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Remote mic cables and multicores: Do you ever resolder ?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
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Remote mic cables and multicores: Do you ever resolder ?

Most of my mic cables and multicores (all star quad, various brands: Canare, Belden, Mogami) would be 20-25 years old now. All seem to be going fine, no signal losses, crackles, RF intrusion etc.

Does anyone here make a regular or periodic practice of removing and resoldering xlr ends, perhaps removing a few cable inches at each end in the process, just to give oneself freshly terminated cables ? Any reason to do so, if the cables are (apparently) working fine ?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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tourtelot's Avatar
Okay, good question. In my experience, and I have a slew of cables that I still use that are (gasp!) almost 40 years old, I have never had a failure that could be attributed to an old solder joint. I think that any oxidation would occur on the skin of the solder and that the bond between the metal on the connector's solder cup and the solder would be air-tight. There would be, I suspect, no degradation of the signal through an old solder connection, but I could be proven wrong by someone with more EE experience.

Now, in other news, solder does get more brittle as it ages and that can be seen when re-soldering very old contacts by the way the new and old solder flow together. Much more granular, the old solder. So I think that if those joints get stressed, that it is easier for fractures to become apparent.

I guess that I personally wouldn't re-solder any connection until it fails. Seems like a ton of work to "fix" a problem that doesn't seem to exist. Oxidation on the contacts is another story and as connectors such as XLR, especially the Ni coated ones (as opposed to gold plated), do get grungy, and in not too long a time. I am happy to apply something like De-Oxit red or Stabilant 22S to contacts as a general rule. I see only good in that application although I can't recall a time where I ever went "Oh damn. I think that mics sounds weird. Must be oxidation on the contacts in the XLRs".

But then again, I don't think I hear a lot of things that those with golden ears hear. I mostly just go out with the best gear I can afford, keep the gear in in good operating condition and record music.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
The wires inside will break down quicker than any solder joint. Wrapping/unwrapping is what causes the internal metal fatigue. It's no different than bending a piece of metal until it breaks.

Retire them after a few years or gremlins will haunt you. Here I solder them once during assembly with 4% silver solder. I don't like the sound of lead.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I don't like the sound of lead.
Figures

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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i'm with jim: those multipair cables in the studio which i barely touched have been lasting without any issues for many years (some of them approaching 35 years); those in daily use i keep replacing every 5-10 years (if they don't get lost/stolen way earlier).

this silver/lead thing though... - pure gold i suggest!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Figures

D.
I should rephrase: I don't like listening through lead. I love the sound of lead hitting a steel plate at 400 yards away.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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tourtelot's Avatar
So Jim. Here's a sincere question. There is lead solder in your rig, whatever it is, from front to back. Lead solder on the PCBs in the mic amps, pre amps, converters, recorders, headphones. Why does putting a tiny bit of silver in the middle of this mess make one iota's difference in the sound at the headphone/speaker end?

It seems a bit nutty to think that it has a discernible effect in much the same way that it seems nutty that someone would use a $4000 AC cord on their preamps only to plug them into the wall of a 200 year old church. Hauling in large AC iso transformers will help, I agree, but. . .

I will confess, I don't get it to the point of amazement.

D.

Last edited by tourtelot; 3 weeks ago at 05:29 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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I thought silver had to do with the strength of the soldered joint?

Also, I suspect the older lead solder connections will outlast the lead free connections in vogue today.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Silver/tin solder is a stonger meld. I hear it when the entire system or device is soldered/built with it. Add pure silver cables and then you hear the entire effect.

This would require some of you to learn/invest and build your gear/cables this way so I don't expect anyone else to duplicate my experience here. Much of the gear I use that was already built is RoHS and has no lead in the audio path. Older stuff was re-soldered in many cases.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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Plush's Avatar
Answering the OP:

No
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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Resolder only if broken. Replace, maybe, if it is a cable that has had a lot of abuse.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I beep out cables every so often. Sometimes I'll find one that's "on the verge of a short." Still working to the naked ear, but the meter says something's hinky. This usually happens for one of two reasons. Either a single strand of wire in one of the soldered ends has gone astray (rare) or there's a crushed spot in the cable (more common). Sometimes you can get lucky and find the crush by eye and by feel and wind up with a good, shorter cable. Sometimes not, and then the connecters get snipped and saved, while the cable gets tossed.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Now, in other news, solder does get more brittle as it ages and that can be seen when re-soldering very old contacts by the way the new and old solder flow together. Much more granular, the old solder. So I think that if those joints get stressed, that it is easier for fractures to become apparent.
Something I'm starting to see more of is solder-joint fractures in guitar amps and rack gear caused by loose nuts (the threaded kind). These days many pots are both panel-mounted and pcb-mounted. The panel nut loosens up, and when you handle the pot it rocks on the pcb and the solder joints break. So tighten yer nuts!
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Plush's Avatar
Distribution of Gotham cables has been pulled from “Gotham USA” by Gotham AG, Switzerland. Gotham USA is out of business.

Order GAC cables from Switzerland or other USA suppliers.

I was told not to call the cable GAC (“gack”) as that means poop in German.
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