Craft Great Tone With Cordial Cables

Tone Troubles? Maybe it’s Time to Upgrade Your Cables

Do the cables you use really affect your tone? In a word…absolutely! In fact, cables are a critical part of crafting great tone. It’s the old adage at work: You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and your cables link all of the components of your system. Strong link, strong tone. Weak link…you get the picture.

Basic Cable

A cable’s job is pretty simple: Get a signal from point A to point B. But mother nature, the laws of physics, and the economics of cable manufacturing don’t always make that as easy and it sounds. So a variety of premium cables are available that are designed to combat physical limitations and provide superior sound. Note that premium cables don’t do anything to your signal to make it better. Rather, they improve your sound by minimizing or eliminating those things that degrade it. A well-designed cable provides a clear path for your input signal so that the amplifier, or audio interface, or pedalboard at the receiving end has the truest, most accurate signal to work with.  

Signal transmission. Think of the cable’s copper core as being like a water hose. A garden hose gives you a nice stream suitable for simple things, like growing roses. But you need a high-power firehose to, well, put out a fire. In the audio world, a standard cable is a garden hose, passing a usable range of frequencies. A premium cable with a high-copper core is the fire hose that delivers a full-bandwidth signal, along with every nuance of tone that you put into it.

Interference. A premium cable will feature precise shielding and jacket designs that eliminate or greatly minimize electrical and mechanical interference so that your signal isn’t full of hums and buzzes and so that you can move around the stage or touch the cable without introducing noise into your signal. And the shielding of a premium cable won’t shift position over time—allowing unwanted noise to slip in—a common issue with standard cables. 

Capacitance and Resistance. The basic problem is simple: The longer the distance the signal has to travel, the more it will be degraded by capacitance and resistance. The most common negative effect is loss of high end, and the longer the cable, the greater the loss. Keeping your signal path as short as possible is always best, but when you can’t, use a low(er) capacitance cable designed for long runs to minimize signal loss. (Don’t forget to include the wiring on your pedalboard when figuring the total length in your setup.)

Less is Definitely Less

So if the main benefit of a premium cable is a clean, clear, accurate signal path, what do you do if you’re into grunge rock or lo-fi hip hop? Wouldn’t an inexpensive standard cable add to the overall sonic aesthetic you’re creating---and save you money in the process? That’s not a bad argument until you take a closer look.

You chose your amp and you instrument for the particular sound they make. Same for your pedals. Even your strings and picks are specific choices. Then you tie your entire rig together with cables that degrade your tone to one degree or another and add unnecessary noise and a bit of uncertainty (…will this be the night my cable fails?). And then you turn the “cheap cables are part of my sound” logic on its head by recording into your audio interface at 24-bit/96kHz!

Bottom line: No matter what your signal is, you want it to travel from one point in the signal chain to another in the cleanest, quietest, most accurate way possible. You have plenty of control over your sound before it goes into your cable, and plenty of control when it comes out at the other end. The fact is, you’ve spent a lot of time (and money, no doubt) carefully crafting your tone. The last thing you need is to have it compromised by cables that aren’t up to the task.

Cordial Premium Cables from Germany Now at Bananas at Large®

At Bananas at Large® we’ve always been dedicated to your tone. And in keeping with that dedication, we’re pleased to announce that we’re now carrying a wide selection of premium high-copper Cordial Cables—the first choice of European musicians and audio professionals for over 20 years, and now available in the USA! Check out our Cordial inventory online or visit us at one of our locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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