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Author Topic: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...  (Read 8026 times)

brian maddox

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Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« on: April 30, 2015, 08:02:19 pm »

So, my boss at a recent gig asked me to take a look at this cable to find out why it wasn't working properly...



Yes, that is only two conductor wire [shield and a center core].  Yes they have tied the shield to pins 1, 3 and the 'strain relief' and therefore the connector shell itself.

Wow.  That's before we get to the fact that the female connector fell apart in my hand as i was trying to get it open. 

Apparently this was purchased online as an assembled cable.  i think they bought quite a few of them.  I told him to track them down and throw them away.  The only thing of value in that cable was the velcro tie they put on it....
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brian maddox
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John J Saunders

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2015, 10:27:43 am »

What happened to their Mogami star quad standards? ;)
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John Saunders

brian maddox

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2015, 06:37:17 pm »

What happened to their Mogami star quad standards? ;)

left along with their brilliant tech director...
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brian maddox
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'...do not trifle with the affairs of dragons...

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Riley Casey

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2015, 07:36:04 pm »

Belden 8412 with Switchcraft A3f black and  A3m silver.  Everything else is wimpy.  Of course everyone under 50 shakes their heads at this point.  ;D

Mike Smith

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2015, 11:26:26 pm »

Belden 8412 with Switchcraft A3f black and  A3m silver.  Everything else is wimpy.  Of course everyone under 50 shakes their heads at this point.  ;D

Wasn't Belden 8412 used in the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge? It's pretty tough stuff.
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2015, 07:51:49 pm »

The moment someone saw or touched that cable it should have been obvious it was bad. 
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2015, 08:04:05 pm »

Belden 8412 with Switchcraft A3f black and  A3m silver.  Everything else is wimpy.  Of course everyone under 50 shakes their heads at this point.  ;D
I have run across cables made like that during installs, that are many decades old-still work-still limber and have probably never need repair.

Sure it costs more up front-but in the long run-------------
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2015, 08:23:00 pm »

Belden 8412 with Switchcraft A3f black and  A3m silver.  Everything else is wimpy.  Of course everyone under 50 shakes their heads at this point.  ;D

The Clair standard - 8412 with ITT Cannon XLR-3-11C and Switchcraft A3M.  Inside, the braid is sleeved and either a Hellerman sleeve or bit of heat shrink is applied to the cut end of the jacket where the conductors fan out.
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brian maddox

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2015, 08:29:11 pm »

The moment someone saw or touched that cable it should have been obvious it was bad.

Well, the moment i touched it i knew it was a cheap piece of crap.  The single conductor wire and wildly stupid wiring scheme was just icing on the cake....
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2015, 09:53:44 pm »

Belden 8412 with Switchcraft A3f black and  A3m silver.  Everything else is wimpy.  Of course everyone under 50 shakes their heads at this point.  ;D

I'm under 50, but I re-built my cable inventory with almost exactly configuration about 3 years ago. I went with silver on both ends. It's very easy now to tell my cables from anyone else's.

Interesting thing I noticed is the old connectors from the 80's or older are more durable than the new ones. It's almost impossible to strip out a screw on the vintages ones. The new ones seem to use a softer metal for the screws. I ended up ruining a few new ones.
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Brian Jojade

frank kayser

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2015, 01:15:29 pm »

So, my boss at a recent gig asked me to take a look at this cable to find out why it wasn't working properly...
Yes, that is only two conductor wire [shield and a center core].  Yes they have tied the shield to pins 1, 3 and the 'strain relief' and therefore the connector shell itself.

Wow.  That's before we get to the fact that the female connector fell apart in my hand as i was trying to get it open. 

Apparently this was purchased online as an assembled cable.  i think they bought quite a few of them.  I told him to track them down and throw them away.  The only thing of value in that cable was the velcro tie they put on it....
Providing one likes Velcro  ;D


That is one POS cable...
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brian maddox

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2015, 09:29:54 am »

Providing one likes Velcro  ;D


That is one POS cable...

Yeah, i actually prefer tie line for cables to velcro.  But at least the velcro could be put to SOME good use.  :)
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brian maddox
bdmaudio@gmail.com

'...do not trifle with the affairs of dragons...

       ....for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup...'

Galvin Pavlov

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2015, 06:31:19 am »

Wasn't Belden 8412 used in the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge? It's pretty tough stuff.

I hear ya on that. Happen to know a good distributor for the Belden 8412?
I was just thrashing through a storage unit owned by one of the most famous recording studios in the world. Piles and piles of weird cables, anonymous i/o boxes and components galore. Checking through the bins I found incredible examples of the old days cables using 8412 with original switchcraft and cannon and those things were made bullet proof i belive it is constituent to the fidelity back then. When electrons are moving faster through density and minimal resistance there is an audible difference.   Cables are the weakest link. The cables i made 22 years ago are still reliable, louder(?) and almost all have never failed. But its expensive damn expensive. Cheap cables make life more difficult and can cause you to have a really bad day. Thats what I learned thanks for reading.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2015, 03:14:35 pm »

When electrons are moving faster through density and minimal resistance there is an audible difference.   Cables are the weakest link. The cables i made 22 years ago are still reliable, louder(?) and almost all have never failed.

The cables are LOUDER?  yeah, um, no.
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Brian Jojade

Stephen Kirby

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2015, 05:32:02 pm »

The cables are LOUDER?  yeah, um, no.
Noel Lee?
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GenePink

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2015, 08:35:06 am »

Belden 8412 with Switchcraft A3f black and  A3m silver.  Everything else is wimpy.  Of course everyone under 50 shakes their heads at this point.  ;D
Same here, except chrome ends. For many years, every winter I'd get a 1000ft spool of 8412 from Rapco, a hundred males and females of switchcraft, and get after it. Yeah, I'm over 50 too. The dark green switchcraft were better than the light green. I now have nothing but these, all others were donated to a metal club that I had a rig parked in a while back, along with all those radio shack mic boom stands that I started my career with, and you probably did, too.

Haven't made any in years, because I haven't had to. The last mic cord failure I had was in the '90s, due to an entanglement with a fender twin caster wheel and a determined guitar player that wouldn't stop shoving the amp across the stage. Wasn't 8412.

Yeah, you can buy them cheaper, but then I would end up taking them apart to inspect, and likely redoing many of them. I don't care who built them, they don't have the same level of interest as I do, that they never fail.

Lengths?  A couple 3' and 6' to repatch or extend rather than rerun a whole line that you misjudged the distance, and 10' never seems long enough so we went with a lot of 12' (we are subsnake heavy). 20s and 30s, and a couple of 50s just in case. A small rig (Midas Venice 320) would have 3x3', 3x6' 12x12' 12x20' 12x30' 2x50'.

But i digest (wife's meatloaf was good tonight, if a bit heavy, still working on that).

Gene
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2015, 08:56:06 am »

The cables are LOUDER?  yeah, um, no.
Push an electron in at one end and one falls out the other end.  It has to be quite bad cable to reduce the flow but I have never found a cable which puts out more than you put in!


Steve.
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Rob Spence

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2015, 02:54:33 pm »

Yesterday we had a cable not appear to be working (not mine or the sound provider, 3rd party). We replaced it then I tested it and found a flakey pin 2 connection.
So, we took it apart. The connector was styled like a Neutrik. When opened, the insert with the female sockets fell off the cable :-) It was an IDC ! Yikes.

At load out I put it back to work holding the van door open. Next, into the dumpster at the dock.


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paul bell

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2015, 03:41:14 pm »

I get a spool of Belden 1192A star quad and a ton of Neutric blacks with gold pins. A shrink four inches at the ends with company name that's held in the chuck so it won't slide along the wire. That's how to do it.

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Re: Yeah, cheap cables really ARE a bad idea...
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2015, 03:41:14 pm »


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