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speaker cables?


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WRT speaker cables ... it's all about gauge. The bigger, the better. After that it's about reliability and ease of transport.

 

As far as mic cables, I've never found any problem with the sound quality of any I've tried. Again reliability is an issue. There are also issues arising from the chinese habit of grounding the shell to the shield. That shouldn't cause any problems ... but in practice it does with some mics.

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Good quality cable (doesn't need to be esoteric), good quality connectors (like Switchcraft, Neutrik, etc.) and well soldered. For speaker cables, throw in gauge - the larger the diameter of the wire (not the insulator) the less resistance/impedance. For very short runs, 16 ga. is probably enough in most cases. For longer runs, go with at least 14 if not 12 or maybe even 10. Again, depends on the length of the run, how much power, etc.

 

Really cheap cables can:

 

Oxidize inside the insulators. Look at the cheap "AV Speaker cable" at Home Depot.

 

Poor soldering can give you cold solder joints that may fail or cause distortion.

 

Poor quality connectors won't hold up.

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If you look at the larger gauges, be absolutely sure that the connectors can accomodate the larger wire. Many can not, and the heavier, larger wire can damage some jacks as well.

 

No stray strands is more important than wire gauge with respect to amp reliability. Shorted loads can damage many amps. Also, some binding screws will not torque properly with 10 gauge and larger, nor will 4 conductors of #10 fit well and strain relief properly in NL-4's. It can be done, but I see a lot of loose connections and failures compared with #12.

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Good cables MUST say "Monster" on them :) ... Just kidding.

 

In my experience, most (if not all) of the problems with speaked cables are in the connections. Get the right guage cables matched with the proper sized connector and a good solder joint and you're 90% covered.

 

I've had better luck with Speakon connectors than with 1/4" ones.

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