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Quad cable vs twisted pair question;
Old 3rd October 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Quad cable vs twisted pair question;

I'm working towards making better [A] [B] recordings.

My music store has gone ahead & ordered 25 ft. Mogami studio quad mic. cables.

-With respect to impedance & capacitance, am I better off with the twisted pair cable if I am trying to appeal to the "High End Fidelity Market" with super high fidelity quality -clean "True Stereo" recordings?

I'm using Nyquest convertors and very clean Denecke P.P. for the mics,... -in keeping with that quality approach maybe I should take extra care about the cables too?


Are they, (the high end fidelity folks) not very fussy about that?



Thank you,

Thrip
Old 3rd October 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Star-quad cable was developed to increase rejection of electromagnetic interference.
If your cables are not passing through hostile territories where they are impinged upon by elecromagnetic fields (which you would HEAR!), then star-quad doesn't offer any advantage.
And it has the DISadvantage of being higher parallel capacitance per unit length. But for normal low-output-impedance mics and relatively short lengths, the capacitance isn't a significant issue.
Star-quad cable is also more expensive and slightly more difficult to terminate.

When the Golden Ears are talking about their special cable, they mean something substantially more magical than mere star-quad cable. Note that there is a semi-current discussions of magic cable here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/conn...flections.html

Even if the Golden-Ears" crowd could prove that they can clearly HEAR the difference (which I have never seen convincing evidence), you have to ask yourself: Is it worth spending 10x or even 100x the cost of ordinary cable for something sounds SLIGHTLY different to SOME people? Please note the vast difference between "different" vs. "better". And remember that NONE of the most-popular, best-sounding, highest-selling or widely-respected recordings in the history of the industry were made with "magic cables".

Here is a post in another forum (EEVblog) in a discussion called "I Love The Smell of Audiophoolery In The Morning"

Quote:
I am currently the on call technician for Alan Parsons.. You know what brand cables we use in his studio? Whatever is laying around!! Most of it is old RS electronics stuff he bought closeout before he moved to the US. Basically Radio Shack quality stuff. We joke from time to time about all this nonsense. Also every couple of years i have dinner with a group of grey beards, one of which is Laurie Fincham president of engineering at THX. Same conversation. What snake oil! We joked about making a audio cable with polarity markings running both ways and seeing if you could sell it as special Bi Polar wire. 10 foot bi polar speaker wire sets. only $1259 a set! All we need to sell is one pair a week or so. hahahahahaha... Or like the jokers selling hemp cone speakers and saying they invented it. Hemp was always used in speakers up until polyfiber took over in the 70's and 80's What marketing jerks....
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/i-...514/#msg522514
Reminds me of the spoof statement I have read in several printed programs for performances by Peter Schickele (aka. PDQ Bach).
"Professor Schickele plays whatever brand of piano is available. Exclusively!"
Old 5th October 2014
  #3
I have mic cables made by almost all of the major manufacturers; Belden, Gepco, Mogami, West Penn, Gotham and Canare and the Canare Star-Quad (Specifically type L-4E6S) is, by far, my favorite for several reasons, some of which have nothing to do with audio quality.

Star Quad (Canare or Mogami) does have higher capacitance than most simple twisted pair mic cables, but that does not become acoustically significant at typical microphone impedances until cable lengths exceed approximately 100 meters. Star Quad L-4E6S = 185 pF/M vs. Canare L-2T2S twisted-pair = 106 pF/M. At cable lengths that are typical for most users it's not a factor.

I make my own cables and find that connecting the (4) Star Quad conductors is not significantly more difficult or time consuming than the (2) conductors of a simple twisted-pair. It may take 5-seconds longer to strip (4) leads instead of (2) and to twist them together, but that's really the total extent involved.

I consider the increased rejection of electromagnetically induced noise as sort of an "insurance policy". In decades of on-location recording, I've only observed it to make an audible difference a couple of times, but in both occasions I was not expecting having any noise pick-up issues, and the Star Quad cables made a dramatic difference. Absolutely the difference between being able to get a good recording or having one which would have been contaminated by noise and would have been a disaster.

However, some of the main reasons I prefer Canare L-4E6S are it's physical characteristics. Having (4) lighter gauge conductors instead of (2) heavier gauge ones makes for a significantly more flexible cable. It's easier to drape the cable where you want them and it's easier to coil the shorter cables (using an over/under wrap) for shorter lengths and cable reels for longer ones. A minor difference, but still important to me.

Also the Canare cross-linked PE insulation is very flexible and stays that way even when cold, unlike many other brands. I've never had a Star Quad mic cable fail, but then I take good care of my cables and try not to have people step on them if possible.

In terms of the context of your question regarding the effect on true audio quality. The few correctly done scientific double-blind studies show that under typical conditions any good quality mic cable does a nearly perfect job, and although there may be measurable differences at -140 dB levels, they make no audible difference under "real-world" recording situations, except for the increased noise rejection. However that's meaningless when you're talking about the psychological effects on the fringe audiophile market. That's a world where some people actually believe that using $1500 power cords makes a dramatic difference in their amplifier's sound and that mounting a power amp on sharp, pointed cones is equally important. If you're trying to impress that fringe group, you better have a gimmick, and it probably needs to be much more esoteric than simple Star Quad mic cable.
Old 5th October 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Yes, I agree with Lotus7. in recent years, I have made a bunch of new mic cables with Canare miniature star-quad cable and I really like them for physical/mechanical reasons. Especially when travelling internationally, where size and weight is a factor in checked luggage. And even when unrolled, they lay flat on the floor which is important in fast-turnaround situations where you can't meticulously tape everything down.

I actually use the star-quad cable for my stereo microphones (or close-spaced stereo pairs) with 5-pin XLR connectors. And I use the 2-conductor version of the miniature cable for single-mic runs. They share the same physical characteristics. Note that the enhanced flexibility might be a disadvantage in some situations where rough conditions are encountered (like lots of foot traffic or fork-lifts driving over them, etc.)

I have maybe 6-8 different brands/models of cable and snakes among my collection. I have never been able to perceive any difference between them sonically. I am NOT a believe in "magic cable". Selecting a different microphone or moving the microphone 10cm will have far more effect on the audio signal than the difference between a $5 cable and a $500 cable.
Old 6th October 2014
  #5
Totally agree with Richard, except for one detail: There is an audible difference between the $5 mic cable and the $500 mic cable:
It's the gasp, quickly followed by audible laughter directed at the poor sucker who payed $500 for a cable.
Old 7th May 2019
  #6
Gear Nut
 

I third the "no real sound difference" in Star Quad vs standard 3 conductor cable. That being said, I do try to always spec Star Quad cable for 3 main reasons for all of our installs:

1. It coils nicely.

2. It has 4 conductors and a bare ground wire. This give me flexibility to use it for a variety of applications (not just a mic cable) without the need to spec a different cable for a specific install. Sometimes monitor lifts etc..will require a 4 conductor cable. Star Quad can be used in this application.

3. In a tightly packed rack with a variety of mixed signals, it offers RF noise rejection. Ive never come across an issue where a Star Quad cable saved the day, however; it makes me feel better - which has to count for something. -Billy
Old 8th May 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
Taking five years before deciding to agree with someone shows that you’ve really thought things over. I respect that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
I feel the same way about Erasmus and Francis Bacon - why couldn't I have thought of that?, last year much less 400
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Al Rogers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thrip View Post
I'm working towards making better [A] [B] recordings.

My music store has gone ahead & ordered 25 ft. Mogami studio quad mic. cables.

-With respect to impedance & capacitance, am I better off with the twisted pair cable if I am trying to appeal to the "High End Fidelity Market" with super high fidelity quality -clean "True Stereo" recordings?

I'm using Nyquest convertors and very clean Denecke P.P. for the mics,... -in keeping with that quality approach maybe I should take extra care about the cables too?


Are they, (the high end fidelity folks) not very fussy about that?



Thank you,

Thrip
Yes, audiophiles are fussy about cable. They're even fussy about the kind of solder they use.

FWIW I've got Canare, Mogami and Gotham cables. I don't know if it sounds any better but for some reason I always reach for the Gotham GAC-3 cable in my home studio.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 

That Gotham GAC-3 cable is a strange cable indeed! With three conductors, it's not symmetrical making it subject to Shield Current Induced Noise current (SCIN).
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