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Best cable?

Back to the Gear Room

Dec 20, 2009 8:19 PM GMT

I've recently purchased a couple of vintage mics, and I'm wondering what cable you recommend for them, either if they are directly wired out to a 1/4 inch or XLR end, or if I'm using a Switchcraft connector. The local mic/amp tech here does a neat job with soldering and assembly, but my hunch is that I'd be better off bringing him the cable I want him to use.

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Comments (13)

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Dec 20, 2009 8:57 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

I always use Van Damme oxygen free instrument / mic cable. I buy Neutrix 1/4" jack connectors and always use those too.

Whether it's a Jack to Jack, Jack to Amphenol or XLR to XLR. That's the stuff i always use.

My cables haven't let me down since I started using those products nearly 15 years ago. So I don't see a reason to use anything else.

Dec 20, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Kingley -- If you don't mind letting me know, what is your source for the Van Damme cable? Do you buy it with connectors or without? I've been looking around on the internet, and got myself quite confused! It certainly looks like this company is a very respected one. and they make many types of cables.

Dec 21, 2009 5:35 AM GMT
Kingley Replied:

I buy the cable and connectors seperately. My source in the UK is Maplins ( Try the Van Damme website for a dealer in the States (

Dec 21, 2009 6:59 AM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

OB - just a word to the wise from experience: if your tech isn't familiar with switchcraft connectors, he won't make you a good cable. It takes a lot of first hand experience with failure modes to understand how and why they fail. Has nothing to do with knowing how to solder. The first cables I made failed very quickly, and I already knew how to solder. Now that I've made hundreds, I know how and why they fail, and take extreme measures to prevent against it. 1/4" and XLR connectors have much better strain relief mechanisms and aren't a problem.


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Dec 21, 2009 1:37 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Greg is of course absolutely right. There is an art to making good cables when using Amphenol connectors.

Unless you are prepared for the minor learning curve of how to make them up . I would recommend using either the Switchcraft screw on connector with the 1/4" Jack ending to allow you to use any Jack to Jack cable into the mic. Or alternatively buy a reliable ready made one from someone like Greg.

Dec 23, 2009 4:49 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Greg and Kingley -- Thanks for the advice. I won't have the local tech do any Switchcraft ends. You've probably saved me from unexpected failures .. and the tech's shop is about an hour away.

When you have the connectors so you can use a standard 1/4 inch to 1/4 inch cable, do you use regular guitar instrument cable rather than cable marketed for microphones? I would have thought that there would be a big difference, but I'd love to be wrong ... because I have extra guitar cable!

Dec 23, 2009 7:28 AM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Well you can use a regular guitar cable. How good it will be all depends on the quality of that cable. The only real way to find out is to try it and see.

Dec 24, 2009 6:58 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

So, a good guitar cable might be fine with a harmonica mic? Hmm ... if that works with my mics, cables and amps, it could save me a lot of money. Worth a try.

Dec 24, 2009 5:10 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Yes, I know that some of the very inexpensive guitar cables probably have significant signal loss. Most of mine are decent or better. The saving money part mostly came from already having some, not trying to connect a good mic to a junky cable!

Dec 24, 2009 6:07 PM GMT
Barbeque Bob M Replied:

I've been doing it that way for years. The choice of really good to excellent quality cables is huge.

Dec 26, 2009 5:36 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

You guys made my day with the guitar cable recommendation. I have far more of a feel of that market, and I have more than I need of that type of cable currently. Thanks for a nice free holiday present!

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