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Installs What's a good cable for recording mics?

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Anonymous067, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    Raw cable models that is.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Canare L4E6S. "The improvement in noise rejection is so noticeable that even
    SCR dimmer noise (stage lighting consoles) is reduced to less than 1/10 the
    level found in other 2-conductor microphone cables. ... The 4-conductor
    Star Quad arrangement cancels electromagnetically induced noise from
    SCR dimmer packs, fluorescent lighting ballasts and AC power transformers."
    See, I told you it wasn't my dimmers, it was your cable!:mrgreen:
     
  3. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    +1

    and extraneous comment.
     
  4. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    Just make sure whatever cable you buy, you only make them as long as absolutely necessary. Keep 'em short and make sure all the connections are balanced and soldered properly. Also make sure that all of the gear shares the same AC ground so that different ground potentials don't cause hum, buzz, etc.

    Try to keep the preamps as close to the mic/instrument, etc. as possible and run the Line level into your mixer or interface.

    Happy recording!
     
  5. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    EWI Pro Quad is of a similar design and much cheaper.

    EWI Bulk Cable
     
  6. dannyn

    dannyn Member

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    My opinion is EWI is the best, although it is all I have used, and never had any problems. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
     
  7. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    How does this little rig sound to you guys?
    It is for multi-tracking piano, then I will playback the multitrack reocrdings at my friends place who has a full out studio (has no piano... :( which is what caused this).

    2-4 Shure KSM137's into a Mackie VLZ3 804
    Main outs of that into Alesis HD24 Multitrack recorder.
    Record onto harddrives, and bring to friends and playback through that unit somehow (???) into his mixer onto his computer.

    I plan on using gold plated connectors and quad star cable with neutrik XLRs.

    :].

    Whatdu think?
     
  8. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    You can only use 3 of those mics on that 802.

    Have a look at the Peavey PV 8.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  9. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Then again, how many mic lines run near dimmer packs or ballasts that are not in conduit, which provides a great deal of shielding. There has been some recent research into how different forms of conduit, cable and spacing affect noise from EMI and RFI sources and in most cases there was little difference found unless the cable is not twisted pairs or is run exposed very close to the source, spacing or metallic conduit reduced the induced noise to where any differences between cables were greatly below the noise floor of the measuring equipment.

    Unless you are wanting custom lengths or simply want to make your own cables, then it may make more sense to get good quality manufactured cables rather than to have to deal with terminating your own.

    Gold plated connectors are good for long term reliability and durability as they resist corrosion and tarnishing, but silver is actually a better conductor.
     
  10. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Shure KSMs into a Mackie?

    With that Mackie there, just use any old mic cable. You won't be able to tell the difference, not with that Mackie noise floor, and chances are you wouldn't be able to tell a difference anyway.
     
  11. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    It is popular to deride Mackie console, but they actually have pretty good mic preamps and overall decent and quiet circuit design. I have used several Mackie consoles in a wide variety of challenging circumstances, and they sound great when used properly. Of course, there are better sounding and more durable products out there for more money. Chances are if you heard bad sound from a Mackie console, there were other factors involved, like a loose nut behind the controls. Often, the difference between good sound and bad is not the equipment, but how it is used.

    As for mic cables, I'm not a big fan of overly priced, highly marketed cables, because it is mostly hype. Moderately priced cables just do not affect the resulting sound enough to matter. Claims that high priced cables sound dramatically better seldom stand up to any scientific scrutiny. Most of the time, just give me a run of the mill, not the cheapest nor the most expensive, Whirlwind, Proco, Rapco, Belden, etc. More important is the mechanical design of the cable, and how well it holds up to use and abuse.

    Star quad cables of good design can give you more common-mode noise rejection (CMRR)in an electrically noisy environment. Tighter twists of the pair improves common-mode rejection, and star quad is essentially a way to twist more while maintaining flexibility. However, like all things, it comes at the price of higher capacitance per foot. If the cable length is reasonable, no big deal. If it is long, the extra capacitance can subtly alter the high frequency response of the microphone.

    There is also a limit to how much the cable can do to reduce noise. The actual cancellation of noise in a balanced pair happens in the first stage of the preamp. Some designs have better CMRR than others. The cable simply has to deliver exactly equal amounts of induced noise to both sides of the pair for the electronic cancellation to occur. A perfect cable feeding a preamp with poor CMRR will still result in noise. And, a perfect preamp, with a poorly twisted cable pair delivering the signal will also result in noise. The cable and preamp have to work together to reject noise.

    Another surprising fact is that the cable shield doesn't do all that much to reduce noise pickup in a balanced line. It's basically there as added insurance. A classic example of the power of the balanced line is your telephone. Telephone lines are un-shielded, twisted pairs that are miles long and often run alongside power lines. Seldom is there hum or extraneous noise in telephone circuits, unless moisture or a bad connection has caused an imbalance of the pair.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  12. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Not that I'm saying Mackie consoles are crap, either. I'd rather have something better. I just thought it was an interesting combination. Sort of like (though not as extreme as) using a Neumann U87 into a Shure field mixer.

    And I'm with you on cable. Twisted pair is twisted pair. Goodness, in live sound, remember we have installation cable or snake pairs running (sometimes through a split) to the console, and similar pairs running back to the amp rack. Ten feet of "super good" (i.e. Super Oxygen Free Monster Studio Extreme) cable won't "make up for" a couple hundred feet of "super crappy" (i.e., 8451) cable.

    Get some decent cable - Rapco/VTG, Belden, Star Quad, whatever. It's nicer if it's more flexible -- Gotham GAC-2 comes right to mind as nice flexible cable.

    More proof that balanced lines really work: my audio lines at the church pass very close to the main three-phase feeder conduits (they run parallel and a couple of feet away for probably 20 feet). The amp drive lines had a nasty hum indiced in them, which I was somewhat able to take out with the common-mode balance adjustment on the amps, but the notch still wasn't deep enough. Throw some isolation transformers in there, and there is no more hum (and it wasn't ground loop, it was common mode). The microphone lines run right along there too, but for some reason the inputs to the console are clean, almost like they're in proper balance. :)
     

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