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Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by padresfan311, Nov 5, 2005.
if i buy a new cable for my bass, will it affect the sound any? what kind of cable should i buy?
It wont affect your sound much at all.
Get the best cable that you can afford. a decent one will last a long time. real cheap cables don't hold up at all well.
This is an issue you should definitely search on, as there have been extensive intelligent discussions on it. The summary is that cable, because of capacitance, takes trebles out of your signal. Good cable is that which has the least capacitance, assuming you want to keep your tone. Some like the "roll-off" effect of certain cable.
I prefer to use EQ to affect my tone. Klotz cable is my personal favorite, but for 99% of the quality at 30% of the price, see the following place owned by a TBer.
I've heard that Monster cables have ends that are a little thicker and can spread your input plug so that many other cables don't work as well after that because they don't make a connection as well do to the spread contacts. Talked to a guitar player that had to have his replaced. Anyone else heard of this?
What about George L's?
The guy is really easy to deal with, ive not gotten instrument cables from there (yet), but i did get a couple of speaker cables, excellent quality, and at that price cant really be beaten!
Sometime a response to a question leaves one with more questions than answers.
I did a search of P-311s profile and saw that he was,admittedly, a newbie. He has chosen to start out with a Squire and a middle of the road combo amp. A good choice, by the way.
with this particular rig,I seiously doubt that the most golden ears in the world will hear much difference among cables with differing amounts of capacity. Keep in mind that cable capacity is measured in picofarads while the tone control cap is measured in microfarads. What little capacity that exists in the cable is pretty much swamped out by circuit capacity.
Moreover, a bass is more concerned with low fequencies than high so a minute amount of high frequency degradation is totally insignificant.
Agreed, a search for the best cable would be interesting but I really don't see that it help this particular person in choosing a cable.
Generally there isn't a huge variation in capacitance between different cables of the usual lengths so don't expect big differences in sound between them. Choose a flexible cable with good quality jacks (not the cheap molded plastic ones) and you'll be ok.
Having said that, large variations of cable capacitance do have a significant effect on the frequency response of the pickup in a passive bass (the effect is negligible in an active one). It's an important contribution to the amplitude and frequency of the resonant peak that defines the "voice" of a particular pickup. In fact, without the cable capacitance in the circuit, the resonant peak almost disappears!
This is an Excel spreadsheet where I have simulated the frequency response of the volume and tone control circuit in an electric guitar (sorry, I don't have inductance and capacitance values for typical bass pickups, if anybody does I'd very much appreciate the info) where you can play with different values of the pickup parameters, pots, tone caps, cable capacitance, amp input impedance, etc. Note that for it to work you have to got to Tools -> Add-Ins... and activate the Analysis ToolPak and Analysis Toolpak VBA:
A reasonable quality instrument cable can have a capacitante of about 25 pF / ft. so 500 pF would be a typical 20 ft. cable. Now see what happens to the frequency response if you make the cable capacitance very small (don't make it 0 but something like 0.01 pF) or very large (say 2000 pF, which means a very long and/or high capacitance cable).
For those who don't want to bother downloading the spreadsheet, here's what the frequency response of a typical PAF humbucker with 500k pots and 500 pF cable capacitance looks like:
With 0.01 pF cable capacitance:
And with 2000 pF cable capacitance:
On a side note, this effect is the reason why early PRS guitars included what was called a "sweet switch" instead of the usual tone control. Carlos Santana was using a wireless system with a very short lead from the guitar to the belt transmitter and didn't like the tone he was getting, so he asked Paul Reed Smith to include this switch which simply simulates the capacitance of a long cable.
Get yourself a "good" cable like a Proco middle of the road or upper end cable. The upper end has a lifetime warranty. "any excuse, even abuse". You'll never have to worry about your cables again. A descent cable will never leave you guessing if your problems are cable related.
Super cheap cable=possible problems(loose connections,not flexible)
"good" cable=no worries (and when I say good, I mean like $25
Super expensive cables=wast of money (imo)
pkr, you and I will just have to disagree on this one. A good quality cable with as little effect on the sound as possible will leave even a beginning bass player the opportunity to have a wider pallete to choose from when deciding on his tone. My son has an inexpensive Squier Bronco, and you and I, and he, for that matter, could certainly tell the difference between a Bayou cable, and say a Monster Bass Cable, which apparently intentionally adds capacitance in order to achieve darker sound. (I say this is intentional because Monster makes other cables, not denominated bass cables, at the same price point, with less capacitance.)
IMO, to say that upper freqencies don't matter because it's a bass we're playing ignores the fact that we're not just dealing with fundamentals here, but rather overtones as well, and it's those upper harmonics that give an instrument its signature sound.
Bayou sells a 15' instrument cable, of excellent strength, with Neutrik connectors, for $24. We can assume he already has a cheapie that came with his bass. If he's interested in getting a supplement for that, why not get a good one when it won't break the bank, will last a really long time, and leaves the tone adjustments in his own hands rather than having them mandated for him?
I recently put together some George L cables. One for my instrument cable and 2 for my patch cords. I can't say if they've made a dramatic difference compared to the Monster cable I was using for my instrument cable, but they can be easily repaired if they develop a short.
+1 on bayou cables. I replaced all my bass rig, inst. and speaker cables and haven't looked back. Great prices and service. Best cable for the price IMO. Butch A. (owner) is a fellow bassist and an electrician. Charges by the foot and uses ends of your choice. Can't go wrong with his cables.