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Discussion of cheap vs. "regular" vs. "high end" cables (DB Forum)

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by robgrow, May 29, 2007.

  1. Speakon connectors are a relatively recent design and, for connecting amps to speakers, are superior to 1/4-inch phone plugs, which were not designed or ever intended for high power audio use. I'd probably get a cable about 6 feet long, ideally with Speakon connectors on both ends. Any quality cable should be fine.

    Thanks Chris! :D (See above post.)
  2. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Strongly disagree.
    There is an audible difference between low, medium and high end cable.
    After you spend thousands on an instrument, amp, preamp, pickup, mic, strings and hundreds of hours...sometimes years getting the combination just right cheaping out on cable quality makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Springing for high quality cable is not an audiophile weenie thing to do at all; as a matter of fact it's the most simple and most overlooked way of increasing fidelity. You don't believe it? A/B a 10' molded end cable with a 10' George L or other top quality cable. Unless you're deaf you will hear a very significant difference. Using garbage cable to save money is like "saving" money putting $75 a corner Sears tires on a Porsche...and conversely putting good to high quality rubber on a used Mazda is a simple, reliable way of increasing performance. If more people spent a couple hundred bucks on cable more people would quit f***ing around with their rigs. A chain truly is only as strong as its weakest link.

    And the other edge of the coin is your sound is really all in yer hands and if that ain't happening you probably should save the money on cable.
    And so endeth this evening's tirade.
  3. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    For info on the Epi Series 2 cabs (which I had no clue about until you mentioned it), checkout this thread.

    The UL110 really has a most wonderful sound that especially works for my setup and sound ideal and I've never even heard a Wizzy 12 so I'm definitely looking forward to comparing them. I am pretty committed to the Wizzy due to my continual quest to go smaller and lighter (I already have a buyer for my Epi) so it had better be good! I SOOO hate having to carry gear. Did another gig the other day where it was a major pain to carry the amp stuff and then I get there and found I could play acoustically (albeit only just). I hate it when that happens...
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    The cable companies just love statements like these. The only reason to buy high-quality cable is to ensure that you have a large enough gauge of wire to handle the current and to ensure that you have high-quality connectors. That's all, little or nothing else (see below)! Determining differences by A/Bing cables is a procedure fraught with bias. Objective psychoacoustic demonstrations have shown time and time again that the claimed differences simply do not exist. In addition, the physical science concerning cable transmission properties backs this up. "Skin-effects," etc. are quite real and affect transmission in the megahertz range. They simply do not exist to a measurable, meaningful, or substantive degree in the audio frequency range. Claiming sonic differences among cables is a classic "golden-ears" argument.

    Now, there is one way to make cables sound different. Sometimes manufacturers will embed passive devices (e.g., capacitors) within the connectors that serve to alter the frequency response in an audible way. That guarantees that the "cable" will sound different. That's akin to snake oil!

    It is also possible that extremely poorly made and spec'ed cable can cause audible differences as a result of capacitive effects.

    It is no surprise that those who spend (waste) a ton of money on cables insist that they sound different.

    Take a look here.
  5. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Yea I was going to do a review of cables, here just for my own edification. I got a few of them to test, a few high end and some medium and regular cables too. No Dif. I didn't do the review cause I couldn't tell the difference between any of them. I have HiFI gear too.
    But My Planet Waves cable which is supposed to be molded and all went first from fatigue.
    With the Vovox I thought I heard a whisper of difference, but it turned out to be wood nymphs.
  6. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Good quality cables are a necessity. I agree that Muenster cables, while not usually cheezy, are overkill and not something I can recommend.

    However, I will gladly bet anyone a beer that they absolutely will hear the difference in a blind test between a cheezy molded cable and a George L's. Capacitance does matter when it comes to highs, and there are highs in that bass signal. I still remember when I tossed my favorite instrument cable into the trash after I got my first George L's instrument cable.

    I think speaker cables are a far less critical piece in the mix, but again, use decent quality, sufficient gauges, and good connectors-- Speakon preferred. Same with instrument cable, good quality cable and connectors, no magical ingredients required

    However, I completely discard any notions of purchasing cables from any company who engages in Voodoo Marketing to promote their Magical Cables.
  7. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The short Speakon cable I use now I made myself. Just bought (12 gauge from memory) the parts and cable from a local pro audio store and the great thing with the Speakon connectors is there is no soldering. Just strip the wires and screw it in. End of story. Sounds just fine. What's annoying is that I couldn't seem to find a short speaker cable with Speakon connectors anywhere. The amp is sitting right on top of the speaker, I don't need a 25 foot cable or even a 6 foot one.
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I think we agree. Take a look at the link I added to my post above. Cheapo cables can sound poor because of poor connections, poor resistance, etc. that can lead to changes in capacitance. Now, here is something on which to bet a beer. Take the cheapo cable and put high-quality connectors on it. Unless the cable itself is extremely poorly made, you'll never hear the difference.
  9. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Yea what he said,
    I am really into the Speakon thing though both sides. Talk to Rick if you want to be convinced. But honestly I could not hear the dif between George Ls Planet Waves Vovox and some other super high end thing I cant even remember the name of. That said I try not to buy crappy anything. BTW there is this stuff they make snakes out of, its like a woven empty cable housing. I put both my cables (mic and line) in there and that way there is only one cord going to the bass (for blenders only...)
  10. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Nor was I suggesting for a moment anyone buy those "voodoo marketed" products and would warn against it. Also agreed that a 3' speaker cable with speakon connectors will make less a whole lot audible difference than longer length instrument cable.
  11. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA

    In my former life as a rabid audiophile I performed some very illuminating A/B/X listening tests and, when gain matching was properly executed, in a "perfect" listening environment, I was sometimes able to detect statistically significant differences between cables.

    However, IME, when gigging, these differences all seem to vanish unless the cables being used are damaged, undersize, etc.

    My ears and pocketbook agree that the kinds of improvements attributable to expensive cables can be among the most subtle and expensive in a live sound chain, as long as the basis for comparison starts with appropriately sized, undamaged, cables to begin with.

    Differences attributable to cables may be conspicuous in a recording studio, but are soon forgotten when my five bandmates and I begin playing. To springboard off of your analogy, I guess I'm not willing to invest in z-rated rubber for around-town driving.

    As usual, YMMV.
  12. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Agreed. So I had someone ;) make several for me, some 3', some 5'. Some Speakon-Speakon, some Speakon-1/4".

    The DIY thing is not usually my bag. But this does sound quite doable in the future, even for a lunkhead like me.
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    You raise a very important point. In discussing auditory psychophysical results, it is important to distinguish between what listeners can do in a laboratory setting and what they can and/or do do (doodoo?) in a practical setting. Given the fleeting nature of auditory memory and the additional masking effects concomitant with a live performance, "just detectable" differences in the laboratory vanish under such circumstances.

    Two other comments. The "statistically significant" differences you achieved may not have actually been the result of differences in the cables. The A/B/X procedure is one that is often poorly cast. When X=A, the "different" interval is B; when X=B, the different interval is A. It is much more desirable to ask listeners to identify the different interval than to ask them to identify the interval that matched X. Seen in this light, if one were going to use an A/B/X procedure (a procedure that, for good reason, I do not employ), it's much easier to ask, "Which is the 'oddball' of the set of three, A or B?" That question unburdens memory and avoids having to "label" X as A or B.
  14. pierre


    Jun 3, 2005
    Médoc FRANCE
    Please don't speak about cable on this thread.:meh: :meh: .. i'm waiting for my wizzy10 and i'm getting nervous ... there's not much description of this cabinet and too much about magic cable.:D
  15. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, you gotta hook it up with something! :)
  16. MCML


    Dec 8, 2006
    Well, all of this is informative and quite entertaining. Thanks to all of you. For me it seems that a good to very good (not cheapo, not over-the-top-audiophile-grade) cable will work just fine. Speakon ends in lieu of 1/4" plugs. And make sure all the connections are well made. Of course, I have just now learned from Larry at EA that a cable comes with the " Package" (Micro 300, WZ110, Backpack all purchased at the same time) so I might not need a cable. But, the cable is supposedly included with the backpack which will lag both the cabinet and then the head in shipping to me so, what, I have a nice place to put an objet d'arte until the backpack (by far the least important "component") arrives? I am confused but am seeking clarification both from EA and my dealer (Bass Northwest).
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Since things were getting both off-topic and somewhat argumentative, I went ahead and split this portion of the original Wizzy thread into a separate thread about cables. My apologies to Robgrow, whose post appeared to start all of the unpleasantness when it was in fact a serious reply to a question posed by someone in the original thread. My fault!

    FWIW, while I don't care much for cheapie **** construction cables, once I get to the level of George L./Planet Waves and beyond, I can't tell any difference at all. I use mostly Planet Waves cables now. About $20-$30 a pop, and haven't had one fail yet. I've been using the speakon cables that I've accumulated from amp purchases from Bob over the years, and while I have no idea what company makes them, they seem to do just fine.

    Anybody wants to spend half a night reading previous discussions of the "are super expensive cables for real?" topic, you can find all you'd ever want and more if you do a search in the BG forums for the topic. There have been some pretty entertaining flame wars up there on the subject as well. :D Bon apetit!
  18. D McCartney

    D McCartney crosswind downwind bass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Tacoma WA
    And just how much would you charge to do that? Oops, it's not a cheepo cable anymore, is it?
  19. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Yeppur. I'd say that matches my understanding. Re: cables anyway.

    That "extra" cable your going to have to get from somewhere can be your backup once the EA version arrives. I take at least two cables for my instrument(s) and two for the amp-speaker connection(s) to each gig, just in case. I'm a DBA (database administrator) by day. One of our most important mottos is "Make sure you have at least two ways out of any bad situation." Like two backups of your data instead of just one. Or two cables.
  20. bribass


    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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