Speaker cable for Marshall tube amps
Old 12th February 2008
  #1
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Question Speaker cable for Marshall tube amps

Hello. I have heard several different views on speaker cable choices for Marshall tube amps. I heard that Marshall like to have smaller speaker cables for a better sound. Instead of running something like what I just bought, two 6' monster pro 1000's for my 1982 jcm 800 full stack. First I heard that is the way to go. The pro 1000 speaker cable. Then from someone else who is a vintage amp tech and recording artist to only use thin speaker cables on marshalls because they sound better through
smaller guage speaker cables than thicker gauge like the pro 1000's. Any comments on this would be very appreciated. I can either take back my new studio 1000's and buy some cheapies like he said or run the monster cables. Depending on whatever feedback on this subject i get the most of. Thanks so much..
Old 12th February 2008
  #2
Gear maniac
 

I buy whatever's on sale. I've been playing for over 30 years and have yet to hear any appreciable difference in cables. I think the whole high end cable market is based on voodoo and keeping up with the Joneses.
Old 12th February 2008
  #3
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Originally Posted by JimmyM View Post
I buy whatever's on sale. I've been playing for over 30 years and have yet to hear any appreciable difference in cables. I think the whole high end cable market is based on voodoo and keeping up with the Joneses.
I was more trying to compare a small guage like 16 or 18 guage versus thicker guage on Marshall's only. Im not sure if it makes a difference to have really thin or thicker guage cable on other amps. I just heard that Marshalls (tube..plexi,jcm 800,ect..) really make a huge difference in good tone,punch and sound by NOT using a thicker speaker cable. For some reasons Marshalls really like to be choked up a little before the sound hits the cab. If you use a larger gauge cable such as monster or some of the other highend "thicker" cables it really changes the sound for the worse..not better. Like on a car TOO big of headers and exhaust makes you loose a ton of backpressure, no good.. i guess on Marshalls they are supposed to sound their absolute best with some backpressure before it gets to the cab. I agree about some cables sounding just the same as others, cheap, expensive, most of the time its all the same.. This was purley a Marshall and how they perform best. Not if a nicer speaker cable would make is sound better. I agree i cant tell the difference. Its, if a thin piece of crap cable will actually make a Marshall tube head sound Better..Thanks for your reply.
Old 12th February 2008
  #4
Gear maniac
 

In that case, I'd buy some zipcord and a couple 1/4" jacks and make my own. I have a cable like that I made 20 years ago and it still is running strong, although I don't use it much anymore.
Old 12th February 2008
  #5
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BLUElightCory's Avatar
 

Just use any decent quality speaker cable. Unless you're running the head at really long distances (i.e. maybe 50 or more feet) from the cab, the gauge of cable isn't going to make any audible difference.
Old 12th February 2008
  #6
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Originally Posted by BLUElightCory View Post
Just use any decent quality speaker cable. Unless you're running the head at really long distances (i.e. maybe 50 or more feet) from the cab, the gauge of cable isn't going to make any audible difference.
Thanks for the replies. Ya some zipcord and some good jacks would be perfect if that marshall sound rule is correct. he said he uses the cheapest radio shack speaker cable he can get and puts nice jacks on them and thats that.. he said it really lets the marshalls get nice and choked up and not flow like you would think you would want it to. So, what your saying is it doesnt matter what size cable your using it will not affect the sound at all. I tried it and didnt notice a thing. but then again my ears are crap now. he says it makes a huge difference on the marshalls. he is part of a huge recording studio in hollywood, as well as a professional musician(no name dropping from me). im not bragging about him im just saying he has to know something about the proper sound of what a marshall likes, and i guess thats small cheap thin speaker cords. ??
Old 12th February 2008
  #7
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BLUElightCory's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleeagle View Post
So, what your saying is it doesnt matter what size cable your using it will not affect the sound at all.
Exactly. Over such a short distance, even thin gauges of speaker wire are highly unlikely to impart any audible changes to the sound. I'd be willing to bet that this gentleman couldn't reliably pick out the difference in speaker cables if you had him do a blind test. And if he could, I'd be the first to admit that I'm wrong.

It sounds more likely to be that he's falling victim to the old "audio placebo effect," in which we sometimes believe that a sound has changed when it hasn't, based on our presumptions. A good example of this that most engineers on this forum can relate to is tweaking an EQ and hearing a "change" in the sound, only to realize the EQ isn't engaged. EVERY experienced engineer has done something like this. It's human nature and I'd be willing to bet that's the kind of thing he's experiencing.

So yes, just buy an ordinary guitar amp speaker cable at the shortest usable length you can find and you'll be golden.

Cheers!

Cory
Old 12th February 2008
  #8
Gear nut
 

Any perceivable difference in tone comes at the risk of causing arching in your output transformer. We are talking minute extra loading here, but in some cases (especially vintage amps) the mismatch can be enough to drive an amp operating on the edge, over the edge.
The result can be red plating in your output tubes or even arching and failure in your output trans.

For some perspective: the wiring used in Marshall cabs has always been approx. equivalent to 18 gauge wire. Typical zip cord cables would have to be about 25' long 18 gauge to add less than one ohm of series resistance.


If you want the sound of the mismatch adjust your amp impedance to 1/2 of your cab impedance. In this case the amp actually works a little less, and the tone changes slightly. NEVER!!!! do the opposite. i.e. set the amp impedance higher than the cab impedance.

george
Old 12th February 2008
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velvetgeorge View Post
Any perceivable difference in tone comes at the risk of causing arching in your output transformer. We are talking minute extra loading here, but in some cases (especially vintage amps) the mismatch can be enough to drive an amp operating on the edge, over the edge.
The result can be red plating in your output tubes or even arching and failure in your output trans.

For some perspective: the wiring used in Marshall cabs has always been approx. equivalent to 18 gauge wire. Typical zip cord cables would have to be about 25' long 18 gauge to add less than one ohm of series resistance.

If you want the sound of the mismatch adjust your amp impedance to 1/2 of your cab impedance. In this case the amp actually works a little less, and the tone changes slightly. NEVER!!!! do the opposite. i.e. set the amp impedance higher than the cab impedance.

george
well said. both of you. thanks. i think you picked up what i was getting at. the reason i asked on this thread was even when i asked someone elswhere they kinda kept thinking i was asking if there is a difference in crappy cable versus good cable... that wasnt the question. you get where im coming from. thats why i said im not sure if its just marshall or all tube amps. he said really marshalls like the smaller cables. i guess ill take back the 2 monster pro 1000's and solder up some 16 gauge to keep it right in the near middle of guage sizes. thanks a bunch. if anyone else has some input lets hear it. thanks.
Old 12th February 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Good reading at the link below. Mostly pertains to hi-fi stuff, but the principles apply to guitar as well.

Speaker Wire

I would mostly be concerned about build quality and whether you are using the appropriate gauge for longer runs.
Old 12th February 2008
  #11
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Originally Posted by 6strings View Post
Good reading at the link below. Mostly pertains to hi-fi stuff, but the principles apply to guitar as well.

Speaker Wire

I would mostly be concerned about build quality and whether you are using the appropriate gauge for longer runs.
thanks for the link. that was good reading.
Old 12th February 2008
  #12
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kafka's Avatar
 

You just want to make sure you're not accidentally using a guitar cable. But other than that, I can't imagine there being a difference between anything labeled as "speaker cable". And in a pinch, a lamp cord will do just fine.
Old 13th February 2008
  #13
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jamsmith's Avatar
 

Outside of power handling, any damn two conductor cable you use will be fine. And unless you are like me and play on 10, its doubtful you are even moving more that an average a few watts. 1 watt will give you about 90dB with the average guitar speaker.)

As to sound quality, the difference you might hear in an audiophile system will be non-existent for a guitar amp. Your speaker likely doesn't even have a response above 8k.
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