I went through the cable testing thing many years ago. Right now I am using a mogami gold and a few Monster rocks. I like the Mogami very slightly more, but the best sounding cable I have had was the Monster "studio". The old TwoRock cables sounded good, but the "Studio" was the best of the many brands I tried. Amazing the difference in tone between the Monster "jazz", "rock" and "studio" cables alone. The "studio" was REALLY thick and not very flexable, but not nearly as stiff as the TwoRocks, which were to me, almost unusable in a live situation. (But did sound great) I broke the "Studio" eventually, and ended up with a few Monster "rocks" because Guitar center told me the studio was no longer available, and I did not feel like arguing with them. In any case, for me, that was THE cable. Full range, but always had bigger mids than anything else, and just sounded bigger and fuller. GREAT cable!
Originally Posted by helmi
This is me being a pain in the rear, but please bear with me :-)
First off, I don't doubt that there is a difference between cables. I just believe that when you go above a certain level, the law of diminishing returns kicks in (tone-wise at least).
Anyway. In my opinion, the "most right" way of doing this test is to re-amp, or use a looper pedal or something, so the tone isn't influenced by changes in playing.
Furthermore, a tone difference in and of itself does not, in my book, necessarily merit buying the most expensive cables. Maybe you would actually prefer one of the cheaper cables in a truly blind test (I didn't catch whether he picked out a favorite, or just perceived that there were differences between various ones). Or maybe a few simple tweaks on the amp would even out the differences. That further gets me to thinking, what if you tweaked the amp based on one of the cheaper cables; would you then maybe think the most expensive cable had an unpleasant amount of treble? (in a blind test, I mean, forgetting all you know of capacitance etc.)
Just food for thought.
In the end, I myself prefer the "peace of mind" that comes from knowing that my guitar cable is of high quality. But apart from durability and screening etc, I think that this peace of mind itself is what I pay a premium for - rather than what it does for my tone, when comparing the impact with that of the amp controls.
Just my 0.02.
I really should make a reamping experiment and post the results. Just need to reassemble my reamping box. One of these years..... :-)
These are THE best that I have tried:
Originally Posted by Michael_DK
Re-ampling takes the feel of the cable out of the equation, which is a huge part IMO. Just have someone plug in and unplug each cable for you. The amp makes a huge difference as well. You have to use your own rig. This is something that really blew me away with the monster studio, because it sounded the best with all of my amps, and I had a ton of them. The TwoRock cable sounded great with TwoRock amps, but I did not dig it with my others. To bright with fenders. You should always adjust your tone controls with each cable as well. I would think that is a no brainer. But what i found is that adding treble to a darker cable, or cutting the highs from a bright one did not make different cables sound or feel the same. The over all tone and feel of the studio did it for me with amps ranging from Dumble clones, to Brunos, to Matchless, badcats, vintage fenders, and even a 1972 Marshall clone. Someone else may hate the cable. Its only what felt and sounded the best to me. I dont know of the even make them anymore, but for someone looking for the ultimate cable should try one out for sure, because to me it kicked arse! Wish I still had it!
I have the Analysis Plus Pro Oval:
I'm an audiophile, so I wanted the good stuff.
I remember seeing an older photo of Eric Johnson's pedal board. He had a collection of different cables, including a Radio Shack POS. The man was using cables to eq his rig, much like his claimed preference for a certain brand of batteries.
I say "if Radio shack works for EJ, it works for me!" I now buy ALL my musical gear from Radio Shack! It's kinda hard to find guitars, but if you look hard enough...
Tag, those TR cables were as stiff as the wire hangers that come from the dry cleaners! I couldn't use them live at all.
They even got in the way in the studio. I finally gave them to a session guy I know.
Very bright and detailed cables, though. They made it sound like the guitar itself had a buffered output!
Last edited by LSchefman; 05-13-2014 at 09:08 PM.
Mogami Platinum. Right angle except for my Tele which requires a straight plug.
Will probably last forever. Guaranteed for life.
Planet Waves USA are very decent too and half the price.
The key factor that's often (as in almost always) ignored is capacitance. Les touched on it earlier, but manufacturers aren't usually keen to advertise the values.
You can compare high-end vs. low-end cable, but they're not going to sound all that different if the capacitance is the same. However, compare a George L (low capacitance) to a Monster Rock (high capacitance) of the same length and you will absolutely notice a difference. The higher the capacitance, the lower the resonant peak, which means you'll hear more mid emphasis and less high end.
As always there's no right or wrong, but I use Bill Lawrence low capacitance cables, 10 ft to the board, and 12 ft to the amp. Letting more high end through was a bit of a revelation for me.
I decided to poke around the Interwebz to see if I could find anything on this subject. These links (related) are interesting:
Originally Posted by garrett
It appears there can be audible differences, and the guitar you plug in at one end, and the pedal/amp you plug in at the other end may affect the overall impact of the cable's capacitance.
And since I have diminished hearing in the high-end due to too many rock/metal concerts and my own guitar playing at loud volumes, perhaps that's why I don't really hear a difference. Nonetheless, the next cable I buy may be low-capacitance on purpose just to see if I can notice even the slightest change...
EDIT: Just found this website too, which summarizes the issue fairly well, IMHO:
Last edited by shinksma; 05-14-2014 at 11:21 AM.
Reason: added another website reference
As far as I understand it, the cable itself is a standard Belden cable that's been widely available in bulk and used by many manufacturers for years and years, with plugs welded on instead of soldered.
Originally Posted by SharkGuitar
Not saying they're not good, or that Belden cables sound bad, just curious as to where the special sauce is with these.
So I'm wondering what other cables you've compared them to?
I have a couple Mogami and PRS cables that are nice. Each with one 90. I use Basses with barrel jacks and really believe Monster cable ends are bigger, as I developed intermittent issues with a couple basses , due to the bigger Monster plugs...in the barrel jacks. Did anyone else experience anything like this??
The graph from the second link shows it perfectly. You can see how the resonant peak shifts and how the higher frequencies are more pronounced as capacitance is reduced.
Originally Posted by shinksma
Originally Posted by garrett
I think this goes along with it nicely:
This examines transient responses of the cables. That's another important factor. Unsurprising (to me, at least), the author found no difference between the cables in this respect.
I think the placebo effect is huge in this. The flipside is that if a more expensive cable makes you feel and play better even if there is NO real-world difference in sound... by all means, use that placebo effect to your advantage.
Just be aware that the more expensive cables you buy, the longer time it takes to save up to the next PRS :-)
In the end, chasing tone should be done mainly with your hands on the amp controls - not on your mouse and keyboard (I'm as guilty of doing the latter as much as the next guy - but I try!!).
I have gone wireless for home use.
May use cables if I am to lazy to hook up the wireless, but for now I like the Line 6 G50 I just got Monday.
Originally Posted by Coop
But... I'm going to be the sceptic and rant/ramble a bit here :-) Take my observations with a pound of salt, I'm sure I don't understand how this works. But just like at work, I don't mind sharing my massively uninformed opinions whenever I get the chance...
Guitar tone is the sum of the parts, and that includes the cable. So far, that cable has had a resonant peak at somewhere between 5 and 8 kHz (as illustrated on the graph above). And a hi-pass filter. And all this is influenced by all the gear in the chain (including amp and guitar). I wonder how the amp will sound and respond to the playing through this cable as opposed to a traditional one.
Maybe that's what the "4 position simulated loading switch" is for... But if so, what the heck? Remove capacitance, and then add a loading feature to bring back the effect of capacitance?
This kind of reminds me of digital recording. I have no experience with consoles and tape recorders, but console emulation and tape emulation is HUGE in mixing these days, because the IMPERFECTIONS of those analogue systems of the "past" actually turned out to be pleasing. We don't want perfect replication, we want a pleasing tone. I don't know, maybe those light cables can deliver. Noise rejection and all that - that's of course a relevant selling point.
What they propose with "precise, perfect, dynamic and crystal clear guitar sound" - those are EXACTLY the things that the tape/console emulation plugins try to "combat".
Wonder what "analogue optical technology" means....??? I mean... What's pleasing about the analogue sound is the interaction of the components and the imperfections.
As far as the test with the engineer in the video... First off, the cable is plugged directly into his interface; NOT an amp. If he compares that sound to the sound he would get from doing the same with a regular cable, well... The light cable has "automatic impedance matching", they say, so if he plugs into a regular 15kOhm input, that would DEFINITELY make a difference. So it can apparently act like a DI Furthermore, he says that his studio monitors are yamaha NS10s, and they also don't colour the sound in any way. This is NOT what they are known for!! :-D They are known for really exposing the midrange in an unpleasing way (to some) - but they are NOT flat (that's what I've always heard anyway).
Last edited by Michael_DK; 05-15-2014 at 10:35 AM.
Originally Posted by Tag
it sounds like you did some extensive testing and consistently preferred a certain brand or two :-)
I don't argue that there are not big differences, although I probably sound like I do :-) The graph above definitely shows a difference between cables. Also, in your experience, the more expensive cable does not always win. Smart man! ;-)
I guess I just question whether more expensive is always better, and more specifically: if the juice is always worth the squeeze. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it aint. Advertising sucks in so many people these days, and the internet isn't helping one bit, haha...
Originally Posted by Michael_DK
I totally agree with you. Some people think that in most of if not all the cases with cables, you are throwing your money away as far as tone goes. Totally not true. A cable can make as much of a difference as a pup change in some cases, for WAY less $$ and work. Also, you buy one of the good cables, and you are pretty much set for life, unless they stop carrying the cables like GC told me they did with my beloved Monster studio.