Tip: plugs and jacks and cable

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Tip: plugs and jacks and cable

Postby mkguitar on Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:25 pm

The standard 1/4" plug we all like to use is patented by Switchcraft for the design and the specific dimensions. Some pay a licensing fee ( Neutrik) and others change the dimensions slightly, they could be a little shorter, they could be narrower or wider...etc.

The biggest problem is an oversize plug, which may feel stiff going into the jack...these can push the contacts out of position and cause intermittent connections. with some jacks you can use a dental probe to pull the contacts back into place through the plug-hole...this saves taking things apart ( that's the first tip).

the second tip is to use quality cables and connectors, never, ever, never use a product whose brand name reminds you of godzilla -even if it is free it will bite you in the a$$.

The highly reviewed solderless cable and connetors I have never seen hold up in a touring situation....the guy you see playing toe-hockey with his pedalboard is trying to get his sound back.

Belden 8412 is terrific cable, canaire GS6 is pretty good.

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Re: Tip: plugs and jacks and cable

Postby demonufo on Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:15 am

I've made my own leads since the year dot myself, having watched many guitarists struggle with reliability of cheap inferior (yet still expensive) leads. Never tried either of the cables you've mentioned, (actually I have got a fairly stiff Belden cable that sounds great, but probably wouldn't hold up on the road, much like George L's) and I always use to use Klotz cable, but found that in time it breaks mid cable.
Van damme cable I have used for donkeys years with great reliability and great flexibility.
And once I discovered Neutrik jacks and a decent soldering iron, I have NEVER had a jack failure.

Neutriks rock, especially the new silent ones (earth switching).

I remember a studio near me once had some 1/4" jack leads that looked almost like Bantam plugs instead of normal jacks, and they had damaged a lot of equipment. Very nasty. Never did find out what make they were.

I'll add to your advice and say, you get what you pay for, but if that expensive name is all about image, pass on it.

Studio/industry standards usually get their status for a good reason. (but not always!)
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Re: Tip: plugs and jacks and cable

Postby mkguitar on Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:55 am

I have had a 100% failure rate on the Neutrik silent plugs ( of about 20 connectors) and will not use them. Neutrik refused to admit fault...we kept sending back bad connectors, eventually they started to cop to it, and we got tired of being their R&D dept in front of audiences.

The fault lies in that they use a sliding magnetic collar to actuate an internal reed switch...should anything magnetic get close to the connector the collar may no longer actuate the reed switch, either open or closed. Such an event can happen if the plug is left on top of an amp over a transformer, or near a field.

The reed switch can also break by suffering an impact...such as a drop onto a stage from 3 feet.

The " 1/4 inch" plugs you saw may have been Telco or Milspec connectors...they don't work too well do they?

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Re: Tip: plugs and jacks and cable

Postby ®ëv. ßïll¥ © on Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:59 am

I've used George L's in my pedalboard, unchanged and un-fetterred with, for going on 10 years when I first bought a "cable kit". I cry "operator error".

As for cables, I've used the same 3 SpectraFlex 25' cables (2 from pedalboard, 1 from guitar) since 1995 when I bought them new at the local music store when I first moved to my current residence. Not a crackle, not a drop-out, no problems whatsoever.

Maybe I'm not "rockin'" enough to break stuff... :roll:

I think all those detachable magnetic jacks are crap; those just look like trouble...

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Re: Tip: plugs and jacks and cable

Postby Vortexion on Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:16 am

I'm a Neutrik man all the way these days. Recently, though, a friend of mine who should know better (an electronic engineer, no less) got caught out buying a ready made jack cable from the well-known UK electronics chain store called Maplins. It looked solidly put together and seemed good value without being ultra cheap. When he used it at our local blues jam, however, he was mystified to hear his venerable and much-loved AC30 putting out a really annoying intermittent hum. A hastily borrowed cable sorted the matter out.

When he got home, he examined the Maplins cable but could find no issues. Finally he got out a micrometer and discovered the problem: the barrel thickness was slightly LESS than 1/4 inch. Not by much, but enough to make it a poor fit in any standard jack socket, causing the ground connection to be intermittent.

That'll learn 'im. :Doh:
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Re: Tip: plugs and jacks and cable

Postby Baron Von Machinenmann on Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:49 am

Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify.

Never, ever had a problem with Switchcraft jacks/plugs. I liken Nootrick to torx bits. We didn't need them, but some designer was commissioned to create a fastener that no one had tools for. Poof! Brand new market. :roll:

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Re: Tip: plugs and jacks and cable

Postby chupy on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:01 pm

Im must be the cheapest puke on this board. I rarely ever buy a cable. People just give em to me. I got one cable from the late 80's a friend made. Still works great!! :D

But out of every cable i've ever had in my entire life, i've only had one go bad. It was a 50 footer or a 100 footer, maybe that had something to do with it. Other then that, im a lucky kind of a guy. :shock: :lol:

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