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What makes a good plug/jack?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by eukatheude, Jul 8, 2014.


  1. I was wondering what are the factors you take into account before saying that the plugs are good (or not) on a cable/pedal/bass/amp/whatever.
    It seems to me there aren't many objective qualities, at least that I can see. Ok, reliability is one.
    But I can't think of anything else. It's not like cables, where you have the shielding and the capacitance/m to take into account.
    So what makes a Neutrik jack better than a Proel?
     
  2. Still interested in hearing about this.
     
  3. - conductivity
    - solidity
    - solderability (not a real word. I'm sure you get it.)
    With plugs the only conductivity you have to have is one that matches that of your cable. Gold plating is ridiculous and useless.
    I use 2 $ connectors for my cables, and they work just fine, never had a problem except maybe that the cable has a slightly smaller diameter than the exit hole - but then it has cable crimps to render that problem null.
     
  4. I have used the same two leads for over ten years. For much of that I was gigging and teaching full time. The leads are ones I made from Neutrik plugs and canare cable.

    There are three main reasons that neutrik plugs are better than most others. Firstly they certainly have superior plating. This is something that is hard to see until you've had them for several years and you realize that there is no visible wear. Secondly they have an xlr-style cable clamp. When the clamp fails in regular jacks you get frayed wire or shorts.

    But the most important difference is that the plug is not pressed together from several parts. For both the sleeve and the tip, you actually solder up to the same machined piece of metal that does the connecting inside the socket. Virtually every other plug I've seen has separate solder lugs that eventually work loose.
     
    eukatheude likes this.
  5. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    First you have to separate jacks and plugs. Jacks generally fail due to contacts loosing tension or contacts developing corrosion. Jacks tend to come in two kinds. Barrel jacks and the normal panel mount. So far as I know all barrel jacks are crap and get bad contact tension after a while and need to be replaced. Switchcraft makes the best panel jacks because they don't corrode easily and don't lose contact tension. Cheap import jacks do both. Neutrik jacks are different and OK, but I've got a bass with their locking jacks and I don't like the locking feature at all.

    As for plugs that is a whole nother ball of wax. Mostly the problems tend to be mechanical. The main failure is wire breakage at the back of the plug. This means strain relief that really works. And crimped plugs tend to have the solder tabs work loose eventually (as someone already noted). Even worse really cheap import plugs can be the wrong diameter making contacts with normal jacks even more difficult. There are LOTS of plug designs out there some mechanically better than others. Choose wisely.

    My personal favorite plug was gold plated Radio Shack plugs. Dirt cheap. Good strain relief. Immune to corrosion. And now discontinued. Note that contact resistance is irrelevant on a high impedance instrument like a bass unless it gets REALLY high from dirt or corrosion. That is why I prefer plated jacks and plugs. The reason gold is good is not because of low resistance but because of resisting corrosion. But in plugs wire breakage is the number one fail.
     
  6. That would be unplugging. ;)
     
    2cooltoolz and eukatheude like this.

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