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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby 23skidoo » 03 Jan 2019, 05:49

I don't have a significant issue with noise in my studio, but if you do, here is a great article detailing cable types for instrument (unbalanced) cable that do a good job of noise rejection: https://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles ... ection.htm

They have many other good articles on their site, and none of it is BS. It's all really solid engineering. They use good cables, and they do a great job making them, but they are very pricey. I use their stuff only for very high frequency cables (I have some custom BNC stuff) and very strange custom jobs that I didn't want to make myself. But they make fantastic cables and they are spot on with their engineering.
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Re: Instrument cables?


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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby PScooter63 » 04 Jan 2019, 19:16

As someone else posted elsewhere today, I love this forum. Lots of great ideas and experiences shared, thanks. I'm already moving on some of them, details later.

Chuck sort of warned me (lol), but I'm peering down the esoterica rabbit-hole to a limited degree... leading to follow-up question.

There's lots of online hand-wringing about capacitance (and I can see how that would be for guitars). But does capacitance affect line-level signals such as keyboards, to the same degree?
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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby fieldflower » 04 Jan 2019, 21:11

PScooter63 wrote:As someone else posted elsewhere today, I love this forum. Lots of great ideas and experiences shared, thanks. I'm already moving on some of them, details later.

Chuck sort of warned me (lol), but I'm peering down the esoterica rabbit-hole to a limited degree... leading to follow-up question.

There's lots of online hand-wringing about capacitance (and I can see how that would be for guitars). But does capacitance affect line-level signals such as keyboards, to the same degree?


No, should not have an impact.

On passive guitars/basses there actually is audible differences between different cables.
I never thought there would be but we ran a small mythbuster event at a bass player get-together and lo and behold some cables sounded very muddy compared to others. Same bass/amp/player in the test.

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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby 23skidoo » 04 Jan 2019, 22:57

Main reason for that is that the output impedance of passive pickups is very high compared to the output impedance of a line-level amplifier such as in keyboards. Because the impedance is high, capacitance has a much larger effect on filtering the signal than it would if the impedance is much lower. This is another reason why instrument inputs are different from line-level inputs - they have a matched input impedance (much higher, usually in the 1M Ohm range) in order to both maximize signal transfer and minimize transmission line effects and capacitance effects.

In short: guitars with active pickups (e.g. a battery or other power supply in the guitar), keyboards, and other line-level instruments will suffer far far less from cable capacitance versus guitars with passive pickups, and using instrument inputs or DI boxes for those passive guitars will further improve the signal. The only thing to be concerned with regarding cable length for keyboards is noise. Since instrument cables are unbalanced, they're more susceptible to stray RF and EMI noise (think hum from power transformers/wall warts and that sort of cell-phone buzzing you get when you're near a radio transmitter like a wireless mic, body pack, or, well, a cell-phone). So, keeping them as short as practical still makes some sense, but if you don't have noise problems, length will be much less of an issue for them (within reason - I mean you wouldn't want 50' or 100' cables unless there were no other option like a DI box!).

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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby Quai34 » 05 Jan 2019, 07:12

Never had any capacitance issue with my keys....Don't worry too much...
Stage 2/C2/NL2X+TC Pedals, 2XMatrix, EMU P2K, TX802, DSI Prophet 08+Tetra/P12+H9, D50+PG1000, XV5080,AX keytar, Streichfett, Drumbrute.Ibanez SR1200 & 2605 basses, Artstar AS153,G&L L2000,Legacy HSS,Asat Blueboys,Asat Deluxe Savanna.genelec 8040A.
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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby Hervshahn » 05 Jan 2019, 10:28

I never had any sound-related issues with any of the cables I used over the past 40 years (except of when they have been damaged of course ;) ), whether they were expensive or cheap (some have been very cheap or soldered by myself). I believe that these sound issues are more like a myth if it comes to keyboards, but cables are very different in the sense of mechanical robustness. So if you are on tour a lot you should go for very robust cables which will be at the more expensive level.
Last edited by Hervshahn on 05 Jan 2019, 10:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby JXrays » 10 Jan 2019, 11:48

Slightly off topic but if you order right-angle midi cables, make sure you take more notice than I did of the direction they angle : )
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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby Hervshahn » 10 Jan 2019, 15:45

JXrays wrote:Slightly off topic but if you order right-angle midi cables, make sure you take more notice than I did of the direction they angle : )


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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby 23skidoo » 10 Jan 2019, 16:48

Technically there are four right-angle directions a MIDI cable can take, not just "up/down" but also "left/right" (and manufacturers are inconsistent as to which direction they label left and right, I've found!). It's a complete zoo so basically demand a photo of the actual cable you're buying if you're buying online to verify. I got one cable once that had one right angle on one end and another on the other but it was labeled as being the same - mispackaged or the mfr just doesn't care? Hard to say...

Beware the same for USB if you're a right-angle USB-er like I am for some instruments (which have actual clearance on the USB port, ahem...). It reduces torque on the connections and the board->jack solder joints.
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Re: Instrument cables?

Postby TomS » 13 Jan 2019, 07:44

Planet Waves,,, Daddario. Great cables,,,
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