Re: Tips on mic cables, was Cable Advice

This is a particularly interesting subject for me at the minute as I have, 
over the last month, been ear testing a number of guitar cables. As Bob 
states, for reliability's sake, to for a 1/4" to 1/4" guitar cable, but which 
one? The differences are amazing and construction apparently appears as 
important as capacitance. All cables were10ft (ideally use the shortest cable 
that you can realistically get away with, my regular cable, Klotz La Grange, 
is 7ft) apart from the Allessandro @ 12ft....

I have a little 5W amp that I practice with/try new mics with. Some days it 
just didn't give it up, the difference in sound was so marked that I pulled 
the amp apart, subbing new tubes, checking voltages etc. It really sounded 

The culprit appears to be one of the several cables I have lying 
around...specifically Belden Custom Instrument Cable. This cable sounds 
totally dead! I was even disappointed with the stock Shure "microphone cable" 
(4 pin to 1/4" jack, wired Hi-Z) despite the cable having low capacitance 
(supposedly good) it also sounded pretty dead (say 4/10). I'm not sure that I 
would recommend multi conductor (specific "microphone" cables are usually 2 
conductor) cables to anyone anticipating playing a Hi-Z unbalanced mic into 
an amp. Cables with excessively heavy shielding (heavy braid, double spiral 
etc) and conductors (over 0.2mm sq) also appear best avoided.

I admit I haven't had the inclination to pay $100  a foot for a cable, the 
most expensive cable I own(ed) is the Allessandro Audioquest Guitar One (from 
Kevins Harps)...a nice sounding cable, perhaps 8/10. To save anyone who just 
wants a recommendation for a great sounding cable having to read through more 
than necessary of my ramblings...Klotz La Grange guitar cable is the best 
sounding cable I have heard. Available from in 
the US ($49 for 10ft?) and, somewhat more reasonably, from in the UK (around £15 for 15ft assembled or around 
£1.50/m as unassembled stock - DO NOT ACCEPT "Sommmer Spirit" AS A 
REPLACEMENT, despite having virtually identical specs to the Klotz with 
regard to capacitance this cable sounds awful. Sommer Session II however, 
sounds good (7 or 8/10). Studiospares "Ultimate Guitar Cable" (appears to be 
made by Europa) should be avoided at all costs, wet string probably sounds 

Other good sounding cables I've tried are:
Guyatone EDM Speed, volume control replaced with a std 1/4" jack (the vol 
control is probably only really suitable for Hi-Z dynamics (mostly what I 
use, as fully on, it is a 225K resistor) - 8/10. This cable has the lowest 
capacitance I've found (56pf/m) and has a sturdy dialetric like the Klotz 
(70pf/m) but still doesn't sound as good. Why I don't know, it has a very 
fine braided sheild whereas the Klotz a single spiral?

Proel - 7/10. Seems to promote the mids, giving a thick sound, if not one of 
the more natural sounding cables.

Kustom, braided covering from Kevin's Harps - 6/10. Perfectly useable if a 
bit middley.

George L - 6/10. Despite lower capacitance than the previous 2 it doesn't 
sound really any better, but still a useful cable.

Half the cables I tried were useless. I haven't tried Bob's recommendation, 
the Monster.

If I was going to buy a cable I was not familiar with from a store, I would 
expect to A/B it against the other brands available (though I can appreciate 
stores not being overly willing to comply). If your cable doesn't sound good 
no amount of Tung Sol/RCA/JJ tubes or   Jensen speakers will make up for 
it...they can't if they're not getting a good signal in ther first place.

Regards, Mark B.

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