top instrument cable

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by only4him012, Sep 10, 2003.

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  1. only4him012


    Nov 11, 2002
    i know monster is expensive.
    which cables are good for what reason?
    how can i get them?
    which material do you prefer, why?
  2. Here's my slightly heretical viewpoint: From a sound standpoint, a cable is a cable is a cable. We're talking about a shielded wire here. Now granted, there are some inferior cables that are prone to breaking, or they are made with connectors that don't hold up, or maybe they're so cheap the shielding isn't up to snuff.

    Note: I've measured a slight difference in capacitance between a Monster cable and an el cheapo, and a very slight difference in resistance. I'm not concerned about the resistance, many preamp stages have a resistor immediately after the input jack, so what's a few ohms. Perhaps the capacitance may be sonically discernable, but I doubt it.

    From a quality standpoint, a more expensive cable may last longer. But I've got some cheap instrument cables that are 15 years old and still have no problems, depends on how you care for them.

    There's lots of audiophile snobs who are believers in their $100 interconnects or their $50-a-foot speaker cable. But I've read objective tests results that proved (to me at least) that these snobs couldn't tell a difference. Check out Douglas Self's web site, (do a search), or Elliott Sound Products. In one test, they sat audio fanatics down and told them that they were going to make changes to the wiring (in another room). The "assistant" would go in the other room and pretend to plug in different interconnects and speaker wires. Sure enough, the audiophile commented that one wire sounded great, another lousy, etc....but they were all the same wires!!!

    So my conclusion: just buy some decent quality (Planet Waves, Spectraflex, even CBI or Proco) cables and be done with it.
  3. I like to compare cables to a pane of glass. A cable cannot improve your sound, but can only degrade it. Just as it is hard to see through a drity window, crappy cables filter frequencies from the bass signal. The best possible cable only will transmit the true sound coming from the bass and nothing more (unless you include electrical noise, hum, etc). That being said, I, in addition to several others who took my blind audio test, have noticed audible differences between the $110 Zaolla cables when compared to my other $45 instrument cables. Additionally, I really like the construction of the Zaolla cables. Don't trust me, however, try them for yourself, make a recording keeping EVERYTHING the same except for the cable and see what you find. More importantly, have a non-musician see if they can hear a difference.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Tara Labs. If you're not playing through Tara Labs cables, you're wasting your time.

    ~ Munjibunga, King of Time Wasters
  5. I've looked through their site, but I don't see cables for instrument applications. Am I looking in the wrong place?
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Build your own. Every bassist should be able to do that.

    Get a soldering iron, decent cable (Klotz for example) and Neutrik plugs. Kicks Monster Cable's butt at a fraction of the price. Do a second one just for fun and as a backup. That's all you need.
  7. I've been building mine from Canare GS-6 and either neutrik or canare plugs. I've also built them for a lot of other players (via DudePit and TBL) and have had a lot of positive feedback. The materials aren't too expensive and the assembly is pretty easy if you are handy with a soldering iron.

    If you are interested in having some made just PM me with what you want and I'll give you a quote. Yes, they are more natural sounding, have no noticeable handling noise, and are nice and flexable. GS-6 is designed specifically for high impedance applications. The only really meaningful way I measure cables is with my ears, and these measure up very well to the expensive stuff. I was using Whirlwind pro stuff before and they sounded good but were very stiff.

    A lot of people recommend Monster, but I have had bad luck with their reliability, and bringing a bad cable back for replacement the day AFTER it fails on a gig is not acceptable to me.
  8. I have to second fretlessrocks recomendation for the Canare GS-6 and Neutrik combination.
    I built all of my cables this way, and make many cables for other people. I have not had the slightest bit of problem with any of the cables or connectors. Very well shielded cable with a large center conductor.

    The cable is cheap at around $.40 per foot and the Neutrik connectors are around $3.00 each.
  9. I use Monster Cables. I've had 'em for about 10 years now with no problems at all!

  10. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    I also use the Monster Cable's, however last friday night I had a Haloween party gig and
    I left my Monster Cable home by mistake, so I
    used my back-up Cable. A peavey 20ft that I
    bought in 1987 and it worked great. I did not
    notice any difference playing without the Monster
    cable. But I am glad I did not pay big bucks for it. I got it free from the Monster rep that
    a freind introduced me to, he gave me a cool
    key chain also. I have purchased some to hook
    up effects with, but I got those cheap when our local Mars store went under.:)
  11. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I second the Tara Labs cable. I was totally blown away the first time I heard one. I was playing an MTD through an Avalon vt737sp (very high end stuff). First I had a Monster cable, and I thought it sounded pretty good. Then I plugged in the two hundred dollar Tara cable. Oh my GAWD! It made the bass totally come to life. Hey Mr. Midrange, where have you been all my life? I used to laugh at the mere concept of paying two hundred bucks for a cable. Now, I'm not so sure anymore. I think it might be worthwhile if you spend a lot of time in the studio. For live performances, I'm not sure it'll make that much of a difference (at least not two hundred dollars' worth). I'm not knocking Monster, they're excellent cables at decent prices. But after hearing the difference that a cable can make with my own two ears, I'll never again knock the high end cable manufacturers.
  12. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    All this talk about Cables made me feel guilty
    cause I robbed the set off my stack to use on
    my portable rig, and put some mic cables in there
    place. So I went to GC this weekend, and purchased
    a set of Monster Performer Speaker Cables.They
    work great, my rig sounds like it is new again.
  13. vanselus

    vanselus Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Evidence Audio is the best cable for the money that i've ever tried. There's an easily audible difference between Monster and Evidence.
  14. Well, that's 'cause you can't use mic/shielded cables as speaker cables (well, you can, but quality lacks and there's the issue with impedence [can't remember what gets affected]).

    I use a combo of Proco and Planet Waves. PW are my favourite, they lock in beautifully to sockets. Proco's cheaper, but seems to work just as good. I still regularly run a 13-year-old Proco RAT cable without any problems (even though the plating's been worn off the plugs).
  15. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Mogami gets alot of hype. Might be worth checking out as they are cheaper than Monster.

    That said, I am switching most of my Monster bass cables to George L's. Yes, I can hear a slight difference. No, I don't care anymore. The Monsters are just too stiff, the connectors are too big, and they don't come in the lengths I need. I'd much rather have convenience at this point over a negligible change in tone.
  16. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001

    I have strong reading comprehension skills.

    I got a free red cable from GC. It works great. I'd like to build my own, just for the fun of building my own.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Good idea. I build many of my own cables, including balanced patches for the PA. However, when it comes to speaker cables and instrument cables, I just buy decent quality ones off the shelf. You don't save much money building your own cables if you buy quality components like Neutrik/Switchcraft plugs and Belden/Canare cable. The big producers get quantity discounts on components and cable, and you end up paying a little more than the retail price of the components for the assemble cables. Often, I disassemble the cables and rebuild them with shrink-tubing reinforcement. I do it for my friends, to. I call it "bullet-proofing" them.

    I never use free cables. They will cause you great anguish sooner or later. Don't even dream about using them at a gig.
  18. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I've used my free red cable for many years, every gig, every practice. I know it's not the best idea, but it is what it is. I'm going to order some parts Friday though, so I can retire it to the practice room.
  19. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    Something you could try is the Bill Lawrence cable kit. 50 feet of cable with 20 pf/ft capacitance, and 10 screw-on plugs, for $48 plus shipping. (Extra plugs are $3.25/ea.) I made myself four 12' cables and one 2'.

    Much like the George L system, but a better plug IMO. Only thing is, no angled plugs are available (yet). Only other thing is, the wire is kinda small and fine (like the smaller George L gauge), though it's tougher than it looks.

    The BL cables could not possibly be easier to put together. Just back the set screw out a bit, cut cable to size, stick the end in, and retighten the set screw until it's flush with the barrel of the plug. The connection is surprisingly strong; I've tripped over mine and violently yanked them out a couple of times, with no damage done.

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