Using speaker cables for instruments

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Wxp4759cb, Dec 2, 2001.

  1. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I know its not good sound wise, but does it do anything permenantly bad? I never thought it did, but today someone told me they'll screw your preamp.
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Naw, it's not a problem. You might get a little extra noise because speaker cables usually aren't shielded, but otherwise, it shouldn't hurt anything. Just don't ever use an instrument cable for a speaker cable. Now that's bad. REAL bad.
  3. allthough it does provide cool smoke-effects during gigs :D
  4. farboozle


    Apr 18, 2000
    Fairfax VA
    Really? Amps blow up with instrument cables used as speaker cables? When I started, I didn't know there was a difference, so I used instrument cables for speaker cables. Now I know better, but I am one cheap ass bastard and can't spend 30$ to connect my amp (carvin RL1000) to my speaker (either RC210 or RC210 and peavey 1516) and thus still use instrument cables.

    Still, I have had no problems with amps in 12 years of playing with instrument cables in the wrong spot. Certainly not as much experience as many on this board, but if that was a common problem I would think I would have learned the hard way.

    Am I living on borrowed time amp wise?
  5. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Yup, he's exactly right. And the reason why speaker cables will make noisy instrument cables is because they aren't shielded like regular instrument cables to prevent interference or picking up radio waves :D

    And you DEFINATELY dont want to use instrument cable to hook up your amp. My little brother did this when he first got his Marshall cab, and he nearly fried his $25 monster cable :eek:
  6. I think the smoke thing is a bit exaggerated. You should only worry if you try to push more than a few hundred watts continuous through an instrument cable. I myself should really know better, but I have used instr cables for speaker cabs.

    However, you may drastically improve your sound quality by using (heavy gauge) speaker cables. This is especially true for solid state amps, because of their low output impedance and the relatively high resistance of an instrument cable.
  7. farboozle


    Apr 18, 2000
    Fairfax VA
    It really is dumb for me to spend 1000+ on a bass and not $30 on cable for sound reasons alone, but logic takes a vacation sometimes.
  8. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    I don't know where you got the $30 cable idea. Carvin sells an 8-foot, 16-ga. cable for US$7. It has 1/4" plugs on both ends and will work fine for the R1000 amp.
    - Mike
  9. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Im going to have Bob Gollihur (a fellow Talkbasser) build me one of his custom speaker cables. He uses oxygen free, high strand count 12AWG copper wire.

    I need a custom cable because the mono-bridged output of my SVT-4 is speakon only, and the input of my Mesa/Boogie cab is 1/4". Also, I need the speakon to be wired a special way so I can use it for bridged. They dont sell speakon cables that are wired like that, except for Ampeg bridge cables, but they use higher gauge wire and aren't handmade.
  10. farboozle


    Apr 18, 2000
    Fairfax VA
    Its crazy rounding. All cables cost $30. All basses either cost $500, $1000, $1500 or $2000. Amps, however, cost $700.

    Don't ask if you don't want to know . . .