Cables - Are they worth the extra scratch?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by shredhead7, May 12, 2008.

  1. shredhead7

    shredhead7 Member

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    As most of you know, guitar cables have a very large range of prices. After reading the Guitar Player reviews a few months back, it had me wondering if I wasn't short changing my amps. Do cork sniffer cables, like Mogami, Lava, Planet Waves, etc make that much difference over a $1.50/ft cable that I'm running right now?

    I run two cables with a wah in between, totaling 36 feet. Should I spend the extra $200 on two new high end cables? These would be used for all applications: practice, playing out, recording,etc.
     
  2. lannyhall

    lannyhall Member

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    I have a couple of the higher end cables, and my pedal board is wired with George Ls. I keep thinking about those long, coiled cords used by Jimi and others. I also recall the SRV story where he sent someone to get him a long coiled cord because he wanted to smooth out the high end.

    Q. Do high-end cords make some difference?
    A. Yes.

    Q. Is it necessarily better?
    A. Not always.
     
  3. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    I noticed a big difference when using a high-end Klotz La Grange cable between my guitar and Siegmund Midnight Special. Using a more common cable, I thought the amp was too dark, even with the treble maxed. The new cable brightened things up and added a little punch. I've not seen as dramatic a difference on other amps.
     
  4. dspblues

    dspblues Silver Supporting Member

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    Do a search, there are probably 10 threads on this. :)
     
  5. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    High quality cables retain treble that gets lost in cheap cables. This results in a brighter (obviously) and, to my ears, a more detailed sound.

    They make a difference. It is the kind of difference that you notice when doing A/B comparisons, but that you are not really aware of in normal situations.

    The treble loss with cheap cables can be remedied by EQ adjustment.

    In going to high-end cables, I would be more motivated by durability than an upgrade in tone.

    I do not use the high-buck stuff.
     
  6. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    I use the Evidence Audio Melody...tightened low end, tasty high end. Great for the complex Siegmund cleans
     
  7. shredhead7

    shredhead7 Member

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    Are the benefits of the cable negated by running it through an effects pedal?
     
  8. m@2

    m@2 Member

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    one thing I have done for the last few years is to buy the cables that come with a lifetime warranty (such as planet waves). I keep the recpt, and if I have any issues, they replace them. These cables tend to be a little more $$, but it saves me money long term by having the ability to replace if needed.

    As far as impact on tone, I only notice if I'm using crappy cables that tend to bring noise, crackling, decreased gain etc. into the tone
     
  9. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    I don't go spending hundreds on cables, but I did buy 4 30' Planet Waves cables with the gold jacks about 4 years ago. 2 of them mysteriously vanished, and the other 2 I still have, and are working perfectly.

    I could definately tell a difference between them and the Horizon cables I was using previously.
     
  10. StudioRat320

    StudioRat320 Member

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    I'm using Mogami cables for my setup and I love them. The only effects I use are wah, overdrive and boost. I've found that Mogami cables are the best for me after trying several others. They aren't cheap, but less costly than some others. Great cables IMO. My studio is completely wired with Mogami as well.
     
  11. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    The increased signal you'll get from better cables won't necessarily be totally negated by a pedalboard, but certain effects will certainly suck tone... and your Wah is likely one of them. Unless a Wah has been modded for true bypass, they are one of the biggest tone suckers you can add to a board. But if you start with cheap, noisy cables and use a Wah your tone is going to suffer even more.

    That being said, it is nearly impossible to keep the signal pristine throughout the entire chain, but stepping up to Monsters or Mogami's (I use Monster guitar cables and the Planet Waves patch cable kit) will certainly help clear up your signal and reduce unwanted noise (and will usually add a noticeable amount of treble to your tone).

    I use a non-true bypass Wah pedal (the Wydle CryBaby), but I follow it immediately with the VisualSound Jekyll & Hyde od/dist. pedal that boosts the signal slightly when not active. It really helps "fix" to some degree what the Wah does to my signal in the chain. Otherwise, if you really want to be anal you can send off your Wah to be modded for true bypass.

    An easy test is to just buy a $40 or $50 Mogami 18 footer and A/B it with your old cable with no effects in between. Then you'll really see if it matters to you. If you can buy the Mogami from Guitar Center or somewhere online with a return policy you can try this risk-free.

    RR
     
  12. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    A noble effort......

    but make it 11 threads now.:jo

    At least we get to find out how opinions and questions have changed and evolved since..........yesterday!:D
     
  13. bastet

    bastet Member

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    Who makes good patch cabels? 6" tip to tip?
     
  14. Flameout12

    Flameout12 Member

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    My experience:
    - One of the ways to tell bad cables from good is how they affect the clarity of picking attack. Bad cables will cause muddy tone.

    -Unless you need longer cables, use shorter ones like 10' rather than 12', 15' rather than 20', etc.

    -Some of the mid-priced cables will beat the pants off of the lower priced ones. I'm currently using Fulltone cables and they are perfect for my set-up.

    - Some cables sound great in front of the amp and not so great in the loop and vice versa. You really have to test all of this.

    -Lots of lower end pedals suck tone, including a few advertised a having "true bypass". People need to take the time and test each one individually. This is where some of the higher end pedals can make a difference, especially when they are turned OFF.
    So far, I've had positive results with a Fulltone OCD and a Xotic RC Booster. Multiple other pedals I've tried were unacceptable.
     
  15. Darkburst

    Darkburst Member

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    I like the Mogami cables you can buy at GC. They're not too expensive, have a lifetime warranty and sound good.
     
  16. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I think if you can buy it at Guitar Center, it ain't real cork sniffin'. :crazyguy

    That being said... I just spent good money on a 12' Sommer Grindycop Beast from Lava Cable, and immediately compared it to my other cables (Rapco, Roadhog, George Ls). After that test, I don't regret a dime of it.

    Of the previous cables I'd used, my favorites were the Rapcos. The George L cables were bright to the point where I suspected they were hyped, and the Roadhogs were muddy. The Rapcos were also reliable, and I've had a bunch of cables go bad recently. But the Grindycop Beast stomped 'em all, in every measure. Here are some observed differences:

    1. End construction. Lava Cable solders on Neutrik ends that won't unscrew and lose structural integrity. The barrel-end cover threads over the plug, not the cable, so there's machined metal integrity down the entire length of the plug - not just some bendy little tab holding the cable in place. And the soldered joint is also heat-shrinked and covered with another plastic protector. THESE ends will last!

    2. Clarity. Tonally, the Grindycop Beast was noticably clearer than any of the other cables... about as much difference as installing better pickups. The George L's brightness sounded much more like glare after the sweet highs of the Grindycop.

    3. Appearance. It just looks a lot nicer, with a clear vinyl covering over multicolored braid.

    4. Balance. Unlike the hyped George Ls or the muddy Roadhogs, the Grindycop didn't seem to emphasize or smother particular tones.

    5. Handling noise. There was MUCH less mechanical noise at high gain (this goes against the Guitar Player review - I don't know what their problem was).

    6. Electrical noise. There was noticably less hum and buzz.

    My only gripe is that the material feels sticky. I like the feel of rubber cables better. But I can live with it.

    So yeah, good cables are well worth it, especially the first lead from your guitar to your pedals. IMHO, anyway. I'm sure someone will tell me it's all placebo.
     
  17. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    Ernie Ball makes a real nice sounding low capacitance pedal interconnects at 6" and 12".
    Best Regards!
     
  18. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    That is up to you. Some lower priced cables that sound great are;
    CBI Belden, DiMarzio, Ernie Ball, Ibanez series 96
    IMHO these do compete with some priced 2 to 3 times higher.
    Price does not guarantee better sound quality. Use your ears to determine what works for you.
    Best Regards!
     
  19. Jay Strange

    Jay Strange Member

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    I went through this deal before and spent a herd of loot on high end cables and after all feel a descent cable will do just fine...Its not like a speaker change. Some are bright some are dark and some are crap. I've even had issues with these high end cables where with the mid priced ones I have not. I guess it depends on how close your microlistening!!:D
     
  20. Frenster

    Frenster Put your Rock Face on!

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    I moved up to Lava ELC and definitely notice the difference in the quality of the sound to my Monster cables. The ELC doesn't cost an arm and a leg either.
     

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