"He Wears Black and Has a Beard"

The Feel of a Cable

Toby Roworth

Mar 27, 2012

Photo courtesy of Jon Hollander
Whilst derigging a gig the other night, it struck me, once again that nicer cables genuinely feel different - I was coiling a cable, and noticed that it was much nicer than the others I'd been doing: familiarly nice. I looked at the imprint on its jacket and, low and behold, it was Sommer Stage 22, the cable I use for my mic leads.
Another cable I'd coiled had been nice to coil, but in a different way, yet still familiar. Found the imprint, and it was Van Damme, just like all my church back home's cables.
Little needs to be said of the cheap cables I'd been coiling - they felt, and were, rubbish.
I pursued the thought a little further, and started to think about the skill involved in being able to feel a cables construction. I've always felt a certain empathy to cables (generally perceived as "pain" in musicians who coil them badly), able to feel where the coils are going and act accordingly to put them away properly, but how much better could this be if, just by feel, cables could be coiled and sorted, allowing derigging to happen in a venue that's still dark!
And it's not just the cable itself - there's a profound difference in feel between an X and XX series XLR, when plugged in. Nice as the X used to be, it just doesn't compare to the ease of insertion of the XX!
The next logical step may well be to do a "blind taste test" of sorts, but with cables. Maybe this can be part of a "cable challenge champio" with Jon, which could incorporate speed coiling, quality coiling, "blind taste testing" and a feature event of "Neutrik Plug vs Neutrik locking jack"!