Cable length - guitar > pedalboard > AMP - How long may it be?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Enusire, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Enusire

    Enusire Member

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    Hey guys,

    I know that this depends on different factors. Like which cables and effects are used, if there are any buffers in a setup etc.

    But maybe some experts can tell me approximately how long all cables in a basic setup (guitar - pedalboard - AMP) could be without a loss in tone/sound.

    I donĀ“t demand an absolutely precise answer, I just want to have an idea.

    Thanks in advance for your help! :munch
     
  2. john beddoe

    john beddoe Member

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    some people intentionally have longer cables to cut treble. I guess you just have to experiment and hear what you works for you :)
     
  3. LaoTzu

    LaoTzu Member

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    as long as you like if you have a buffer before the amp.
     
  4. clapton86

    clapton86 Member

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    I've never understood this. Longer cable = more treble or less treble?
     
  5. LaoTzu

    LaoTzu Member

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    longer cable means a loss of high end because the amount of distance it has to travel its why hendrix thought that a curly cable would have alot more length to it to loose the high end on his marshall strat combo but this doesnt matter if you have a buffer to match the impedance happening from the cable it just boost the signal back to normal and you retain your high end.
     
  6. LaoTzu

    LaoTzu Member

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    also another thing to note is if you don't have a buffer and all your pedals are true bypass, all that length of cable going through the pedals will contribute to losing high end on your tone. if you have a buffer before going through the true bypass pedals youll get the signal revitalised and then it will go through the true bypass pedals. alot of good boards may have a buffer at the start and just before going into the amp to retain the high end. it depends on two things how much you care and how much money.
     
  7. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot Member

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    The cable length that matters is the length the pickups can "see". So the first one (guitar->pedalboard) obviously matters. From there, it depends on where the first buffer/active pedal is. From that point on, assuming that buffer is properly designed, the cable length doesn't really count.

    How long is too long depends on the guitar (humbuckers and single coils react differently here, and of course if you have active pickups none of the cable stuff matters). The biggest factor, though, is the cable itself - if you get a cable with half the capacitance (measured in pF/foot or pF/meter), you can have twice the length of cable. So it's not possible to pin down a definitive number of feet of cable, I'm afraid.
     
  8. MilwMark

    MilwMark Member

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    Isn't there a rule of thumb that with any decent (not pricey or unobtainium) and standard single coils you can start to hear capacitance by about 10'-12' or so? Basically that unless you are prepared to have guitar-amp and stand in place without moving, capacitance even will be in play? You might like the effect, you might not. If you don't like the effect with the amount of cable in play in your rig, any decent buffer will "fix" it IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  9. msnes335

    msnes335 Supporting Member

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    Take some time and watch this video, where fellow TGP'r, JustNick, will explain the entire thing for you:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oQpr8qrwQI
     
  10. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    I have read that 18'-21' feet is the length where cable capacitance can begin to be noticeable resulting in minute high end roll off.
    I had one setup using a 25' Lava Magma into the first drive pedal on the board. If I used a shorter cable, I noticed a slightly brighter tone (the signal was buffered after the drive section of the pedalboard).
     
  11. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    The high end roll off from the cable from guitar to pedalboard is due to capacitance, so a high capacitance cable will be much shorter before you notice a change than a low capacitance one. And it'll be much more obvious with single coils!

    Once the signal is buffered, it makes VERY little difference. I set up a looper with 110' of cable (5 20' loops plus 10' from looper to input) with an SHO driving it and a second 10' cable from the other SHO output to the input and recorded the two sounds. I couldn't hear any difference.
     
  12. raviolio

    raviolio Supporting Member

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    Seems like it would make more sense to simply adjust the tone knob.
     
  13. stella was a dive

    stella was a dive Member

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    I feel my board is ideal this way.

    tuner > hotcake (buffer) > rat > arc klone (buffer ) > kilobyte delay > surf rider > TR2 (buffer) > amp
     
  14. Rockerduck

    Rockerduck Member

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    One standard cable, 18.5 feet long, is the approximate beginning to loose treble. Using a buffer cures this. A 20 ft. cable has been used to tame a bright amp for years.
     
  15. Enusire

    Enusire Member

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    Thanks for your answers! :aok I will experiment with different cable lengths and will not make myself crazy about that.


    haha, good one! :D
     
  16. SHOOTOUT!

    SHOOTOUT! Member

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    1. Depends on the cable capacitance, they vary dramatically... up to over three times difference as you can see here:

    http://www.shootoutguitarcables.com/guitar-cables-explained/capacitance-chart.html

    2. Depends on the pickups.

    Assuming passive pickups, then high output humbuckers will be affected least, low output single coils most, and very resonant (peaky) pickups will result in the most obvious differences due to the resonant peak moving lower, especially if moving through regions where hearing is most sensitive 3-4kHz.

    Note: Only significant length is from the guitar to the first buffered pedal. If all true bypass, small patch cable + 2 x connector capacitance, and the length to the amp soon adds up. Some vintage no-bypass (no bypass at all) pedals can also wreck the party, and different pedal input impedances will also have an effect.

    Sorry I can't help you where many premade cables are concerned as capacitance specifications are unfortunately often not given.

    Suggest a buffer certainly after the dirt pedals in general.

    Simple question, but a somewhat complex answer! 8O)

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers,

    Marc, Director
    SHOOTOUT! Guitar Cables, UK
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  17. Enusire

    Enusire Member

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    Thanks for your help! :)

    In my signature you can see which guitar and effects I use.

    The third pedal in my chain (POG2) and the second last pedal in my chain (BOSS DD20) have buffers. So I assume thats good for my chain.

    All my patch-cables are "Sommer Cable Spirit Highflex"
    The cables between guitar > pedalboard and pedalboard > AMP are "Sommer Cable The Spirit XXL"

    So I think my setup must be okay regarding cables. I just wondered how long can they be approximately.

    Why did you mention that you would suggest a buffer AFTER the dirt pedals?

    Thank you dude.
     
  18. Imola82

    Imola82 Member

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    My buffer is at the end of the chain just before the amp. I experimented with it in various places and by far it does the most benefit at the end. The builder even recommended it at the beginning, but it unquestionably and I would imagine everyone would agree, is best at the end of my chain before the amp.
     
  19. SHOOTOUT!

    SHOOTOUT! Member

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    Different pedals have different input impedances which affect the tone of a passive pickup direct but not after a buffer. Clearly the type of signal that goes into a dirt pedal that has distorting/clipping/compressing circuitry can be sensitive to such things. Fuzzes are best known for this. However a variable input impedance buffer can get around this aspect.

    Cheers,

    Marc, Director
    SHOOTOUT! Guitar Cables, UK
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015

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