20 November 2012

Accesories: Mogami vs Evidence Audio Guitar Cables

Introduction

The goal of high end cables is just to transfer the original sound the most transparently possible, while preserving signal strength and frequential content.
In a previous test, it was very clear that cables make a difference. In fact, everything that is in the path of your signal and the final sound affects it in some or other way.

Thinking on my previous test, I can group cables in three categories: low, medium and high end cables and, this division isn't related to price but to the sound.
Low end cables are those that have microphonics issues, high floor noise, interferences... and sound dull, lifeless or their frequential content is so equalized that the guitar sounds different to herself.
Medium end cables haven't such a microphonics or noise issues but, deliver an EQ'd signal or lack some definition note to note. They usually work fine... until you compare them to a high end cable.
High end cables have an even representation of the frequential content, nice punch, high definition note by note and a strength signal, while preserving a good relationship between the signal to noise levels.

High end cables are often expensive. Period. But, some are astronomically expensive while others are reasonably "affordable".

Probably, the best sounding cables I've tested are Vovox and Evidence Audio ones but, both have a clear ergonomics issue. They are very thick and have poor flexibility and, are mess hanging from your guitar. So, even that I can use a Lyric II from the pedal board to the amp (because it's static), I don't find myself comfortable using it from my guitar to the pedal board.

In other side, to patch my pedalboard, I wanted to go for a cheaper high end cable and, I've already tested the George's L, Evidence Audio Monorail, Cordial among other low end cables. My last try was to patch the pedalboard making my own cables and using Sommer SC The Spirit cable and, even that they work good, I am finding the resulting sound as having a great amount of high end frequencies, that can result in a piercing sound sometimes.
Something I've noticed is that plated cooper strands tend to deliver a more defined sound but, with a bunch of high frequencies and, when reached some point, the sound can be honky or even harsh and piercing.
Silver plated copper strands have an outstanding definition (as the Vovox) and, sound bright but, comparatively more even than tin plated copper strands (as the Sommer).

There was a Brand that I always wanted to try, because it's an standard in lots of Recording Studios. I know most of the patch cables used with studio gear are usually made with Mogami' stuff. I didn't wanted a HI-FI like cable so, I went first to Mogami' site to explore their catalog and choose the cable that could probably suit my needs and, I found that Mogami 2524 instrument cable was what I was looking for.
I've run away of plated copper strands this time and, my election was that cable, without solid core copper (as The Lyric II) and with a thinner gauge and higher flexibility (even that the Spirit).

Well, today I was comparing the two cables that I was using till today (Evidence Audio The Lyric II and The Forte) against the Mogami 2524 and, this entry is all about my feelings with those three cables direct to amp, in a clean setting.


Comparing 3 cables

The thicker one is the The Lyric II, that has solid core wires inside and some complex geometry that makes the cable thick and very rigid. The Forte was Evidence Audio's approach to a flexible cable with the good things of The Lyric II, is less thick and more flexible than the Lyric II but, still rigid for a guitar cord. The Sommer cable is more or less equally thick than The Forte but, it's more flexible than The Forte, maybe because of the very special design of Evidence Audio cables.
The Mogami is the thinner of all them, with a gauge very similar to typical low end cables (what scared me at a first glance) and, just a tad thicker than the typical cheap Asian cables that come with cheap Asian guitars.

Tone-wise, the Lyric II stands its head over the other two. Has an outstanding definition note by note (same range as the Vovox) and a very even equalization. Every little nuance pops up in the sound. The sound is punchy (even overdiving the preamp gain, compared to the other two) and strong, while transparent clear and defined.

The Mogami 2524 has also a very even representation of frequencies, the sound is strong, well bodied and has a good punch (but a tad less than the Lyric so, it doesn't overdrives the preamp) and has an awesome definition note by note but, slightly minor than the Lyric. But, in the Mogami, notes seem to be better "glued", while in the Lyric, sensation is that they are somewhat "independently sounding". We are talking about very fine nuances and, not about big differences in the quality of sound. I have no doubt that the Lyric is just one step over the Mogami, even that this step is very short.

The Forte surprised me this time. More or less, it has the same strength and punch of the Mogami (maybe a tad less) but, the frequential reproduction isn't so even. It sounded to me as a bit hollow in the mids and with an slight bump on high end (specially) and low end frequencies. Compared to the other two, percussive chords sounded with less punch and with less body. Once again, we are talking about very fine details here but, I have no doubt that the Mogami is slightly better and, its flexibility admits no comparison with the other two.


The Video

I've prepared a very short video (about 8 mins) demoing the three cables. Take into account that the conversion process, from the original 24 bits audio to the 16 bits that allow the video editor generates a lost in subtle details of the sound (that at the end are which make the difference). The audio is then converted to MP3 format, when rendering the video and then processed by Youtube so, I am not very confident you can get the details I am mentioning above and, that's why this blog entry complements the video with the sound information that the video cannot accurately reproduce.

Anyway, you will notice that, once reached some quality level, any good cable can do the job with ease.



Final Comment

My original thought was to substitute the Spirit cable with Mogami's in the pedalboard, because I thought that they will probably not stand a comparison against the Evidence ones but, I was gratefully surprised with the results of the test so, I am thinking in substitute The Forte one with this Mogami. I don't see the urgent need to remove the Lyric, instead (because it rests on the floor).
Most Mogami cables are sell bulk so, you can make your own cables to your wanted length and, they are thin and flexible enough to patch a pedalboard and to hung from your guitar. Sonically are at same level than The Lyric or Vovox and are expensiver.
I have still to compare them against Sommer SC The Spirit ones and see how well they work on the pedalboard.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great breakdown, and proof that the highest priced cables aren't necessarily the highest value.

    ReplyDelete

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