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Two Different Quality Cables in Chain - Does Order Matter?
Old 24th May 2006
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
jaysunice's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Question Two Different Quality Cables in Chain - Does Order Matter?

So say for instance you have two ten foot XLR-XLR cables connecting a microphone to the mixer; moreover, the two cables are different in quality: for the sake of argument, let's just say one of the cables was $15 and the other was $80.

Is the order of the two going to matter? (i.e., put the high-grade cable connected to the mic and then chain it to the low-grade cable connected to the mixer; or vice versa) Or is the signal just going to be reduced to that of the lower-grade cable? Or perhaps it's more of an issue of noise pickup? Would there ever be a chain of cables were order would matter? Is this simply not an issue at short cable lengths?

Have at it.
Old 24th May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
'Better' is not always price dependent. And for the scenario you described with two ten footers combined to make one twenty footer, I can't think of any difference that the order of the wire would make.

However, if one XLR makes a tighter connection than the other at the mike end, and you have a vocalist who likes to hold the mike, then I'd use the cable with the tighter connection upstream.

Now if you are running an XLR to an outboard pre and then an XLR from the outboard pre to a mixer or converter, etc. and if both cables had the same capacitance, resistance and inductance AND the same flexibility, then I'd use the better cable upstream.

Or, you could try it both ways and listen. If one way sounds better than the other, well, you know the rest :-)

best,

john
Old 24th May 2006 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
paully's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In long cable runs, it's really a matter of denseness of the conductors and heavy shielding. More is better. In your case, I'd be more concerned with the connection between the 'unmatched' cables with respect to problems. Nobody will sue you if you mention manufacturers/brands.

Paul
Old 24th May 2006 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
jaysunice's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I understand "better" is not always price dependent...probably shouldn't have even mentioned prices. This situation has not actually come up, it was more of a hypothetical situation and one I was interested out of sole curiosity. heh
Old 24th May 2006
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysunice
Or is the signal just going to be reduced to that of the lower-grade cable?

The signal won't be reduced. The only issue would be with very small gauge wire going a long distance, there could be an issue. Other than that it is just a matter of connectors being properly wired and in good working condition.
Old 24th May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
VelvetGoatmine's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Your entire studio will most likely burn to the ground if you utilize phantom power. If it is a ribbon, dynamic, or flux capacitor microphone, you'll be just fine.
Old 24th May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


You should use the cable with the most loss closest to the transmitter. Fot audio signals, this is only an issue with runs more than a couple of miles.




-tINY

Old 24th May 2006 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by VelvetGoatmine
Your entire studio will most likely burn to the ground if you utilize phantom power. If it is a ribbon, dynamic, or flux capacitor microphone, you'll be just fine.

I LOVE THIS ANSWER!

I was simply going to suggest you shoot the cables using an Audio Precision or Neutrik A1 test system....but burning the studio to the ground is MUCH more flamboyant, so I withdraw my suggestion.

On a properly made 10' XLR, you should see less than 0.5dB in loss. The connector itself has -0.2, for what its worth...

Jim
Old 24th May 2006 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen

On a properly made 10' XLR, you should see less than 0.5dB in loss. The connector itself has -0.2, for what its worth...

Jim
How do they get these figures? Does this mean if you had 5000 connectors in line that the signal would be gone?
Old 24th May 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


No, that means that you'd have about 100dB loss through 5000 connector junctions. Of course, he doesn't mention the variability of the contacts' losses, so you might have 55dB to 145dB loss or 90-110dB depending on how lucky you are.





-tINY

Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
i find the most difference in the plastic material used in the sheathing. when cheap cables get old, the cables deteriorate and the sheathing changes and will cause high end loss. especially gtr cables. cut the ends off all your cables and solder some new professional wire to them and be done with it for 5-10 years.
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Nicely said, Tiny.

Here's an interesting example, to beat the topic to death.

I was doing some consulting for a local broadcast studio that was experiencing low level noise on quiet signal sources. From end to end on the chain, I measured about -45dB of loss from the problem source (studio C) to end (transmission) once the various DAs were removed (sorry, I should specify that DA here is distribution amp, not to infer or confuse with digital to analog converter) based solely upon the number of interconnects the mains out pathway took thru various patchbays, studios, and routing modes.

Iin this instance, total cable run was less than 1000 feet. To demo the standard loss, I ran a single 1000 foot run, in comparison, with standard Kester #44 solder on standard Neutrik XLRs, which measured a loss of -3.8dB. The studio spent about $60k in new wire and conduit after my report. (and I only got my day rate for the consult!)

You'll be amazed what will and will not work sometimes. They only got concerned about the signal because of artifacts that were being amplified, and the THD rating from end to end was high (when the D/As were in line)

Jim

Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY


No, that means that you'd have about 100dB loss through 5000 connector junctions. Of course, he doesn't mention the variability of the contacts' losses, so you might have 55dB to 145dB loss or 90-110dB depending on how lucky you are.





-tINY

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