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Are All Sound Cables Alike?


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#1 John Adolfi

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 03:18 PM

Looking to purchase some on e-bay. XLR cables but don't have a clue if the quality is an issue. I won't be pulling on them like on a rock and roll stage. Any ideas please.
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#2 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 03:48 PM

Looking to purchase some on e-bay.  XLR cables but don't have a clue if the quality is an issue.  I won't be pulling on them like on a rock and roll stage.  Any ideas please.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Do u mean 3-pin canon XLR?
The difference is on the shield, some of them are better shielded and some others aren't.
Usually u can see the difference visually (by my own experience, a thicker cable is most of the times better shielded)
Another thing is the quality of the plugs.Some are gold coated, some anodiaised etc.
But you better ask a sound engineer for better explanations.
I don't even know some terms well in English.
Dimitrios Koukas
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#3 John Adolfi

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 03:53 PM

On e-bay I can purchase 5 20' cables for $25 or one 20' quality blue type cable for $27.
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#4 Marc Alucard

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 06:07 PM

Cables

Try here. The customer ratings will give you the idea you get what you pay for. It is worth going to somewhere you can see the cable in person. Once you get past the actually quality of the cable and connectors you will find the jackets on some cables don't make it lay well or roll up easily. That becomes an issue if you use it frequently. Not an issue if it is in a rack.

I prefer Mogami Neglex Quad cable and Neutrik connectors myself.

Cheers,
Marc
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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 10:45 AM

There are no easy answers in sound work. This may not be the best forum for your sound Qs. Try to find a amicable sound engineer in the local music biz to give you advice. I spent as much time learning all the ins and outs of sound as I spent on all the other categories of movie making put together. It seems like it should be simple but it is actually very complicated.

Bad cables will serve you badly. It's not just a matter of manufacturing quality either. They have to match the whole system based on their various ratings and pluggings. You'll kick yourself in post trying to turd polish system noise and muted dialogue due to unmatched and dubious cabling.

The best solution is to immerse yourself in books and learn how sound works. Good luck in that. That's a bit like sitting down and eating an elephant.

The point to all this is: Bad sound stinks worse than just about anything else in movies. It's all in how the brain judges things.
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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 10:49 AM

Looking to purchase some on e-bay. XLR cables but don't have a clue if the quality is an issue. I won't be pulling on them like on a rock and roll stage. Any ideas please.



Hi,

Microphone cables need to be screened, otherwise you will pick up 'hum' moise from electricity cables!


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#7 Tim J Durham

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 11:05 AM

There are no easy answers in sound work. This may not be the best forum for your sound Qs. Try to find a amicable sound engineer in the local music biz to give you advice. I spent as much time learning all the ins and outs of sound as I spent on all the other categories of movie making put together. It seems like it should be simple but it is actually very complicated.

Bad cables will serve you badly. It's not just a matter of manufacturing quality either. They have to match the whole system based on their various ratings and pluggings. You'll kick yourself in post trying to turd polish system noise and muted dialogue due to unmatched and dubious cabling.

The best solution is to immerse yourself in books and learn how sound works. Good luck in that. That's a bit like sitting down and eating an elephant.

The point to all this is: Bad sound stinks worse than just about anything else in movies. It's all in how the brain judges things.

How does one "turd polish" something? This is a technique the likes of which I am unfamiliar.
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#8 Karl Lohninger

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 01:27 AM

Make 'em yourself of just buy them (we're talking about xlr microphone cables, right) at a proper sound shop like location sound in LA or Trew audio etc.
Buy 2 Neutric xlr plugs, one male one female, buy whatever length you need in cable; I'd recommend either Canare or Mogami twisted pair (4leads) cable, they come in a lot of funny colors and just solder them plugs on. Voila. That'll cost you about 40% less than store bought and you can have them in any length you want. Or you click the link that appears on top of your posting and pay like $130.00 for a 20 feet 'really good' xlr cable.......?

good luck, Karl

PS; if a cable is thicker or thinner doesn't really mean anything. Mostly it's just the outer viny wrapper that's thicker.......


Looking to purchase some on e-bay. XLR cables but don't have a clue if the quality is an issue. I won't be pulling on them like on a rock and roll stage. Any ideas please.


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#9 Charlie Seper

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 11:41 AM

Dimitrios is correct about the shielding being the big difference. But Karl is also correct when he says that the size of the cable will tell you nothing of its shielding quality. The size in thickness has to do more with the length of the cable and its ability to carry a quality signal a great distance.

By the way, the shorter you can keep your cables the better when it comes to getting a good signal free of RF noise. And at very short lengths of 6-feet or less, you'll not likely see any benefit from using XLR cables over cables with 1/4" jacks. The main thing is to get cables that are well shielded. I can definitely tell you to stay away from Hosa. They have the worst shielding imaginable. I pick up truckers left and right with those. The best shielded cables I ever owned were the old Switchcraft line but they don't make them anymore. Monster cable is way over-priced and its end connectors are so heavy that they often wear out jack receptacles in a short time. I also seem to loose mids with them. Pro Performance are a good price/performance cable and about the best I can recommend at the moment. I would stay away from Internet "reader reviews". With the proliferation of Jr. High kids now on the internet, and many of them writing these reviews, they just don't mean much anymore. There's a guy I used to know by the name of Rob Whitehurst who's a sound engineer (he's worked on Letterman, Survivor, all kinds of stuff) that has some web pages somewhere about the equipment he uses. I'm not sure if he mentions anything about cables or not but you might try Googling him. I know his pages had the word "Sounddude" on them.
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#10 Rob Whitehurst

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 08:03 PM

Well hey Charlie. How in the world are you? Can you guess my surprise in finding this thread with you and my name mentioned. Thanks for the props.

You are correct. Shielding is probably the most important factor in chosing a mic cable, if you had to chose just one. I would avoid buying any no-name brand or cheap xlr cables on eBay or anywhere else. I've been there and done that and it doesn't pay. I've still got a couple of cheapies in my kit and occasionally they get pulled out and I'm always having to put wedges under them or hang them from c-stand to c-stand to get them away from hum makers like header cables.

The one brand of cable many of us use are Canare cable. This is a high quality cable with a feature they developed many years ago. It's called Star Quad and what it does is use a double ground on each of the high and low conductors, thus the "quad". The theory is that hum is not conducted equally and if one conductor is shorting or broken, the other won't be. When the two are combined on the pins, the hum will be cancelled out. The system works well and I rarely get any hum with the Star Quads. I DO get hum if they lay directly on top of a header cable but the energy running through those cable is intense so a sandbag or pancake between the two is good insurance.

Other companies like Mogami also make quad mic cable and I've used them with good success. They aren't cheap but this is not an area where you will want to go cheap. And stay away from the cables you get at music stores. They are inexpensively made and not designed for the same type of use as the Canare or Mogami.

Here's more info about Canare cable:

Canare

If you have any other questions, feel free to write me.

Good to hear from you Charlie. Write me and let me know how you are.

Peace,

Rob W.
Sounddude.com

*
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#11 Charlie Seper

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 11:37 PM

Tis a RockinRob I see. I'm surprised you haven't been here before. Most of these guys are into film though rather than video for TV so I'm not sure how much you'll have in common with them. Personally, I think it'd be more fun working for Leno and Letterman any day than on a film.

I sent you some DVD's a few weeks ago. If you were home once in a while you might get to read some "real" mail. :)
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#12 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 01:29 AM

Star Quad isn't about 'double-grounding', it's about twisted pairs and differential magnetic fields. From Canare, the name comes "from the 4-conductor style construction that minimizes the "loop area" between twists of the conductors. This "double balanced pairing, reduces susceptibility to electromagnetically induced noise."
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#13 Rob Whitehurst

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 01:42 PM

Star Quad isn't about 'double-grounding', it's about twisted pairs and differential magnetic fields. From Canare, the name comes "from the 4-conductor style construction that minimizes the "loop area" between twists of the conductors. This "double balanced pairing, reduces susceptibility to electromagnetically induced noise."


Luke, you are correct and who in the world knows why I put ground instead of double leads. I've pounded the pavement for over 20 years for Star Quad so you think that when I go to type it, it would come out right.

The point is, their construction great reduces hum that is generated by other sources.

And Charlie. Actually,for over ten years, over half of my work was film. 35mm and 16mm commercials, documentary films and also features. So I'm with you. A little Indie film I worked on is in limited release right now and getting some headlines and making some controversy. It's called Facing The Giants and I did the sound recording for that.

But in recent years, a lot of film work has gone to video and now high def video. Same guys, same crews, same companies, but a video camera instead of an Ari or Aaton. Though this year we've had a flux of film jobs, including some for NFL Films, who I've freelanced for for the last 18 years.

Take care,

Rob
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery