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Old 09-01-2009, 10:29 AM   #1
KillrBuckeye
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Default Can I use instrument cable to connect my powered studio monitor speakers?

I have a pair of KRK Rokit 5 powered studio monitor speakers. When I purchased the speakers, I got a set of 14-gauge speaker cables with 1/4" connectors. These have worked perfectly fine so far, but one of the cables is a bit too short and I can't tuck it away neatly behind my desk. I want to get something longer, but I'm finding that a 20' run of speaker cable is $20+, which is a bit more than I want to spend for improved aesthetics of my recording desk.

Thinking about this some more, I'm questioning whether I really need a thick speaker cable for this run. Aren't heavy-duty speaker cables really intended to transmit the output of amplifiers to passive speaker systems? Since I'm just sending a line-level signal to a powered speaker, couldn't I just get by with an instrument cable? Thanks in advance for any input you can provide.
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Old 09-01-2009, 02:52 PM   #2
Milt
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It would seem to me that an instrument cable would be the best thing to use. That's what I use on my powered Behringers, thats what my manual said to use.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:35 PM   #3
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I agree - shielded (instrument) cables into powered speakers.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KillrBuckeye View Post
I have a pair of KRK Rokit 5 powered studio monitor speakers. When I purchased the speakers, I got a set of 14-gauge speaker cables with 1/4" connectors. These have worked perfectly fine so far, but one of the cables is a bit too short and I can't tuck it away neatly behind my desk. I want to get something longer, but I'm finding that a 20' run of speaker cable is $20+, which is a bit more than I want to spend for improved aesthetics of my recording desk.

Thinking about this some more, I'm questioning whether I really need a thick speaker cable for this run. Aren't heavy-duty speaker cables really intended to transmit the output of amplifiers to passive speaker systems? Since I'm just sending a line-level signal to a powered speaker, couldn't I just get by with an instrument cable? Thanks in advance for any input you can provide.
You're right..instrument cable should do fine

Yves
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:02 AM   #5
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Balanced cables would be better.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:23 AM   #6
Bezmotivnik
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Quote:
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Balanced cables would be better.
Depends on length of run.

With, say, 3'-4' runs to desk nearfields from a DAW or rack unit, there's zero (0) real advantage to using balanced cables.

25'? Yeah, go balanced.
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:01 PM   #7
KillrBuckeye
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Originally Posted by Bezmotivnik View Post
Depends on length of run.

With, say, 3'-4' runs to desk nearfields from a DAW or rack unit, there's zero (0) real advantage to using balanced cables.

25'? Yeah, go balanced.
Thanks for all the responses. Hmmm, I'm probably looking at 15-20 foot runs, so maybe I should stick with balanced cables. I guess it's still going to cost me a bit more than I wanted, because I'll have to buy two. (I read somewhere that you don't want cables of different length going to your two monitor speakers, because it can cause timing issues).
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Old 09-03-2009, 08:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KillrBuckeye View Post
I read somewhere that you don't want cables of different length going to your two monitor speakers, because it can cause timing issues.
Nonsense. If that was true, all your mic cable runs would have to be exactly the same .

Electricity travels at the speed of light, I think you'd find it hard to hear any delays introduced by a few extra feet of cabling.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:09 PM   #9
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I have used both balanced and unbalanced 1/4 cable in my current setup. I had noise issues with the unbalanced cable that was eliminated by lifting the ground with the ground lift switch. When I went to balanced I noticed a slight increase in output (the main reason I purchased balanced cable, but my ears could be fooling me), and I did not have to use the ground lift (an added unexpected bonus).

Last edited by zappsunzorn; 09-03-2009 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:25 PM   #10
uptight
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If by an instrument cable you mean something like a guitar lead then yes you could use them to connect your mixer/interface to your monitors.

However you would be better off using balanced cables which look exactly the same except have 2 lines (instead of 1) displayed on the input head.

Balanced cables will ensure higher fidelity and less interferance.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graeme View Post
Electricity travels at the speed of light, I think you'd find it hard to hear any delays introduced by a few extra feet of cabling.
Shhh! You're ruining things for Monster Cable's marketing!
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:41 AM   #12
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Shhh! You're ruining things for Monster Cable's marketing!
Hopefully .
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:09 AM   #13
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Yes... use Monster Cables Platinum/Rhodium plated connectors/cable, balanced quad configuration, cut to EXACTLY the same length. And remember to hop up and down on your left foot (your other left foot!) and cluck like a chicken while plugging in the connectors.

That is... IF you want the highest of fidelity. All other bets are off...

D
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:18 AM   #14
Lawrence
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If your speakers have balanced inputs and your audio device has balanced outputs, you should use them. Length is not the only cause of potential induction noise in cabling.

Besides, when dealing with the many "links" of modular studio connections (the weakest link and all that) you probably should always take the best option easily available anyway to have that link at it's best. I use ordinary shielded mic cables.

Obviously, if you didn't care about the sound you wouldn't be asking so the only question is ... why not?

Last edited by Lawrence; 09-04-2009 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:30 AM   #15
Cyranosemuse
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Default Guide to interconnects

http://www.rane.com/note110.html
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:13 PM   #16
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I learned my lesson about shielded cables today. I had been using cheap RCA leads (with "gold" connectors, but unshielded) to run a signal from my guitar preamp to my soundcard, for a few years.

Last week I decided to put a compressor pedal before the guitar preamp, and it began picking up a LOT of noise. This trigger a chain of events that led me to replace all the cables in the chain with shorter (1 metre/3 feet), properly shielded cables. I was immediately blown away by the improvement in the sound. What I had previously been trying to correct with EQ was suddenly no longer an issue! I realised I'd been losing a lot of high frequencies from running long cables, and introducing noise with poor/no shielding.

Replacing the three leads in this chain cost about $40. But there are plenty of people out there who pay way too much because they think they have to, and also plenty of people willing to take advantage of them
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