Good Cords and Jacks

Pickinator

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Be it for the PA system, Instruments, or Home Stereo, good cords with good jacks truly matter.

After a few days of trying to determine if a power amp, pre-amp, of equalizer was heading south,
I eventually found the problem; an expensive Monster cord.
The cord worked but only sort-of.
The Bass, Drums, Rhythm guitar, and keyboards came through my stereo just fine, but lead vocals,
horns and lead guitar sounded like "ambience echoing in from the room next door". I was sure a couple
of the frequencies on the graphic EQ were failing. I cleaned it carefully and nothing changed.

I started pricing out a new equalizer and even a new power amp but decided to double-check all the cords first.
1 stupid cord was at fault. I changed it out with a new one and all is fine in the world.

Is it possible for a cord to almost work right yet withhold part of the music?
I don't get it. Maybe a partial short. is that even possible.
Either way; cords and jacks matter.
 

hsosdrum

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Maybe the biggest thing I learned in my 5½ years on the road playing in a band was that if something electronic stops working, the connecting cords/cables are responsible for the failure around 75% of the time. This axiom has also held true for real life after rock'n'roll.
 

Pickinator

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It could be both. Its hard to tell as the cord is molded to the jack. I can't unscrew it to look. I can trigger static by wiggling the
molded area of the cord at the base of the jack. Like I said, It partially works. I am guessing part of the wire inside is broke or partially shorting.

Also noteworthy: When I pick up the FIIO Player (Like an MP3) while playing music, the stereo hums a little under the music. With the new cord it doesn't. I would think it has to be a short of some sort?

Either way, a $20 Monster cord was replaced by a $5 RCA brand cord from the hardware store.
The cord is an Aux (3.5mm) stereo on one end with (2) RCA's on the other end. The problem area is at the base of the AUX jack end.
 

Seb77

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Is it possible for a cord to almost work right yet withhold part of the music?
I don't get it. Maybe a partial short. is that even possible.
Maybe there is a polarity flip within the cord due to some strange wiring defect? Waves cancelling each other out.
 

paul

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Just for clarification, the jack is the female part of the connection and the male part is the plug.

And I agree; cords and plugs are very important.
 

JimmyM

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Good cords and jacks break just as easily as crap ones IME. That's why I buy what's on sale at the local music stores that looks like it can handle regular roadwork as I need it. Keep spares.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I always check the cords first. I hate the kind that are molded together since you can't easily check them. I've repaired a ton of cables over the years. The other guys in the band would rather buy a new one and give me the old one. Five minutes with a soldering iron and I've got a new cable.
 

Pickinator

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Paul
It has a male stereo 3.5 aux plug on one end and (2) RCA male plugs on the other end. I thought a jack could be male or female? My bad
 

tnsquint1

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One thing to note about cables. Be careful about buying “the best” as a lot of that is simply overpriced. No one needs or uses gold plated Monster cables for live production. Save that for your audiophile home stereo. What you need are quality parts that are serviceable. Neutrik or Switchcraft components, and the heaviest gauge wire available. Keep in mind, the smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire. If you have options for 22 or 20 gauge signal cable, get the 20. This and a good solder job is what makes a cable durable.

The other thing that matters even more is taking care of your cables. Don’t tug on them to free them. Make sure they are connected and disconnected properly. Lastly, if you are coiling your cables around your elbow, STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!!! Lean to over/under a cable properly or at least hand coil removing the twist as you go. Otherwise you are absolutely ruining your cables. Coiling a cable around your arm forces the interior wires to twist unnaturally and they will eventually fail. Plus, it makes you look like a complete amateur.
 


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