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Quietest Mic cables

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by Ardroth, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Ardroth

    Ardroth Guest

    I'm sure this has been discussed before... but a search yielded no results! Even googling didn't help me out... so I need some advice:

    I'm looking for the quietest 50 foot Microphone cable that I can get for <$50. I'm pretty sure that the longer the cable, the more "noisy" it can be... correct? Anyway, I've been looking at Mogami Gold, and Belden (C.B.I.) cables. At my local music store they have the Beldens for $35 w/neutrik connectors. I heard these were pretty quiet. Anyway, any other ideas would be great... I'm using these cables to record classical music so silence is golden. Thank you!
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Your using good logic, but your missing the practicle. Cable noise is about the absolute last thing you should worry about for any kind of live recordings. The ambient room noise you record in and the self noise of any microphone is many more times greater than the nosie from even the most budget cables.

    Just get the Mogami and be done. Mogami is time tested and used by professionals through out the audio industry. While I have and use other brands depending on occasion, I own more Mogami than other other brand. Ok, except for HOSA....
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I agree mostly with AG.

    Mic cables shouldn't cause noise in any situation and should be the least of your concerns.

    However, due to the fact that the shield on the Mogami is a looser wrap than that on Canare and Belden, it is a tad more succeptible to RFI and EMI. However, the likelihood of you ever experiencing this is slim.

    I did 2 recordings in the same church last year - the church is 200 years old and has no grounding on their electrical. Their whole building acts as a giant FM antenna. Using Mogami Neglex Quad, I was picking up the local spanish station. Switching to Canare quad, I got rid of 95% of the noise. It was the only component that made a difference...
  4. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    I use the Canare Star Quad
    and have done so for years
    has served me very well
  5. Ardroth

    Ardroth Guest

    Well that's the thing... I've already got the quite mics, the quiet preamps... now all I need is the quiet cables! Right now I'm using some cheap Peavy cables with Neutriks... They work alright, but I don't know if they give my mics justice!

    Wow... those neglex cables are 100 bucks a pop! Might be a little out of my price range. I don't think I could even afford 1! Obviously worth the money... if only I had that. Thanks!
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    First - there is no such thing as a quiet mic cable. There's either a working mic cable or a NON-working mic cable. That's it. Nothing else.

    The neglex cables aren't that expensive unless you buy them from GC or some other place that sells "Mogami Gold" which is Mogami's way of packaging their cables to be more expensive than they're worth. Don't get me wrong, I dig Mogami cable, but I could build it for you for about 3/4 the price or lower in most cases.

    However, the Canare (which would be even less), IMO is a better, more robust cable.

    Again - there is no such thing as a QUIET mic cable.

  7. Ardroth

    Ardroth Guest

    Yeah, that's groovay yo. But I'm referring to the QUIETEST mic cable! Not a completely silent one... just to clarify.

    I found some Canare starquads for like <$50 HERE

    I might just go with those... does the "24kt gold plating" really make a difference?! I noticed it significantly raises the price.

    If I built my own (which I can if I need to), should I stick with the Neutrik connectors? Those are really the only ones I know well. What do you use with your Canare SQ?

  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Dude - you're just not getting it. One cable should not be quieter than another. Cables do not induce noise.

    A cable is a cable. If it's a balanced mic cable and it's inducing or allowing noise in, there's something wrong with the cable.
  9. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Marketing is winning again.....................................................

    Another one down.............................
  10. Ardroth

    Ardroth Guest

    Yeah... why not? If you're loaded, and can afford to buy your own $100+ cables and not have to sit and build your own, than why not?!

    I've been told that there are cables that are "noisier" than others... I'm assuming this means cables of inferior quality, which don't take steps to prevent interferance, etc. Forgive me for my ignorance... just goin' by what I've learned from other engineers!
  11. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Different stokes for different folks, I like building my own gear, that way I know who to blame....

    But honestly, take the advice of the all the other respondents,
    Cables are not noise sources. A cable is a passive device, it can not generate noise.

    Research this a bit:

    Slew rate:

    Cable Impedance:

    I think this will help you understand……

    Don’t fall prey to the ‘clever’ marketing campaigns, it all comes down to basic physics.
  12. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    but some cables do reject noise better than others
    some cables just don't meet spec
    fit quality connectors yourself (I love DIY)
    or get a proper tech to do it for you

    get some of the cable that AG suggested ... Mogami (Quad perhaps)
    try my favourite ... the Canare Star Quad
    be aware of the grounding the system has
    find the faults and correct them
  13. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    {nit mode} Actually, cables CAN induce noise. Depends on the application:

    (taken from Capgo.com)
    "A similar but less well known cable induce noise is the triboelectric effect. This occurs when friction between the cable's insulator and conductor generate a surface charge. Again, the result is a most noticeable with high impedance sensors."

    Cables also have resistance - all resistance generates Johnson noise.
    {/nit mode}
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yeah, there are actually a few factors that can allow a cable to introduce noise - skin effect (controversial) as well as the ones you mention here.

    My blanket statement above is just to get the guy to understand that, in the world of mic cables, there is no significant difference in the noise level of the cable itself (environmentally, this can change, but the cable itself should be similar regardless of brand due to the inherent nature of the cables' designs themselves.)

    Granted, if you have a poorly designed cable, there would be a potential for problem. Advice - stick with reputable brands of stock cable and connectors.
  15. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Yes you are correct a resistance does have Johnson noise.

    The question is, is it relevant to this issue?

    V(t )^2= 4RkBT (Delta)f

    R is the resistance in ohms
    T is the temperature in degrees Kelvin for
    the resistor.
    kB is Boltzmann constant ( 1.38 * 1^-23 J/K).
    (Delta)f is the change in frequency

    So for instance:
    A 600 ohm/km 20 foot microphone cable twisted pair
    And the temperature is 25 degrees C. (hot-ish)
    25 ºC = 298 K

    (600 ohm is a very high resistance let use that as a worst case number, most cables are less than 100 Ohms/Km)

    V(t )^2 = 4*(600)* (1.38 * 10^-23)(298)

    V(t )^2 = 9.86976* 10^-18
    V(t) = 3.1416*10^-9

    A Shure SM81 has a sensitivity at 1kHz down to 5.6 mV

    0.0056 V

    Compared to

    0.000 000 00314 V

    I am not sure I could hear something on the magnitude?

    Is it relevant?
  16. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Once you balance and shield the connections, isn't the war won? Unless you've got noise/grounding issues in the system.
  17. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Yes but dpd is quite correct, cables can as thermal noise sources. However in this case I think that noise is negligible.
  18. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    it can be similar to Cat5 vers Cat6

    basically the same cable
    but the build is just that bit better so the magic of the differential input (twisted pair / balanced )
    ... I don't like using the word balanced cos it doesn't explain or describe the magic of the fully floating differential input.

    so back to mic cable
    the Double Shielded Quad Core of cable like Canare Star Quad ( I think it is L-4E6S )
    there are others

    give you the best chance for the magic to work in difficult environments

    maths is good, and I do like the tech stuff
    but experience shows us what does work and earns us money
  19. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Very true.
  20. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    This is an interesting statement since it doesn't have anything to do with noise. The statement you make implies that the question you are really asking is "Are my cheap Peavy cables hindering my ability to get the best sound from my microphones" or put in a different way, "Will a better quality microphone cable make my microphones sound different?"

    I think that the answer to that is, if the cables are affecting the sound then you've got some REALLY bad cables. Most of the time, it will be other things in the chain that cause problems with the sound. The cable is usually the last place to look.

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