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  • #16
    neutriks + mogami. neutriks connectors are easy easy easy to repair, which is really the most important issue.. (scratchy cable? re-solder it. done.)

    worried about corrosion? deoxit. (dont use it on your board though... )
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    • #17
      for ties: these



      Most grocery stores provide free twist-ties for those plastic bags you put fruit and veggies in. They look like this:



      I take a handful of them when needed. Works perfect for bundling wires.
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      • #18
        Monster cables are always very well made, and usually at least 4 times the price for a cable of equal quality. They're not wrong, they're just not a good value.

        The main issues on XLR cable quality:
        1) quality connectors that won't oxidize, to avoid contact resistance that robs signal and causes scratchy noises
        2) good shielding, to avoid picking up hum/buzz
        3) good conductors, to maintain a good signal and not break easily (more total copper is better, more strands is better)
        4) consistent, low capacitance, to avoid losing highs on longer runs
        5) minimal microphonics, to avoid hearing it when people walk on or bump the cables

        Cheap cables can be poor in every way. However, there have always been good ones at reasonably low prices. Sorry, been too long so I don't know any current makers to recommend.

        Gold plated connectors avoid contact resistance. In 30 years, I've had issues with that on 1/4" connectors, but not XLR, so I wouldn't bother with gold plated XLRs.

        To bundle up cables, I use the good old-fashioned "Roadie knot" for mic, line, MIDI, and speaker cables -- anything 25' or less. It's simple, quick, and effective, but not the best for the cable or for packing the most into the smallest space. To do it, just double the cable over and over until it it's short enough to tie into a simple overhand knot.

        To be kinder to the cable and fit more cables in less space, coiling works better.

        For cables that don't twist easily, there's a simple but slighly time-consuming fix. As you coil the cable, just drop each loop on the opposite side. That is, start by making a loop, holding the loop in front of you so you're looking at it sideways (you can't see through the hole). Add the next loop on the right, and the next one on the left, etc. This twists the cable once to the left, then once to the right, etc, so in the end there's at most one twist total. When unwrapping it, you have to lift each loop off individually: there's no grabbing the end and tossing the loop like you would a rescue rope. Takes a bit of time, but well worth it. Then secure with a cable tie and pack away. Since it's flat, it fits more in less space than the roadie knot, and it doesn't torque on the cable either. You get quick at it after a few gigs. :-)

        That said, I have quite a number of 30-yr-old cables that I've tied in roadie knots hundreds and hundreds of times without causing any problems, other than not lying totally flat when unwound.

        Simple twist-ties are great and cheap. Wrap/tie it around one end of the cable, and always leave that on. When coiling, just wrap the rest of the twist-tie around the bundle.
        learjeff.net

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        • #19
          Monster cables are always very well made, and usually at least 4 times the price for a cable of equal quality. They're not wrong, they're just not a good value.


          the connectors on monster's xlr cables are complete ****************e, and prone to quick failure. maybe if you only work in your studio and plug everything in once and leave it it's ok, but for touring or if you work in a venue they are to be avoided like the plague...
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          • #20
            i tend to treat my cables as 'wear items', with replacement cycles based on intented use and expense. using this methodology i tend to end up with the livewire-esque brands, and they almost always last their intended cycle.

            many static connections do not need their cables replaced, mainly the ones going to the instruments.
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            • #21
              the connectors on monster's xlr cables are complete ****************e, and prone to quick failure. maybe if you only work in your studio and plug everything in once and leave it it's ok, but for touring or if you work in a venue they are to be avoided like the plague...
              Odd. I've seen a number of Monster cables, and even have a pair (don't remember how I ended up with them) and they look and work as good as the best. Are you talking about a specific type of connector? I only have experience with their 1/4" and RCA cables.

              BTW, Monster HDMI cables aren't the best; Belden makes the best and you can find them at bluejeanscables.com. Quality HDMI cables aren't usually necessary, except for long runs or cables buried in a wall that would be hard to replace. Cheapos are fine for 12 feet and under, especially if you're not using "deep color".
              learjeff.net

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              • #22
                i tend to treat my cables as 'wear items', with replacement cycles based on intented use and expense. using this methodology i tend to end up with the livewire-esque brands, and they almost always last their intended cycle.

                many static connections do not need their cables replaced, mainly the ones going to the instruments.
                Do you replace them after they fail, or mark them with a date and replace them after a time period elapses? Or do you just replace the whole set every X years?

                I use a lot of the modular cables where you cut the cable stock and jam the solid brass ends on, screwing in the shield conductor. Those do fail at a higher rate than quality prebuilt cables, but the repair is simple: snip off the end and jam it back in. For live I always run stereo, and if I get one failure I just run that one mono or pull a spare. In the home studio it's only a problem when there are lots of cables on a given path and finding the one bad one can be tiresome. But it doesn't happen often, and I like having cables that are just the right lenght. Biggest problem with these cables is that people think they're cool and they tend to disappear! But I wouldn't recommend them for critical applications, especially complex ones where finding the bad cable takes more than a moment. Beside the point here though, since they're not XLR.
                learjeff.net

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                • #23
                  Legendary repairman Mike Jay of Thoroughbred Music* in Tampa gave me a copy of Rane White Paper 110 back in 1985, and it's been my guide ever since, with never a hum:


                  http://www.rane.com/note110.html



                  * - Mike is now expertly repairing gear next to Speaker Exchange, also in Tampa.
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                  • #24
                    Where's the best place to buy those cable ties?

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                    • #25
                      Do you replace them after they fail, or mark them with a date and replace them after a time period elapses? Or do you just replace the whole set every X years?


                      off topic to the XLR question (sorry!) but,

                      i purchase very inexpensive molded - type cables from Markertek for use with my tabletop equipment, keyboards, and rack gear -

                      http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Audio-Cables/1-4in-to-1-4in-Phone-Cables/TecNec-Cables-Connectors/SP-SP-3.xhtml?SP-SP-3

                      they come in a variety of different connections, which i require as all my equipment is exceedingly goofy. 1/4 to 1/8th, RCA to 1/4, MIDI, 1/4 to 1/4 and XLR to 1/4 male and female i've tried. they're cables that are intended for light use, but as such they're perfect for table top gear (modular, drum machines, sampler, pedals etc) and keyboards. these are the cables i cycle through, i do replace the 1/4 cables every couple years. i keep the ones that are still good in the drawer for aux use and use the new ones. honestly i've had more HOSAs fail on me than these particular cables, though the hosa shielding is thicker. here's a picture:



                      the black one is the HOSA, and is intended for comparison. it has failed at the connector. the stress relief on the orange/grey colored hosas tends to fail more often it seems. i probably ran over it in a creativity - filled roll across the room in the 'ole office chair, but anything could have killed it. it's an old cable at this point. the grey cables are the markertek 'tecnec' series molded cables, all a nice bland grey and very inexpensive. i have had one fail, but for their intended use i am more than happy with the 30 + more that i have. especially since one 60 dollar order can replace the whole batch!

                      before these i used hosas, and to save money sometimes i would purchase snakes and cut the outer shell. voila 8 molded, colorful cables. and cheaper than buying individually! but still the price can't compare to the TecNecs.

                      for guitars and fancier keyboards and such i still use the livewire type metal barrel plug connectors like everyone else and replace as needed. same for XLR cables, i think i'm using Audix cables for some reason...
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><b>-jason</b><br />
                      <br />
                      <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/donaldjasoncrunk/videos" target="_blank">youtube</a><br />
                      <a href="http://donaldcrunk.bandcamp.com/album/history-switchboard" target="_blank">bandcamp</a><br />
                      <a href="http://soundcloud.com/donaldcrunk" target="_blank">soundcloud</a></div>

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