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high end XLR cables (some thoughts...)
Old 25th March 2003
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
high end XLR cables (some thoughts...)

Anyone get into this? I've got the KIWIs from Blue and I swear I can hear a difference btx them and my sam ash cheapies. It's too bad the actual length of the cable is wrapped in plastic- it's a total bitch to use a lot of them and not make a mess. They don't like fitting under a door either (which I have to do). But they do sound fuller and a bit quieter, and that's not the $$ talking because it was no skin off my nose to get them. These KIWIs are sort of piquing my interest to try The New Cable from requisite.... at least on guitar.
Old 26th March 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
XHipHop's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I love Kiwis! They are the only 'boutique' cable i've tried though so I can't really comment on any others.
I get places to pricematch 8th street who sells Kiwis for $34.99.
Old 26th March 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
The Requisite cables are exceptional, I have used the guitar, mic and ac cables. While the guitar and mic cables sound better than anything I've heard, the surprise was the AC cables. They really can enhance the ability of audio electronics to work at their true potential especially on digital gear. Of course they are a bit more expensive than the Kiwi, but highlly recommended if you got the $ and the desire.
Old 26th March 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I'm planning on getting a guitar cable and 2 XLRs. I'll let you know what I think.

BTW- in case anyone is curious, I played with my Atomic Squeezebox for the first time tonight.... HOLY ****.
Old 26th March 2003
  #5
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have one of the Blue mic cables, I can't really hear a differance between it and my other cables which are mostly Mogami or Belden that I made myself. Good cable is good cable. Cheap cable is cheap cable. Use good cable and worry about other things.
Old 26th March 2003
  #6
Gear Nut
 
verbular's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm a cable freak. Can't stop.

I tend to use "hihger cost" cables on mic level signals and once the signal is in line, not really care too much, though I do use weird stuff in certain locations.

Un/fortunately, the Japanese hifi nuts are complete *****s when it comes to gear, and we can buy weird cable fairly easily. For a sampling, take a look at these pages (it will look weird if your browser does not show Japanese);

single cable for xlr
http://oyaide.com/d_shop/cgis/goodsl...re_id=00000001

multicore
http://oyaide.com/d_shop/cgis/goodsl...re_id=00000015

ac
http://oyaide.com/d_shop/cgis/goodsl...re_id=00000003

speaker
http://oyaide.com/d_shop/cgis/goodsl...re_id=00000018

solder (yes, solder!)
http://oyaide.com/d_shop/cgis/goodsl...re_id=00000011

wire (as in bog standard wire)
http://oyaide.com/d_shop/cgis/goodsl...re_id=00000014

The problem is, I do hear differences. There are loads of voodoo theories about it, but mainly it seems to come down to resonance of the cable and the integrity of connections.

The resonance thing, though I cannot explain in technical terms, it is true that cables to resonate, for that matter, your gear resonates. Controlling the resonance seems to be the issue here, and how the cable is made seems to offer differences. the tighter and more mass the cable has, less interference due to resonance and thus, a more defined signal.

I know people who go crazy with this stuff, and personally, I try to limit it to an extent and only start thinking about this stuff for critical use, mainly the foucs instrument of the song and on stereo lines.

For guitar, I have found that I really don't like hifi with guitars (have tried various kinds) and seem to prefer them with a richer midrange more than crystal clear highs. So, I tend to use the George L stuff, but have some other stuff when necessary.

I've given some stuff to friends in America and they too hear a difference. But for what it's worth, Mogami and Canare are fine, and are cheap in Japan. Belden is expensive here.
Old 26th March 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you can use an "iron" and don't mind taking the time, make your own. You'll be glad you did. I'm kinda partial to Canare StarQuadβ„’ with Neutrik gold connectors... The Blue cables don't really knock me out, particularly for the money.
Old 30th March 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
AC Cables

I don't design these things, but have done quite a bit of research in addition to many demos. Having the Requisite AC cables right before the IEC connector is important because this is the area where AC can still be affected by the factors that allow the magic to work. They are beneficial to both analog and digital devices especially digital. We tried an AC cable on a Motif and were amazed how the converters performed. The acoustic grand suddenly had more depth, tight smooth high end and sounded more natural and woody.

All devices benefitted from the AC, especially the monitoring system. (Yamaha AW4416, ADAM SA-3s) The way I would describe the effect would be to say that it sounds as if all the harmonics are lined up and the music is just more fun to listen to. Everytime we went back to stock AC cables, the sound was flatter, not as 3D (soundstage) and while almost laughable, not as fun to listen to. I was a total non believer in this technology and only after weeks of auditoning and demoing was I unable to live without them.

BTW, the effects of high end cables seem to be very cumulative in that the more of them you use in the chain the better the sound. Of course, wiring a whole studio w/quality cables like Requisite can cost as much as some bedroom studios.
Old 30th March 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Posted by jslator - I could see there being a difference if you actually have a device conditioning the power somehow, but if you're just talking about a plain cable, how is it going to make the quality of the power better than what's already coming out of the wall outlet? "Magic" indeed.
Essentially they are conditioning the power, and because they are close to the device more effective. These are not ordinary cables, they are approx. 1" in diameter and are custom wound and about 6' long. Again, I stress, that I like you asked these same exact questions looking for the physics behind the "Magic" My only analogy is that just like "specs" on any piece of gear the ultimate way it sounds is the defining test. I can only report what I have found to be evident thru many hours of testing.
Old 31st March 2003
  #10
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I can understand that to some degree, a thicker cable will allow more signal to flow. But overall, I can't get into the $50 a foot power cables and try to pass it off as power conditioning. Just looking at my rack of pres and EQ I would need 10 cables and another 10 or so for the compressors. That would be a thick 20" of cable that's gotta go somewhere, probably into the line cables lol. Also, how are they conditioning the power? Do they have transformers or regulators or something on them? Or are they just plain old cable that's just really thick?
Old 31st March 2003
  #11
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by bobmaus
Essentially they are conditioning the power, and because they are close to the device more effective.

<snip>

I can only report what I have found to be evident thru many hours of testing.
How are they 'conditioning' the power and how have you tested them?
Old 31st March 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
While I could buy the XLR/guitar/speaker cable thing, I too am having a hard time believing that a power cable could make such a difference. At these prices, Requisite should offer a really good return policy so someone could try one out without any pressure to "like it" because of the 300 bucks they've thrown down!
Old 31st March 2003
  #13
Gear Addict
 
mplancke's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: AC Cables

Quote:
Originally posted by bobmaus
I don't design these things, but have done quite a bit of research in addition to many demos. Having the Requisite AC cables right before the IEC connector is important because this is the area where AC can still be affected by the factors that allow the magic to work.
Yikes!

Maybe the effect that your hearing has something to do with the fact that your power cord cost $300 and you *need* to hear a difference.

Mark
Old 31st March 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Or are they just plain old cable that's just really thick?

How are they 'conditioning' the power and how have you tested them?
As I stated earlier, I am not the designer or any cable expert, so I'm telling you what little I learned from research and the results of the my tests.

OK, the thickness of the cable is dictated by the intricate weaving of cable strands and is covered with a fabric wrap, this is what makes it thick.

On testing, I use a pair of ADAM SA-3s and a Yammie AW4416. The test is simple. I plug the regular AC into the AW and listen, I plug the "new cable" AC cord and listen. I conducted several weeks of listening with and without the "new cable" actually hoping they wouldn't make a difference (because of the cost). The difference is there and is even more apparent when plugging the "new cable" into the ADAMs as well for a total of 3 AC cords. This is the best area to place them IMHO, since the monitoring system is the end of the line.

If you want explanation by the manufacturers I suggest contacting them or visiting http://www.requisiteaudio.com
Old 31st March 2003
  #15
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Was this a Blind test? Did you have someone else switch (or pretend to switch) the cables and write down your impressions of what you heard? Just curious.

I don't think I would bother spending the money on something unless I could hear the difference blindfolded every time or say, 95% of the time...

So when is Lynn Fuston coming out with the AC/CD? heh
Old 31st March 2003
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Testing was done in a couple of ways from full knowledge testing to blind testing. Two other engineers were also invited over and treated to a blind test and picked the "new cable" 100% of the time. Also thru extended listening periods a few days at a time with the the "new cables" on and then extensive with regular cables back on again made the sound lifeless and flatter in comparison.

Don't think these cables are for the "casual" user because of price. High end AC cables are nothing new, there are all kinds at all different price points.

Check out:
http://www.kimber.com/
http://members.aol.com/hcmaudio/aqc.html
Old 31st March 2003
  #17
Gear Nut
 
verbular's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi,

the connectors on the outlet end and the equipment end (iec) actually contribuet a bit to the improvment in Ac cables. Do a search for Marinco (and other makes) IEC connectors and hospital grade wall receptacles and plugs. they really fit tight and do improve performance of gear. This is something everyone notices. Cable choice is dependant on situation. I do not know outside of my country (Japan), but there are cheap but good cables that can be used with these plugs to make AC cable that beats the hell out of some hifi AC cables.
Old 1st April 2003
  #18
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Wow, at $390 for a 6 foot IEC cable it better sound damn good. Did anyone else look at the price of the Req. XLR cables? A 25' is $555!!! Damn!!!

I know people buy these things but I just can't see the point. So many good sounding records have been made with regular Canare, Mogami and Beldon. Just good cable, not crap, not amazing. Just good. If I replaced all my XLR's with those $555 jobs I'd spend over $11K on XLR cables. I doubt it would make my recordings sound $11K better. I'd rather spend the money on something that matters, like advertising.
grudge
Old 1st April 2003
  #19
Gear Nut
 
verbular's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I agree with you, as I said in my case, I only use them on a few channels and some on the master/speaker routing. Better/worse cable is not going to make "a better record", all it does is make the work (at times) easier for you, when you need that something extra.

I make my own cable when I have the time, which saves quite a bit of money and since I don't have a studio, I don't need many. I also like that fact that by making my own, I find out and understand more of the differences between each.
Old 2nd April 2003
  #20
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by verbular
I agree with you, as I said in my case, I only use them on a few channels and some on the master/speaker routing. Better/worse cable is not going to make "a better record", all it does is make the work (at times) easier for you, when you need that something extra.
Yup. But I've just never found myself sitting at a console and going "Man, that ____ sound sucks. If I had those $550 XLR cables and a few $300 IEC cables for the preamp and EQ I'm using it would sound way better". Maybe someone else has said that at some point but I really dobut it. Usually if it sucks I want to change something on the human end of it, like the player or myself.
Old 2nd April 2003
  #21
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm with you, Jay.

Except every so often you read that inevitable article about someone who installed liquid nitrogen cooled cables throughout their studio, and proclaim that the difference in sound (before and after) was like pulling their speakers out from an elephant's ass (that would be the after...)

and then you start to feel guilty or at least wonder what if....?
Old 2nd April 2003
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've done blind ABX listening with a high end power cord vs stock power cord. This was on the preamp of a stereo system. Doing this test with a partner in the other room doing the switching, I was able to pick the designer cable as sounding better. My partner did the same.

Non blind, I heard a great improvement in my entire system by replacing the stock 20 amp cord going into my Equitech with a cable I made from a formula found on the internet. I also heard improvements with my converters.

As mentioned above the effect is improved punch and 3d effect. Remove the cables and the sound is more flat.

The best explanation I've heard for this is that there is less voltage drop with a better cable and better connectors. Although a piece of gear may be rated at 2 amps of continuous draw, the capacitors actually take huge momentary draws to refill themselves that may be 10 or 20 times the continous draw. The voltage drop in a cheaper cable with inferior connections never fully supplies the caps during these surges.

Also, don't forget that your wall wire is typically 12ga solid core copper -excellent conductor compared to your 18ga stranded cheapo power cords with molded connectors.

If you want a simple and inexpensive taste of improved power cabling, assemble this:

Belden 19364 cable
Shurter 4300.0603 IEC
Pass & Seymour 5266-X AC plug

The shurter IEC has more contact surface than any other plug and it is recommended that you solder the connections rather than use the supplied screws (may not be code). Also be sure to squeeve the contace pins tight so they provide a tighter contection. You can special order these from the electronics suppliers like anixter, newark etc. You'll have to bore out the entrance hole with a drill bit to accomodate the cable.

You should definitely hear improvements on power amps, converters, guitar amps etc and this won't cost much.
Old 2nd April 2003
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Interesting developments...!
Old 3rd April 2003
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BattleAngel
Interesting developments...!
Yeah I'll say, all those who have actually heard the cables please raise your hand.

Thanks Zep Dude for chiming in on as one who "has actually experienced" the difference and has lived to tell about it.

Folks, why do you think companies make little $500 mic pres w/all the supposed specs of the $2500+ ones and yet they sound like crap? Because they can convince people to think so! On the other hand, we also thought at one time the earth was flat, until someone plugged in a highend AC cable and suddenly it was round, full and 3D.

Great comments, very debatable!
Old 3rd April 2003
  #25
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by littledog
I'm with you, Jay.

Except every so often you read that inevitable article about someone who installed liquid nitrogen cooled cables throughout their studio, and proclaim that the difference in sound (before and after) was like pulling their speakers out from an elephant's ass (that would be the after...)
But a BBE or SPL Vitalizer does the same thing!
Old 7th April 2003
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Paul Gold's Avatar
 
8 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Zep Dude



If you want a simple and inexpensive taste of improved power cabling, assemble this:

Belden 19364 cable
Shurter 4300.0603 IEC
Pass & Seymour 5266-X AC plug
Those look like very nice parts. That Belden cable looks great. I didn't know there was such a thing as shielded power cable. A shield certainly couldn't hurt.
Old 7th April 2003
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
DIY AC cables

Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Gold
Those look like very nice parts. That Belden cable looks great. I didn't know there was such a thing as shielded power cable. A shield certainly couldn't hurt.
I recently heard about audio-grade power cords too, and found an interesting page, a do-it-yourself approach...

http://www.venhaus1.com/diymains.html

I guess cable-making will be the same regarding the use of it. I will not ever spend $500 in a cable, but I may buy some high quality wire from Belden, Mogami , etc... and do them myself; it won't cost that much and sure there will be an improvement in sound...

Regards,

Juande
www.cambiodeplanes.com
Old 9th April 2003
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Berolzheimer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've done a bunch of listening tests, with what are now the Req. cables, as mic, speaker, line & AC cables, & there are clear differences with all of them. With the mic cables I've compared them to mogami, belden, Audio-Technica (cheapies from an MI store), Canare & Cardas. They all sounded different, not always in the ways you might expect. The Cardas, which is a $400 cable, didn't hold up well at all, it was kind of dark & blurry. the Canare starquad was kind of rolled off in the high end also. I generally preferred the Req., for overall detail & balance.
And yes, the AC cables do make a big difference and no, I didn't believe it would until I heard it. The way I did a lot of the tests was, since you can't switch back & forth quickly with cables while keeping the mic & everything else the same, I recorded very consistent sources, with the mic taped down so it's position couldn't change while switching cables, & then compared the various recordings. For the AC cables I changed the cables on my converters. That AC cable lives on my 888/24 now.
Old 9th April 2003
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
ZepDude sez: "I've done blind ABX listening with a high end power cord vs stock power cord. This was on the preamp of a stereo system. Doing this test with a partner in the other room doing the switching, I was able to pick the designer cable as sounding better. My partner did the same.

Non blind, I heard a great improvement in my entire system by replacing the stock 20 amp cord going into my Equitech with a cable I made from a formula found on the internet. I also heard improvements with my converters.

As mentioned above the effect is improved punch and 3d effect. Remove the cables and the sound is more flat.

The best explanation I've heard for this is that there is less voltage drop with a better cable and better connectors. Although a piece of gear may be rated at 2 amps of continuous draw, the capacitors actually take huge momentary draws to refill themselves that may be 10 or 20 times the continous draw. The voltage drop in a cheaper cable with inferior connections never fully supplies the caps during these surges.

Also, don't forget that your wall wire is typically 12ga solid core copper -excellent conductor compared to your 18ga stranded cheapo power cords with molded connectors.

If you want a simple and inexpensive taste of improved power cabling, assemble this:

Belden 19364 cable
Shurter 4300.0603 IEC
Pass & Seymour 5266-X AC plug

The shurter IEC has more contact surface than any other plug and it is recommended that you solder the connections rather than use the supplied screws (may not be code). Also be sure to squeeve the contace pins tight so they provide a tighter contection. You can special order these from the electronics suppliers like anixter, newark etc. You'll have to bore out the entrance hole with a drill bit to accomodate the cable.

You should definitely hear improvements on power amps, converters, guitar amps etc and this won't cost much."

This one interests me 'cause ZepDude is using the Equitech power conditioner, not just having the AC cables do the power conditioning. So the only trick AC cable is the one supplying the Equitech with power? Did I get that right? I'm using an Equitech myself and loving it- the stock cable I thought (was told at the factory) was 30 amp.

I have often imagined, instead of 6' IEC cords going to everything in a rack, a nice custom power cord for the whole rack that splits into 18" IECs for each rack item- saves on spaghetti, and why not put an RF filter in the little custom power strip mounted in the rack. Eliminating the spaghetti is enough reason to do it, may as well do it all trick if it's gonna be inexpensive.
Old 10th April 2003
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Ted, do you mean like this?

Etteguau, relating to the link you provided to Chris Venhaus's site, you might take note that all the orange power cords are his cable recipe. They actually sound a little better than the formula I suggested but they take about 10 times longer to make and are very stiff and unwieldy (completely impractical for most studios).
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