Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Anderson - Cable Question


Recommended Posts

How can I test what cable is truly better? Say, a Monster cable vs a Mogami cable.

 

Is it possible to get visual proof of the differences?

 

Would I play music or a sine wave through a program like Adobe Audition or something better, and see through spectral analysis what cable had a greater response?

 

What is the Key factor that makes a great sounding cable, or one cable sound better than another for that matter?

 

Thanks for sharing your expertise in advance.

 

AKA

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 17
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I'm not Anderton but I'll answer anyway. :D

You could run a signal through the cable and scope it. There may be some differences that could be tracked with an oscilloscope.

Virtually anything can be tracked in some way, shape or form, including cables and their connections.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, this is opening a can of worms but...

 

You're talking about changes that are difficult to measure. Measuring something like capacitance per foot in a precise way is not real easy.

 

Now about the sound of cables...I think it depends a lot on the impedance at both ends. This is why the issue of cables is so polarized: Some people are SURE they're hearing a difference, and they are. Others DON'T hear a difference, and they indeed don't hear one. On a relatively short distance going from a real low impedance output to a fairly low output impedance, you probably won't hear much difference between cables. But as the impedance goes up at either end, a variety of reactance, resistance, and capacitance issues come into play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I figured it would be difficult to measure. You are always told to use good cables as they are a vital part of your signal flow.

 

From what I understand, Monster cable is more for home use and

Mogami cable is used more for pro studio use.

 

So, Ill just go for the Mogami cable.

 

Thanks for your response Craig.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to unscrew the connector and look at the solder joints/workmanship. That tells you a lot about the durability of a cable (obviously doesn't tell you anything about the quality of the cable itself).

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I once ran monster cable all over the place to make sure my home entertainment system was at its' best. However, I must confess that I did not hear any definable difference between that cable and a decent gauge of common speaker wire. Maybe there would have been a noticeable difference if I had had some kind of a setup where I could a/b them, but I did not. Currently in my living room, I use a decent quality cable no thinner than 18ga and it seems to satisfy my very unperfect hearing. Sure do love that surround sound though.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't waste your time comparing tech specs of cables unless you have specific requirements that must be met. Pro-video, for example.

 

You can, however, compare similar cables from several manufacturers by simply setting up a test model (Say, a guitar, cable, amp setup), replacing only the cable and see if you hear noticable differences. I can virtually guarantee you hear a difference in high end if you compare a typical, high-impedance guitar cable with George L's. The specs can tell the story, but hearing (in this case) is certainly believing.

 

Monster is not just for home use, any more than Mogami is for studio use. But Monster certainly has spent more time marketing specific cables to hi-fi consumers than most pro-audio cable companies. I won't use Monster because the price is ridiculous for any gain in performance. I build my own for Mogami quad, which has better capacitance specs and does, indeed, sound clearer to me than the average cable. Plus, I make the length I want. No more or less.

 

Last, but most important, when wiring an unbalanced cable you will not connect the conductors the same way as for an unbalanced connector. An unbalanced cable should use adjacent pairs (white/blue and white/blue) to minimize induction interaction between + and - . Balanced cables, on the other hand, will provide better cancellation when induced signals penetrating the shield hit conductors simultaneously. Cross pairing (Blue/Blue and White/White) provide more accurate alignment of the noise signal, yielding better cancellation when + and - are combined.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Last, but most important, when wiring an unbalanced cable you will not connect the conductors the same way as for an unbalanced connector. An unbalanced cable should use adjacent pairs (white/blue and white/blue) to minimize induction interaction between + and - . Balanced cables, on the other hand, will provide better cancellation when induced signals penetrating the shield hit conductors simultaneously. Cross pairing (Blue/Blue and White/White) provide more accurate alignment of the noise signal, yielding better cancellation when + and - are combined.

I'm not quite sure I understand this, Neil. Is this only for the "quad" cable (ie more than one signal at a time) you mentioned above? I'd like to understand this, as I build a lot of unbalanced and balanced cables, thanks!

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Botch.:

I'm not quite sure I understand this, Neil. Is this only for the "quad" cable (ie more than one signal at a time) you mentioned above? I'd like to understand this, as I build a lot of unbalanced and balanced cables, thanks!

Yes... only for quad. The conductors have a more uniform pack due to the quad format.

 

This page from Canare should clarify the wiring for balanced cables.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

 

You can, however, compare similar cables from several manufacturers by simply setting up a test model (Say, a guitar, cable, amp setup), replacing only the cable and see if you hear noticable differences.

Exactly. In the end, your ears are the best gauge for such things, the specs be damned.

 

I guess picking a good sounding cable is like choosing a good sounding monitor.

 

What sounds "good" is in the ear of the listener, I guess.

 

I just wanted to know if there was a way of taking the subjectivity out of the decision.

 

Whereby, through some kind of audio software analysis, you could actually SEE that

cable Y responded better in certain frequencies than cable X did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mogami is great because the jacket is very high quality and thinner than enay of the others. So if you're wiring up a big studio you can get a lot of wire in a small trough. I wired up several studios which were all Mogami and it was a pleasure to work with. The company I work for now uses all Canare. We do Audio systems for TV studios here in Japan. I like the Canare too. It's high quality and might be a little more durable than Mogami but it's not as thin. The Canare Star Quad is a nice solid balanced mic cable and they make a couple of good grades of unbalanced for guitar leads.They also have a lot of stuff for video, word clock and digital audio.

Mac Bowne

G-Clef Acoustics Ltd.

Osaka, Japan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AKA - I'm not a test expert, but my personal experience and knowledge of audio equipment suggest that it's a lot easier to devise a real world test of loudspeakers that can provide specs to suggest the accuracy and character of a speaker than to test the qualities of a cable. The differences can be very slight for cables. Loudspeaker response differences are anything but subtle, in most cases.

 

There is a debate on another thread regarding piano samples vs. recording a performance on a mic'd, real piano. The cable debate follows some similar issues. How good is good enough? How accurate is enough? Is perfect accuracy all it's cracked up to be when every consumer sound system will have its' own inconsistancies that recording engineers, mixers and mastering engineers cannot fully anticipate. And then there are the people listening. They have a great deal of control over frequency response of the final product with graphic eq's, dsp environment f/x, etc.

 

A certain degree of accuracy is required to know what is recorded and what manipulation an engineer performs to deliver the final product. But character of a sound system, or any of its' components (including cables) is virtually assured. You just need to learn to mix based on your reference, which is to say, your system. Hopefully it is not so skewed that mixing on someone else's system becomes difficult or impossible (given time constraints on the learning curve.)

 

A perfect example:

 

Tim Powell, owner of Metromobile Studios (Location recording in several trucks) was recently featured in Tape Op. When I was at Columbia College in Chicago, Marty Feldman of Paragon Recording, one of my teachers, invited Tim to bring his (then, only) recording truck to class at Paragon for us to see. Tim intended to put up a 24 track, 2 inch tape in Paragon and play a recent recording he had engineered. (Playing it in the truck would be difficult, as 3 people in the truck was about as many as could fit. (Not comfortably, either. ;) ) Anyway, Tim struggled for 5 minutes or so, to bring up a rough mix of the tracks. He couldn't do it. Paragon, built in the "deaden everything" heyday of the 1970's had huge Urei far field monitors that emphasized bass in a room that was also designed to emphasize bass. Tim's truck, OTOH, was a cramped little box van chock full of equipment. The amps were Carver, IIRC. These were the first switching amps and were notorius for terrible slew rate. But they had protection circuitry for the speakers that turned big bass signals into punchy sounds with no real low bass at any appreciable level. These amps fed Yamaha NS-10's, again IIRC. Regardless, the room was tiny. The speakers, tiny. (And in 1990 small speakers did not provide the low end of todays' modern, Mackie HR824's, et al.) The amps, skewed towards punchy bass a bit above the low, low freq's. It was no wonder Tim had difficulty bringing up an adequate (in his estimation) mix at Paragon with only a few minutes to do so. We listened 3 at a time in the truck with him. ;)

 

That's about as bad as it gets. Most of us, even with home studios on a budget, get a more accurate response from our systems than either Tim's truck or Paragon's control room of 1990. Search for accuracy. But recognize that your starting point is probably more than good enough to do most any job. Enjoy the fruits of better cable (or other audio gear) as you can afford to upgrade. But don't obsess over specs. ;)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neil, thanks for sharing that story. It really is incredible to think what is available today

and how cheap it is.

 

However, we spend a lot of coin on a decent soundcard, monitors, and mics, it

would be a shame to muck it up with buying an Hosa cable LOL.

 

Ive always know that your suppose to use good cables but never understood what

makes one cable SOUND better than another.

 

Botch, gtrmac, your absolutely right, Mogami cable is very flexible.

 

My garden hose is more flexible than a Hosa cable.

 

One thing I notice between the Mogami and Monster cables is that the

Mogami cable has more shield material than the Monster cable.

 

Again, I dont know if more shield material in a cable has any bearing for better sound or vise versa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AKA - There are definitely other issues than sound that should steer you far away from Hosa if your intent is to build your system to a relatively professional level without reaching the point where you spend 10x as much money for a few percentage points of quality increase.

 

As you pointed out, the build of Hosa cables is terrible compared to Mogami, Canare, etc. Monster cable has terrible build, especially for the price. But they'll replace it, free, for many years. So if you're installing in a studio where it will never be unplugged, the monster will be fine. One of my biggest pet peeves about Monster is their contention that gold plated connectors are a good thing. On cables that are plugged and unplugged a lot, such as instrument cables, the gold plating gets rubbed off fairly easily. This results in a decrease in diameter of the plug, which in turn causes loose plugs that have more difficulty making a good connection. The increase in conductivity isn't worth the hassle.

 

Plus, with home-made cables, if an end becomes intermittant, I can de-solder, cut back a few inches of cable, and re-solder to the connector. Try looking inside a Monster cable if you ever get the chance. Once it goes, it's a good thing they'll replace it! But that won't help when you're on a stage in the middle of nowhere, whether it's in rural Illinois, Montana, overseas in places like Kuwait or Afghanistan... I think you get the picture. ;)

 

(Oh, and another digression: At our last stop in Oman, I had to use my system into the base's old speakers. Mine were Speakon connectors. Theirs were 1/4". I took off the input jack-plate and un-screwed my Speakon connectors and soldered the leads directly to the 1/4" jack. That would have destroyed a Monster cable and they wouldn't have replaced it. I simply desoldered and reconnected my connectors and the jack plate at the end of the show. ;) )

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...