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Why only 1/4'' for instrument cables?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mike Money, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    So... why dont we have XLR jacks on our basses and guitars?

    Hell, why not a speakon on all ends?

    If they could make a smaller speakon with a 1/4'' at the amp end, wouldnt it be much sturdier?
  2. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    I, personally feel disillusioned by the whole needing-an-amp thing.

    I would much rather a passel of gaudily bejeweled elves carry my every, immaculate, note directly off the string, float off the stage and drop them onto the unsuspecting heads of the people in the audience. Yes, elves would be quite nice.

    I think the 1/4" is just arbitrary and became the standard. There are basses that have XLR outputs. Like the Ric 4003's.
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    As to why instrument cables don't use XLR, there are three interconnected reasons.

    First, in the 30s and 40s when guitar amps were designed (everything since, at least tube amps, have been tweaks on the designs of the 40s), there was no such thing as XLR. Different manufacturers had different standards. XLR wasn't adopted until the 60s, and you still see 5 pin German mics through the 70s.

    Second, to design a tube amp with a balanced circuit, you'd essentially double the cost.

    Third, if someone were to introduce an XLR amp, guitarists would be reluctant to change. How many cables do you own now? Would you be ready to buy new sets of XLR cables for your XLR guitars and amps and have to change everything out to use your old P Bass and old amp?

    But you can put a speakon jack on your guitar if you want.
  4. In the future they're not even going to have any output jacks on the instruments, the wireless transmitter will be built into the bass/guitar.
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hear, hear! :bassist:

    One of those little wireless things, maybe a piece of tape somewhere inside the cavity...

    The spies had 'em for years, the army uses 'em all the time, they can put those dinky little antennas on cell phones, why not inside a bass? :hyper:

    Meanwhile, I've converted several of my basses to balanced outputs, but I used a TRS (stereo) jack instead of an XLR. That way you don't have to drill another hole in your bass. :D
  6. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I had my bass setup with 802.11g but it's kind of a pain to have the computer taped to the strap.

    brad cook
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Speakons are designed for high wattage. Plus they are too thick! Once you connected the bass to the amp, you would have to bolt down the amp.

    Really, I think the 1/4" are good enough so most people have no real reason to change.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md

    Never seen an Alembic Series bass? They were doing that beginning around 30 years ago.
  9. Quarter-inch jack plugs are based on the original design of plug for manual telephone exchanges, so they are cheap, easy to clean, and designed for thin cables. That probably accounts for them becoming the industry standard.

    XLR's were designed for low voltage signals, and a different design was provided for power (and speakers?). When the international product standards were updated, and required higher voltage plugs to have greater distances between adjacent terminals, and between terminals and casings, the power XLR was withdrawn, and the speakon and its competitors appeared. The internal spacing is one of the main reaasons why speakons are bigger.

    If it is the locking feature of the speakon that appeals to you , Neutric do a surface mount locking jack socket.
    If you want a jack plug that is virtually indistructable, Neutric should be on the list.
    Am I biased - probably: in the UK, you can get Neutric in high street stores. The other professional quality brands are not that easy to find.
  10. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    i don't want an XLR output on my bass!!!

    it's bad enough our sound guy getting his fun by trying to electrocute me through my mic without 'accidentally' sending phantom power to my bass too :eek: :eek: