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Another cable thread. just sharing...
Old 17th December 2006
  #1
Gear Addict
 
Klauth's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Another cable thread. just sharing...

Hey everybody, Klauth here. just wanted to share something that happened to me.

I had an incident last night that turned into an unexpected eye opener. check it out. I was changing my kik drum(double bass) mics from 421's to D-112's. and normally I run monster SP1000 20' cables from my mics to my "BIZ" mic pre's. but when I was setting everything back up. I plugged an SP1000 into the right kik as usual and for no other reason than, "it was closer to my hand at the time" I used an, SP500 monster cable for the left. and really didn't think twice about it! guess I was in a hurry?

Anyhow, when It was time to record, there was a -3db difference from the left kik to the right! and I hadn't changed ANYTHING other than the mics and cables!

I immediately scowled and thought, "no way there could be THAT much difference between a cable" could there? so, I immediately found the SP1000 that I normally use and guess what? the -3db difference was gone!

After all this, I tried a pair of Mogami gold cables just to see what they would do. they had the same signal strength as the SP 1000's but, not the same definition! I spent the rest of the day tweaking and adjusting. but, the SP1000's were the unanimous choice by way of definition!

I've always been skeptical about cables. and the stories I'd heard. but, now I know there really IS a difference! however slight it may be.

Yeah, I know I'm pretty much a nobody in the audio world. but, once in a while..... even a nobody, notices something! peace/out.
Old 17th December 2006
  #2
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Harley-OIART's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes... there is a difference in cables. Speaker Cables on the other hand assuming they are of a proper gauge are a whole different discussion.

Ethan Winer posted this which is great. https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showpost....7&postcount=67

Don't take it as the only point of view on the subject, but it is very informative and should be required reading for all.

***thanks button clicked for Ethan***
Old 17th December 2006
  #3
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klauth ➑️
I immediately scowled and thought, "no way there could be THAT much difference between a cable" could there? so, I immediately found the SP1000 that I normally use and guess what? the -3db difference was gone!
No way that two "similar" cables are going to be 3dB apart in a 20' run unless one is damaged. Something else is happening here.
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #4
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stevep's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton ➑️
No way that two "similar" cables are going to be 3dB apart in a 20' run unless one is damaged. Something else is happening here.
Totally agree, get your meter out and check those wires




Old 17th December 2006
  #5
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GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klauth ➑️

Anyhow, when It was time to record, there was a -3db difference from the left kik to the right! and I hadn't changed ANYTHING other than the mics and cables!
Difference can be in nuances, but not in way you describe it.
I had 500s and 1000s, later I got rid of them. 1000s were not bad, but cheaper and better soulutions are offered by Canare, Belden, Mogami and others.
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #6
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poncival's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have always wanted to try a Zaolla mic cable since I first heard of them but still have not yet had the opportunity. But on the amp to speaker end of things I can say we tried some monster cable (12 guage I think) between our Bryston 4b and our Westlake horns and it sounded pretty sweet. Then we took those off and tried some 4 guage car stereo amplifier power wires in their place and the imaging was totally better and clearer and the highs were actually a little too loud at the same settings we had for the monster cable. Then we took the 4 guage wires off and replaced them with 4 strands of solid silver wire (18 guage I think) per terminal (16 wires for 2 tweeters) which we twisted together fairly consistently and it sounded AMAZING. We put the monster cable back and it sounded flat and dry and quieter by far. We didn't measure the difference but it was like night and day. Anyway, my 2Β’
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #7
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
We get people coming into the studio now and then who claim that only their magic branded cable can be used on this or that and they claim all sorts of magic properties for their pet cable.

If tyhey are game for it, I make a bet with them. I bet that regular Klotz mic cable (or line or speaker cable, or whatever it is that they have brought in with them) is every bit as good as their magic cable that costs $100 a meter.

We bet for a case of beer.

I then take my Rohde & Schwartz signal generator and set a sqaure wave at various freaquencies at mic or line level and compare the two cables over the same length. We look at the resultant signal on a Fluke multichannel oscilloscope and try to see if there is any difference in level, or filter effect due to induction.

I have not lost a case of beer yet.
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #8
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cdog's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Its like flies to ****....
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #9
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danasti's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️

I wonder why a sonic difference claimed by a client would be decided by test gear rather than listening to it.
Everyone has an idea what different is. What better is.

I remember a guy who spoofed an audiophile convention two years in a row where he never changed the cable but flipped a different switch.

100% of the listeners had an idea of which cable was better. They all had reasons why the exactly same cable was better than itself.

Bottom Line: Tell someone it's different and show them you are switching something and the brain will fill the rest in.





(I could list more reasons if you are interested. I'm not saying cables don't make a difference because I use higher quality more expensive cable and of course I listen for the one I like the most. I still like to know how it measures up and why it relates to the components which it connects.)
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I'm curious (or be surprised), someone can set down, play kicks, get up (run some cables) and set back down and keep it within a three db window? (on second thought, wouldn't it need to be even quite alot less than three db for this test?)
How about if it was done once but with the mic split to the two cables?
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #11
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just here to wish everyone a happy Sunday. heh
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #12
jtg
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jtg's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah, hard to believe that take-down and setup can leave any sonic memory to make a clear comparison like that. And 3db is pretty insane.

And to the beer better, the only way to draw any conclusions is an ABX test. You should never use graphs or waveforms. Thats actually probably in your favor - there is a million things that can show up on a waveform that the most discerning ears will never pass an ABX on.
Old 17th December 2006
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Klauth's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey guys,

Thanks for the great responses! To expand abit, I use the I-MAY mic mounts in my kik's and actually measure the distance from the mic to the head. and, relative position within the head location. I make quite an involved effort for everything to be as even from left to right as possible.

As far as the cable being defective goes? I actually pulled out a brand new SP 500 cable in addition to the one I used originally on the left kik. and got the same result.

And, like I said before, the Mogami Gold cables I tried had an even signal balance. but, not the definition of the, SP1000's. I was sure I heard a difference for the better. but, I didn't want to completely trust my ears. and, that's when I saw the differences on the meters of my board AND, HDR!

I'm sure everyone has there preference on everything. which is what makes Gearslutz so great! Thanks again guys. your opinions and, knowledge are invaluable! -Klauth.
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #14
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
Testing high quality cables with that test gear isn't going to show anything. I use Audio Precision gear and it won't tell you anything about the cable either.
Try running the cable through a $60k HP spectrum analyzer and you will lose that bet. Or, better yet, just do a listening comparison. I wonder why a sonic difference claimed by a client would be decided by test gear rather than listening to it.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Oh Dear! Here we go with 'that' discussion again! Does whizz-bang cable that can spark alpha beam charge centres, biol coffee and sometimes (most bizarrely) even with directional arrows on it, sound different to regular cable?

Interestingly, you have said it all in the statement "I use Audio Precision gear and it won't tell you anything about the cable either."

Now, for those who do not know, Audio Precision is THE manufacturer of audio testing gear. When you read that a Mackie desk or Soundcaft desk has X-amount of total harmonic distortion (THD) or signal to noise ratio then that has been tested on an AP distortion meter. When you read that an SSL K-Series or a Neve 88R is far, far better and has S-N ratios so low that, even with everything routed and all faders up, you still cannot hear any background noise, then that too has been tested with an AP rig. Not HP, not R&S, not W&G, but Audio Precision sets the standard here.

Firstly, may I congratulate you on the purchase of your AP meter. These are wonderful machines. Not only are they incredibly accurate, but they can be integrated into an automated QC system to protocol the test results of very high quality products like channel strips on a studio desk.

(I would have loved to have bought one, but, as I am not a high-end repair shop for pro-audio gear, I struggle on with the usual digital sig-gen and a four-channel oscar. I did mention AP meters to my wife, but when she heard the price, she gave me that look. It was hard enough, getting a Bosendorfer Imperial Grand past her, imagine what would have happened if . . . no, best not think about it!)

I forget exactly how accurate the latest generation of AP distortion meters are, but I believe it is somewhere around 0.0001% for distortion. In other words, they can trace a distortion factor of just one-millionth of the original signal. And yet you tell me that it cannot trace the difference between super-duper mic cable and ordinary good-quality mic cable like Klotz or similar! Something truly amazing must be going on here!

So although you cannot measure this difference, you can hear it. This I find also amazing.

But what is so utterly 'out-of-this-World' amazing is the fact that you can hear this difference after the signal has been passed though a budget mixer, a budget amp, feeding a set of budget-priced near-field monitors.

If an AP distortion meter has no difficulties finding something to measure in a Neve, Euphonics, API, Amek or SSL desk, then it will find lots and lots more to measure in a Soundcraft, Mackie or any other hundreds of desks used by those who claim to be able to hear this difference.

But, as they say, "That ain't the half of it!"

These wondrous people with bat-like hearing are able to hear this difference, not on a set of B&W or M&K studio monitors (both with distortion levels at around 0.2% for any given frequency at low level) but on some home hi-fi or, even more incredible, on some cheap near-fields with distortion levels well above 2% at all frequencies. I pride myself on having relatively good hearing, but wow! I wish I could do something like that!
_____________________________________________

But perhaps there really is a difference!

Well, let's look at how cable is made and who makes it.

World wide, there are just a handful of manufacturers and in Europe there are just two, Alcatel in France and Pirrelli in Berlin. That's it! Klotz and Monster Europe both buy from Alcatel. Indeed most so-called confectioned cable in Europe is made by Alcatel.

Bulk coated wire for motors, dynamos and transformers mostly come from the former Siemens factory in Berlin, now owned by Pirrelli.

You see, building a cable making facility costs almost billions. Smelting copper, setting the mix, drawing and treating the wire, coating and twisting and platting the wire and putting it into various coverings takes a massive plant similar in size to a large steel mill.

These massive plants have vast catalogues of different cables to cover just about every possible use and of course the same cable can be used for different purposes. If a customer wishes to order enough of a single type of cable, then he can have any type of plastic coating (clear, green, luminous, whatever) and of course he can have his name stamped on the cable. So in this way, the same two- or four-core platted cable can be the AC supply to a travelling crane motor and sold in bulk by the ton and coated with plain green PVC, or it can be super-duper speaker cable, coated with clear plastic and with gold-plated terminals at each end, costing $100 for a six-foot length. But it's the same stuff.

Alcatel (and the other eight or nine cable manufacturers around the World) makes hundreds of different types of audio cable - as well as all the other types of electric copper cable, telephone, house-installation, coated windings, you name and they make it. Two-core, three-core, single-screened, double-screened, whatever your heart desires.

In other words, unless a cable marketing company orders a cable that is inappropriate for the use (thin line cable for microphone use for example) the only difference between cables is the colour of the outer coating.

That's right, those that claim to hear a difference are actually claiming to be able to hear a difference in the colour of the PVC coating! Now that's what I call good hearing!

__________________________________

But let me leave the last word with a salesman from the cable sales company Russel Andrews in the North of England. (They sell other great products like a distortion 'Sniffer' that eliminates distortion from a hi-fi by simply being placed near it.)

He told me that all their cables have directional arrows on them. When I ask why, he said that was because the electricity was able to flow better in the one direction.

"But audio is alternating current!" I pointed out. "If it was able to flow one way better than the other, it would have diodial properties and the result would be massive distortion."

"Ah!" said the salesman. "I see that you have a technical education." and here I had to admitt that he was right.

"Well, he said. "We find that people with a technical education have greater difficulty hearing the benefit of our cables."
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #15
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Harley-OIART's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The above is The Post of 2006. My Jaw just dropped.
Old 17th December 2006
  #16
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A modest proposal:

How about giving cable discussions their own forum?


That way those of us who actually enjoy these discussions from time to time (for our own possibly perverse reasons) will know right where to find them.

And those who find them tedious, redundant, laughable-but-not-entertaining -- or, worse yet, those who find them so compellingly provocative as to be unignorable -- will be able to avoid them without too much trouble.

Just an idea.



___________

Modest proposal 1a: In the event of the creation of such a forum, I'd like to nominate The Byre's post (two above this one) to be installed as a permanent stickie. Cheers.
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Great post Byre... very entertaining and informative.
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #18
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filthyrich's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
So then Klotz really is the best high end cable for the money then?

Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #19
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7 Hz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre ➑️
Oh Dear! Here we go with 'that' discussion again!

{snip}

"We find that people with a technical education have greater difficulty hearing the benefit of our cables."
Count me in The Byre's fanclub - great post intelligently made with insight into the realities of commercial cable production.

thumbsup
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #20
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Harley-OIART's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Before things get hairy... =)

I just want to say to anyone who disagree's with The Byre on this one, that I and others I can probably speak for are not taking this as gospel, end all be all of argument kind of stuff, just a damn good point that backs up certain anecdotal evidence I have previously encountered.

Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre ➑️
"Well, he said. "We find that people with a technical education have greater difficulty hearing the benefit of our cables."
Well, one thing to consider here is that the context and implication of this quote may be a bit different than the one which is bringing on ridicule. I think he may simply be saying that those with a 'technical education' are so bound up by numbers and stats with the belief that we actually CAN measure everything we hear see and feel, that they simply can't and/or won't (or won't bother trying to) hear any differences.

Keep in mind that it is just as easy to convince oneself there is no difference. It goes both ways.
Old 17th December 2006
  #22
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klauth ➑️
so, I immediately found the SP1000 that I normally use and guess what? the -3db difference was gone!
signal strength
Just to remind people......3dB signal strength difference (as verified on meters) in swapping out 20' cable. Conclusion was this was a difference in cable quality.
That's the premise of this thread.
And, unless I'm mistaken, the source was someone hitting a kick drum.
As well meaning as the original post may be I still say there's something else going on here...........doesn't take much critical thought to see that this test is way too "loose" in methodology to draw ANY conclusions about cable quality (other than the obvious pot shots at Monster cable......but even those would be unwarranted considering this test as the "proof").
Old 17th December 2006 | Show parent
  #23
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7 Hz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton ➑️
doesn't take much critical thought to see that this test is way too "loose" in methodology to draw ANY conclusions about cable quality (other than the obvious pot shots at Monster cable......but even those would be unwarranted considering this test as the "proof").
Right, exactly, test the cables with a test tone and / or a continuity tester. -3db has SFA to do with cable quality unless that cable manufacturer used resistance wire instead of copper.
Old 18th December 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
As to hearing cable sonics, yes, it takes some really good power amps and some really good speakers, both I have and use. In fact, they were not good enough
--
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