What brand cables do you use between audio interface and monitors?

dman007

Active Member
What brand of balanced cables do you use between your audio interface and monitors?

Any Mogami users in the UK ?

Interested in any recommendations
 

VladK

Active Member
I am not in the UK, but use Mogami Gold - XLR, TR and TRS (straight and right angle) - almost exclusively for all my audio connection needs (microphones, instruments, monitors) for years. No single issue yet. I now don't look for other brands if I can find Mogami with connectors I need.
 

chrisr

Senior Member
Generally the engineers/studios I've worked at have generally picked up Van Damme reels for building their various studio cables. It's something that I've never really questioned - I mean - I've never heard a colleague express dissatisfaction with them. I expect Mogami are just as good though. I'm probably not the best person to make a recommendation as I've always assumed van damme to be 'good enough' and never really questioned it. Guess I'm just mentioning it on the off-chance that you don't know the brand.
 

Sunny Schramm

Senior Member
Nothing special - just two standard 3 meter klotz-cables (6,3mm symmetrical/stereo jack to XLR) for about 15€ each.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ben

wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
Moderator
My favorite is Gotham Audio cable with Neutrik connectors - the shield on the Gotham cable is so easy to work with. After that I usually select from Canare, Belden, and Mogami, and yes, the choice comes down to the cost per foot - call me shallow!

Where I do find differences (albeit very small differences) is cable geometry. I don't enjoy working with Star-Quad cable, but it does seem to help with noise immunity for microphone cables. I can't hear, or measure, a difference for line level signals.

For loudspeaker level signals (yes, I still have a couple pairs of passive monitors, oh the shame!) I use coat hangers! No, not really, I use a heavy gauge (certainly no smaller than AWG#14) twisted pair, it's been so long since I had to build loudspeaker cables that I don't even remember the brand. I've tried lots of different cables for loudspeakers and the two factors that seem to matter are gauge and twist. I do like the cables with the clear overall jackets, but that's just cause they look cool<G>!

If you are not interested in building your own cables then I think you'll be fine if you stick with known brands such as Mogami, Canare, Belden, Gotham, Neutrik, and Switchcraft.

There is one "budget" cable manufacturer that uses really high quality cables and connectors, and their build quality is outstanding and their prices make no sense - I can buy them for less than I can make them! And I have started to use their cables for everything except microphone cables, they don't have a star quad cable (yet?).

For the life of me I can not remember who it is right now. It will probably pop up shortly after I hit "send", I'll update the thread when I remember.

I'm happy to keep my cable construction chops from getting rusty, but I'm also happy to save the time (and money). Besides, I got a LOT of practice making up DMX cables earlier this year (BP - before the pandemic).
 

Rory

Amateur Auteur
One of the two major New York location sound houses makes all of my cables for recording, timecode and monitors. They use Neutrik connectors and the cables are well made, but I’ve never asked them whose cable they use. The cables are solid and the resulting sound is fine, which is all I care about.
 
Last edited:

wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
Moderator
BINGO!

My first priority is audio quality, the differences between cables in this category are small. Unless you buy really cheap, poorly made cables, but they show themselves quickly enough.

My second priority is reliability, nuff said. As above.

My third priority is ease of handling when I'm making or repairing them. Of course when I am making or repairing them I always mean to bump this back up to first. Never happens. And realistically I spend very little time making or repairing cables, so it's ok.
 

patrick76

Senior Member
Mogami. I haven't tried the more esoteric stuff, but I would be interested in hearing to see what differences I could hear.
 

JPQ

Senior Member
Cordial soon i think now some cheap? coloured cables. but beerweemn synths and audio interface mainly cordial now.
 

bill5

Senior Member
Interesting...I use the cheapest I can find and have heard setups with pricey cables and never heard a diff. As for reliability, I can only speak to having no issues there as well, though it's not like I'm running a pro studio.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
I never heard any difference either, until I replaced all the other rubbish components I had -- speakers, amp, D/A converter.

Then it was like hearing for the first time. It was a big difference. Not only the cables, of course, but the whole thing. I feel I write more accurately now, especially if some (or all) of the material is not going to be replaced.
 

ryans

Senior Member
I never heard any difference either, until I replaced all the other rubbish components I had -- speakers, amp, D/A converter.

Then it was like hearing for the first time. It was a big difference. Not only the cables, of course, but the whole thing. I feel I write more accurately now, especially if some (or all) of the material is not going to be replaced.
Nice.. the overall sound quality is only going to be as good as the weakest element in your chain.

My own experience a/b testing cables has not yielded much audible difference in terms of music quality.. but I have had interference/shielding and reliability issues with the cheaper ones..

It never made much sense to me to have expensive gear and then just totally cheap out on the cables... some of the cheap ones I've seen are just terribly made..

This is maybe not related but working in live sound nice cables are EVERYTHING. Nothing worse than crap cables that don't lie flat, wrap properly, or.. fail on you during a concert with 60,000 people and an angry band waiting.
 
OP
dman007

dman007

Active Member
Considering replacing mine with Mogami (from audio interface to monitors) - anyone in the UK using these?
 

wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
Moderator
TL;DR - different cables CAN sound different, if the rest of the system is up to the task of exposing the differences. The differences are subtle, and won't ruin your project!

a footnote of sorts...

there are differences between cables. Some of the differences are purely mechanical. How well manufactured is the cable itself, and how carefully are the connectors connected, both of which have more to do with reliability, but they can have an impact on perceived audio quality. So too will twist rate and geometry, both of which have a big affect on noise immunity, and maybe a lesser impact on perceived audio quality.

Total resistance is seldom an issue - within the confines of practical concerns. Capacitance can have an impact, depending on the source and input impedances of the devices on either end. And again these can affect both noise immunity and perceived audio quality.

Of lesser concern would be factors like the number and guage of strands, and the materials used for the jackets, both of which will be determining factors in the impedance of the cable, and specifically the capacitance.

Analog cables seldom care much about characteristic impedance, you need a really long cable for that to become a factor. It is, however, an important factor for digital audio signals.

Finally, signal levels matter! They will have a direct relationship to the S/N ratio, and a less obvious impact on perceived audio quality.

So what is it about perceived audio quality?????

Once upon a time I was very skeptical about all things audio. I mean why would someone spend more than $100 on a microphone? I later learned that the reason I could not answer that question was because all I knew was the Shure SM57/58. Once I had a chance to use a "high end" microphone (in my case a U-67) I understood. Different tools for different applications, and there are very real, very audible differences between microphones.

It took a little longer to find out that there are audible differences between cables. The differences are most obvious with microphone cables, and these differences become more difficult to spot as signal level increases in amplitude. I guess that makes sense.

The two most important things to remember are:
1) the weak link in any system is the limiting factor. If you have a noisy room or crappy loudspeakers you aren't going the hear the subtle differences between cables.
2) every component in a system matters, and yes, that includes the cables.

I guess that's really one rule?

Many (MANY) years ago I was invited to attend a cable shootout during an AES convention. The shootout was, out of necessity, held off site at a local studio. (This was the days of analog, which may or may not be a factor, I tend to think not.)

A piano, a guitar, a small collection of hand percussion toys, and a singer were set up in the studio. Each was provided a "typical" microphone or two. The microphones were patched into outboard microphone preamplifiers (odd for the time) as well as the console. The preamplifiers and console were covered with cloaks so we would not be influenced by preconceived notions. A variety of cables were run from the control room to the studio, each was the same length (give or take an inch), and they were separated as much as possible. The control room was well designed, and very quiet.

Each source was tested with each cable, and we listened to one source at a time. The time to swap cables was kept to a minimum, but it was not zero. This was a concern, but it turned out to be minor, the changes were sufficiently quick that memory was not a real problem - which is to say the differences, when they were audible, were pretty obvious to almost everyone in the room.

Where possible different cable constructions from the same manufacturer were compared first, and then different manufacturers of the same construction were compared. The total number of cables was kept small so that this did not become a lifetime project.

Also recall that there were not a lot of cable manufacturers in the early 1990s<G>.

The consensus was that there were differences, and the differences were more audible between different cable constructions than cable brands, but there were even differences between brands (most likely due to insulator materials, but who knows.)

Everyone agreed that the differences were not so great that we were going to run out and replace all our cables. We also pretty much agreed that the differences were application specific. For example, we might accept a slight roll-off in the upper most registers in trade for better noise immunity in a live sound setting, but in the controlled space of a studio the noise was not an issue. (again this was all analog, noise could be an issue today).

It was eye (ear?) opening that differences even existed. It was comforting that choosing the "wrong" cable wouldn't be a career ending mistake.

Just for grins, when we were finished the comparisons they threw in a cheaply made cable from a local music store. The differences were much more obvious, but even in the extreme case we didn't feel like sound quality would be the determining factor - reliability would be, and so we'd still avoid those cables.

This particular test was my introduction to Gotham Audio cables, which is my preference today, not for noise immunity or audio quality (they do just fine in both categories) but for ease of use, I find it so easy to work with their braid that the other factors are not important to me.

Last thing - that test was all about audible differences between microphone cables in a very controlled environment. I have since done experiments with cables in electrically noise environments. Cable construction is the key differentiator, and the differences are measurable, and audible. Twist rate of the conductors and the construction of the shield are the primary considerations. A braid or reussen wrap shield if superior to foil, and the differences between the braid and wrap have more to do with how the braid is constructed (ironically, the better the shielding the more difficult the braid is to work with!)

These differences are more audible with microphone level signals, but still clearly audible with line level signals. And entirely dependent on just how electrically noisy your environment is. The type of noise matters, shielding won't do anything for magnetic fields, and twisting won't help much (it at all) with RF.

Oh, and it goes without saying, none of this matters if the input stage is single-ended, or a poorly implemented balanced design.