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Speaker cable or instrument cable

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by quarternote, Apr 13, 2019.


  1. quarternote

    quarternote

    Jan 31, 2009
    Wisconsin
    I am using a 40 watt bass amp as my monitor, then using the line out to the DI box to the board, I know I should use an instrumental cable to the amp, but what about the cable from the line out to the DI/ Thanks.
     
  2. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    I wouldn't recommend using an instrument cable as a speaker cable, because the gauge of the wire and insulation can be insufficient. Sure it might work for awhile, especially with a low powered amp. But your better off using a speaker cable in the long run.
     
    mjmeche, whero, Jeff Scott and 5 others like this.
  3. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton valar morghulis Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    Instrument cable. Speaker cable should really only be from an amp to the speaker.

    That is just not true and dangerous information.
    INSTRUMENT CABLE FOR A SPEAKER
     
  4. Briton

    Briton

    Apr 4, 2009
    London,England
    Using an instrument cable in place of your speaker cable can cause catastrophic damage to your amplifier. While your amp will still work initially, the high amount of current going through the instrument cable’s small gauge wire can actually melt the cable! Furthermore, this may cause a short, damaging your amplifier.

    The cable needed running from your amp to a mixer or interface should be a TRS cable (Tip Ring Sleeve) which visually has two black rings compared to an instrument cable which only has one black ring.
     
  5. 2strings2frets

    2strings2frets Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2017
    I have used instrument cable between amp and cab for years but only during low volume practice. When comes time to shake the dust off the rafters I use heavy gage speaker cable only. XLR for FOH connection
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  6. Briton

    Briton

    Apr 4, 2009
    London,England
    Yes and I know musicians that have done it too, and you are right at low volumes you can get away with it, but it is not fool proof and not worth the risk. It could end up being financially a poor decision, save money and time and just use the correct cable. It is a no brainer.
     
  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Some interesting comments here, and somewhat puzzling too

    In general, it's not a good idea to use an instrument cable from the amp to a speaker. Some amps can become unstable when faced with the additional capacitance some instrument cables load the amp down with, especially if the cable is long. This additional capacitance causes the power amp to oscillate at very high frequencies (maybe as high as 1MHz) which results in destruction.

    While this doesn't happen as often as it used to, it can still be a concern with some designs.

    The line output is unbalanced, a TS cable is necessary in most cases into the DI as the OP proposed to use. TRS should only be used with balanced connections because different manufacturers handle the ring in different ways when using a TRS jack in an unbalanced application. Some use the ring as a power switch (like the Countryman DI) which requires that the ring and sleeve be tied together, some float the ring and some ground the ring.

    Sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you aren't.

    How are you using TRS as a connection to FOH?
     
    Rip Van Dan, jj4001, Artman and 4 others like this.
  8. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    What amp do you have that uses a TRS DI out? I only know of a couple.

    Or do you use an XLR to TRS adapter into a TRS balanced input on your interface?
     
  9. Briton

    Briton

    Apr 4, 2009
    London,England
    I use a Ampeg PF-20T, an Ampeg Micro VR and a TC Electronic BH250. All are XLR from the amp to 1/4 TRS into my interface for home playing and recording.
     
  10. 2strings2frets

    2strings2frets Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2017
    I may have my nomenclature wrong in the post. I use the DI connector on the amp which accepts a 3 prong female plug to a 1/4 male connector (RCA?) like an instrument cable in the stage floor-plate to The mixing board. XLR cable,sorry
     
    JimJam90 likes this.
  11. Briton

    Briton

    Apr 4, 2009
    London,England
    Yes that is the exact same thing as what I use, except that mine is at home and yours is in a gig situation.
     
  12. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Ok, so it appears that everybody is using incorrect or incomplete descriptions of what they are doing. Others following along in the future might not understand this important intermediate information.

    Yes, your nomenclature is wrong.

    The DI out is XLR male (3 pin) which is balanced. What you should be doing, at least in a properly installed sound system, is take your DI out directly into an XLR input in the stage floor plate to the mixer. The reason for this is that many 1/4" inputs are not balanced, and using unbalanced inputs increases the chances for noise and ground loops.
     
  13. 2strings2frets

    2strings2frets Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2017
    Yep, I just checked it’s XLR to TRS.
     
  14. 2strings2frets

    2strings2frets Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2017
    The 1/4 is what is there in the plate. I’m sure it was state of the art when the system was installed maybe fifty years ago. The new 2000watt Crown power amp some times trips for overload because of the state of the wiring but it is what it is.
     
    agedhorse likes this.
  15. Relsom

    Relsom Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2013
    The Old Dominion
    Nope... Instrument cables are not made to handle speaker level current.
     
    Dudaronamous likes this.
  16. Wild_Bill_57

    Wild_Bill_57 Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2017
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    All I can say is wow :rollno:

    Listen to the Agedhorse, he knows better than most about almost anything amp or PA related (He has a little experience :thumbsup: )
     
  17. ThisBass

    ThisBass

    Aug 29, 2012
    Germany
    With a 40 Watt amplifier the wire gauge of an instrument cable is likewise not an issue to cause issues but with instrument cables the capacitance per unit length of an instrument cable (respectively with any shielded cable) might run the amplifier into stability issues.
     
  18. ThisBass

    ThisBass

    Aug 29, 2012
    Germany
    Not sure speaker level current was an "practical" issue at living room loudness respectively with amplifiers that can push a couple of watts at most such as a 40 watt (rms?)power amp.

    edit, either way its (for good reason) never a good idea to use a shielded cable as speaker cable
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
    2strings2frets and Relsom like this.
  19. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I must clarify
    I never used one to run an amp head to a cab, but have used them in a pinch for pa mains and monitors
    Duke
     
  20. Briton

    Briton

    Apr 4, 2009
    London,England
    Yes I can see how this can be misleading, but I did mention that it was for amp only use into an interface or mixer which are always going to be an XLR if you are not using a cabinet that is miced up.
     

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