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View Full Version : Tell me about amp cords....



mailman
05-20-2010, 01:29 PM
I'm in the market for a cord to plug my K-Wave into an amp. I don't have an amp yet, but feel like I should have a cord just in case....

Are some brands or types better than others? What features should I be looking for? I know they come in different lengths, but don't know which would work best for me. I don't "play out", so I don't feel as if I need a lot of extra length. Top-of-the-line, big buck options wouldn't interest me.

Just feeling like I'd like to have a cord in the case, just to be ready if the situation presents itself. Any advice?

Paul December
05-20-2010, 01:42 PM
I wish the one I bought had a right angle bend at the uke end.

Doug W
05-20-2010, 01:58 PM
Paul's point is a good one, especially if you use an instrument stand, a right angle connector is the only way to go.
As far as brands, I tend to grab cords from Radio Shack because there is one almost everywhere in the U.S. . I have never bought a high end instrument cable. People say that they can hear a difference but the cheap streak in me just won't allow me to pay that much for wire.

Maybe someone who has bought a high end instrument cable will chime in here with an opinion.

mailman
05-20-2010, 02:52 PM
Radio Shack is a good idea.... Not sure I would have thought of that one.

Right angle connector....check! Anything else I should look for? And any suggestions about cable length?

Pondoro
05-20-2010, 03:22 PM
Don't buy the cheapest one in the store either. I bought one for like $5.99, got home, it buzzed. Took it back, the shopkeeper was very nice, he tried it on an amp in the store, it still buzzed. He offered me a new one. I thought "What was I thinking?" and asked him to upgrade me to a $9.99 cord, I paid the difference. I don't think the high end ones are necessary but the cheapest ones are probably junk.

Nuprin
05-20-2010, 03:25 PM
I have done shootouts between cheap cables and more expensive ones (namely Monster cables) and there is a huge difference. The Monster cables let a much wider frequency response through...you get a much fuller sound than you get with the cheap cables. Plus, Monster has a lifetime warranty (no questions asked) so if a connector comes loose, the cable gets severed, etc., you can just bring it to a music store that sells Monster cables and trade it for a new one. They are expensive though but in my opinion, worth it.

ashleychantel
05-20-2010, 04:35 PM
I have done shootouts between cheap cables and more expensive ones (namely Monster cables) and there is a huge difference. The Monster cables let a much wider frequency response through...you get a much fuller sound than you get with the cheap cables. Plus, Monster has a lifetime warranty (no questions asked) so if a connector comes loose, the cable gets severed, etc., you can just bring it to a music store that sells Monster cables and trade it for a new one. They are expensive though but in my opinion, worth it.
monster cables are my favorite too, but I play guitar on in public a lot so I thought I should invest in a nice cable.. Ones that are low priced that I sound good to me for just home practice are Planet Waves brand cables. They have a lifetime warranty and all of them come with a little elastic band with a small hook so you can wind the cable up neatly and it won't come undone.. messy cables all over the place drive me nuts! They are priced around $20 for the shorter ones and they do have the option of a right angle.

gotrice415510
05-20-2010, 05:18 PM
$20 cable is plenty

T-Rock
05-20-2010, 05:53 PM
Monster cables dude!

AC Baltimore
05-20-2010, 06:25 PM
Go here http://store.guitarfetish.com/gfsguca.html

Fantastic cords at reasonable prices.

chiefnoda
05-20-2010, 06:28 PM
Hi

I play out and switch among different guitars and ukuleles. I cannot wait for the soundperson to mute me each time, so I use a cable from Planet Wave called Circuit Breaker. This has a neat little swtich and the cable can be muted so I can unplug it from my guitar.

It's a bit pricy - $30 for 20 ft, $25 for 15 ft, I think. To my specific purpose, it is worth it.

No one talked about the length. The longer the cable, the more the signal gets degraded. If you know *for sure* that you'll be right next to the amp/mixer/PA, get a 10ft cable. I usually get 20 ft cables to be safe, but I think the general rule is "not longer than 20 ft".

If this is your first cable, get something 15 ft (or 10 ft), for a $15 range. Cables are expendable - they wear out. If something is suspicious, throw it away. When you are gigging, an unreliable cable is a nightmare.

Cheers
Chief

PS: Get a colored cable if you like.

salukulady
05-20-2010, 07:22 PM
When Aldrine played a concert in my backyard he showed me his cable. First he plugged in my $50 monster cable and played, sounded fine. Then he plugged in his cable and played, sounded amazing. You don't wanna know what he paid for it and I would never buy one, but for the professional musician, I understand there is a difference.
I buy the bundle deals from Musicians Friend for my band. Have had no problems with their cables and if they go bad they replace them for free.

Angled end is good. 10 foot for playing at home, 20 foot for gigs.

mailman
05-21-2010, 12:42 AM
Great info, gang. Thanks!

ichadwick
05-21-2010, 01:07 AM
Paul's point is a good one, especially if you use an instrument stand, a right angle connector is the only way to go. ...I tend to grab cords from Radio Shack ...I have never bought a high end instrument cable. People say that they can hear a difference but the cheap streak in me just won't allow me to pay that much for wire.
First - the right-angle connector is fine on some ukes, but depends where the jack is. They don't always work well on the amp end either - depends on where the jack is in relation to the controls. Never hurts to have one of each. There are small connectors that will turn a straight jack output into an angled one, too. Or buy a short piece of cable that has female input on one end and a male, angled output on the other.

The only problem with this is that connectors are hot spots for interference and signal loss so you may get a murky signal if it's not a good connection. Depends on your environment. With use, commector contacts get looser and the contacts get dirty, too, so they require some minor maintenance. I always look for female connectors that can be unscrewed/opened to get at the metal inside. Sometimes the connecting flange needs to be moved back towards the center to force a more reliable contact. And I like to clean the contacts too, to improve the connection (use 99% isopropyl alcohol for cleaning NOT rubbing alcohol).

Second: the real different between cables is in the shielding. Cheap ones have little to none. You can usually hear a hum through the amp when you use them near other equipment or electronic devices or sometimes near metal like heating vents or rads. A shielded cable produces little or no hum (ditto if you're using a mic, by the way and it applies to USB cables as well).

Higher end cables have jacks that can be taken apart and resoldered if the need arises (and it likely will at some point because cables are moved around so there's often fatigue on the solder joints). Cheap ones you throw out and buy new because the plugs aren't accessible for fixing. Higher end cables are less supple, so are not prone to being bent or damaged if caught in something. On stage or at jams, cables get stepped on a lot. Cheapies don't survive long under the abuse.

Pros use very expensive cables because they're better and last longer. But for home use, if you play around other electronic devices like computers and printers (like I do) buy something that's better than the cheapies, something shielded, but not necessarily the top end. You'll appreciate the improved longevity and the lower hum. Most music stores offer a range and can advise you based on where you play and how often.

Think of the analogy of speakers. Why buy a high-end stereo system and power it through a pair of $50 speakers? If you have a $500-$1,000 uke, and a $200-$500 amp, does it make sense to connect them with a $10 cable?

PS. The longer the cable, the greater the signal loss (especially with passive pickups) and the greater the opportunity for interference. If you're onstage, you might need something longer, but at home, 10-12 feet should be more than ample.

harpdog
05-21-2010, 02:16 AM
All good advice, but I don't use the Radio Shack cables unless it's for something that doesn't ever get moved. They just aren't very hardy.