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trock

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Feb 11 12 8:29 PM

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Hi

In a few months, depending on a couple of things happening, i will be trying to clean up and re do my studio setup. when i do that i am wondering if i standardize and use only one brand of cable for everything such as mogami, will that help my sound and quality?

i ask because right now its a huge hodgepodge of different brands, lengths etc

basically a mess

what i want to do is also FINALLY make everything nice and neat, the right length for the run needed etc

so my question is, is it worth going to a brand like mogami for everything. i know making it nice and neat and having say a 2 foot cable instead of throwing in a 15 foot cable cause i have it will make a big difference in looks, but is the sound quality going to go up as well?

when i say hodgepodge i mean i have no idea what most are, they are from GC, sweetwater, some are monster i know, some are hosa, most i have no idea

thanks!

tim

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.

Posts: 1,503 Member Since:28/11/2011

#1 [url]

Feb 11 12 9:23 PM

I'm usually suspect of the molded type (Hosa) cables, as they tend to fail after years of plugging/unplugging, and are a PITA to fix.

That said, I've been using self made cable runs that are at least 20 years old with nary an issue to date. As for what KIND of cable is best, I can't really answer that as I have nothing to compare to. What ever fits my budget is what works for me.

 "Real People, Real Performances."

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ssltech

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,058 Member Since:22/01/2011

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Feb 12 12 9:30 AM

'what type of cable' on an audio forum can cause as much animated discussion as 'which oil..." on a car forum!

Mogami is good stuff, no doubt about it.

However, it's partly so 'good' for reasons which may not matter to you, so the price premium may not be something you need to lay out so much for.

Mogami uses VERY finely-stranded copper for shields... which is expensive, but VERY flexible. It coils VERY neatly. -In permanent installations however, this is not likely to be a benefit.

Other cable types may use foil shields and drain wires, which are far less expensive, and offer 100% coverage... but they don't flex anywhere near as well. -As a result they may also use a more 'plasticy' sheath/jacket, and when you get a snake of 8 or 24 of these, they don't coil at all nicely. -This stuff SUCKS for live/mobile application, but works just as well for studio installations... with the ADDED benefit that they frequently have an additional OVERALL shield and drain wire around the outside jacket. -This makes these types of snake VASTLY more robust when it comes to rejection in high RFI environments... though you have to ground the overall shields to make it work. -This is hardly an onerous task however.

Other than that, cable 'differences' in terms of sonic properties are due to resistive/inductive properties of the copper,and the capacitive properties of the dielectric (insulator)... but the BIGGEST factor in how much of a part these play is the IMPEDANCES of the outputs and inputs which are being connected.

It's a simple matter to arrance a demonstration where one cable will sound worse in one circumstance and another cable fantastic... while connecting two different pieces of gear, the performance abilities can be COMPLETELY reversed...

I'm heading out right now, but I hate to leave it there... I'll come back and write more, but suffice to say that USUALLY the only times I specify Mogami are where the client needs to feel 'reassured' or where there's some external access to the cable (like line level cue box snakes etc.) -the rest of the time I'll use Belden or equivalents.

-Keith Andrews -If I can't fix it, I can fix it so [i]NOBODY[/i] can fix it!

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ssltech

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,058 Member Since:22/01/2011

#3 [url]

Feb 12 12 11:31 AM

Okay, to continue...

Just looking for a moment at two very much simplified parameters of cable: resistance and capacitance,  -let's compare two very different interface situations.

Let's imagine that we have two different cable options to consider, and that one has an exaggeratedly high capacitance, but low resistance, while the other has exaggeratedly high resistance, but very low capacitance.

Now let's consider a low impedance interface (like a loud speaker output, just to illustrate) versus a high impedance line level interconnection.

So... for the high impedance interconnection lets say we have a 10kΩ source impedance connecting to a 100kΩ load. A ten ohm resistance (for example) will have a negligible effect on the recovered signal at the receiving device, whereas in the louspeaker connection, an eight-ohm load impedance will be dramatically affected by a ten ohm series resistance... thus the cable with the high resistance will produce a vastly worse result than the high-capacitance cable.

On the other hand, the (likely fraction of an ohm) low source impedance interconnect will scarcely even register a capacitance from the cable, while the ten-thousand ohm source impedance will noticeably start to lose HF with even moderate cable capacitance... and in this situation, the OTHER cable will perform noticeably better.

So, if we bear in mind that there are ALWAYS circumstances which make certain cable properties undesirable, we can probably imagine how a cable manufacturer -whether that be 'Monster' or any other high-end "we make things sound better" company- can compare any well-suited cable that they produce to a competitor's cable, and -by careful selection- show quite convincingly that their cable is audibly AND measurably superior...

The average consumer of course can then easily assume that 'Brand X' makes superior product in general terms, and of course, for as long as the typical consumer doesn't generally know about the physical or electrical properties which affect different aspects of sonic performance, -and given that most people just want a simple answer along the lines of 'X is better than Y'- this is what ends to happen.

So, -hopefully I've not confused things too much, but my aim here is to show that the BRAND is not so important as the cable TYPE and its relevance to its application.

-Keith Andrews -If I can't fix it, I can fix it so [i]NOBODY[/i] can fix it!

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ssltech

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,058 Member Since:22/01/2011

#4 [url]

Feb 12 12 11:52 AM

So, carrying on:

Mogami makes great cable. It's extremely flexible, it's comprehensively shielded, it's -FAIRLY- easy to terminate (they do provide a nice tinned drain wire for their stranded shields, although trimming the strands is time consuming, and -occasionally- one super-tiny copper strand can remain, causing significant trouble if it strays against a signal conductor!) -In addition, the overall sheath material feels expensive also, and for stage-box runs, cue box feeds, or any other "coil me up and store me away" applications, I recommend it MOST wholeheartedly.

However, behind racks, to and from tape machines, through walls or in pipes etc, the PHYSICAL properties of flexibility and coiling -while not usually a disadvantage- are of no particular benefit, and in some extreme cases where 'friction' has become an issue, I've actually found that pulling snakes with a more 'plasticky' jacket (less 'rubbery') has offered less friction...

The overall foil electrostatic shield -when connected to a central ground- can work WONDERS in reducing electrostatic interference problems where they are an issue, and Mogami doesn't have this owing to it being largely incompatible with superior flexibility. -This might not be a prerequisite, however if you're in a high-rise in Manhatten, it might be essential!

Foil sheilded cables are generally MUCH quicker to prep for termination, and there's a VASTLY reduced chance of 'stray strands' shorting signal lines to ground. -This means either reduced labor costs (if you're paying someone to make it for you) or less time spent slinging solder (if you're doing it yourself).

As regards molded-versus-assembled, I don't have a strong preference... though assembled connectors are more readily repairable, neither tends to go wrong by itself unless they're regularly disconnected and re-connected... and in many studio applications this isn't so much of an issue. -I've used HOSA and 'Cable-up' premade assemblies when budget has been a strong factor and I've not had any real problems. -Indeed I've actually got some photos of an SSL AWS900 installation which was done entirely using HOSA interconnects, and there's no audible difference between that and another installation which I did using more esoteric cable.

I'll say this though... Here's something which can and frequently does have an audible effect on sound quality: -Planning; particularly with respect to grounding, cable routing and shielding. -You can use the most expensive cable and still get a bad result if things are done particularly wrongly... under these conditions it's easy to outperform such an installation using materials at half the cost.

-Keith Andrews -If I can't fix it, I can fix it so [i]NOBODY[/i] can fix it!

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ssltech

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,058 Member Since:22/01/2011

#5 [url]

Feb 12 12 11:55 AM

Regarding cable LENGTH though, one final thought: All negative/undesirable properties of cable and wire INCREASE along with the the length of the cable/wire.

No matter how much you spend on cable, you can ALWAYS make it sound better by making it shorter.

-Keith Andrews -If I can't fix it, I can fix it so [i]NOBODY[/i] can fix it!

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oliver archut

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Posts: 566 Member Since:14/01/2011

#8 [url]

Feb 12 12 2:48 PM

Yes, the endless question about cable... Like with the oil for every application the right cable, so in my view as long it is good to high quality it is useable and yes, they do have a sound but that comes down to price vs. application. Make sure that it does not have a foil shield and solid cores, most stranded double shielded (2nd shield copper or conducting rubber/plastic) will get the job done fine, with reference to long-lived and not changing sound properties vs. time and mostly vs. money, we are right back at the oily question.
One thing that is overlooked quite a lot are the cable ends...They can change the sound even more over time and more drastically than the cable used.
 
Best regards,
Oliver

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cgc

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Posts: 944 Member Since:06/02/2011

#9 [url]

Feb 12 12 4:08 PM

I like the Gepco 61801 for wiring up installs.  26pF/ft and 15 ohms per 1000 feet - usually no problem for low impedance gear runs a few hundred feet or less.   It's pretty inexpensive - $0.20 a foot or less.  Belden makes a comparable cable - I forget the number though.

Here's a nifty calculator for the RC of cable runs:

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-cable.htm

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trock

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Posts: 1,073 Member Since:21/01/2011

#10 [url]

Feb 13 12 8:38 AM

wow

first, let me say thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question like that. i am re reading this whole thing again for the third time now, and will continue to do so. i really appreciate it. i knew this would be the place to ask.

its one of those questions where someone like me feels kind of dumb asking it because i really had NO idea, really no idea at all how any of this worked on the physical layer side of things.

i had just read so many things about yes it matters to nope, not at all.

my "studio" is small. its an old garage converted. its 10x19 or so with a portion of 6x3 cut out for an outside door, so its an L

that being said. i wanted to accomplish 2 things, well 3. neatness, labeling properly and quality. the first 2 i can do but i was never sure about 3.

this is not for live, this stuff will never move again, or very rarely if i add or take something out. this room is on 2 circuits and is new(er) electrical runs that from what i can tell is well grounded and a good steady strean of electrical, meaning it doesn't jump all around. i have one of those PAC that measures the current and it stays at 120 pretty much the whole time.

hope that helps.

and you REALLY helped me because i had half convinced myself that mogami was the way to go.

thanks again keith, really. i hope this gets a sticky, it really is a huge help.

thanks!

tim

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drknob

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Posts: 788 Member Since:02/02/2011

#11 [url]

Feb 13 12 10:02 AM

I'm with Keith. Short is king.
Usually, there is a tradeoff, especially with mic cable. If you're in a nasty electrical environment, products like Canare Star-Quad can be your friend. The down side is increased capacitance, which some find unacceptable. At my last big studio, we used the stiff plastic covered Canare Star-Quad stuff in the troughs and Mogami for the day to day mic plugging. Not that I ever heard one complaint.....

Harold Kilianski

Music Industry Arts
Fanshawe College

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meverylame

Tin Man

Posts: 48 Member Since:04/02/2011

#12 [url]

Feb 14 12 1:02 AM

To Oliver and Keef (and Harold, if he feels so inclined),
I just recently went through this with a friends small home studio. We did the basic install using some variety of belden and mogami. Upon a recommendation a really well respected mastering guy we placed solid core cable (nothing fancy, looked like commercial install wire), but it seemingly sounded WAY better. Any idea why this could be. 

Jason Kingsland

www.JasonKingsland.com

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ssltech

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,058 Member Since:22/01/2011

#13 [url]

Feb 14 12 8:20 AM

Nope... I'm not going to touch that.

Sonic 'preference' is not part of what I want to discuss here, quite so much as technical differences.

-Like with motor oil, no two people are going to have evactly the same experience, specially when it comes to 'hearing' any sound from cable, so -again like motor oil- the subject becomes very 'slippery'.

And -as mentioned earlier- there are VITALLY important circumstantial data which rarely-if ever- get reported...

The 'coat hanger' test (for loudspeaker wire) is a famous one, but I note that you didn't say WHAT was being connected, so we can only speculate as to whether your friend was connecting a microphone to a preamp, a mixer to a recorder, or an amplifier to a speaker... all rather different interface types, imposing distinctly different tests on cable.... Once again, DO NOT make any sort of assumption that just because something works in one condition that it will work in another.

Now, if it happens to be 'amp-to-speaker' cable, I know that-for in-wall/permanent installations I've used solid core 'stove' cable for years (which is about as close to coat-hanger wire as you can easily find in copper) and people swear that it sounds as good as the stranded Mogami stuff... But then on the other hand I too can point to a famous mastering engineer -published and respected, who also designs and builds some fantastic and complicated equipment and well-known in these parts- who made HIS loudspeaker hookup cables out of many sets of CAT-5 cable in parallel, with all of the conductors paralleled and individuall shielded (presumably to accommodate the 'Litzendraht' property) and he swears that it's the best-sounding way...

I'm making no comment. -If it sounds good to you, go right ahead and use it... but don't become obsessive listening for differences; I go my the rule that well-suited cable has never let me down, but if anyone wants to get involved with listening tests, they're welcome to... -It's their time money and sanity, after all.

I can also say that I've made cable harnesses and executed a couple of installations for people who have used similar methodologies to evaluate snake cable; they bought a hundred feet of Mogami 24-pair, a hundred feet of Gepco 24-pair, and so on. They added male and female XLR connectors to each end, and connected the end of pair one to the start of pair two, the end of pair two to the start of pair three, and so forth. -Of course, they end up with 2,400 feet of snake, which they can -by simply unplugging and reconnecting at any pair junction- 'shorten' by 100-foot increments.

Then they did some listening tests. they tried dynamic mics, phantom-powered transformer mics, transformerless-output tube mics, transformer-output tube mics, ribbon mics, then they tried running transformer and transformerless line-level signals through it, as many combinations as they could come up with (and they own a drool-worthy collection of equipment, both 'rare-vintage' and 'ultra-modern')

 -They preferred the Gepco, so they ended up buying about 3,000 feet of multipair (this was a particularly large installation, with more to follow!) -I also know people who have done similar tests and gone with the Mogami. -I've another friend who likes Redco. In the end it's what you like, so I can conclude that there is almost certainly no technical backup, so I'd like to keep the thread from heading down that path, other than -*perhaps*- listing things that people have tried and liked. -However, I'm certain that for each thing that someone has liked, you'll find someone else who has had an equally negative reaction. -For reasons of sanity, it's probably best not to invest too much attention in such matters!

-Keith Andrews -If I can't fix it, I can fix it so [i]NOBODY[/i] can fix it!

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oliver archut

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Posts: 566 Member Since:14/01/2011

#14 [url]

Feb 14 12 6:13 PM

There are a lot of people that like solid core cable and I do have a few close friends were I chat with once in a while about the sound of cable, but talking the sound out of the talks here, solid core wires are very touchy if it comes to a day to day operation over a longer period of time. In all my problem solving for customers over the years the solid cores in studios are always a problem child. The same is valid for the foil shield and yes,  I used both for a few select projects it is just a pain in the behind. Where ever I can avoid them I will do so... 

Talking sound is like talking taste and like with food you have to use whatever pleases you...

Best regards,

Oliver

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cgc

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Posts: 944 Member Since:06/02/2011

#15 [url]

Feb 14 12 6:46 PM

But then on the other hand I too can point to a famous mastering engineer -published and respected, who also designs and builds some fantastic and complicated equipment and well-known in these parts- who made HIS loudspeaker hookup cables out of many sets of CAT-5 cable in parallel, with all of the conductors paralleled and individuall shielded (presumably to accommodate the 'Litzendraht' property) and he swears that it's the best-sounding way...

-ssltech

I had a friend who did the Cat5 bundle for his speaker cables and it was probably the most obvious case of the cable affecting the sound I've ever heard.  And it was not for the good either.  It lost a lot of high and low end compared to el cheapo lamp cord. 

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ssltech

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,058 Member Since:22/01/2011

#16 [url]

Feb 14 12 8:08 PM

There you go: a classic illustration.

One man's meat is another man's poison.

For plug/unplug/coil/uncoil... 'rinse & repeat' applications, obviously solid core doesn't work. But for stuff like in-wall applications, there's no technical disadvantage, apart from perhaps pulling it through tight corners in conduit...

Steve Lampen from Belden is a great guy to listen to about cable.

-Keith Andrews -If I can't fix it, I can fix it so [i]NOBODY[/i] can fix it!

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kb s1

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,588 Member Since:18/01/2011

#17 [url]

Feb 15 12 12:32 PM

A slight derailment of thread but; I often wonder when I hear of someone changing to NEW cables that there is a BIG improvement if, by chance they would have gained the same improvement simply by cleaning all the contact points.
How many people on trying new cables and liking them go quickly back to the old for comparison?

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ssltech

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,058 Member Since:22/01/2011

#18 [url]

Feb 15 12 1:15 PM

Well, whether it's doe to contacts or some property of the cable itself, when I hear that people hear 'stunning' differences after replacing a cable, I prefer to begin from the viewpoint that it's more likely that there may have been something wrong with the old one, as opposed to something magical about the new one.

Just about any cable can sound good if you're comparing it to wet string!

-Keith Andrews -If I can't fix it, I can fix it so [i]NOBODY[/i] can fix it!

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ccash

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Posts: 1,470 Member Since:19/01/2011

#19 [url]

Feb 22 12 10:20 AM

My place is wired with Mogami throughout.

The cables for my mic's and PA run from the CR via conduits in the wall, then through the attic and back down again via conduits into the live room.

My attic gets really really hot.
Will this heat affect the cables over time?

Thanks.


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dominick

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Posts: 674 Member Since:26/01/2011

#20 [url]

Feb 22 12 12:49 PM

My place is wired with Mogami throughout.The cables for my mic's and PA run from the CR via conduits in the wall, then through the attic and back down again via conduits into the live room.My attic gets really really hot.Will this heat affect the cables over time?Thanks.

-ccash

Mogami snake cable is rated for 70 degrees Celcius

Dominick Costanzo

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