Upgrading your cables could really improve your end result.
Most of us have a growing collection of broken cables sitting in a box somewhere around the studio.
Years ago after throwing out dozens of dud leads I decided to take the plunge and buy some good quality cables and I haven’t looked back since.
The first thing I noticed was a big improvement on the sound of the microphones and my guitar output seemed to have a much thicker tone in the amp. Spurred on by this I replaced my speaker cables and I found the PA had more punch and less feedback. Also predictably these cables seem to have a much lower percentage rate of failure.
Generally high quality cable manufactures specialise just on the cable and source the plug ends from equally reputable companies.
Not including the plug ends, a cable is made up of three major components.
(1) The Jacket is the outer wrap and needs to be as stretch resistant as possible while still being supple enough to be coiled up at the end of the gig. It’s thickness needs to be equal across the whole length of the cable and give snug support to the cores inside.
(2) The Shielding needs to insulate internally and externally. As the signal moves through the cable it creates a magnetic field and the shielding prevents exterior interference from affecting the flow of signal and introducing noise. Of course the shielding on the individual cores stops the bare wires from touching each other and needs to be adequately heat resistant to minimise shrink-back when being soldered onto the plug end.
(3) The Copper strands (Conductors) inside the core need to be of a high quality copper and sufficient enough in number as to not snap or break down when the signal flows. As the price of copper is expensive cheap cables tend to use less of it, which contributes to the weak signal & noise problems that they suffer from.
Plug ends: Over the years the pro audio industry have come to put their trust in just a few brands, of which Amphenol, Neutrick, Switchcraft, Mogami and Link tend to be the most recognised.
These manufacturers pour over every detail of their products and keep the quality very high right across the board. Threads, Screws & Pins don’t tend to strip and bend like their cheaper counterparts.
As copyright laws in some countries don’t tend to be enforced, there are a lot of imitations out there, so make sure you are getting genuine brands and not look-alike’s.
It’s a good idea to get your local Pro Audio specialist to make up your cables as you can specify in advance what components you want in your order.
If you have to buy pre made cables from a music store, here’s a short list of cable brands that feature genuine high quality components. Eurocable – Klotz – Mogami – Planet Waves -Whirlwind & Prolinx
Hers is a good a video that looks inside multicore cables.This features Tony Hosking managing director of The Resource Corp & manufacture of Australian made Prolinx cable systems.