Tried out a Zaolla instrument cable today!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by gfab333, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I had a chance to try these "boutique" cables at a music store yesterday and was very impressed. The sales guys say that these have a silver core and is capable of transmitting your bass's true signal in a superior manner. We did an A/B comparison with a George L cable of comparable length, and I was immediately able to hear the difference. The Zaolla cable had a bit more girth or fullness than the George Ls, and maybe a bit more presence as well - all this without having a preponderance at any particular frequency (this is interesting because the zaolla web site claims they have a flat response). It was definitely the more desirable cable to my ears. The street prices range from $65+ to $110+ depending on the length. I've been using Monster and George L cables for years, but I may have to buy one of these. I think you'll really hear the difference in a studio enviroment. here's the site.
  2. Rather than starting a new thread, I'll bump this one.

    I recently purchased two Zaolla cables which arrived today, and before I did anything to feed the hype in my brain, I had a friend do a blind test for me. I played the same riffs and messed with the same controls through three cables: my ten-foot Spectraflex cable, my twenty-foot trusty Planet Waves cable, and the Zaolla. He did not tell me which ones he was putting in, I just listened to my sound.

    The Zaolla won inside and out. I picked it every time; there was a clarity and precision from top to middle to bottom that had not been there with my others. There seemed to be almost a dulling sheen of some kind going on in the mids and treble on the others, and though both the Spectraflex and PW were pretty good on the low end, the Zaolla seemed tighter, packed more punch and carried less garbled rumble.

    I'll stop using arbitrary terms that don't tell you anything, and tell you that you should check these out if you get the opportunity.

  3. Ha - I know a trap when I see it.
    Just do some recordings and post the difference.
    You can measure the difference by sending a signal down each using a PC to plot frequency response, noise, ...
    "tighter, packed more punch and carried less garbled rumble." have meaning if you can back them up with measurements.
  4. I had planned to already. I'll get them up as soon as I can.
  5. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    subscribed... I'm a skeptic, but I'm open if the data backs up the claims!
  6. MikeyB


    Aug 16, 2006
    Sykesville, MD
    Subscribed... I'm a skeptic too. I'm also an engineer. Let's see those plots!

  7. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I believe in using good cable and jacks, but even then the difference is subtle. Basically your just reducing resistance and RF interference if any.
  8. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
  9. agreed, you may be able to notice a very bad cable, but after you get past a certain threshold the difference is tiny.

    both my experiences in engineering audio and as a bass player as well as qualifications in physics and electronics leaves me very dubious of claims such as these. I cannot think of a scientific reason why they would make that much of a difference, provided you weren't using very poor cables before!

    I would be interested in hearing the tests though, always willing to be proven wrong!
  10. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    +1 on zaolla being a nice cable.
    A hifi enthusiast fried of mine keeps saying that he'd rather use a high grade copper than lower grade silver such as the zaolla, but it still works very well.
    I also recommend to check out the analysis plus pro oval studio.
    Very nice!!
  11. Somebody might actually like a very bad cable with high capacitance that cuts the high frequency.
    Thinking it's a better cable because their bass sounds better. Where just a little EQ could do the same.
  12. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    but... could it?
  13. yeah, that way round it should be no problem! a subtle few db's of the top with a gentle shelf. cuts generally have a bit less noticeable 'character' than boosts and you could probably match the sound of a bad cable with eq very easily!

    and it would be better to do it this way too, rather than purposefully use a bad cable, more control and you still have the highs there to play with if you end up needing them (with a plug-in eq anyway).
  14. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I've managed to re create the tone of a good instrument followed by a bad cable, using a good cable reasonably well, yes. Not so much that of a good instrument, followed by a good cable using a bad one though. Not convincingly. Yet.
    So far I like a good instrument followed by as good a cable as I can have , that cable no longer than 3 m (ten foot).
    Usually no need for EQ.
    Degrading the signal is not particularly difficult I think.
  15. yeah, I think that was the original point, the hypothetical user liked the sound of the BAD cable because it rolled off some of the highs. seamonkey was saying, as you and I are, that if that was the case just use eq! the 'simulate bad cable with bass and good cable setup' you described!
  16. lowregister

    lowregister Guest

    Feb 26, 2009
    Madison, WI
    Yeah I would really like to see some data chart. Yay empiricism
  17. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    People hear what they want to hear especially if they dropped a lot on a piece of gear. IMO the actual difference is minimal at best.
  18. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    That's how Sadowski and Fodera stay in business.
  19. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    IMO & IME
    If you have a good source (finger & bass) and a well designed preamp (input load) , the cable between both doesn't make any difference.
    The only difference will be with very cheap cables.

    PS; all my cables are done by myself with Neutrix & Mogami Stuff , except the GK stuff.....
  20. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Fortunately, I didn't have to pay for the Zaolla cable I used on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I don't have any A/B recordings to post, because once the studio I was in started using the Zaolla XLR in the bass's signal chain, we didn't use anything else.

    After we'd set gain levels on the preamp and adjusted the LA-2A accordingly, the engineer plugged in the Zaolla. At the time, I had my back turned, and thought he'd cranked the treble knob on the board. It wasn't a subtle difference, at all. The only change he'd made was plugging in the Zaolla, and he waited until both myself and the assistant engineer weren't looking to plug it in; he didn't want our eyes to color our hearing, if you see what I mean. He didn't have to worry, like I said, the difference wasn't subtle at all, and the cables they were using before didn't suck at all, either.

    I can't vouch for the 1/4" cables, 'cause I didn't use them. The XLR, being made of a siver alloy rather than copper, is much, much stiffer, and difficult to coil. I wouldn't want to tour with these for that reason (I'd be worried about breakage), although I may pick up shorter versions for rack gear if they are available.

    They're still out of my price range, so I don't own any of my own, but there's no stretch or snake oil in saying that silver is a better conductor than copper. Any physicist, chemist, or electrician will be happy to tell you that there's a world of difference between the two metals; why wouldn't silver sound better?