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Zaolla Cables and Signal Directionality...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by gfab333, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Just sharing some info with fellow Zaolla cable owners (and future Zaolla cable owners). I noticed the word "unidirectional" next to the Zaolla brand labeling along the length of the cable. In my mind, this meant that the signal should only go in one direction, with one specific end of the cable plugged into the bass and the other end plugged into the amp. However, neither the cable's packaging nor the cable itself provides any indication on which direction the signal should be flowing.

    I emailed Zaolla and received a prompt reply...

    "Thanks for using Zaolla.

    When we first began manufacturing, our GM decided to use the word unidirectional to indicate that it was universally directional.

    What we found out was he should have not used the word unidirectional, which when looked up in the dictionary, means singularly directionality.

    He should have used the word omni directional.

    When we run our next batch from the factory, we are hopefully removing the word unidirectional from the jackets.

    .... the grain structures in Zaolla cables, are essentially non-directional."


    A previous post of mine mentioned how I did a demo with these "boutique" cables at a music store a few weeks ago. I ended up buying a 15-footer, and so far have been very happy with them. The sales guys said that these cables 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. here's the site if interested in the esoteric explanation of the cable's sound quality.

  2. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    Don't know that I will ever buy Zaolla, but at least they seem to know their ****. They made a mistake in the labeling and they said "Hey, we goofed". Claims of uni-directionality are rediculous in regards to cable. Finally a boutique cable maker is not relying on some "directional" gimmick to sell their over priced cable.

    Zaolla seem to be fine cables, but way too rich for my blood. Course' if I was Clearmountain or someone like that I could; a)Afford them. b) Be endorse them. I am perfectly happy with Canare and Neutrik.
  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    "Claims of uni-directionality are rediculous in regards to cable."

    Unidirectionality certainly IS a reality in some shielded cables. The cable will carry the signal in either direction but the shield is only connected at one end. The purpose is to elimenate a ground loop in the cable which causes AC hum in the amp.

    Harrell S
  4. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    "The street prices range from $65+ to $110+ depending on the length"

    Yeah.....I'm out on that. :rolleyes:
  5. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
  6. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
  7. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    What sort of "Pin One Problems"?
  8. Artisan


    Apr 14, 2004
    I see that it is time for me to break out and grease up the old snake press again. Where did I put that rattlesnake/copperhead adapter...

    Snake oil, anyone?
  9. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

  10. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    "Pin 1 problem" refers to equipment that does not correctly utilize the ground/earth/shield terminals on their signal connectors.

    Pin 1 is the ground/earth/shield terminal on an XLR connector. The proper way to terminate this pin, or its equivalent in any other type of signal connector, is to connect it directly to the chassis by the shortest, lowest-impedance electrical path possible. This dumps the noise and potpourri picked up by the cable shield into the chassis, where it can drain through the safety ground or whatever, but at least is kept separate from the audio.

    Some products, though, have pin 1 (or its equivalent) connect to the circuit board, through the signal ground, and then to the chassis. This roundabout circuit path may have an impedance of several megohms at RF, which means that such noise will more easily couple into the audio circuitry than to the chassis. It is an inadvertently effective way to contaminate audio circuitry with noise, from AC line-frequency buzz up to radio stuff.

    For more information about pin 1 problems and their causes and cures, I recommend picking up a copy of the June 1995 special issue of the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society on "Shields and Grounds." You can order it online at http://www.aes.org/publications/journal_issues.cfm. It has great information about grounding systems, ground loops, etc., without all the esoteric math that the Journal usually has.

  11. Yup. It still amazes me that manufacturers actually do that with their pin ones....
    I always carry little pin one lift cables in my bag o'tricks. They've saved me from horrible ground loops many times. Grounding is tricky business. Slight differences in ground routing can have significant effects on noise in an amplifier.
  12. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Thanks, Bob.

    Harrell S
  13. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I just received an zaolla cable and was surprised.
    It sounds as though I was playing through a compressor.
    It seems that there is pillow in front of my speaker...no midpresence at all.
    I was expecting a lot more in terms of clarity and tone, a huge lot more, given the hype...