View Full Version : how important are good quality leads when performing live?

12-28-2011, 11:15 PM
Hello everyone I've always wondered this. Do more expensive cables for your ukulele plugged in or your mic plugged in work better then cheaper ones? I want to spend some money on improving my set up as my new year resolution is to fo more gigs and wonder how much I should spend or what type of cables are better than others?

12-29-2011, 05:12 AM
We use Planet Waves Circuit Breaker instrument cables. They are high quality shielded cables with a mute switch at the endpin jack connection. This allows me to mute the instrument for re- tuning, changing to another ukulele, etc.. We use custom made mic cables with high quality XLR connectors and shielded cable. We also keep the length down to about 20 ft. for the mic cables. It is one of the most important aspects of a quality gigging experience. We play between 10 - 15 gigs a month without any problems.

12-29-2011, 05:18 AM
Yeah some good quality cable matters in any audio situation. Just how good and how much that good cable should cost is where the debate comes in. Should leads or interconnects or patch cables cost 10s, or 100s or 1000s, how much is real and how much is snake oil.

In my audio setups, good cable has made a difference, but don't get too caught up in the snake oil aspect of it. I bet you could get something really great from an independent maker.

12-29-2011, 07:17 AM
Very and only get as long as you need (but still be comfortable in length)

12-29-2011, 08:15 AM
There is a lot of snake oil in cables and such. At short lengths (10' or less) you're going to be hard pressed to find any audible difference between inexpensive cables and quite expensive ones - with the possible exception that the better ones might have better shielding. I gig (bass and guitar) with inexpensive cables all the time with no issues.

That said, there are some advantages to some of the expensive "signature" cables. A friend had Steve Vai cables and wanted me to replace one of the straight jacks with a 90-degree jack. The cable to jack connections were the best I've ever seen with multiple strain relief, very rugged cable, and outer jackets, etc.

Just don't fall for the "oxygen free copper" nonsense. The claim for this is that you get lower resistance per foot - big deal - in a typical instrument-to-amp connection you're talking about a high impedance input where a fraction of an ohm difference in resistance means absolutely nothing. Even in long speaker runs, where impedance is low, it is cheaper and better to simply go up one size larger conductor rather than worry about whether the copper is oxygen free. Oxygen free copper wire is intended for extreme environmental situations such as aerospace and some military surface vehicles. It is used not to lower the resistance but for improved resistance to "black wire rot" - a condition I doubt most of us musicians are ever going to encounter. :)

When you go over about ten feet of length - or if you are using a high-impedance passive pickup with no preamp - then cable quality becomes more important. Again, resistance of the cable is not the issue, but you want a very low capacitance cable to avoid loss of high end and very good shielding to keep your signal well above the noise floor.

So, if you're using long cables or passive piezo pickups - yeah, it's worth it to spend more for quality cables. If you're playing to your bedroom walls or gigging with short runs and active (or magnetic) pickups the ordinary "Horizon" cables from GC will do fine unless you're one of those people who dances around stage trampling all over your cords. LOL


12-29-2011, 10:01 AM
Excellent thank you all for great answers I have seen those circuit breakers that's what I was going to buy