Thursday, May 29, 2008

Maybe I Am Recommending Premium Guitar Cables

I did a recent post comparing a really bad guitar cable to a pretty good one. I closed by indicating that while I wasn't necessarily recommending premium cables I was dis recommending really bad ones. That changed for me today when I made an impulse buy of a premium guitar cable.

I was in the checkout line of my local guitar store moving through the consumer gauntlet and they had a selection of guitar cables displayed for my convenience. As I had just done a post on pretty bad and pretty good cables I couldn't resist picking up a "really good" example for testing.

As you can see in the photos, the packaging is certainly premium. No saving the planet here. On opening the package I was a bit concerned that I was getting a basic cable with a pretty wrapper to justify the higher price.

Extracting the cable from its illustrious packaging took some doing but I finally got it free. One nice feature is it comes with its own integrated cable tamer (Velcro strap). I did my comparison with an American Stratocaster going into the clean channel of a Marshall DSL 401. My rationale was the single coil pickup would introduce the most noise while the clean channel would be neutral and better highlight the noise or coloration that each cable could introduce. The difference even compared to my pretty good cable was still dramatic!

I was surprised to say the least. I had a lot less noise and more dynamic range with the premium cable. Now if you are using lots of gain on the overdrive channel you'll note less difference. However, if you think about it, the less you introduce into your signal chain that isn't you, the more of you that will come out on the other end, regardless of what effects you add from there.

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