Serious ? about mic cabling

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by BRH, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    OK... this is serious now. Any of you classical recording pros want to fess up and tell me what brand and type mic cables you are running, and why?
    Quad or regular? Silver, copper? Minature?
    What are you running for line level?
    Soldered or solderless connectors?
    What kind of solder?
    Anyone experience handling noise that goes right up into the mic?
  2. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Yo Homie!

    What kind of noise are you getting? Like, RF, Hum, Hash, or Cable Microphonics? What be ailing you mahn? How the cable is constructed and its current state of repair has more to do with noise rejection, not so much cable quality.

    I use an assortment of cables depending on the situation and # of channels needed. Most of the live archival situations will have Mogami on the scene with Neutrik connectors. Mainly because of cost and road-worthiness. For "audiophile" sessions with light channel counts I go with fancy expensive video cable. All are constructed with silver-bearing solder connections.
  3. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    I use Neutrik XLR and 1/4" - they're easy to fix in a pinch, no screwdriver necessary...

    Mogami for dynamics and FX patch snakes.

    Whirlwind stage boxes, splitters, and snakes - for on stage cabling.
  4. BRH

    BRH Active Member


    Well, I was doing a 'run and gun' job for the golf channel at a country club, and my homemade mogami 2 conductor started to crap out. I switched to store bought PSC Canare quad backup... 5 ft. length for $25..... and it was fixed.
    On the boom pole I have a minature short from mic, connected to cable on boom pole, connected with another cable from boompole to mixer. All this seems to help eliminate handling noise. Clothe covered cable seems to be good with the handling noise, and/or internal clothe in the cable.
    I read somewhere not to use the gold Neutriks, just the silver ones. But I'm gold.
    I need a better solder. I'm using this stuff that's been lying around for a couple of years. I like the Mogami 2 conductor because it's easier to deal with.
    What's the video cable for audio deal? I need highly flexible and reliable short runs. Some situations I'm right next to 500amps running on the floor from a generator.
  5. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    As much as I love working with Mogami, it really doesn't do well around bad electrical fields. Because of that I've gone with Canare Star Quad in the field for much of what I do. I've just had too many times when a cable run next to an extension cord screws me...

    I'll take the sonic hit to not have to deal with any of that.

  6. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I am reliably informed that this is the bees knees for sonics.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    For what it's worth, I've experimented a LOT with various cables since I have about 15 rolls of it here and have my choice to play with.

    Mogami 2 lead with copper strand shield -
    Ease of assembly = Easy *

    Rejection of RF/EMI noise = minimal. If there's a strong RF field, you will know it.

    Rejection of handling noise = acceptable. If anyone steps on it, you'll hear a crackle in the recording.

    One of the easiest cables to assemble and sounds nice if in a good location. My favorite "cheap" down and dirty cable.

    Mogami Neglex Quad -
    Ease of assembly = Moderately easy (due mostly to it's loose copper shield)

    Rejection of RF/EMI noise = acceptable. In most situations, this cable will block out just about any stray electrical borne noise.

    Rejection of handling noise = acceptable. A tad better than the standard, but will still make noticable noises if heavily handled or stepped on by a larger person.

    Given the slight bit more complication in assembly plus the fact that it's only marginally better than the traditional Mogami, I rarely opt for this cable and rarely sell it. If one wants a quad cable, I usually go to Canare or Belden.

    Canare Star Quad
    Ease of Assembly - Moderatly difficult. The tightly wound tinned shield can be a pain in the butt to unravel enough to solder. A dental pick is my weapon of choice in doing so. Invariably, I lose several strands in the process

    Rejection of RF/EMI noise - Excellent*

    Rejection of Handling noise - Very Good.

    Notes - The smooth jacket and variable colors make this my most popular cable for sure. The cable is robust and perfectly sized and weighted.

    Canare 2 cable w/ braid
    Ease of assembly - Moderate. Still a tightly wound shield, but less leads to solder together.

    Rejection of RF/EMI noise - Very Good

    Rejection of Handling noise - Good

    Notes - This is my best selling "entry level" cable.

    Belden Quad
    Ease of assembly - Moderately difficult. Similar shielding to Canare quad.

    Rejection of RF/EMI noise - Very Good/Excellent

    Rejection of Handling Noise - Excellent *

    Notes - the texture to the jacket makes it more "grippable" than the Canare and the many colors available make it quite popular. I think (assumption only) that the texture on the jacket helps to minimize handling noise as this cable exhibits almost no handling noise at all.

    All that being said, the cables I use on location are:

    Snakes -
    8 Channel Monster Cable 500 Series snake
    16+4 Channel ProCo Snake
    8 Channel Belden (non-quad) snake

    Leads -
    Mogami Neglex Quad
    Canare Star Quad
    Monster 500 Series
    Mogami 2-channel snakes

    Sorry for information overload...
  9. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Thats a great list, thanks for that!
  10. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    I second the thank you for that list.
    Pretty much spelled out my thoughts, except I think I needed some pro validation. I wondering if it wasn't some kind of interference ... I was using 2 lead Mogami, had just move to a location where there was a wireless sound system. I can't find anything wrong with the cable, test.

    Yes, Vandenhul, but.....$ and I need flexible. Can somone here say what the sonic difference is using silver vs. copper? If any!
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Oh...I forgot one thing.

    I use WBT silver for fine detail soldering and Kester Silver (large diameter) for XLR soldering. Both of these melt and flow at a similar temperature making the iron need to be in the same spot much less time than with other (plumbing grade, etc.) solders. Sadly, neither of these are cheap.
  12. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Silver connectors are better but need more attention as it tarnishes regularly. Also, both connectors should be the same material: gold-gold or silver-silver, not gold-silver.
  13. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    So, are you saying if you have a male silver XLR on a cable and you are plugging into a pre that is gold XLRF, you are better off using a gold on that end of the cable?
  14. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Right. Matching materials seems to make for a better connection chemically. Also, matching manufacturers products will generally mate better mechanically (neutrik to neutrik, switchcraft to switchcraft).
  15. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    Thanks Homie. That's what I wanted to hear. I gotta go back and do a little bit of rethink... take a better look at what I'm hookin' up with.
  16. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    If you like, come up to Alpine Zilla. I got stout and silver solder. We make that cable mo' gooooood.
  17. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    OK, but I hear it takes quite a bit of stout to make the silver flow.
    I'll bring my Sound Devices 302 and see if it passes. I gotta go to Arnie's house tonight... "Lions for Lambs." I'll give you a call this weekend.
  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'm Jewish so I use whatever is on sale.

    As long as the cable is not microfonic, it's microfine!

    Good enough for government work and rock-and-roll
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  19. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Oh yeah!

    Well, I'm Italian, so I use what ever the store has behind its easily broken display window after hours. :evil:
  20. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I like ProCo cables.

    I have had good luck with them and they have been in some not to nice situations outdoors in the rain and mud and run over repeatedly indoors by a large cart that they were using to take chairs to the stage. No problems with them at all.

    I did buy some ProCo cables that were "crimped" and after about a month they started to become very intermittent so I worked out a deal with the store where I bought them in and had them replaced with soldered connectors. It cost me an additional $250 but it was worth it. No more crimped connectors for me.......

    If I have to build my own I use CANARE wire and Neutrik Connectors and I still use 60/40 solder.

    In the old days I used Belden 8412 but the rubber jacket always started breaking down and shedding rubber.

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