making guitar cables using mic cables
arznable
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#1
8th December 2007
Old 8th December 2007
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Thread Starter
making guitar cables using mic cables

I have a big roll (300 ft.) of Mogami 2549 mic cable, and I plan to use it to make some mic cables myself. I am also thinking of using the 2549 to make some guitar cables as well. I bought some TS connectors and am planning to twist the 2549 hot and cold signal wires together and solder them to the tip of a TS connector to make a guitar cable. Just wondering is it feasible?

I heard of a mic cable should be a Lo-Z cable and a guitar should be a Hi-Z cable. What does that mean? If I do so, will there be any sound degradation and side effects for the guitar sound since the supposed Hi-Z guitar cable itself is indeed a Lo-Z mic cable in the first hand? Will there be any audible different when compare it with a real instrument cable like the Mogami 2524?

Both the mic and guitar cables will be used in a recording studio, so it is quite mission critical. Any inputs and advices are welcome, thanks a lot!

Last edited by arznable; 8th December 2007 at 10:27 AM.. Reason: typo
#2
8th December 2007
Old 8th December 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
Just make sure that the ring and the sleave are connected at both ends (or you are using mono 1/4" jack plugs) and you'll be fine.
arznable
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#3
8th December 2007
Old 8th December 2007
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Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
Just make sure that the ring and the sleave are connected at both ends (or you are using mono 1/4" jack plugs) and you'll be fine.
I am using a TS connector (ie. a mono 1/4" jack plugs) which has no ring at all (not TRS). In other words, the connectors on both ends are mono 1/4" TS connectors, but the cable itself is a balanced cable. Would it make an excellent guitar cable? Does the Hi-Z and Lo-Z impedence thing matter? Just don't wanna spend extra since I already have a big roll of Mogami 2549 which is an excellent mic cable.
#4
8th December 2007
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travisbrown's Avatar
Same cable, two lead + shield instead of three. I'm not to sure what you mean by excellent. Won't make any better or worse a guitar cable than single lead+shield.

Two leads soldered to the tip at both ends, shield soldered to the sleeve. Go nuts.
#5
8th December 2007
Old 8th December 2007
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deve's Avatar
 

Nothing wrong with your reasoning, hot and cold together wired to tip. More copper, better cable.

I personally like oxygen free copper planet waves instrument cables on bass and guitar. They sound better to my ears.
peace
arznable
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#6
8th December 2007
Old 8th December 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
Same cable, two lead + shield instead of three. I'm not to sure what you mean by excellent. Won't make any better or worse a guitar cable than single lead+shield.

Two leads soldered to the tip at both ends, shield soldered to the sleeve. Go nuts.
That's what I think, too. Just solder the 2 leads to the tip at both ends. Shouldn't make any differences, right? But what confuse me is that, people always refer a mic cable as Lo-Z cable and a guitar cable as Hi-Z cable. What does that mean? This make me feel they are not the same, and also make me feel it won't sound as good as a guitar cable. Any comments?
#7
9th December 2007
Old 9th December 2007
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travisbrown's Avatar
Balanced vs. unbalanced. It's the way it's wired, not the impedance of the cable. Hi-Z and Low-Z refer to the impedance of the things you are plugging into at each end of the cable.

It's not "mic" cable or "guitar" cable; it's the number of leads. You could make two channel (stereo) guitar cables out of it with TRS connectors too.
arznable
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#8
9th December 2007
Old 9th December 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
Balanced vs. unbalanced. It's the way it's wired, not the impedance of the cable. Hi-Z and Low-Z refer to the impedance of the things you are plugging into at each end of the cable.
I see. That means a guitar is a Hi-Z instrument; a mic is a Lo-Z instrument. And the impedence of a guitar cable and a mic cable of same length are indeed the same, is it right?

This also means I can grab a mic cable, change the stereo TRS plug to a mono TS plug, solder 2 leads to the tip at both ends, and use it as a guitar cable without any sound degradation or side effects on the guitar sound. Am I correct?
#9
9th December 2007
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All you can do is make one and find out.However.How can I say this.....Guitar cables can and do alter the passive resistance and/or loading of hi-z pick-ups in relation to what a guitar amplifier wants to see....thus...can and often vary in tone/noise,rf rejection...etc.I had a friend make a 50 ft guitar cable for me out of some purple beldon...and it worked great as long as I used a pedal that had LOW-z buffering to minimize the loading or treble loss due to the lenth.IT'S TOTALLY POSSIBLE.Just keep the lenth 20ft or less without a buffer.
arznable
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#10
9th December 2007
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Thread Starter
After some thinking, I still think there is sound quality difference between a mic-cable-turned-guitar-cable and a real guitar cable. The main and only difference is there are 2 signals conductors (hot and cold) inside the former one while there is only one signal conductor inside a real guitar cable. You may ask what is the difference if we solder the 2 leads to the tips at both ends for the mic cable? The difference is there is something called CAPACITANCE exists between the 2 signal conductors inside the mic-cable-turned-guitar-cable whenever there are signals passing through both conductors!

So now the real question is: Is it an audible problem? Has someone actually tried this out and compared it with a real single conductor guitar cable like the Mogami 2524?
#11
9th December 2007
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travisbrown's Avatar
There are only three things that affect how a cable sounds. Capacitance, impedance and inductance.

50' is a bit long for a guitar cable. The capacitance will knock out the high end on the signal. If you needed to make such a long run, you'd be better off putting an impedance matching transformer on each end, converting it to a low-z balanced signal.

Why do you need 50'?
#12
9th December 2007
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by arznable View Post
After some thinking, I still think there is sound quality difference between a mic-cable-turned-guitar-cable and a real guitar cable. The main and only difference is there are 2 signals conductors (hot and cold) inside the former one while there is only one signal conductor inside a real guitar cable. You may ask what is the difference if we solder the 2 leads to the tips at both ends for the mic cable? The difference is there is something called CAPACITANCE exists between the 2 signal conductors inside the mic-cable-turned-guitar-cable whenever there are signals passing through both conductors!

So now the real question is: Is it an audible problem? Has someone actually tried this out and compared it with a real single conductor guitar cable like the Mogami 2524?
If you are worried about it, just hook up one of the leads and leave the other. You are thinking about it too much.
arznable
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#13
9th December 2007
Old 9th December 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlheinz View Post
All you can do is make one and find out.However.How can I say this.....Guitar cables can and do alter the passive resistance and/or loading of hi-z pick-ups in relation to what a guitar amplifier wants to see....thus...can and often vary in tone/noise,rf rejection...etc.I had a friend make a 50 ft guitar cable for me out of some purple beldon...and it worked great as long as I used a pedal that had LOW-z buffering to minimize the loading or treble loss due to the lenth.IT'S TOTALLY POSSIBLE.Just keep the lenth 20ft or less without a buffer.
We may be typing at the same time, therefore I don't see you post when I am typing mine. Thanks for your inputs.
#14
9th December 2007
Old 9th December 2007
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FFTT's Avatar
 

I just received two new cables from Redco and I'm really happy with both of them.

For guitar, their standard Redco TGS-HD cable with Silver Canare F15 Male TS connectors

and for my new amp to speaker cable, used their Redco 12/2 12AWG speaker cable with their NYS 225LL Male TS-Xtra Large Opening connector.

It's interesting that the sound has improved over the standard music store generic
cable I was using before.

The new speaker cable certainly has more copper than anything they offered at any price.
arznable
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#15
9th December 2007
Old 9th December 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
There are only three things that affect how a cable sounds. Capacitance, impedance and inductance.

50' is a bit long for a guitar cable. The capacitance will knock out the high end on the signal. If you needed to make such a long run, you'd be better off putting an impedance matching transformer on each end, converting it to a low-z balanced signal.

Why do you need 50'?
I am actually making guitar cables with less than 20', so the capacitance impact should be minimal. I don't realize capacitance depends on the cable length before. I thought it is consistance throughout the entire cable no matter how long it is. Thanks for your inputs, Travis.
#16
9th December 2007
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peat's Avatar
my main guitar lead is like this

klotz mic cable wired to a TS connector, with the two inner conductors twisted together and soldered to the tip at both ends.

if you think about it, you are actually making a parallel circuit with the two conductors, thus halving the resistance.

capacitance between the two inner conductors doesnt really matter as they both have the same ac voltage running through them
#17
9th December 2007
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by arznable View Post
I am actually making guitar cables with less than 20', so the capacitance impact should be minimal. I don't realize capacitance depends on the cable length before. I thought it is consistance throughout the entire cable no matter how long it is. Thanks for your inputs, Travis.
Ah, I was sort of answering two posts at once, but yeah, cable length affects capacitance.

Here's a quick read I just found for you on the Google: Atlantic Quality Design, Inc., Guitar Cable Capacitance
#18
9th December 2007
Old 9th December 2007
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nynofi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peat View Post

my main guitar lead is like this

mic cable wired to a TS connector, with the two inner conductors twisted together and soldered to the tip at both ends.
Anything wrong with soldering the two conductors side by side to the tip, instead of twisting 'em together first?
#19
9th December 2007
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travisbrown's Avatar
No. Twisting is just for convenience in soldering. It would only be half an inch of twist in any case.
#20
9th December 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post

No. Twisting is just for convenience in soldering. It would only be half an inch of twist in any case.
Cool. Thanks!
#21
9th December 2007
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peeder's Avatar
 

What this idea ends up as is the unbalanced equivalent of "quad core" mic cable: you have two inside wires carrying the same current in the same direction, rather than one.

It may even work better for the purposes of noise rejection...that is the belief about quad-core anyway.

Sonically within the audible band there probably won't be any difference other than the possibility of different noise rejection capabilities, as long as cable lengths are relatively short (say 5 meters). But you shouldn't be draping cables over noise-inducing things (e.g. xfrmrs) anyway.
#22
10th December 2007
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Frost's Avatar
 

I would wire this with one wire to the tip on both ends and one wire to the sleeve on both ends (if its quad, wire it with both same colored wires as one). I would then connect the shield to ONE end, connecting to the sleeve. I would mark this end guitar end or source.

This way you will get an actual piece of wire carrying + and -, and any noise that gets into the shield will drain to source instead of sink end.

Frost
#23
10th December 2007
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peeder's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frost View Post
I would wire this with one wire to the tip on both ends and one wire to the sleeve on both ends (if its quad, wire it with both same colored wires as one). I would then connect the shield to ONE end, connecting to the sleeve. I would mark this end guitar end or source.

This way you will get an actual piece of wire carrying + and -, and any noise that gets into the shield will drain to source instead of sink end.
Since the guitar doesn't have an independent ground (unless the player serves as the ground?) the "noise will drain" back to the guitar and then back down the - wire into the sink anyway. Right? You're just giving it a little detour, and I'm not so sure that's a good idea since the pickups are located where you're detouring to.
#24
4th February 2008
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nynofi's Avatar
 

Ok.

Is there no STANDARD way of making instrument cables with quad wire? I hear different opinions.


Redco crew. How do the pros do it?
#25
4th February 2008
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loujudson's Avatar
Suggestion - try this - one lead to tip, and one of the inner wires to ground. It might work better that way, as I have heard that for singal leads (unbalanced) this will give better rejection of commonm mode interference... but it might change the capaciatnce too much for good sound. But I'd love to hear it tried? I don't play, so I have no way to try it. Might be worth an experiment...

Same thing Frost said, sorry.
#26
4th February 2008
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peeder's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nynofi View Post
Ok.

Is there no STANDARD way of making instrument cables with quad wire? I hear different opinions.


Redco crew. How do the pros do it?
The pros save their money by not paying for things that don't make a difference.
#27
4th February 2008
Old 4th February 2008
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Haha, nice. We deal with these odd situations often here. Obviously, the quick answer is to use Instrument cable as it is designed to deal with this type of signal. Depending on the brand, there are also physical differences in the construction of the cable, such as conductive plastic to reduce Instrument handling noise, etc.

Aside from that, you can certainly use balanced cable (quad or not) for Instrument cables. When we have to do this on installs where the only cable available is balanced line/mic cable, we put 1 conductor to the Tip and tie the other conductor and shied to the Ground connection. I don't believe doubling the two insulated wired to the Tip would hurt, but to reduce any possiblility of weirdness by using twisted pairs on a center conductor, I only put one wire to center.

Also, by tieing the other insulated wire to ground, you have the possibility of fiddling with lifting ground if there are noise issues and still have a conductor connected there.

Hope this help,
Chris
Redco
#28
5th February 2008
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisredco View Post
Haha, nice. (edit) When we have to do this on installs where the only cable available is balanced line/mic cable, we put 1 conductor to the Tip and tie the other conductor and shied to the Ground connection. I don't believe doubling the two insulated wired to the Tip would hurt, but to reduce any possiblility of weirdness by using twisted pairs on a center conductor, I only put one wire to center.

Also, by tieing the other insulated wire to ground, you have the possibility of fiddling with lifting ground if there are noise issues and still have a conductor connected there.

Hope this help,
Chris
Redco
Aha, I was right! This is what I would do...

L
#29
5th February 2008
Old 5th February 2008
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Lerxst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisredco View Post
When we have to do this on installs where the only cable available is balanced line/mic cable, we put 1 conductor to the Tip and tie the other conductor and shied to the Ground connection.

Bingo!


~Lerxst
#30
5th February 2008
Old 5th February 2008
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nynofi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post

Aha, I was right! This is what I would do...

L
Good call L.
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