Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Guitar cable testing

Cables. Essential. But boring to discuss. 

I recently sold my VanAmps Sole-Mate and the buyer dropped me an email asking if it added a few mids and rolled off treble when bypassed. Thanks to my geek nature, I went back and looked at the frequency chart I made for the demo and compared it to some other true and buffered bypass pedals. 

End verdict: no mids added by the Sole-Mate. 

Our email conversation went on to talk about cables and it was quite clear that going 'guitar - cable - DAW' meant more high end compared to going 'guitar - cable - pedal - cable - DAW'. The buyer said this is what he'd done, that he was so used to playing direct into his amp that the Sole-Mate was a new addition and meant another cable being used. 

I decided I'd test some of my cables. Delving into the cupboard of cable hell, I dragged out the following:

-A two metre cable made with Klotz AC106 cable with Neutrik connectors. 
-A twenty foot Planet Waves Custom series instrument cable with straight and right angle jacks 
-A 12 foot cable I soldered myself using Van Damme Classic instrument cable and Neutrik jacks.
-A 10 foot cable I soldered myself again using Van Damme Classic instrument cable but with Neutrik silent jacks. 
-A 40ft Yorkville cable I bought in Toronto in 2003 and has survived ever since with me. 

The top frequency line is peak. Ignore the bottom line. In each case it was a simple 'guitar to cable to preamp' setup. SPL Crimson gain set at 12. 

The Klotz cable is great on the low and top end. You can see the difference at 220Hz between the Klotz and the Planet Waves and Van Damme cables. The Klotz has less volume roll off at the top end than both the Planet Waves and Van Damme cables. 

The weird one is the Yorkville. It's much longer than the other cables. You'd expect more roll off at the bottom and top end but that chart doesn't show it. Klotz versus Yorkville below, Klotz on the left...

End moral: buy whatever cable you like. I personally wouldn't bother with high end cables. 

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