Cable Advice

I am looking for a little advice from the good folk here, if you would be so kind!

I have a Laney L20t combo amp which I use only at home. It is a little loud and does not let me push it properly. So, I debated with myself whether to buy a smaller amp or an attenuator. When I spotted a guide in a guitar mag showing you how to build your own attenuator, I decided on this as a project to while away the cold days after Christmas.

However, I have always used combo amps and, therefore, have never needed to buy speaker cables. I have read various confusing things on the net as to whether you can use ordinary guitar cables or not. Whether the cables need to be shielded or not, etc.

Soooo........ Can an ordinary guitar cable be used to connect the amp to the attenuator and vice versa? Or must it be a specific speaker cable - if so what kind? I doubt that the existing amp speaker cable will be long enough to fit into the attenuator, so I am going to need to couple this with another cable. Therefore, is an ordinary 1/4 mono coupler ok? I have patch leads that I use for pedals and wondered if these could be used too?

As I say, browsing the net comes up with loads of conflicting and confusing info. Furthermore, a search for speaker cables does not exactly throw up a plethora of options leading me to question the need for specific speaker cables in the first place!

Comments

  • LesterLester Posts: 1,542Member, Moderator
    edited December 2016
    An instrument cable handles low power and high impedance; a speaker cable handles high power and low impedance. An instrument cable will not be able to handle the power and so will be the weak link, meaning either it will blow like a fuse or be a fire risk. Do yourself a favour and buy some speaker cable!
  • somhairlesomhairle Posts: 4Member
    Lester said:

    An instrument cable handles low power and high impedance; a speaker cable handles high power and low impedance. An instrument cable will not be able to handle the power and so will be the weak link, meaning either it will blow like a fuse or be a fire risk. Do yourself a favour and buy some speaker cable!

    Thanks for that. As I explained, much of the advice that I have read has been confusing and misleading. And, when searching for speaker cables, I have not been able to find many. If you have any specific recommendations, feel free to advise.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 6,871Member, Moderator
    Two core mains cable is perfectly adequate for a guitar cabinet speaker cable. 6A will do the job. Specialised speaker cable is just for Hi-Fi buffs.
  • somhairlesomhairle Posts: 4Member
    Jocko said:

    Two core mains cable is perfectly adequate for a guitar cabinet speaker cable. 6A will do the job. Specialised speaker cable is just for Hi-Fi buffs.

    Many thanks, Jocko. I had heard that but did not know if it was accurate. If that is adequate, it means that I can use this directly soldered to the attenuator with a jack attached to the other end.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 834Member
    Ditto on the Jocko comment. 2 core lighting flex is more than adequate ( a bit of skip diving might avail you of a decent length), add some 'quality' jack plugs (the cheap ones can short if you stand on the cable and pull them) Neutrik 1/4" jacks are highly recomended because they don't succumb to this possible failure.

    Think of the power going in at the mains, well in theory that comes out the speaker output and thats why more copper is required to prevent heating up the core and melting the sheeth.

    I presume a soldering iron is no stranger to you, otherwise a company called Kablonline do ready made leads to your length at little more than the cost you would pay for the components. Rob is respected for his work and delivery is usually prompt.

  • somhairlesomhairle Posts: 4Member
    ESBlonde said:

    Ditto on the Jocko comment. 2 core lighting flex is more than adequate ( a bit of skip diving might avail you of a decent length), add some 'quality' jack plugs (the cheap ones can short if you stand on the cable and pull them) Neutrik 1/4" jacks are highly recomended because they don't succumb to this possible failure.

    Think of the power going in at the mains, well in theory that comes out the speaker output and thats why more copper is required to prevent heating up the core and melting the sheeth.

    I presume a soldering iron is no stranger to you, otherwise a company called Kablonline do ready made leads to your length at little more than the cost you would pay for the components. Rob is respected for his work and delivery is usually prompt.

    Many thanks for that advice, ESBlonde. I think I will have a go at making them myself - with the plugs you recommend. I have seen some Neutrik Rean angled plugs which should hopefully do the trick. But I will check out Kablonline to see what they are like. It may be that it makes sense to use them rather than spend time knocking up somne cables myself.
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