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Is a speaker cable really neccisary?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by peaveyman09, Feb 25, 2008.


  1. peaveyman09

    peaveyman09

    Nov 14, 2007
    i, for the last 3 years of playing, have always run an instrument cable from my amp to my cab, but now that ive been looking into better cables, ive read that w/o using a speaker cable from amp to cab, that it can damage and limit the speakers. Just wanted to know what you guys know about this. Thanks
     
  2. detracti

    detracti

    May 5, 2006
    Seattle
    Yes, you shouldn't use instrument cable to hook up speakers.

    Instrument cable is a shielded coaxial type cable - therefore having a built-in capacitive impedance at certain frequencies, which is typically much higher than your speaker's 8-ohms.

    Dangerous for your amplifier.
     
  3. Speaker power can melt the linings and cause a fire in a instrument cable which is shielded.
     
  4. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Get a speaker cable. They're not expensive. Usually cheaper than instrument cable. You could damage something if you crank up loud. The sound will possibly improve too.
     
  5. peaveyman09

    peaveyman09

    Nov 14, 2007
    ok thanks :) ill order one tomorrow :) could you guys also tell me whether, such as in monster cables, if gold tipped or standard speaker cables, would really make a difference ?!
     
  6. lowendgenerator

    lowendgenerator

    Mar 26, 2006
    CHI/NWI
    I had to use one in a pinch, but I really prefer to use the correct cables, especially when running my monster SVT rig.
     
  7. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Monster cables are a huge rip off. I know for a fact that 40 dollar cable you buy cost the store 8 bucks, like any other cable. It's all marketing.
     
  8. www.bayoucables.com

    Amazing quality, damned good price.
     
  9. +1 to all that!
     
  10. Instrument cable is designed to carry an unamplified signal from your pickup(s) to the amplifier.

    Speaker cable is designed to handle the hundreds of watts of electricity that go from your amp to your speaker cabinet(s).

    Why would you want to use instrument cable for that job? In my opinion, 1/4-inch speaker jacks should be eliminated throughout the industry; it's only because most speaker jacks are the same size as instrument jacks that people think "hey, I can just use this guitar cable to plug my speaker into the amp."
     
  11. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm sure that the Bayou cables and other custom jobs are good quality. But I don't think spending that extra money and having to wait for delivery is really necessary, at least for a difference you'll actually hear.

    I either make my own using Switchcraft 1/4" plugs and 14 gauge speaker wire or buy one of the made up store brands. They've all stood up for a long time. I don't think having a gold tip on a speaker cable will be worth the extra cost.
     
  12. apehead

    apehead

    Aug 19, 2007
    Middletown, CT
    I can't believe people are talking about this!! The speaker cable sham is such a load of bull!! I work on a tube powered LORAN transmitter for a living, and I can promise you that we run signals larger than any SVT, or any 1500 Watt solid-state amp could ever hope to produce, throught RG-22 shielded twin-ax cable. No fires, melting, etc. Has anyone here personally seen an amp melt a cable (or destroy one at all for that matter), or start a fire because of "improper cable use"? Do you honestly think that John Paul Jones, Gary Thain, Roger Waters, John Entwhistle, Geezer Butler, Jaco Pastorious, Etc. used "speaker cables" instead of "instrument cables"? Copper is copper, it boils down to gauge of strands, and amount of strands, not what's on the package.
     
  13. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    +1!!!!

    Available in the Talkbass Bazaar IIRC...
     
  14. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Boils down to impedance too... what are you using, lamp cable?
     
  15. JKT

    JKT

    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    I'm afraid I don't know what the heck a LORAN thingie is, but dude, shielded cables provide more measureable resistance between your amp and your speaker than is intended. Melt cables? No. But possibly screw up a particular amp that was sensitive to said resistance? Oh yeah. Plus they usually introduce noise into your mix, sometimes even radio interference. Resistance can equal heat too, which is not generally your friend.

    JKT
     
  16. Is this really true? I have used instrument cables as speaker cables (in a pinch), and I noticed a difference in tone. The tone was worse.
     
  17. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene

    Yes - I think every one of them used speaker cables. Your LORAN does not have to deal with the resistance of a speaker. Using an instrument cable will damage your amp. I've seen an instument cable melted into the output of an amp a couple of times at a shop where I worked. Furthermore, you will not find any amp maufacturer out there that will honor their warranty if you use a regular instrument cable in their product.

    For a speaker cable you should have the highest gauge, and shortest length that you can get away with.
     
  18. JKT

    JKT

    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    Err, yeah I think they probably did. And another thing- why in the world would you want to energize an electromagnet(your speaker) with 2 conductors having drastically different resistance qualities? Wouldn't you want 2 of the same gauge/number of strand conductors configured the same way running to your load? I mean, at least just for drill? C'mon, lets see some hands out there- who's pluggin cabs in with shielded cable? And thinks its the way to go?

    JKT
     
  19. Not me!

    Besides, there is little to no cost difference between instrument and speaker cables (of the same brands/qualities)... So where exactly does this "sham" come in??? :eyebrow:
     
  20. apehead

    apehead

    Aug 19, 2007
    Middletown, CT
    O.K., now I'm being led to believe that shielded cable will introduce noise into the circuit, that a conductor of a shielded (which just means that the ground surrounds the conductor entirely) cable has more impedance than a cable that isn't shielded (for a "speaker" cable, this means that the ground is tightly twisted around the conductor, rather can completely surrounding it), even if the overall gauge, strand count, strand guage, length, and connectors are identical... that is completely insane!!

    The "sham" is that if I have, say, 3 "instrument" cables laying around, but no "speaker" cables, that means I have to go buy (or make) one, right? It's hype to make you buy more crap.

    Also, what the hell kind of amps are you running where the miniscule difference in impedance between the shield and conductor will melt something?? I have a 4x12 cab which is labeled "8 ohms" but really only measures about 7.1 and I use an "instrument" cable to hook it up to a 100watt RMS tube amp - The Horror!!!!!! I'm suprised I haven't destroyed the speakers, "instrument" cable, output transformer, house and possesions (due to inevitable fire), upset the delicate balance of the Eart's Ionoshpere, causing huge amounts of charged particles to shower Humanity, mutating us into caniballistic, mindless, radioactive zombies!!!

    I guess what I'm saying is - it's not the end of the world...

    Fun Facts about LORAN (which uses shielded cables)
     

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