amp speaker cables. What are you using and how often do you replace them?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by paulscape, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. paulscape

    paulscape Member

    Messages:
    3,357
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Location:
    red dog saloon
    I hardly ever hear much talk about speaker cables yet they are major part of the chain and a part where, if one had a lousy cable, could actually ruin your amp. Before I fire up any of my amps, I always check the speaker cables to make sure they are in properly but I dont replace them very often and I dont think Ive ever seeked out a high end cable like I have with instrument cables. Obviously they dont get banged and twisted around as much but considering the potential disasters that could happen with a faulty cable running from an amp into a speaker cab I wonder what other safe and reliable speaker cables people use and whether pro players tape the cables to the back of the speaker in case they pop out or come loose.

    Ive always been a bit nervous because I once accidently blew up a mates very cool Galien Kruger bass amp because he was using an ancient speaker cable held loosely together with gaff tape. The cable died on the night he lent it to me and as a result I smoked that amp beyond repair.
     
  2. bluesjunior

    bluesjunior Member

    Messages:
    5,631
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    I re-wired my stereo speakers a few years back with Monster Speaker Cable. I can't remember the gauge but it is the heavy duty type, see through brown coloured and has a red stripe on the one side.
    I had some left over and decided to rewire the Celestion G12H's inside my 2X12 closed back speaker cab and make an amp to cab cable at the same time with two 1/4 inch Switchcraft jacks I had. I noticed an immediate difference the first time I played through it once finished. Much more clarity and a better more defined sound alltogether than before. We talk about good gear here all the time but this convinced me that you should also have good cables and connections as well.
     
  3. bemymonkey

    bemymonkey Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    I change mine every time I change my strings... otherwise the oxidization of the contacts makes my amp sound dull and crappy.







    Wait... wha?

    Why would you replace a working speaker cable? Get decent plugs, and some decent speaker cable, solder 'em up and you should be good for at least ten years of hard road work.
     
  4. gldtp99

    gldtp99 Member

    Messages:
    2,508
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    I made my own for yrs out of heavy duty copper power cables----i've even used old power cords from vacuum cleaners (2 conductor).
    I recently got the hi-end Monster (w/black woven covering ---- gold plated plugs) They sound as good as any i've made (which are better than most "stock" speaker cables) and they're guranteed for life-----i really don't like screwing around making up cables----i don't have as much time as i'd like to build amps. So i bought two more of the Monsters last week.
    There's no need to replace a good working speaker cable--- if the metal plug gets dirty for some reason, then wipe it off with a rag--- if that doesn't clean it then spray some Windex or Electrical Contact Cleaner or Caig D5 or MCL on the rag and wipe it clean---- dry it with the dry part of the rag---- make sure it's dry, completely dry before plugging into the amp/cab.
    If the cable is physically damaged then don't use it---- get another one---- speaker cables are much cheaper than amps----- wrapping with tape rarely fixes anything-:nono (i know, like any real musician will really believe this !!!)-:roll.................gldtp99
     
  5. paulscape

    paulscape Member

    Messages:
    3,357
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Location:
    red dog saloon
    Customized cables! Love it! I'll have to try experimenting with some different cables and plugs and see what difference it makes. I think my current cables are probably average quality.
     
  6. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

    Messages:
    7,048
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    white plains, ny
    Once the notes start getting stuck....gotta change 'em.
     
  7. Plague Dog

    Plague Dog Member

    Messages:
    2,622
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    San Pedro, CA.

    I have to call BS on this. A tube amp can fry if the speaker cables fail due to fly back voltages across the electron plate of the power tubes... I don't believe the same is true of a solid state amp... I've had monitors come unplugged many times with no damage at all to the power amp.

    Now if there were a direct short in the cable, that would be different.
     
  8. Plague Dog

    Plague Dog Member

    Messages:
    2,622
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    San Pedro, CA.
    I make up my own cables using #16 twisted pair bell wire (solid), I pull it into 1/4" teflon tubing and solder switchcraft ends onto it. I am always careful with the cables when I wrap them and store them. I never kink the wire or bend it too sharply. I would put these cables up against any monster cables made.
     
  9. Deville2Rocket

    Deville2Rocket Member

    Messages:
    1,112
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    In a combo amp where the speaker cables never move, I can't think of a single reason to change speaker wire.

    When you plug and unplug a head/cab rig once or twice a week, it's a good idea to open up the connectors on your speaker cables every few months and verify everything's making good contact, and that there isn't any danger of a short.

    In my experience, almost all cable failures occur at the ends. Connectors get yanked, and solder points get stressed and break. Once a year, I recommend cutting about 2 inches off of either side of the cable and soldering the ends back on to the freshly cut wire. That will give you a practically brand new cable. Use it 'til it's gone.
     
  10. J.T. Guitar

    J.T. Guitar Platinum Member Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,070
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Rocky Mountain High
    I use 16 gauge solid copper hookup wire inside my cabs, and Evidence Siren between head and cab. I've never had any problem, and I never anticipate any.
     
  11. paulscape

    paulscape Member

    Messages:
    3,357
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Location:
    red dog saloon
    BS? Well I dont know the technical details of what happened but when he lent me the amp it had an ancient cable barely held together connecting the head to the speaker cab (This was a standard cable - not the internal wires going from the cabinet's input socket to the actual speaker cones). Having been lent the amp I didn't really consider the potential implications of the poor condition cable until it was too late. Whatever the problem was, the amp smoked up like a BBQ upon startup and wouldn't work after that. No-one in Sydney was able to fix it. Ever since Ive always been nervous when linking up heads, cabinets and speakers.

    Cheers
     
  12. StudioRat320

    StudioRat320 Member

    Messages:
    348
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2008
    I use Mogami for everything. They sound great and never break. I'd rather spend my time playing, than experimenting with cables. These work for me.
     
  13. bemymonkey

    bemymonkey Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Solid state amps don't like short-circuits... if the two conductors in the speaker cable somehow shorted, it's no wonder the amp fried.

    Tube amps don't mind being short circuited, but can fry if you forget to hook up a cab, unlike solid state amps...
     
  14. Mr. Bertha

    Mr. Bertha Member

    Messages:
    1,104
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
  15. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

    Messages:
    3,040
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    I use whatever came with my cabinets. Pretty sure it's just 16ga standard copper wire in there though. 16ga is more than enough for most amps, but you can go 14ga or 12ga if you wanna go nuts.
     
  16. spaceatl

    spaceatl Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    I use 11 AWG 4 conductor and Neutrik NL4MPs...Then I never have to worry about it...Nothing like using garden hose for speaker cable...plus no one else can plug into my cabs usually...
     
  17. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,128
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Location:
    Taxachusetts
    I made my own with a twisted pair of 16AWG wire and a switch craft connector, works great and sounds good to my ears....no need to spend mone on that cable!
     
  18. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,506
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Reno
    I bought a Van Den Hul from Lavacables, expensive but it was a major step up from all my other cables. Much stronger song, less harsh but more high end, tighter bass and way smoother in the mids.
     
  19. realityczech

    realityczech Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,048
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    In 40+ years of playing I've had less than a dozen speaker cables fail and I fixed those.
     
  20. Stringrazor

    Stringrazor Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Location:
    Southern California
    I bought a spool of 16ga speaker wire years ago when I set up outdoor speakers and I used some of what was left over to make some amp-to-cab cables. I only change (and fix) 'em if/when they give me trouble (and they almost never do).

    I'm surprised to read here that people use and seem to get good results with solid wire. I'd always read that electricity only travels on a wire's surface so stranded cable, with much more surface area than solid wire, was always preferable for audio applications.
     

Share This Page