Friday, 18 May 2012

The importance of cable to your sound

The cables between your instrument, pedals and amp are part of your instrument. A good guitar lead costs $40 to $80. Most music shops stock rubbish leads that will colour your tone. Here is a good way of testing the quality of your cables.... Plug one end of the cable into an amp then turn the volume way up. Now rattle the cable on a hard floor. A good cable will be totally silent when you do that, the more rubbish the cable is the more noise you will hear in your amp. This is called cable microphonics and means a rubbish cable is basically acting as a microphone. This is bad if you want the best sound possible.

Also, for guitarists, avoid wireless guitars wherever possible. Some of the best tone comes from the electrical interaction between your instruments pickups and your amplifiers preamp. If you use wireless then there is no interaction between the two so the tone will often sound quite 'flat'.

Use the highest quality cables you can afford, put your name on them and guard them with your life.

The same goes for your PA system. Cables are your PA.

A good mic lead costs $30 or more and good speaker leads well over a hundred bucks each. Your system will only sound as good as the poorest quality cable in your whole system so all your cables have to be good quality in order to reap the benefits. Good quality cables and microphones are more important to the overall sound quality than the speakers, amplifiers and mixing desk you choose.

Cables usually comprise 20% or more of the cost of a good PA system. Throw away the cables that come as part of a PA package, they are usually the cheapest quality the manufacturer can possibly find.
Also, coiling cables properly maintains the sound quality. If you wrap them around your elbow then the braid inside will quickly start to disintegrate which will destroy the cables shielding and cause your cable to become microphonic. Ask anyone who works in the sound or lighting industry how to coil your cables to make them last forever.