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Difference between line cable and mic cable for line sources (short runs)
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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belzrebuth's Avatar
 

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Difference between line cable and mic cable for line sources (short runs)

I used to buy Belden 46349

https://catalog.belden.com/techdata/...9_techdata.pdf

for all my unbalanced cable needs (when making cables I was just shorting the cold conductor to sleeve).
I can find the 46349 for a good price near me so I didn't bother checking for alternatives.

I now need some more cables for 5 or so keyboards (about 3m each) and I thought I could try if a line cable such as Belden 1508A
https://catalog.belden.com/techdata/...a.pdf?ip=false would make any difference.

Price is the same.

The conductor gauge is the same and they're both copper so I don't know if there is any noticeable difference at the lengths I'm interested in. I could be wrong though so I thought I'd ask.

I also wondered (on the 46349) if soldering both hot and cold to tip and just braid to shield would have any kind of benefit.
The reason I didn't do that as of now is that if the cable twists or gets stomped for whatever reason the cold wire soldered to the sleeve would be an additional measure of not breaking the ground connection.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

The 1508A has a foil shield, so shouldn't really be used where the cable will be flexed. Other than that, for short lengths, there should be no practical audible differences. In theory, foil (100%) will give you a more complete RF shield than served (90%), but this is unlikely to be a problem unless you're using them in a very high RF field.

Neither one of your examples is particularly low capacitance (roughly 30 pF/ft.), but it won't matter for short distances. They might not be advisable for high impedance guitar pickups though.

When building unbalanced cables, I've always connected both conductors of the pair together to use as the "hot" connection. This was on the assumption that there was plenty of copper already in a braided shield (maybe not the case with your examples), and if somebody mistakenly used my cable for a speaker connection, it would have double the copper for carrying the current. For synths, I'm sure it won't matter. Probably not for pedalboards either, but for longer guitar cables, I'd buy the proper single conductor cable made for that job, which will have low handling noise and lower capacitance (and a higher price tag!)

Geoff
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
If you're making unbalanced cables with 2-conductor wire, you might try the 'telescoping shield' technique. It's been effective for me on medium length runs to help avoid ground loops.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Aluminum foil typically sucks for audio shielding. It will work if its thick enough but its primary use is for shielding against high frequencies in the megahz bands. That's why its typically used for data cables like cable TV. In the audio bands AC hum is the strongest and it tends to pass right through aluminum.

The other issue you have is Alluminum cannot be soldered to connectors. All you'll get are cold soldered joints. The only way you can get aluminum to join to another metal is by welding. If the cable has stranded wire included then you could use that to make the connection, but as is this is not the wire you should be buying to make cables. The connectors used for these kind of foil are solderless and crimp style. By the time you get done making the cables you'll likely pay double what you'd pay for pre made.

There's really nothing gained by using balanced cable for unbalanced connections but is you do use it simply take on of the core wires and ground it along with the shield. The more grounding the quieter the cable. Balanced cable is more heavy duty and if your keyboard have stereo outs you can use a balanced cable as a shielded stereo cable if you want. you simply need the right connections. You can buy long mic cables for lower costs then guitar cables. Buy a 25' or a 50 and cut it up to make shorter cables if you want. A regular mic cable will have excellent copper shielding and cloth added for strain relief so it should last a long time. I have some made from Beldin cable that have lasted me 40 years. Older then that the Rubber insulation they used tended to get rotten and unreliable.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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belzrebuth's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Rose View Post
If you're making unbalanced cables with 2-conductor wire, you might try the 'telescoping shield' technique. It's been effective for me on medium length runs to help avoid ground loops.
I've made all my long ( >3m ) unbalanced snakes that way..
Don't know if it's helping with noise/ground loops cause luckily I didn't have any before but made them that way regardless.
I'm super careful with rack screws (I use insulating pads) and power outlets, separating audio from power cables and stuff.
Hum is super easy to encounter on a busy studio.


Thanks everyone.I guess I'll stick with the 46349. A lot of times I may flex the cables ;no reason to be afraid I might hurt the foil screening.
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