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Speaker Cable from head to cab

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tj1996, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Tj1996


    Apr 18, 2018

    I recently bought my first non-combo bass rig. I bought it off of Kijiji nearly 8 months ago and gig around 2 per month. I’ve only been using a standard guitar/bass patch cord rather than a speaker cable to connect the rig. I’ve noticed recently that my low end isnt putting out enough power.(especially Low Ab and under) Do you guys this that the cable is the issue? Or is it possible I already fried my new purchase lol


    basscapes likes this.
  2. voided3

    voided3 Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    What kind of amp and cab is it? I certainly wouldn't rule out the cable as the culprit, and I hope it hasn't damaged your amp. You really shouldn't use a 1/4" instrument cable for speaker connections as the wire gauge is too small and the cable design (braided shield) is wrong for the application.

    You will want to buy either a 16, 14, or 12 gauge speaker cable. The smaller the number, the thicker the wire, but any of those gauges will be perfectly fine for a short three foot cable with any instrument amp and cab with 1/4" in/out.

    Here's a good candidate: Pro Co S12-3 TS-TS Speaker Cable - 3'
    Here's another good one that's a bit less expensive: PMSA | Two Conductor | 1/4" G&H Mega Foot® Equipped | 13 Guage Speaker Cable
    murmur70 and Pocket4 like this.
  3. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
  4. never use a instrument cable as a speaker cable
    The Impedance (or Resistance) of a shielded instrument cable is too high!

    edited: added Resistance for clarity's sake
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  5. Tj1996


    Apr 18, 2018
    Thank you! I use a yorkville 400W head with ampeg 400W cab. I usually run my passive squire J bass with a preamp pedal through.
  6. Nothing wrong with a Squier:

  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    First of all, buy a speaker cable. Maybe that will solve the problem.

    Second, you didn't mention the model of the preamp, head, and cabinet? Low Ab is around 50hz, a frequency where most cabinets start to lose their sensitivity. You may want to turn up the bass EQ control on your preamp and/or head, if you find your sound lacking in low end on the lowest notes.
    Andy Daventry likes this.
  8. voided3

    voided3 Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    I will amend my prior comment and say if both the amp head and cabinet have a Speakon jack (not sure without seeing them) definitely use a Speakon instead. If only one or the other has Speakon your can still get a Speakon to 1/4" cable. The Speakon connector has numerous advantages over a 1/4" for a speaker cable, but if both head and cab only have a 1/4", there's no problem in using a good 1/4" speaker cable.
    Tj1996 and Mushroo like this.
  9. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    Step 1. Get a proper speaker cable.
    Step 2. Get an HPF
    Step 3. Ignore the advice to boost the low end eq with drop tuning.
    Step 4. ?
    Step 5. Profit.
    Balog, basscapes and JaseyT like this.
  10. Tj1996


    Apr 18, 2018
    My cab is a somewhat older model and only has 2 1/4” jacks. Thanks I hope this solves my problem. I’ll keep you posted!
    voided3 likes this.
  11. Tj1996


    Apr 18, 2018
    I love my squier J bass!
    J-Bassomatic and Killed_by_Death like this.
  12. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Not entirely sure whether the OP is drop-tuning to sub-contra 26hz Ab, or probably he just means "low Ab" at the 4th fret of the E string?
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  13. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    Oh. Misread that as he was dropping to A.

    He did say, though, that the amount of low end he is getting has changed. This leads me to the thought that boosting the eq down low will only exacerbate or accelerate the demise of a piece or pieces of his rig.
  14. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
  15. Yes, you may have fried your new purchase. The cable may or may not be causing this problem but using a standard instrument cable from your head to your speaker cab will certainly cause a problem. Buy a speaker cable immediately and hope that you haven't already damaged your head by using the wrong kind of cable. Never put an instrument cable between the head and cab again. Then address the issue of whether or not you're getting enough bass from your rig.
    PDGood likes this.
  16. ThisBass


    Aug 29, 2012
    Verly likely the performance of your gear runs out of juice on lowish notes such as low Ab and under.
    Generally you should use a speaker cable where a speaker cable is needed just to avoid issues.
    I don't think that a speaker cable would help to fix your issues in particular even if you'd use a 12AWG .
  17. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Get a speaker cable.
    Your amp is most likely ok.

    Limiting the output current of a solid state amp with a skinny wire will not hurt the amp, but the cable insulation could melt and cause a short on th output—- this would kill the amp,

    Limiting the output current on a tube amp is bad and could damage the amp.
  18. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Eight months and only now getting around to thinking about a proper cable?

  19. Amajew


    Jan 11, 2016
    In my experience the current band I'm in does one cover that's supposed to be in A but they go 1/2 step lower and my rig tone turns to crap. It sounds horrible and loses all definition. Granted the string is a good amount looser so that alone may be the culprit.

    If you choose to play that low you may need to setup your bass for that low a tuning and even raise the string height as well.
  20. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I made my own very nice cable for well under ten bucks. I took the 1/4" Neutrik jacks (edit: plugs) from an old patch cable. Learning some DIY is always a wise move.

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
    dBChad likes this.

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