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Tips for using cables on crowded pedal board

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by volerium, Jun 30, 2014.


  1. volerium

    volerium

    May 21, 2012
    Wichita, KS
    I'm running about 17 or 18 pedals on a PT Pro. And it is pretty crammed for space. I'm powering it with 2 pedal power 2 + supplies. I'm having a lot of problem with sound coming in and out, being audibly low, or no sound at all. The problems are all over the place and I've done a bit of research. Two things I know for certain that I need to do are 1. buy a cable tester and most importantly 2. buy nicer cables.

    Some other things that I had come across that I wanted opinions on here are, are the patch cables not supposed to touch the power power blocks at all? There's many places where they touch on top and even more where they run across the bottom where I have the power mounted. I really don't see an easy way to avoid that. Also, the connectors themselves often touch on the board and I'm wondering if this is problematic as well. I'll have one pedal plugged up and mashed next to another one so sometimes the connector, 9v power supply cord or actual pedals themselves are touching. Are either of those things I mentioned bad? Or should I just invest in some lava or mogami and be coming through clear? Thanks in advance
     
  2. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Cables and jacks touching each other is not a problem. Running cables near or across a power supply is usually not a problem either but can sometimes cause noise, so you may want to avoid that.
     
  3. kesmit

    kesmit Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Your first two points are the most important 1) get a cable tester and 2) get nice cables. I don't run a big pedal board, but in all of my experience with electronics, bad cables have caused me countless hours of trying to track down non-existent problems with components. Any plugs, boards, etc. touching should not cause any problems. When debugging problems, the best way is to start at the beginning of the beginning of the chain and start adding one pedal at a time to see where the problem occurs. It's tedious and can be a real headache with a lot of pedals, but that's just what it takes a lot of the time.

    As far as cables go, I'm a big fan of pancake style plugs. I'm surprised they aren't more popular since they save a lot of space. I've been using the Hosa IRG-100.5 with good luck. I decided to try some nicer ones lately from Armor Gold http://www.armorgoldcables.com/products/pancake-patch. They are quite sturdy and nice, but the plug is far bigger, and they are far more expensive than the Hosa (probably twice as thick). But they do come with a lifetime warranty.
     
  4. Mosfed

    Mosfed

    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I like the George L cables because I can make them exactly as long as I need and it usually makes things neater.

    Testers are great. I wish I had one.
     
  5. CfoScoop

    CfoScoop

    Jan 2, 2014
    Cincinnati
    +1 on the pancake cables. A real space saver. I too use the Hosa ones and have yet to have a problem.
     
  6. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    The new EBS flat patch cables are even lower profile than a traditional Switchcraft type 228 flat-back plug.
     
    bassmusic17 and Adamixoye like this.
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    This. Best Bass Gear sells them. I use these in spaces where I need the smallest connector possible or the cable needs to go through a tight spot. They are very flexible. I hate pancakes because of the sheer hugeness of them. I use some George L's but only on my top jack pedals because the connectors stick out so far, and it's easy to make a 1" cable with them. I also use DiMarzio cables which are very sturdy and have small connectors, but are hard to twist and turn. Overall, it's hard to beat the EBS flat cables from Best Bass Gear.
     
  8. volerium

    volerium

    May 21, 2012
    Wichita, KS
    I like the look of those flat patch cables I'm still betting the hosa one's are smaller though. I'm running the hosa pancake ones myself like a few others on here however I've had many a problem with them buuuuut for the money and for having such a jam packed board I'm trying to make them work. I think I can get better at soldering and I have all different size hosa cables from six inch, foot, to three foot. Really wish they would have made a two footer but oh well. What I'm thinking is with a cable tester.. I'm assuming any and all problems that occur with patch cables are fixable by hand, is this an ignorant thought? There's not much to a cable so that's just me assuming. And as far as cable testers go I have my eye on the lava one and the ebtech swizz army? Can anyone recommend one over the other?
     
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I just use a cheap multimeter, one that has this setting where it beeps if there is contact.
     
    CrayZee_One and HolmeBass like this.
  10. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC

    The Hosa cables use a Switchcraft knockoff that I seriously doubt is lower profile than the EBS. In a recent thread someone posted pics and the evidence was convincing.

    Any money you'll spend on a cable testing gizmo box is waaaaaaay better put towards a decent multimeter like a Fluke 117.
     
    Adamixoye and HolmeBass like this.
  11. volerium

    volerium

    May 21, 2012
    Wichita, KS
    http://www.talkbass.com/threads/new-ebs-flat-cables.1070806/page-3
    This thread here. The EBS flat patch cable sits closer to the jack compared to a gls style pancake plug as shown in the pictures on page 7, but on page 3 you can see the hosa, or some other similarly cheap brand, actually sits lower. There's several pancake manufacturers, the higher quality ones are 'fatter'. Hosa as far as I've read and experienced is a lower quality cable but the thinnest there is when trying to cram pedals side by side.
     
  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Nope!

    cake2.
     
    Adamixoye and gregmon79 like this.
  13. Those EBS cables look excellent. I like the Hosa's, but the pancake head can be too large in circumference, causing it to cover up, for example, the power jack on MXR pedals with the power input on the side.
     
  14. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I've ended up with a mix of cables; George Ls everywhere I can, because it's convenient and I dislike too long patch cables, and pancake or EBS cables where I have to because of a lack of space.
     
  15. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    The EBS patches are excellent. Very handy, fit in cramped spaces, are solid and I have not noticed any noise issues as of yet. I also use George L's and havent had any issues with them at all. As long as you build a solid patch. IMO, the George L's, Lava and the EBS's are the better ones out there that offer you a few things, great connectors that are small and manageable in tight fitting boards with a lot of pedals, strong, low noise if any at all, very neat looking when the whole board is wired up and you can cut the GL's and Lavas to any length (that was a BIG reason why I went with GL's, plus they just look awesome to me). The only downside to Lava and George L's are the price. Not the most expensive but not cheap at all. The EBS patches are actually very well priced IMO. Out of these three I dont think you can go wrong.
     
  16. This quote has me wondering;
    Are all these pedals plugged in a massive series-style chain?
    Or do you have a big true-bypass looper?
    Do you have a buffer, or pedal with a decent buffer (ie no tone suck) at the start of your pedal chain?

    If you answers are No, Yes and Yes, you're doing fine, your patch cables are probably just needing fixing/upgrading.
    If the answers are Yes, No, No... then you need to work on your board.
     
  17. volerium

    volerium

    May 21, 2012
    Wichita, KS
    I'm not familiar with everything you mentioned here but each pedal has isolated power, I do have a true bypass switcher that splits the board into two loops that can be clmboned or bypass everything completely. As far as a buffer... No. I don't know what that is exactly. I've heard of pedals having buffers in them. Like boss style pedals but when I do hear about buffered pedals it's always in a negative context. Like get true bypass avoid buffered pedals. I'm certain I should upgrade and shorten my cables but I'm also sure my board could use some work. I'll see what I can look up about a buffer
     
  18. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Can you post a pic of your board? All hooked up on top and underneath?
     
  19. eveilleu

    eveilleu

    Oct 30, 2013
    Montreal, Qc
    nshuman likes this.
  20. Lebowsky

    Lebowsky Effects Forum Resident

    Mar 18, 2007
    Lausanne, Switzerland
    nshuman likes this.

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