I cannot FREAKIN' believe how much difference a speaker cable makes (Carmen Ghia)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by AJ Love, Jun 22, 2005.


  1. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    I recently bought a Carmen Ghia head with a 210 cab, and my regular speaker cable that I normally use turned up missing at my rehearsal space, so the only Speaker Cable I had was the no-name cheapo cable the store that sold me the Cabinet sent along

    with the cheapo cable the Ghia sounded good but not incredible, I was startin' to wonder "whats the big deal about a Ghia?" It sounded pretty good but everything was really trebly, had to overcompensate the excess shrill treble with the Tone controls on both my guitar and amp... it was good but really had me wondering

    Fortunately, the Evidence Audio speaker cable that I bought arrived in the mail today

    The difference is beyond night and day... the settings remained the same otherwise, the only difference was the cable (I'm playing straight-in).... now its a beautiful full balanced articulate tone to die for.... un'freakin'believable

    I suppose I shoulda known better, didn't think a Speaker Cable could make THAT much of a difference.... this is my first foray into Boutique Amps though

    so now, Suhr Standard---> Dr Z Carmen Ghia, with Evidence Audio cables is tonal bliss for me
     
  2. dzghia

    dzghia Guest

    Where did you get the cable and how much did it cost?
     
  3. miko

    miko Guest

    Couldn't agree more.

    I recently replaced the speaker cable in my Blues Deluxe combo (I know, pretty mediocre amp... I'm really a bass player) and it was a huge improvement, a much more open, richer tone.
    got my cable from Gary at Mulder Audio.

    check out:

    www.mulderaudio.com

    Gary's a great guy to deal with and has a really good product.
    I know he's got some cables to folks on TGP, and I think he's
    giving 10% off to TGP people.
     
  4. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    I bought it direct from Evidence Audio and it was @ $60
     
  5. ccteleman

    ccteleman Member

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    I would'nt say that, I thought that was pretty cool amp. The drive channel never did much for me but I liked the clean side alot.

    C
     
  6. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    What brand of cable are you using for guitar > amp? If it's a no-name/generic, then you should get a good cable for that too, like the Evidence Audio Lyric HG - same big improvement.
     
  7. jrigg

    jrigg Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey I know exactly what you mean! I tried a Mulder Audio cable in my combo and it made such a difference that I went all-out out and use Gary's cables in both of my set-ups. Plus he is a great guy to deal with and is so confident of his product's quality that he offers a 7 day money-back guarantee. I haven't tried the Evidence speaker cables but I know they make a great guitar cable.
     
  8. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    Yeah, I've got an Evidence Audio Lyric HG cable... I can say without a doubt that I hear a big difference in tone quality between my Evidence Audio instrument cable and my Monster instrument cable
     
  9. Babaji

    Babaji Member

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    ...Speaker cables do make a big difference! For years I've used lamp cord and made my own. It worked...But could it be better? I remembered having a conversation with an amp guy from N.J. whose favorite speaker cable was the power cable from a 1950's Electrolux vacume cleaner...I laughed! A friend passed on recently and there was his 1950's Hoover vacume cleaner out with the trash. The old somewhat dryrotted Belden power cable was still very flexable...I snipped it and brought it home. I made a four foot and a sixteen foot cable, while having an amp repair taken care of at a local shop. The results were astounding! The old cable had seen high current draw for a few decades, which causes the cable to be very directional. The first direction that I plugged in was a little distorted and not very good sounding. I then reversed the direction...The difference was startling! Very warm with refined highend content. That was the four footer. The sixteen footer was even better sounding! I compared them to the lamp cord...and a Monster cable...No contest! The guys at the shop were shocked. On my way home I spied another Vac out at the curb on my street. I spoke with it's former owner about snipping the cable...and away I went with one from a 1980's Hoover. I made a sixteen footer...It sounds almost as good as the 1950's Belden! I must now caution all who read this...Vacume cleaners perform a valuable service to mankind...But if it doesn't work anymore, or maybe needs a new power cable...Where's the harm? Try it for yourself...This is for real...
    Bill
     
  10. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Oh my goodness!!! Now prices of old used Hoovers and Electroluxes will be shooting up on eBay. Is this an eleborate ruse? And why would the cable be directional when the vacuum uses AC power?
     
  11. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    This is all very interesting. I always was under the impression that the optimal speaker cable was a hefty but plain 2-conductor copper wire ("lamp cord").

    What is it about the vacuum cleaner cord that makes it different? Perhaps guage of copper? Or that it's been used in a high-amperage unit for so long? If the latter, then perhaps power cords from old toasters, microwaves, or hair driers would work as well?
     
  12. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell Member

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    Some facts, whether people like to hear them or not:

    First, cables aren't directional, whether used with AC or DC.

    Second, a cheap 12 gauge cable will sound better than an expensive 18 gauge cable. A high quality 12 gauge cable will sound the same at first as a cheap 12 gauge cable, but the cheap cable will lose sound quality as it deteriorates faster than a high quality cable will.

    Third, aside from not degenerating quickly over time from use, a high quality speaker cable won't improve the sound unless the wiring from the amp's output transformer to the output jack and the wiring from the speaker jack to the speaker is of comparable gauge and quality. Either one can be the bottleneck.

    Fourth, though this is more applicable for bass (higher wattage) than for guitar, the speaker connector method is also a bottleneck. A good quality mono 1/4" jack gives a better mechanical connection and has more surface area in contact than a cheap jack. A Neumann Speakon is even better than a good quality 1/4" jack.

    As to the old vaccum cable, perhaps it's old and slightly damaged and is inducing a bit of distortion that you find pleasing to your ears. But unless you measure it and find that it passes a more pure signal than new wire of the same gauge, it hardly seems magical.
     
  13. gls500

    gls500 Supporting Member

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    SANITY EXISTS! :D
     
  14. tmac

    tmac Goldmember Gold Supporting Member

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    Best speaker cable I ever had was made from the power cord to an old heart/lung machine.

    The amp breathes so much better now....













    :D
     
  15. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell Member

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    I know mastering engineers who use 10 gauge Romex for their speakers (Romex is the bundled wire used for electrical installations in houses). Too stiff to use on stage, but it sounds great.
     
  16. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Now we have sunk a wooden stake into the heart of the hoary old speaker cable myth, what about expensive instrument cables? I have read one convincing study that says that the capacitance and resistance of instrument cable doesn't matter as it is connecting two devices of with a very high resistance/inductance. What is the truth? Is it worth dropping $100 for a boutique cable? And wouldn't the spring clip covered in dirt inside the input jacks of both the guitar and amp kind of throw nthe whole equation of the rails?
     
  17. Roccaforte Amps

    Roccaforte Amps Member

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  18. Babaji

    Babaji Member

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    "Some facts, whether people like to hear them or not:

    First, cables aren't directional, whether used with AC or DC. "

    ...Until you try it and find out for yourself...and discover that they are directional...you won't believe it. I'll go a step further...Every compnent in a guitar amplifier(that is a capacitor or resistor excluding the electrolitics which have positive and negitive terminals) can and will sound better in one direction than the other. I've experimented with tone stack capacitors(one could be be at it for years...To do it to everything in an amplifier!) using alligator clips to put them in the circuit. The results were worth the extra effort. Parts tolerence also plays a part. Ten of the same value capacitors clipped in will give you two or three that will be hard to choose between and they will sound different when their direction is reversed. One direction will sound better than the other. Ultimatly...Let your ears be the judge. You will find tonal bliss. So...Don't believe me...Experiment for yourself.
    Bill
     
  19. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Member

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    Actually, most cables are directional even if not marked because during the construction, the copper is drawn to form the wire. There are some audiophile cast copper cables, though.
     
  20. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell Member

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    I have tested it, both with my ears and with scopes. And the only time an instrument cable exhibits "directionality" is when there is damage at one end or another, so that the cable exhibits more capacitance in one direction than the other. Undamaged cables sound exactly the same in either direction, no matter whether they are Rapco, Belden, George Ls, Monsters, you name it.

    Printing arrows, and all the other directional crap, is just marketing BS that preys upon guitarists' inborn superstitions.

    A quick test is to play the same test signal through two cables into a scope and to reverse the polarity of one of them. There should be a total cancellation occuring if the cables are not damaged. Now, if changing the direction of the cables were to change the sound AT ALL, changing the direction of one cable should either result in less than total cancellation or it should result in increased cancellation, assuming the cancellation wasn't complete to begin with.

    But that never happens. If a cable is non-damaged, then using that cable in either direction will result in total cancellation of the signal.

    Every. Time.

    At frequencies beyond the human range of hearing.

    At frequencies beyond the capabilities of guitar amps/speakers to reproduce.

    Every. Time.

    For myself, I use George L cables and connectors and Mogami cables with Neutrik connectors. They are both very high quality without marketing upcharging. Capacitance is not an issue as long as cable lengths are kept reasonable (no cable can defy the laws of physics, no matter how much gold is sputtered on or what direction the logo on the insulation runs).

    This has nothing to do with parts tolerances for caps and resistors. This also has nothing to do with capacitor behavior in high voltage circuits.

    Lastly, let's assume that every book of physics in the world is incorrect and that every paper published by the AES is incorrect. Let's say that cables are directional.

    How do you ensure that every bit of wire in a guitar and an amp are facing in the "right" direction? Because in order to get any benefit from directionality, all the wires would have to be identically aligned, or the benefit would cumulatively be cancelled out.

    This is especially problematic because there is no machine or program that exists that is capable of hearing the difference in cable directionality. So how do you know which way is which when you wire a guitar, effect, amp, or speaker, when you can't measure it?

    Anyone? Bueller?

    All the time, I read people on the net saying "it doesn't matter that scopes and meters can't tell the difference- everyone can hear it." Well, no, it does matter very much. Scopes and distortion meters and the like can hear distortion well before it becomes audible. They can measure phase differences long before they become audible. They can measure time arrival differences long before they become audible. These aren't my opinions. This is how the world works.

    I just typed a lot, and it doesn't matter. The true believers will dismiss all this, and continue to spend way too much money on esoteric "directional" cables. So be it. Gallileo was right and look what it got him.
     

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