Will unshielded TS speaker cable work for patch cords?

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tvh
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Will unshielded TS speaker cable work for patch cords?

Post by tvh » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:03 pm

After reading dozens of cable threads, it looks like most people recommend shielded but not 100% sure on why. There's no description on what dotcom uses other than 20 gauge, they seem to be the gold standard though.

I have a couple of 50ft GLS Audio speaker cables collecting dust and I was going to chop them into 3 ft patch cables to save a little cash. Is 16 gauge too big for 1/4" patch cables on a practical basis? There is no shield, just two leads.

They are these -

Thanks for any info

JohnLRice

Post by JohnLRice » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:31 pm

I wouldn't use unshielded speaker cable but it may work just fine. The main downside if you try it and it doesn't work well enough you will have wasted a lot of tedious time soldering and trying to unsolder 1/4" plugs to reuse them wont be fun either.

The reason it is called "shielded" cable is because the outer conductor helps to prevent the inner conductor from picking up interference (EMI).

Synthesizer.com cables are made with C.B.I. brand 20 AWG cable but it doesn't look like that brand is sold retail, only to manufacturers? (I could be wrong about that)

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Scottzilla
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Post by Scottzilla » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:29 pm

Our synths operate at voltages quite a bit higher than, say, the audio output of a CD player. This means that the connections aren't quite as sensitive to noise as most other connections you'll run into in the audio world. You might get away with using unshielded cables (heck, the banana guys do it all the time), but shielded would be safer.

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Post by tvh » Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:41 am

Ok that makes sense - I'll look for some shielded cable then. Thanks! :guinness:

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Post by boothnavy » Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:49 am

I find this stuff to be excellent for general unbalanced cable use:

http://www.redco.com/Mogami-W2319.html

I've used hundreds of feet of this without ever having a problem. Very easy to work with, wraps and dangles nicely.
boothnavy - synthesist

www.analogcraftsman.com

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tvh
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Post by tvh » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:13 am

boothnavy wrote:I find this stuff to be excellent for general unbalanced cable use:

http://www.redco.com/Mogami-W2319.html

I've used hundreds of feet of this without ever having a problem. Very easy to work with, wraps and dangles nicely.
Thank you :tu:

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Post by Graham Hinton » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:42 am

Scottzilla wrote:Our synths operate at voltages quite a bit higher than, say, the audio output of a CD player. This means that the connections aren't quite as sensitive to noise as most other connections you'll run into in the audio world.
No it doesn't. The sensitivity is determined by the input impedance and the commonly used 100k is just begging for interference. Only guitars are worse and even consumer hi-fi does not operate at this high impedance. Professional audio is an order of magnitude less.
You might get away with using unshielded cables (heck, the banana guys do it all the time), but shielded would be safer.
They don't get away with it, you can apply mains frequency modulation just by squeezing a banana cable in your hand.

It doesn't matter how good a shielded cable you use, if the shield is not correctly connected each end within the modules any advantage will be lost and possibly made worse.

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Post by tvh » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:47 am

Thank you Graham. On a side note, I have been really learning a lot reading your posts and comments.

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Post by tvh » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:50 am

boothnavy wrote:I find this stuff to be excellent for general unbalanced cable use:

http://www.redco.com/Mogami-W2319.html

I've used hundreds of feet of this without ever having a problem. Very easy to work with, wraps and dangles nicely.
I browsed your site, which looks nice btw, but I see analog craftsmen uses Canere GS-6? That looks to be 18AWG.

So not to over analyze all this...There is the 22AWG Mogami, the 20AWG Mogami, and the 18AWG Canere. If price wasn't a consideration...would the Canere GS-6 be the best choice?

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Post by Graham Hinton » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:18 am

tvh wrote:If price wasn't a consideration...would the Canere GS-6 be the best choice?
No. This is an instrument cable, but instrument means guitar or low level keyboard which are high impedance systems and very sensitive to cable types.

Synthesizers are low impedance systems, even if they are padded with 1k resistors, and are not amplified by 40dB so microphony is not a problem. Ignore all the claims about oxygen free copper, all cable manufacturers get their copper from the same few sources and they couldn't provide you with copper containing a little oxygen even if they wanted to.

Your choice of cable is more dictated by the type of jack plug you use and how it is connected. Also other factors like pliability, the plasticisers used in the insulation and jackets varies a lot and effects the melting point.

I would suggest that you look at a good quality 6.5mm microphone cable or a 4.5mm "patch" cable if you want it a bit thinner. Both would be balanced, but just connect the cold and screen together each end which will lower its resistance. My suppler of choice would be Sommercable, but they may be more difficult to obtain in the US.

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Post by tvh » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:55 am

I think I have some old microphone cable leftover, too - I completely forgot I had it...was thinking I needed special coax or something. Its 21AWG, 2 conductor with a shield. I'll just connect one of the wires to the shielding. I'm building an Oakley system right now so 1/4" is my goal. Thanks again Graham much appreciated.

Tom

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Post by JohnLRice » Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:51 pm

tvh wrote:
boothnavy wrote:So not to over analyze all this...There is the 22AWG Mogami, the 20AWG Mogami, and the 18AWG Canere. If price wasn't a consideration...would the Canere GS-6 be the best choice?
I'm no engineer but I have some patch cables I've made out of Canare GS-6 and I think they are fantastic as far as I can tell.

I can't tell what it is you have against using GS-6 for modular patch cords Graham, other than you think it might be overkill / cost not worth the benefits?

Mogami is quite a bit easier to work with since the shield is spiral wrapped. (Canare has a braided shield which is more tedious to undo)

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Post by SynthBaron » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:03 am

Memories of picking apart the braided shielding on GS-6 hundreds of times and twisting it...sigh...

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Post by Graham Hinton » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:10 am

JohnLRice wrote: I can't tell what it is you have against using GS-6 for modular patch cords Graham, other than you think it might be overkill / cost not worth the benefits?
I haven't got anything against it particularly. I was answering the question: is it the best choice? I would use a good microphone cable rather than an "instrument cable".

The OP's question was about what works, but "works" is an ill defined and relative term. Any conductor would "work", but there are more considerations to make a choice. There are practical qualities like mechanical construction and handling, but the question that is rarely answered and needs consideration is: where does the return current go? Often, and specially with large systems, the resistances of the cable screens cause 0V differences. Ideally the current should return through the 0V distribution and no current should flow in the patchlead screens, but this is rarely the case.

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Post by coyoteous » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:18 pm

I've done it all over the years: Canare star quad, Gotham GACX, Mogami whatever, Belden you-name-it (1800F is great with its French-braided shield and bare drain wire).

I'll take or make an unbalanced line cable made from balanced mic cable over instrument any day... but, they seem to work OK in most situations, too.

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