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Mogami vs. Monster vs. Custom Cables.

Member for

21 years
Hello everyone, hope you're having an amazing day. I need to pick up some cables for my home studio and was wondering what your experience has been with:

1) Mogami Cables

2) Monster Cables

3) Custom-made cables

I've heard a lot of great things about the Mogami cables and have been told that they produce a much better sonic image than the Monster cables. I haven't had the opportunity to A,B them side by side but will be doing so pretty soon.

Then on the other hand, a friend of mine makes really good cables and I was thinking about just purchasing some from him for the time being. But the only thing is that I've bought a lot of really good recording equipment so far and I don't want any weak links whatsoever.

So what do you guys think and which of the above listed cables do you prefer? And also, where can I find the best deals on them as well? I would only need 10-15 feet cables since I'm only recording in my room and not doing any off-site recording.



Member for

15 years 5 months

BobRogers Wed, 04/09/2008 - 18:48
I am not a believer in the "sonic image" of a shielded piece of wire. Cables are simple devices that have to (1) be very durable (2) shield the signal from noise. After those requirements are met I want cables that feel good in my hands and are easy to coil or lay on the floor. I want them in convenient configurations.

So when you are comparing Mogami, (basic level) Monster, and (well made) custom cables the basic requirements are met in most situations. (There are differences in extreme situations: High RF interference, physical distress (listen to your signal when a wheelchair runs over the cable), etc.) Ergonomics and price are important - and if you have clients, their impressions count for a lot.

I should say that Monster produces some expensive cables that I consider sucker bait. However, their basic level products are very well made and are in the general price range of other pro cables. I have some sprinkled around the studio. I also get Sweetwater/Proco cables when I want something in a standard size delivered in a few days.

I got a bunch of custom cables from Jeremy Cucco (a frequent poster here). I wanted a couple of small snakes and some standard sizes and his prices were right there with the good off the shelf items and other custom cable houses. (Hope I'm not violating any rules here.) Great cables and great service. Very pleased with them.

Good luck with your tests. It is harder to perform good double blind tests than most people think I'll be interested in your impressions.

Member for

13 years 10 months

bent Wed, 04/09/2008 - 20:30
Like Bob, I'm not a believer in a couple of nanoseconds or picoseconds making that much difference when it comes to what a copper strand does to an audio signal.

Mogami makes a nice, supple cable jacket, I like it.
Many of my snakes are Mogami.

Talk to Cucco about his custom jobs, he's got a great ear for sound and is well educated in all things copper - including the couple of pennies in his pocket... :wink:

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 04/09/2008 - 22:35
Man I love this place already! Everyone has been so helpful and I no longer need to post the same question on 4 different forums. Thanks for being so upfront and honest about everything you guys. I went ahead and pm-ed Cucco and will be waiting to hear from him. Thanks again!

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Thu, 04/10/2008 - 06:40
Hey yannfan8 -

I sent you back a PM.

Let me add a few things here in the public forum -

As I mentioned in the PM, I think differences between cable types are negligible at best and usually chalked more up to marketing hype than actual science.

While I generally agree with Bob, I do have to say that I've heard and experienced real differences in cables - but again, these are negligible and IMO, NEVER warrant over-paying for a cable. (I LOVE those cables that promise to revolutionize your world and cost $500 for a 2 meter set. Or that pair of speaker cables that I saw for $17,000!!!!).

Anyway, most of the differences (audible that is) can be chalked up to a few basic properties of the cable -

1 - shielding. If not done correctly or well, the shielding can have a major impact on the sound. Some companies do a MUCH better job of shielding their cables than others. As much as I hate working with Canare because of their shields (that is, peeling them back to prep them for tinning), they are probably the best in the industry). This helps to eliminate any trace of EMI/RFI

2 - electrical properties. Different wire conducts electricity differently as do different means of termination and for that matter, different types of solder. Stranded OFC copper (most common type of wire for speaker and mic cable) can be very efficient or be very restricted based on how it is pulled and wound. Most of the major cable manufacturers know this and do it right. However, subtle variations in this process cause different levels of capacitance (the storage of energy) and resistance. Ideally, you'd want the lowest figure on both of these. A higher resistance and you're likely to impact the sound - creating a slightly different load on the mic or the component (depending upon what is feeding the signal). Of course, most cables are well below an ohm - this is ideal.

As for capacitance, this has a profound (well, as profound as you get in cable manufacturing) impact on the sound. A higher capacitance will act as a LPF to a degree. In fact, in the most elemental cross-overs used in speakers, a single capacitor can be used to block frequencies from a single driver. The capacitance figures should be extremely low regardless of cable type. However, some are lower than others.

Quad cable has a generally higher capacitance than non-quad, but is generally less succeptible to noise. The differences, though, only measure up if you run the cable over longer distances as capacitance is generally measured as a function of distance (n picofarad/foot, etc..)

Generally, if you're not going over 100-200', this shouldn't make a difference.

Any of the cable companies you referenced make fine cables. I own a few from both.

I agree with Bob though - some of the "higher" ends within those cables are means to fleece users from money using marketing mumbo-jumbo.

The single biggest piece of advice I can give when choosing a cable is not to worry about what technology a cable *supposedly* uses or possesses, but to simply evaluate its robustness. I've seen mic cables that sell for $500 for 2m, but would break the first time someone rolled over it with an AV cart. I've also seen a lot of cables now that are cheaping out on their parts - using "fake" Neutrik connectors versus the real thing. A real Neutrik NCMXX cable costs about $2. The fake ones cost about $1. So, over a single cable, this saves $2. Oooo...someone's getting a bonus this year b/c they saved the company money...

No. Those cables will be returned for their wonderful lifetime warranty because that connector *WILL* break.

Similarly, the solder that some companies use is no better than plumbing solder. This is where a lot of my cable budget comes in. An 8 oz roll of the solder that I use costs almost $40. This definitely ensures that I make a clean joint every time and don't waste solder or make solder bridges because of excess solder.

Another problem I've seen from some of these cable companies is that they apparently don't heat the joints enough. A particular brand of cable that I *used* to use (a long time ago) had so many problems - every time I'd use their cables in-studio, I'd find one that no longer worked. It was always broken joints. When your iron or oven isn't hot enough to heat the joint thoroughly, you wind up getting a cold joint either from having to heat and reheat repeatedly or just never getting the joint hot enough to begin with. Cold joints will break - it's just a matter of time.

A good solder joint should outlive you or me given even some abusive conditions. In fact, if a cable has a good solder joint, I'd be willing to bet that the connector pins inside the terminator would rip out of their housing before the solder joint would break.

Anyway - sorry for the rambling.

Let me boil it down to this -

Whatever cable you choose, you'll be perfectly fine and happy as long as it's well made and transmits sound. While there are subtle differences in cables, you're not likely to be able to ever pick out a cable from an aural line-up, so go with what works in your budget and what will make you happy (this sounds silly, but I mean it - if you're happy with a Mogami and only a Mogami...get one. If you like the look of red cables, find someone who will do red cables. Happiness and contentness with ones gear means a LOT and allows one to comfortably explore its uses without constantly searching for bigger and better.)


Member for

17 years

zemlin Fri, 04/11/2008 - 09:01
I'll through in one other tidbit which is significant for me.

I make most of my own cables. All most all my cables are Canare quad cable. I started with Switchcraft connecters, but have switched to Neutrik.

When making my own cables, I add color-coded heat-shrink at each end - makes tracking down connections a BUNCH easier. I also add a tag with my name and the cable length and cover those with clear heat shrink. Beats the wahoo out of taped tags.

I get a certain peace of mind when I know my gear inside out. It takes some time, but costs less to get good cables. Depending on how you value your time it won't be cheaper than having cables made, but I like having parts on hand to whip up whatever cable I need for a particular task.

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Fri, 04/11/2008 - 09:10
Zemlin -

You might want to check out the Rhino pro series labelers. I have the Rhino Pro 9000 which prints directly onto shrink tube. It looks great and doesn't fade away like some under-clear-shrink labels do.

It's well worth the money. I bought mine new from Ebay - fairly certain it was the grey market version since all of the internal measurements are in mm whereas all the labels are sold in the US in inch measurements. It still works fine though and I saved a TON that way.