2002
    Dawsonville , GA
    I bougth a Planet Waves cable about 4 months ago, and liked it so much I've replaced all my cables with them.
  8. drewie


    Jan 20, 2002
    Cardiff, Wales, UK
    MONSTER bass cables are excellent. I paid an horrendous price for one about 12 months ago £50 ($75) but it has been a good buy in many ways. When recording recently I used it back to back with a standard cable and the difference was huge - way more clarity and body to the sound. It is sturdy too, though I tend to use a wireless system at gigs. Definitely worth looking at.
  9. This type of thread has been around before... and just like before, I must warn you that Monster Cables may sound better... but they WILL fail. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but sooner or later they WILL fail. My local dealer even dropped the line because they had to deal with so many returns. :eek:

    FWIW I use them on all my audio equipment with great success because those cables are never moved.
  10. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I have written a rather lengthy and somewhat detai;ed article about tone, capacitance, impedence, and cables on the TB Homepage, in the articles section.
    Yes cables matter...just as strings or tubes matter. Your signal chain is a chain, and as such is only as strong as that chain's weakest link. A cheap component, anywhere in the chain (fx box, cable, amp, strings, DI) will effect the quality of your signal, making it no better than the quality of the weakest device in your signal path.

    I have used Monster Cables for quite a few years....and I do around 200 shows a year, plus sessions...never had one fail. The do sound better than average cables. And are not all THAT expensive!
    BTW...I recently began using some Tara Cables....those are expensive! There are some, well known, studio players I have met who use cables such as Quattro Fils which run aound $900 a foot!
  11. Freyja


    Apr 17, 2000
    I have Monster Cables, and they DO fail -- I've had two cables go on me so far...both in the middle of shows!

    Monster does have a lifetime warranty, however, and they will replace the cable with no questions asked. It's just a pain in the ass to have to keep going through all of that...
  12. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    if you can try a planet waves in your bass before you buy it - do so. the compression spring isn't compatible with some jacks and can cut out sometimes. (like in my warwick)
  13. camoe


    Sep 7, 2001
    Lafayette, CO
    I use both Monster and Planet waves. I originally used just the Monster cables but after several times of repairing the cable that ran from my bass to the pre, (easier than returning to store) I got a planet waves cable as it had far superior strain relief around the jack. Both cables sound good but for my case, the Mosters don't take alot of the strain I seem to put on them when moving around and playing. Another thing, the longer the cable, the greater the influence on the tone as the reactance increases with length.

  14. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    Most all instrument cables fail eventualy, has your local dealer dropped all the other cables he sells? I'll guess he hasen't, since he can sell you another non warranty cable for eight to fifteen dollars a pop.

    I bought my first Monster Jazz instrument cable for $48 when they were first introduced. Since then I've abused and returned that cable and four others. If you do the math my current cable cost Monster $9.60 and the next will cost them $6.00. At some point they'll be paying me to use there cables.

    I can't honestly say I can hear a sonic difference using Monster cables in my bass rig, but I deffinetly can in my home audio system.
  15. 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
    I am one who believes that cables probably don't make much difference in sound, but durability counts. But I use premium cables (not Tara) just in case. I'd say buy cables that are well-constructed, like Monster, but don't pay extra for "oxygen free" or other such silliness.
  16. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Be sensible. Buy good cables, but don't think that you have to pay a lot for them.

    Keep in mind that much of what you hear as a "difference" among cables is dictated by what you expect to hear. If you think A should sound better than B, you'll believe that it does even if they actually sound identical. That's the placebo effect, and it's how slick marketing gets people to fork out more money than they otherwise would have.

    If a cable you can return when it fails with no questions asked is of utmost importance to you, then maybe that's what you should look at. Just remember that a broken cable with a no-questions-asked return policy won't get you through the gig, unless the gig is at a music store, whereas a spare will.

    There are a lot of high-quality cable brands out there that are durable yet pretty inexpensive, even with the high "accessory" markup that dealers put on them.
  17. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Rather inexpensive once you've bought the 1/4" ends. You can switch them out with diferent lengths depending on the gig. And they're just as good as the more expensive brands. Bass Player did a review of cables and included the George L's. Gave them a very good review when compared to the very expensive MIT Ripcord ($185!!) I have both the MIT and the Goerge L's. I use the George L's!! Go figure!! The difference in sound is simply not worth the extra dough once the rest of the band kicks in.

    From my Power Amp to the Speakers I use this huge 8 gauge Speakon cable. I forget the name of it, but it is thick, and the clarity is worth it. (IMO) If you can find it, I'd recomment it, and the part about keeping the speaker cable as short as possible is a general rule of thumb. In addition, with the George L's, you can keep ALL cables as short as possible because you can cut them yourself to custom lengths. It keeps your rack rather neat as well.
  18. Max,
    I read your tone article. If I understand you correctly, a bass with weaker passive output would benefit more from using a Tara Labs cable than one with a strong active signal?
  19. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Do you think there's a noticeable difference between Tara Labs (which I have connecting my amp to cabinet) and Monster (which I use to connect my bass to amp)?

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