Author Topic: Cables  (Read 5023 times)

Numina

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Cables
« on: September 18, 2010, 12:35:50 PM »
What brand of cables are you guys using? Being that Guitar Center rules the land around here all they have is HOSA and I absolutely despise HOSA. No joke - almost all of my hosa cables have gone bad.

As a side note - for a very brief period Denver had a few Mars Music stores - lime literally for a year - and their cable wall was comprised of a competing brand to HOSA and I have a bunch o that brand's patch cables abd they're still working great but I can'. Remember the brand. Anyone?

mgriffin

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Re: Cables
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 01:28:22 PM »
Everybody I know has tried Hosa cables, because they're ubiquitous and cheap, but everybody I know has decided Hosa cables suck.  I have a bunch of them bundled-up and put away.  Maybe ten years ago I bought a bunch of Mogami cables with Neutrik connectors, and the quality of those things makes the Hosa stuff (Dave Fulton calls those "hose-ya") seem like toys.  They're way more expensive but they'll last forever.
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LNerell

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Re: Cables
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2010, 01:42:39 PM »
I use mostly Belden cables with Neturik connectors, I usually make my own its pretty easy to do.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 08:49:25 AM by LNerell »
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APK

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Re: Cables
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2010, 01:44:21 PM »
I also make my own cables to suit, using neutrik, wire, and solder.

I've found that many problems with cables are due to tarnishing/oxidizing of the plugs.
You know those plastic dish scrubber pads, sometimes attached to sponge? they are great for cleaning the stems of plugs.
But yep, some cheap cables do have very thin wire inside and the joints can't take too much bending.
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mgriffin

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Re: Cables
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2010, 02:18:36 PM »
I remember those early days, rotating and wiggling plugs, trying to get them to stop crackling or cutting-out.
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Numina

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Re: Cables
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2010, 04:19:39 PM »
I remember those early days, rotating and wiggling plugs, trying to get them to stop crackling or cutting-out.

"early days"?  I'm still doing this with my monitor speaker cables.  They're HOSA though, so that's to be expected.

I caved in and bought 2 pair of HOSAs today.

I should make my own.

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: Cables
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2010, 08:47:47 PM »
My entire studio is wired with Mogami, and for mic cables I use Blue Kiwi Cables mostly.

Cables are cables to a point and from everything I have read its really more a difference in longevity and build quality VS sound.
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

Numina

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Re: Cables
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2010, 09:33:30 AM »
Paul - thank you for saying that! I always felt like quality of sound was not a big part of cable brands - rather build quality. As far as I can tell - and I do have a few "upper class" brands of cables I've tried - the audio sound quality is the same regardless of cable brand. A person could really go into deep debt just cabling their studio.

Honestly, the best and longest lasting cables I've got are old Radio Shack 1/4" cables. Which, to my dismay, cost about 3 times more now than when I last bought them and twice as much as HOSA.

I figured if I don't overuse these HOSAs and just plug them in once then they should do the trick.

Yay for Hose-Ya!

mgriffin

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Re: Cables
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2010, 10:01:35 AM »
I agree with Paul.  I didn't move away from Hosa cables for sound quality (although I guess crackling and static and channels cutting out do impact sound quality) but for reliability.
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Numina

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Re: Cables
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2010, 10:48:49 AM »
Unbelievable... I just connected one of these cables to my Eclipse and the left channel of the hosa 1/4" got freakin' STUCK!!!!!!! I had to really pull hard to get it out. Damnit! I thought I was going to pull the connector right out. A few tiny pieces of plastic came off... just what I need, hosa cables to wreck $2K in gear. Fortunately it appears to be ok but that was scary.

I also have a really hard time putting hosa cables into my patchbay - their molds on the cable connector must be terrribly innaccurate.

Ok, from this point forward... Neve again on Hosa.

jkn

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Re: Cables
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2010, 09:25:48 AM »
Since I'm totally hopeless with a soldering iron...  I ended up liking the cables that shipped with my modular and ordered a bunch to wire up everything else with as my older cables started getting far too old.

http://synthesizers.com/cables.html

The color coding by size is nice for when I'm patching the modular.

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LNerell

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Re: Cables
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2010, 10:38:25 AM »
Since I'm totally hopeless with a soldering iron...  I ended up liking the cables that shipped with my modular and ordered a bunch to wire up everything else with as my older cables started getting far too old.

http://synthesizers.com/cables.html


I'm sure those are great cables, but since they are for a modular synth they are unbalanced, I would probably go with balanced cables for general studio use.
Take care.

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Numina

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Re: Cables
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2010, 11:15:08 AM »
Is there an advantage for using balanced TRS jacks from an older rack unit say my Wavestation A/D plugged directly into an Eclipse? Is it purely for dealing with interference noise better?

What about going from A/D->Eclipse with UNbalanced 1/4" and then Eclipse -> FireFace with balanced?

On my end I'm not hearing much, if any, difference although there have been times when replacing an unbalance cable with balanced resulted in better signal quality but it doesn't seem to be a recurring issue.

Loren - are you connecting everything with balances cables?

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Cables
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2010, 03:30:41 PM »
Monster Keyboard & Inter connector cables here...... overheard two guys chatting in Sam Ash one day some 10 yrs ago and they were in a great debt over cables and cable quality and how its the first and least expensive place to start a studio upgrade (project studio). At the time I had not given a thought to cables beyond hosa et el.  From $10 to $40 for a 6ft cable pair...ouch! I bought the pair of monster cables, got home and pulled my hosa cables out of my Alpha Juno, plug the monsters in and listened.....there was a difference in the sound, no doubt, almost as though the audio coming out of the synth had just hit some gentle tube compression, or eq or something. There was certainly more presence to the sound.  After going back and forth between the two different cables I quickly switch my entire studio to Monster cables.  Those cables are still with me today and none of the gear from back then is.  Monster, Mogami, whatever your choice of quality cable, they can be with you for quite some time and certainly contribute to better sounding recordings.

Cheers....Julio

LNerell

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Re: Cables
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2010, 03:55:28 PM »
On my end I'm not hearing much, if any, difference although there have been times when replacing an unbalance cable with balanced resulted in better signal quality but it doesn't seem to be a recurring issue.

Loren - are you connecting everything with balances cables?

In general balanced cables will lower the noise floor compared to unbalanced, especially with longer runs of cables. Yes I run everything balanced, even things without balanced connectors. Mainly because I make my own cables, I buy my cables and connectors in bulk as its cheaper that way. When I made the switch to balanced from unbalanced about 20 years ago I heard a big difference, but like I said it was my entire studio, not just one or two pieces in isolation.
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mgriffin

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Re: Cables
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2010, 04:00:01 PM »
When I started using balanced cables for all connections, I noticed a reduce in hum and other unwanted noises in the studio.  If all your cables are balanced, you don't have to worry about which instruments, jacks or connectors are balanced or unbalanced. 

Having said that, if you connect two unbalanced jacks with a balanced cable, you're not really gaining anything.
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Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: Cables
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2010, 05:30:57 PM »
Ditto, all balanced here as well.
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

Numina

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Re: Cables
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2010, 04:04:35 PM »
My entire studio is wired with Mogami, and for mic cables I use Blue Kiwi Cables mostly.

Cables are cables to a point and from everything I have read its really more a difference in longevity and build quality VS sound.

dude... A single 3' Mogami cable is $45 and increasing length (quantity) doesn't seem to do much much in the way of price discount. If I were to upgrade my studio and re-wire with all Mogami I'd be looking at about $10,000 minimum. Ridiculous. With you running a pro studio I can understand using high end - if amythig just to say you are - but there is no way I could justify that expense.  

mgriffin

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Re: Cables
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2010, 04:06:05 PM »
Nah, I'll find a link for you.  I didn't pay nearly that much, and I mostly bought longer cables.
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mgriffin

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Re: Cables
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2010, 04:12:15 PM »
I think this is where I got 'em.

http://www.marketek.com

$19.40 for 3-foot 1/4" TRS cables (balanced) and not too much more for longer ones.

You might want to order a big spool of cable and learn soldering basics... save a ton of money. Does anybody have a link to a good cable-making primer or tutorial?
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