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I'm looking for a good quality instrument cable (after seeing the video below around the 9:20 mark...Wirewell Cable). Did a search online for it, but couldn't find a dealer for it. What do you guys use and recommend?

This video was also very informative.

 

 

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I go for medium priced cables.

The cheap ones fall apart, the high end ones are over-engineered past the point of diminishing returns IMHO.

That point of diminishing returns is that X amount of additional money spent gives you less benefit for every X amount of money spent.

Since the closing of my local mom & pop music store, I've been getting my cables from Sweetwater. Their "Pro Co" brand has nice connectors, good shielding and a lifetime guarantee. I've had good luck with Hosa cables and some other brands. Long ago I bought a "Radio Shack" brand and it was too low end. The phone plugs fit loosely in the jacks causing a connection problem. That was decades ago, I never went back.

I bought a "Monster" cable once and decided it wasn't worth the price for me - YMMV.  I closed a cable in the lid of a road case, it left me without a spare, and the only thing I could find was the Monster brand. I carry a spare of every cable at all times. The show must go on, and to miss a gig because a cable failed is not an option.

It was a 25',  1/4" phone plug cable to feed a monitor. I used it to replace a Planet Waves brand. No audible difference except the price. I eventually had to replace plugs on both, and the Planet Waves was much easier to replace the plug due to a more cooperative shield. Both had approximately 100% shielding and the same gauge center conductor. The dielectric looked to be made of the same material.

Yes I know I can send the cables back for a replacement, but for 15 minutes work I can put a new plug on and not pay shipping charges and wait weeks for a return.

I took electronics in college, communications option - radio frequency, especially. What I learned about coax is that if you have a good conductor, proper dielectric around it, and a good shield around that, the differences become minimal. Now if there is a kink in the cable, all bets are off as the propagation depends on that center conductor to shield distance.

This is especially true with radio frequency signals. I don't know how much effect it would have on audio frequency, but I'm sure it would be much less.

I don't know about 200'. I would never use anything that long unbalanced. I have used 100' balanced XLR conector cables to powered speakers (two 50' cables daisy chained) and didn't have a problem.

If you find the Wire World cables and if you can hear the difference, let me know.

Well that's my recommendation. I'm sure others will have other opinions.

Notes

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Thanks Notes, very informative!!

I won't be using this for live purposes, but mostly in the DAW setting. Looking into cables that don't add any noise to the signal flow. Will definitely check out Pro Co.

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3 hours ago, Mesh said:

I'm looking for a good quality instrument cable (after seeing the video below around the 9:20 mark...Wirewell Cable). Did a search online for it, but couldn't find a dealer for it. What do you guys use and recommend?

https://wireworldaudio.com/where-to-buy/

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Mesh said:

Thanks Notes, very informative!!

I won't be using this for live purposes, but mostly in the DAW setting. Looking into cables that don't add any noise to the signal flow. Will definitely check out Pro Co.

I have a MIDI studio, and don't do that much vocals here, but I play live a lot in places where noise can be a big problem depending on the wiring of the places I play.

Here is some advice, if you already know this, feel free to ignore:

1. If you have a choice between balanced and unbalanced cables - always used balanced. Simplified explanation: Balanced cables invert the signal on one conductor and re-invert to recombine at the other end. Any noise that enters both conductors cancels itself out when re-inverted at the end.

2. Clean power. If the power in your studio is not clean you will have problems. If you're serious, and electrician can be worth the money

3. Power conditioner. I use a power/line conditioner and plug everything into it. The conditioner boosts temporary brown outs and suppresses surges. Plugging everything into the same conditioner minimizes the potential for ground loops. At home I plug everything into the same heavy duty UPS as it serves the same function.

4. Make sure there are no light dimmers around or motors on the circuit.

I'm sure there are others who have better suggestions than mine out there. My philosophy is to eliminate the problem rather than try to mask it. I can do that in my small MIDI studio.

But playing live means I have no control over the power so a lot of masking is necessary. 

We play one hall about twice a year where I can't keep the hum out. I need to put my guitar on humbuckers, single coils roar. There is something wrong there, even their house music hums. I can keep the hum at a minimum, the conversation in the room masks the hum, but I know it's there. If I didn't have balanced cables wherever I can, it would be terrible I'm sure. I suspect the line conditioner helps too.

Notes

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Monster cables are overpriced snake oil. 

 

Any reputable brand cable will be just fine; ain't a dime's worth of difference between them.

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On 9/13/2019 at 3:54 PM, Mesh said:

Thanks Notes, very informative!!

I won't be using this for live purposes, but mostly in the DAW setting. Looking into cables that don't add any noise to the signal flow. Will definitely check out Pro Co.

I did quite a bit of testing using a 50s era Les Paul Jr and a Custom ESP (not the metal kind, one built for tone with custom wound pickups stright from Lollar himself into the best sounding amp ever made, a Trainwreck Rocket.

Out of about 20 different cables (mostly high end) The Evidence Audio Lyric HG was the cable that was the most pleasing to the test group (David Gilmour's guitar tech came to the same conclusion, for what it is worth).  

This is not a robust cable due to the solid core design, so Studio use is fine.

I use the Lava Ultramafic for stage use.  

Don't get too caught up with all the hype though, yes unbalanced cables can sound different, but realistically even with great gear, the person listening to a recording isn't really going to hear a difference.  

Keep cable runs short (10ft) and that will prevent a lot of the tone suck and make sure the Capitence isn't too high or too low as too low can sound brittle and too high will make things dull.  

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Length is more important than price. Shorter is better.

I like cables that have some difference between them so I can keep them straight. Some variance in colors or ends helps there. I wouldn't want 16 identical cables b/c I'd have to mark them myself. 

I've acquired my cables over decades so they look different. It has been decades since I've had one that went bad. They do sometimes go bad, but not that often if you treat them lovingly.

Don't walk on your cables. Definitely don't bounce on them as you jump to the beat. I was running sound for some band in the Boulder band shell when some guy did this. haha. Nothing I could do to help that!

I got a 25 ft snake this year and it has been handy. A nice thing to be able to have the DAW a nice distance from the amps. Previously, I've linked two mic cables when necessary.

Guitar output is actually kinda strong (electrics). I didn't know that when I started.

Phantom Powered mics do ok with distances up to 100 ft too.

Be cautious with the ribbons. They have a very faint signal.

Jerry Garcia said once that the longer your cable the more it's like turning down your tone nob on your guitar. When he first found himself on enormous stages, he got really really long cables for fun and was like, 'What happened?' 🙂

At 12:31 he says get cables that won't break. I totally agree with that. If you ever have a bad experience with a cable, mark it like a bad climbing rope. 

Edited by Gswitz
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Great info guys and very, very helpful indeed. Some of those high end cables are quite pricey and not sure if I can justify the purchase to my CFO at home, but will try to get something good that fits my need/price.

Thanks Paulo for the link, it led me to their instrument cable site: https://www.wireworldproaudio.com/instrument.html#instcables

https://www.wireworldcable.com/best-guitar-cables.html

Very interesting technology, quality, and detail going into these cables.....definitely a worth looking into.

Edited by Mesh

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31 minutes ago, Mesh said:

Great info guys and very, very helpful indeed. Some of those high end cables are quite pricey and not sure if I can justify the purchase to my CFO at home, but will try to get something good that fits my need/price.

Thanks Paulo for the link, it led me to their instrument cable site: https://www.wireworldproaudio.com/instrument.html#instcables

https://www.wireworldcable.com/best-guitar-cables.html

Very interesting technology, quality, and detail going into these cables.....definitely a worth looking into.

They also make $70 USB cables, I'd use extreme caution.   (and the switching plugs, while a good theory are pretty awful in reality).  

As for the Jerry Garcia piece.  He used Canare G6 cables, which are pretty high on the cap end.  They are robust and can be custom ordered for a reasonable price.  I've used them on pedal boards mostly since once you hit a buffer the cable differences have little impact.  

A non-guitar Center cheaper custom made Mogami Gold is a decent starting point on "better" cables.  Should be able to get them for less than $1 per foot plus the plugs.

Something like the Lava Blue Deamon will likley be brighter per foot than what you are used to.  How good this sounds can be dependent on the guitar.  I tend to like something a little warmer.  

Evidence Audio intentionally does not publish cap specs.  The amount of actual musical testing (Tony the inventor) did is unreal, there is a reason the end product actually made a difference.  It wasn't just about theoretical, he tested in real conditions to determine the results.

Edited by Brian Walton

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On 9/13/2019 at 9:59 PM, Byron Dickens said:

Monster cables are overpriced snake oil. 

 

Any reputable brand cable will be just fine; ain't a dime's worth of difference between them.

I agree Monster is overpriced snake oil.  But that isn't what the OP is looking at.

All cables are not equal assuming you have a top quality guitar and amp (and not a lot of fuss going on between them).  Sure various cable are fine, but just any old cable can impact tone and response when using professional guitar equipment.  

These differences don't really matter with active outputs (on guitars, keyboard, etcs), but with vintage style passive pickups and a no-nonsense tube amp, there can be differences.  

Then again, you might have enough hearing damage to notice the difference, and there are other areas to improve tone more dramatically....but once one addresses those, cables are part of the equation (perhpas the last part).  

Edited by Brian Walton
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39 minutes ago, Brian Walton said:

I agree Monster is overpriced snake oil.

I had an instant where they did come in handy.  First house we lived close to radio transmitter relay tower for high powered AM station. House was aluminum sided with foil insulation. Cheap cables acted as an antenna. I brought a set of the high priced Monster Cable and they worked.  Probably could of got away with mid-tier priced ones instead of the low co  st ones that caused the trouble.  Place in now is brick and I don't think I have had any problems with any of my cables :)  

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When all my gear was stolen, including maybe a hundred cables that had conveniently (for the thief) all been gathered into two gym bags for easy looting, I had to replace a LOT of cables in one go. $60-100 per item was going to be cost-prohibitive. So I crossed my fingers and took a chance on Sweetwater's own Pro Co line solely because they were relatively inexpensive. (Not because I blindly trust Sweetwater; they also sell Hosa cables.)

Three years later and haven't had one fail yet, despite frequent abuse from coiling/uncoiling, being stepped on, having helpful bandmates quickly yank them out so we can pack out faster from a venue. No RFI or EMI, either, even in venues with questionable wiring and neon beer signs. And if they ever do fail, they all have metal plugs that can be easily repaired.

I'd also second Geoff's observation about keeping cables short. That's just a best-practice prophylactic measure in any situation. I, too, keep an assortment of lengths on hand - which is why I had so many in those gym bags. 

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24 minutes ago, bitflipper said:

they also sell Hosa cables.

Hey, I got some of those :D

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I needed an optical cable for TV out as the new ones don't have any RCA analog out anymore :(   I didn't want to wait so I purchased $$$ from Best Buy and the darn thing wouldn't fit probably.  Ordered the Sweetwater Brand and two days later for half the cost I got one that works perfectly.  All this trouble because I have little speakers on night stand for sound. Had to also buy an optical to analog convertor box.  It was one of those purchases we didn't want to make (a new TV) because we knew all the new ones don't have all the connections anymore 😞 but the old one pooped out last year.

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I know I mentioned this before, but I only ended up with a LOT of Monster cable (well over 100) thanks to a heads-up by a Guitar Center manager (who became manager mostly thanks to how much I bought from him! LOL).  Some of you might know that Monster cable was the ONLY product in GC that they weren't allowed to discount (at least when I was putting together my studio).  However, the manager called me right before their yearly Labor Day sale to let me know that they were going to blow out all remaining stock at 80% off only because Monster was changing the packaging!  So I made sure I was pretty much first in line at the door, headed right into Pro Audio and bought all they had (well over $600 worth).  After I had successfully escaped the store without being mugged by a couple of other guys who had also heard about the sale, I sorted them out at home and sold the ones I didn't want for a nice discount that still ended up making all the cables pretty much free. 😁

 

All of that said, my current preference are quality cords that have a braided, or flexible cover - not that hard plastic type (such as what Monster uses).  I've found that I had FAR fewer cable issues since these tend to handle bending much better.  YMMV! 😉

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3 hours ago, InstrEd said:

I had an instant where they did come in handy.  First house we lived close to radio transmitter relay tower for high powered AM station. House was aluminum sided with foil insulation. Cheap cables acted as an antenna. I brought a set of the high priced Monster Cable and they worked.  Probably could of got away with mid-tier priced ones instead of the low co  st ones that caused the trouble.  Place in now is brick and I don't think I have had any problems with any of my cables :)  

I believe you are talking about speaker wire in this instace which is a different animal.

Most speakerwire is not shielded (as in most cases that shielding isn't needed).  However your environment was likley the expection and cheap insulated wire would have done the trick also, just a matter of knowing what to look for to solve the problem.  

 

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15 minutes ago, Brian Walton said:

I believe you are talking about speaker wire in this instace which is a different animal.

Most speakerwire is not shielded (as in most cases that shielding isn't needed).  However your environment was likley the expection and cheap insulated wire would have done the trick also, just a matter of knowing what to look for to solve the problem.  

 

No it was for my Synths to keyboard amps. I was broadcasting AM670 :)

Funny thing is because the house was split-level and the family room was below ground level, cement, the stereo system with regular speaker wires were fine.
 

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47 minutes ago, InstrEd said:

No it was for my Synths to keyboard amps. I was broadcasting AM670 :)

Funny thing is because the house was split-level and the family room was below ground level, cement, the stereo system with regular speaker wires were fine.
 

Wow, you have have had some terrible instrument cables then!

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