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When can you hear cable quality

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  • When can you hear cable quality

    Not "who can hear a difference". Rather, "when do you hear a difference." At home playing solo guitar? At gigs? Recording? On guitar, bass, vocals, amplifying speakers? On high-quality gear?

    I honestly can't tell any difference between my Fender guitar cable from 2002, my swanky 2' Monster cable, the Mogami Golds that I built from bulk cable, or the Amazon specials. Then again, I also used to run instrument cable instead of speaker cable to power my cabs because I didn't know any better, and also didn't hear a quality difference. Also, 99% of my gear has always been budget, so maybe I just always sound terrible and that's the reason the Music Industry hasn't approached me to provide wealth in return for my talent, no questions asked.

    Thoughts?
    Originally posted by crusty philtrum
    Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
    http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

  • #2
    in the studio or a quiet room, i can hear the difference between some cables. some more noticeable than others. at a gig? nope.

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    • #3
      It is very difficult to really hear the various nuances unless you are doing it back to back immediately. Playing one cable today and then playing a different cable tomorrow will likely yield no difference to your ears because your reference point can't be remembered. I can hear cable changes any time I change a cable if it is done back to back instantly. This happens at any volume and in any situation. The more seconds or minutes that go by before the cable change, the less likely I will hear anything different at all. YMMV
      The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by alex1fly View Post
        Not "who can hear a difference". Rather, "when do you hear a difference." At home playing solo guitar? At gigs? Recording? On guitar, bass, vocals, amplifying speakers? On high-quality gear?

        I honestly can't tell any difference between my Fender guitar cable from 2002, my swanky 2' Monster cable, the Mogami Golds that I built from bulk cable, or the Amazon specials.

        Thoughts?
        You have a swanky 2' cable?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dave74 View Post

          You have a swanky 2' cable?
          Haha, compared to a 19 year old guitar cable, you bet. No idea where it came from - accidental snag from some music event long ago, surely. It might only be 1 foot.
          Originally posted by crusty philtrum
          Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
          http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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          • #6
            Recording with close mics and listening back, or standing in front of the amp.

            Standing out in the room, the only variance is perhaps the treble drops off a foot or two closer to the amp with nigh capacitance cables and the treble survives a few feet more with lower capacitance/"quality" cables. Basically, the room will absorb or dissipate treble either way, but if the original sound starts of slightly darkened by a high capacitance cable, then the treble will fall off even earlier. But it's something you'd have to pay attention to. Far away there are other things that mask those kinds of issues with the sound, like basic lobing of the speakers as you walk around (e.g. frequency cancellation from a conical speaker in a rectangular cabinet radiating sound outward in a spherical manner and all the edge/surface anomalies from that.)

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            • #7
              You have to use a Tone Strap to hear the Tone Cable.
              “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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              • #8
                In a noisy bar, you're just happy to hear anything you play . . . so nuance often takes a back seat. At home, or in a recording situation though it's a lot more evident.

                Cable quality is more evident with longer cable runs. A great 60 ft cable will sound very different than a terrible 60ft cable - the terrible one will roll off a lot more of the highs because it's higher capacitance. A great 5 ft cable probably sounds pretty close to a crappy 5 ft cable - the crappy cable is still high capacitance, but overall capacitance of both cables is going to be so low that it probably isn't audible.

                Most stuff that's not total crap will have reasonable capacitance values though, and sound fine. The main reason that I buy more expensive cable is that it tends to last longer before crapping out.
                Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

                Originally posted by Douglas Adams
                This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by NegativeEase View Post
                  You have to use a Tone Strap to hear the Tone Cable.
                  i always use a tone strap brah

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jeremy View Post

                    i always use a tone strap brah
                    I may be old fashioned, but have always figured that men shouldn't need bras.


                    Even of the tone strap variety.
                    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

                    Originally posted by Douglas Adams
                    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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                    • #11
                      I can't hear a difference live. I have not used cheap cables in decades so I do not have a control for a bad-sounding cable. Whenever I see good cables on sale, discounted or SDOTD I grab them, so I have decent cables everywhere.


                      | Gear Reviews | Beer | Babes | The Internet's Only Unedited & Uncensored Musician's Forum | Sports |

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                      • #12
                        Stand right next to your amp with a George L patch cable plugged straight in. Wow, that’s some treble zing!

                        When you have a drummer bashing cymbals next to your ear compared to a quiet room, that’s where I can hear a difference.
                        Oh no.....


                        Oh Yeah!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GuitarStv View Post

                          I may be old fashioned, but have always figured that men shouldn't need bras.


                          Even of the tone strap variety.

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                          • #14
                            What goes through the cable is vastly more important than the cable itself as long as the cable shields noise effectively and has minimal handling noise. For a guitar lead I look for durability foremost. I hear a slight improvement with my Spectraflex leads over cheaper types like Rapco but I have them more for durability and the fact that they don't look like every other cable on the stage.

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                            • #15
                              You can hear it the first year you start playing guitar. You can no longer hear the first month after you start playing loud.
                              Originally posted by Bad City
                              He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

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