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Thread: Cables: does size really matter?

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    Mojo's Minions lex666's Avatar
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    Default Cables: does size really matter?

    When buying a speaker or guitar cable does the gauge really matter? Is thicker necessarily better?
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    Glossless SlyFoxx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    With guitar cables there's lots of cork sniffing who ha to be found. As long as the plugs are of good quality and the shielding is good I can get by with just about anything. Yes there are differences but they are subtle at best. I use Spectraflex because the build quality is excellent and they are just a tad more transparent than a standard Rapco.

    With speaker cables the thickness of the wire does indeed make a difference...especially with runs longer than 30'. But such a long length is not commonly needed for a guitar amp and cabinet. At any rate just about every speaker cable I use (for guitar and PA) is 12 gauge. More wire = less resistance = better current transfer and tighter bass.

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    Mojo's Minions lex666's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    Nice - Another Sprectraflex user - me too! They make great stuff.
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    Tone Member Morior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    There are subtle audio differences between cable materials and cable thicknesses. With emphasis on SUBTLE.

    They are there, though.

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    It's definitely debatable and results vary, which is why some people dismiss it as voodoo and imagination.

    I'm not one of those people, however.
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    Funkfingers
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    My elderly 400w RMS Marshall Dynamic Bass System rig demands Neutrik Speakon plugs and sockets. Anything less robust would be fried.

    I once tested a length of regular loudspeaker cable via two Speakons. The DBS burned out the cable locking screws and charred the exposed copper. The amp and cabinets were fine.

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    Mojo's Minions Bludave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    I've been using George L cables for about 10 years now. Never had to replace one. I use the .155 to connect pedals on my board and I use the .225 to connect the board to the amp & guitar. I have a Monster speaker cable connecting head to speakers. I don't thnik George L makes a "speaker" cable.

    I've been using these cables for so long I can't really make a comparison to any other cable. I do need to get a couple of 20 footers though
    Last edited by Bludave; 04-29-2010 at 12:54 PM.
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    Mojo's Minions J Moose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    There's some differences and quite a lot of pipe smokin' voodoo as well... in some instances there's quite a bit of audible difference between cables. Not that anyone really needs $10 a foot cork-sniffer cables to get a difference.

    In some cases, a thicker instrument cable might have a braided shield rather then spiral... a braided shield protects the inner wires from damage & is generally more durable. Thicker speaker cables allow for more current with less loss (tone & volume) & are a must when driving long runs, anything 20 feet or more.
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    Super Toneologist Sporky McGuffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    I'm sure this'll be another unpopular post, but here we go.

    A few months back I tested four cables in a semi-blind experiment. I had a Nautrik/Klotz La Grange one, a cheapo Piranha one and two brutally expensive poncy boutique ones.

    I struggled to hear a difference (and I have pretty good hearing - regularly tested), but essentially the Piranha and one posho sounded the same and the Klotz and the other posho sounded the same. Between the two pairs was no more than a hair of treble.

    This was conducted by recording the output of my amp (a Cornell Romany Custom) with guitar straight to amp in each case, trying to play the same way each time. My best beloved, Lady Bertie McHobnobs, renamed the files as gibberish (keeping a note of which was which) and I listened back to draw conclusions.

    Given that one of the posh cables cost about 120 and the Klotz cost about 12 (in bits, I assembled it) I am of the opinion that there's no point spending more than 20 (at the absolute brutal outside) on a cable.
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    Super Toneologist marvar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by lex666 View Post
    When buying a speaker or guitar cable does the gauge really matter? Is thicker necessarily better?
    The gauge matters, the physical size doesn't, except for maybe being more robust.
    The thing I find hard to comprehend, is that you have over 5000 posts and you're asking this question!? lol
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by marvar View Post
    The gauge matters, the physical size doesn't, except for maybe being more robust.
    The thing I find hard to comprehend, is that you have over 5000 posts and you're asking this question!? lol
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    postnumber means nothing.

    seriously though, I wanted to know that as well.

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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    I tend to just buy a high quality cable and I'm done with it.
    The differences between high quality cables are not big enough for me to warrant being picky, I just buy whatever good cable happens to be in the store, whether it's Planet Waves, Coreone, I don't care really

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    Tone Member Morior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    One thing to consider, which therefore is worth putting emphasis on, is that some high quality cables have a construction that can take use and abuse far longer than some of the cheaper brands. I have and use Planet Waves and Evidence Audio cables that I bought 6 years ago. Especially the Evidence cables feel really well built, and I've been jumping and tripping over them A LOT ever since I bought them. Also, the cloth on the outside of the Lyric HGs looks kind of classy. :P

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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    There is a difference in both!
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    the size, no,
    the quality makes a differance, I blind tested an el cheapo cable and a pro planet waves cable, the planet waves was a lot clearer and less muddy
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by hermetico View Post
    Which was the length of those cables?
    I think they were all 5m. And you've reminded me - the two posh ones were a Vovox and a Pete Cornish. The Vovox sounded indistinguishable from the Piranha and the Pete Cornish was indistinguishable from the Klotz.
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    WhoDatologist korovamilkdud's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    Obviously quality makes a difference coming from the reliability factor. You don't want pops and buzzes and outright dead signal.

    I also do think however that gauge and cable length make a subtle difference in tone. If you blindfolded me and had me play a 6' cable into my amp, then swapped it out for a 20' cable of the same brand and type (presumably an instrument cable), I could probably tell you which was which.
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  18. #18
    Funkfingers
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    I agree with Sporky and Morior.

    Remember that a loudspeaker cable is only required to convey a signal from the output stage of an amplifier to a transducing device that is intentionally going to filter some of the highest and lowest frequencies away.

    Much kudos to Sporky McGuffin for including the word, "poncy" in this thread.

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    Super Toneologist Sporky McGuffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    Oooh - I missed part of the original question.

    For speaker cables, gauge definitely does matter. Too small and you'll end up with fire, and not in a good way.

    Once you've got a heavy enough gauge, though, anything else (in a speaker cable) is so close to irrelephant as makes no difference. 2-core mains cable (of an appropriate rating) is electrically ideal for speaker connections.
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    Default Re: Cables: does size really matter?

    I notice a very clear difference when i use my 10ft Evidence cable. Its the Lyric HG model. The difference isn't exactly tonal, but more in dynamics. I feel like I hear more of the subtle quirks in my playing that another cable may cover up. But who knows, I might be imagining things.

    as far as speaker cables I use a 3ft cheapie monster cable for now. I'll probably be replacing everything in my rig with evidence products soon.
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