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Exotic pro audio cables

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by Mercuri, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. Mercuri

    Mercuri Member

    Hey, everyone -

    I'm looking to rewire my studio with some damn expensive cabling but I'm not sure exactly where to look as far as who makes the really, really high end stuff. I've looked at some of Vampire Wire's products, and they seem to be what I'm searching for. I haven't A/D'ed a lot of different kinds (copper, silver, etc) so I'm uncertain about which technology brings about the greatest sonic clarity.

    C'mon... Somebody spill thle secrets of what you've got connecting point A to point B. ;)
  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    give http://www.acousticzen.com a try.
  3. Mercuri

    Mercuri Member

    Uh... Okay. I want expensive cables but I don't want to mortgage my soul in order to connect my preamp to my board. :p Something more along the lines of Vampire, if not a little higher grade.

    Also... A friend of mine seems hard-set on insisting that gold contacts are bad for the signal. Should I be using straight silver plugs?
  4. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    I would suggest hiring a Santeria priestest to bless your cable too. It costs a little more but its well worth it. (sarcasm)
    While you're at it compare the capacitance per foot spec between cables. Its the only one that matters. I've been using AES cable for analog connections lately and have liked it. Very lowpf/ft at a reasonable price. Don't buy expensive cable. Proper cable termination (good soldering) has a much larger effect on audio quality than cable type. Don't belive the hype.
  5. Mercuri

    Mercuri Member

    Well, the Acoustic Zen stuff was about $600 per meter and the Santeria priest I contacted was an extortionist who charges another 300% just to dip the cables in holy-chicken-smoothie and claims a drop in capacitance by at least half as a result of the ritual... So I figured he'd only help me reduce my noise floor by about 1/2 a decibel. I debated for about twenty minutes whether it was worth it or not, and finally he hung up on me, angered. Told me my first son would be a mute, too. Bastard!!

    Anyhow, my idea of damn expensive is about maybe $5-$20 per foot. I think I erred by not specifying the degree of "damnedness". :roll:

    Most of my rewire will probably be with Mogami 2549, but there's a few applications I'd like something better for. Places where I need to make the magic happen. (Without the priest...) Vampire looks interesting... But what's the next step up?

    Paul - some folks have mentioned crimping rendering higher fidelity than soldering. But I know the connectors are important in the chain as well... Are there any really high-grade studio XLR connectors available?

    Thanks for the help, guys... Ciao...
  6. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Just to put things in pespective. You are not going to fix you're nasty noise problem with fancy cable. If you mostly use noisy synths I would doubt you'll get a noisefloor lower than -50dBu on a good day anyway. Buy some Belden and take the money you save and hire a knowledgeable electrician to fix your A/C.

    Switchcraft or Neutrik XLR connectors are good. Some prefer silver some prefer gold. Gold is more expensive but not neccessarily better.

    As for crimp or solder it is a religious issue. Either one done well will be fine with some exceptions. The exceptions have more to do with failure rate than sound, although one bleeds into the other.
  7. Faeflora

    Faeflora Guest

    I agree with Paul. I have a lot of synthesizers, and every single one of them hisses quite loudly. I also agree that good cables aren't a remedy for your crappy AC.
  8. Mercuri

    Mercuri Member

    Well... I'm not getting cable to reduce the electrical noise that's trashing my recordings right now. But I will work on the AC and see if I can correct that.

    Most of this will be going toward my main vocal mic lines and other critical apps. My main synth has a digital out, so I'm in -144dB of gorgeous noiseless heaven there. :D But I'm into the cables for signal preservation mostly. I've found someone retailing 2549 Mogami for $0.50 a foot and I'll probably buy a small reel of Vampire for the gold channels. I've never heard anyone knock Mogami, so does it seem like an OK choice?
  9. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Mogami is fine. I use it all the time. A little more expensive than other stuff but I prefer it for cables that will be handled a lot because it is supple. For single pair that advantage is lost. Don't solder it anywhere near a carpet, you'll be picking strands of sheild out of it forever. For microphone level signals the microphonic properties become more important so get something that has a lot of "stuffing" so when you shake it you don't hear anything. I don't know what Vampire cable is but the Mogami single pair microphone style cable is fine. If you don't have many connections you may just want to buy a roll of that and use it for everything. You'll go through the rest eventually and it's good to have some extra laying around for a rainy day.
  10. Mercuri

    Mercuri Member

    Thanks Paul... I'm going to take your advice and grab a 328-foot roll. I don't have a million connections and this should cover everything and I'll have a little left over for when something pops up. Thankee!
  11. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    I don't know how much soldering experience you have. If you don't have much I'll give you a couple of hints. Step 1. -get good tools. You need a good jacket stripper. I like the xcelite with the little wheel to set the depth so you don't nick the conductors. There are fancy auto strippers that I've had bad luck with but I like the $12.00 xcelite. It's important not to nick the conductors and get semi shorts. It doesn't sound too good. You need a vice to hold the connectors. I hate the roach clip ones. get a real vice. You can't go wrong with a Weller soldering iron. I have a nice one with a regulated power supply/tip temperature. It's a pain to carry around and sits at home for big projects. I mostly use the garden variety one. I did all the restoration work on my Neumann lathe with a 25 watt Weller and it worked fine. Always keep you soldering tip clean and free from carbon buildup. Tin the conductor and the connector then join the tined pieces together. Your connections should be shiny not dull. Those are the basic things to do. Don't be afraid to do it twice to get it right.
  12. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    I've kept out of this thread ..... until now.

    I must echo all that Paul said,
    Don't believe the hype.
    ..... fix your A/C.
    Switchcraft or Neutrik XLR connectors are good.
    Mogami is fine.
    You can't go wrong with a Weller soldering iron.
    Always keep you soldering tip clean and free from carbon build-up.
    Don't be afraid to do it twice to get it right.
    Seriously .. if you follow what Paul said you will have a studio wiring the envy of your friends. It may be an un-glamorous part of the business but it can set one studio apart from the others. Good wiring and good patchbay layout and good connections.

    Learn to solder.... it is worth it!
  13. Actually my vices are women and alcohol :)
  14. Mercuri

    Mercuri Member

    Did what you guys suggested... Built my own Mogami W2549 cables and wired my setup with them.


    My noise floor is literally NON-EXISTANT. *Literally*. Only the chipmunks scampering around in the trees outside can be heard when I normalize silence. :D :D :D

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