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cables really do make a difference

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by dunamis, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    I'm surprised to be posting this, because I always thought the hype surrounding "high end" cables was just that-- hype.

    Yesterday, I received (from TB'er Butchonbass at Bayou Cables-- a great guy to business with) a Canare cable with a Neutrik straight on one end and a G&H right angle on the other. The cable's just like this one but 10' in length: http://bayoucables.com/pics/blackbg.jpg

    I very carefully a/b'd it with a no-name GC bought cable of the same length (the ones with light blue collars near the jacks). I always thought the GC cable was just fine.

    The results:

    I can really tell the difference and again, I'm surprised to say it. The Bayou cable provides noticeably better clarity. The GC cable sounds "muffled" by comparison (high end especially) and sounds "thumpier" or "tubbier" on the low end-- less distinct.

    My test set up-- Zon bass=>Avalon U5=>Cafe Walter Headphone amp=>Grado cans=>my eardrums:D

    The Cafe Walter and Grado's really allow very subtle differences to come through, but this was not really subtle. It was a very noticable difference. I wonder if I'll be able to tell live, but won't be able to test it with the band 'til practice on Monday night next week (no gig this weekend).
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Have you tried a blind test?
  3. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    i used to have these cables that crackeled if you step on them.

    but other than that i didnt think it affected my tone much
  4. LoveThatBass


    Jun 28, 2004
    I have recently gone to Canare cable and love it. A blind test sounds interesting. Think I will try it this weekend with help from my son or daughter.
  5. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    dunamis, prepare yourself. I tried a while back to talk about how different cables sound (in particular an Evidence Audio cable) and got repeatedly attacked by folks telling me what I could and could not hear....

    have fun...
  6. Hyde


    Mar 30, 2006
    I can't justify to myself spending more than about thrity bucks on a cable, but in that price range I've always found that Kordex and George L's sound noticeably better than everything else. Switching between a Monster and my Kordex is like pulling a pillow away from my amp.
  7. I don't think I've ever seen anyone on TB seriously suggest that all cables sound exactly the same. Maybe someone has, but if so, IME that would be a fringe view.

    What many people have said is that some cables are indeed better sounding than others, but that the factors that affect sound in the areas people can typically hear are largely known; that there is a great deal of pseudoscience and outright BS in the cable field with respect to shaky claims that can't be confirmed by any kind of objective test; that the only way of really demonstrating true differences is a blinded A/B test; that what a cable is supposed to do is provide more accurate sound, not more pleasing sound; and that in the area of tone (including but certainly not limited to cables), there is always the possibility of self-deception.

    So it doesn't surprise me that a good cable sounds better than a less good cable. That doesn't mean that hype doesn't exist in the field.
  8. LoveThatBass


    Jun 28, 2004
    Marcus, I think some people have mud in their ear's because I am with you on this. I do hear a difference. Actually, some are not as perceptive to subtle differences and just do not hear it while still others hearing range limits them.
    As long as we know what pleases us...it doesn't make a hill of beans what others think.
  9. LoveThatBass


    Jun 28, 2004
    Yes, there is alot of BS, Snake oil, or Psuedo Science as you stated out there on Cables. Having said this, three things do make a difference:
    A. Amount of noise
    B. High Frequency rolloff due to interlead capacitance
    C. Durability

    Canare cables typically exibit the lowest of both A and B and hopefully the best of C.
    What makes me laugh out loud is hype about "Oxygen Free Copper"
  10. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    Marcus-- thanks for the heads up!


    Hyde-- for the record, I paid $19.00 for the cable.

    Richard-- I think I agree with your viewpoint. I've always thought there's a lot of hype and a lot BS.

    I think the point about a blind test is valid. I do think I could pick out the Canare based on what I'm hearing, but it could be that I hear a difference (or a bigger difference) because of the psychology involved (ie: Maybe a want to hear my new cable sounding better...).
  11. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    In the studio, or in the privacy of your own practice time, there is probably enough difference to notice. However, in the mix of a full band, could anyone - including you - tell the difference?
  12. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    I have been soldering my own cables for years, I only use Canare GS 6 with either Switchcraft or Neurtrik connectors, does it make a difference in sound? I have no idea, all I do know is that while I see the other guys in the band missing out on playing a solo, and or unable to sing because they are franticly searching for another (extreemly tangled) cable in a milk crate behind their amp, I am playing... Never had a cable go out on me. And with decent soldering skills you can make your own with some of the finest components for around 20 to 25 bucks.
    I do believe that not all sheilded instrument cable is made equally, test your cables with a resistance meter and you will see varing amounts of resistance, the less resistance you cable creates the more signal for your bass.
  13. What he said... In the studio it's appropriate - I use Mogami, George L and sometimes Monster. You can hear a difference, although generally I find it fairly subtle, and hopefully they won't get trashed too quickly. Live, I use the regular stuff. I mean, is house sound running quality cables in their snake? Not it the places I play, lol. Plus, cables get ruined quick live - I don't want to have to baby cables. So I don't buy crap but I don't go all crazy either...
  14. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    my guitarist swears by george L cables. i think eric johnson uses them so thats why he uses them.
  15. LoveThatBass


    Jun 28, 2004

    Got a point there.
  16. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    I love george l's for my pedal board, but I wouldn't run one to my amp, i did for a while, but they pull loose (cable from end) kinda easily if you trip on them.
  17. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk

    Not only did I, buy my guitar player noticed too. And he didn't know I was using a different cable either; he just gave me a funny look and said "Did you do something different?"

    Of course, naysayers (who were not there) will never accept this. There has to be some other explanation....

    FWIW, I'm talking about subtle difference. I wouldn't dispute that it's the kind of difference that no one in the audience would ever notice. But the more I like the sound I'm hearing, the more I enjoy playing. And when you have to play for a living, I want it to be as enjoyable as possible.
  18. rumblinbass


    Aug 22, 2003
    Wimberley, TX


    What you are probably hearing is a change in the resonant frequency brought on my the different capacitive loads. The combination of the pup impedance and the cable impedance creates a low pass filter that rolls off high frequencies. Using a "high end" cable probably moves that cutoff frequency, allowing more highs and improving clarity.

    Cables do have an effect on tone and sound, but is it worth it? Can you really hear the difference in a live band scenerio? I can't.
  19. Hyde


    Mar 30, 2006
    The first Sunday that I used my Kordex instead of a Monster for praise & worship, one of the guitar players and the drummer said, without me asking, that my tone sounded better than normal. Nothing else in my rig had changed. I doubt if it would really be noticeable in a hard rock band, but for just about anything else, I definitely hear a difference in a band setting and the other musicians that I've played with for a long time do too. Now the audience is another story entirely. . .
  20. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    There has to be another explanation....;)

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