Difference in sound between, wireless vs long and short cables

Maguchi

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I've been reading about the capacitance of different lengths and types of guitar cables, and how they affect the sound of a guitar to the amp. I wonder how different types of wireless systems affect or color the tone of electric guitar. I would like to hear commentary on the different types of wireless systems. UHF, VHF and the newer WiFi wireless systems for guitar. Also differences, advantages and disadvantages between wireless and cables.
 

AAT65

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More capacitance = less high end.
More cable = more capacitance.
Whether wireless cables emulate the frequency loss of a will vary from brand to brand I expect.
 

Synchro

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Every component, every pot, cable, pedal, amp, everything affects your tone. Usually it’s not enough to notice.
I think thats a good point. Sometimes, I think that people get lost in the details. If you have a long cable, a buffer can work wonders.

I’ve tried some wireless systems, but never found one that didn’t sound inferior to a decent cable. I’m not saying that there aren’t systems that sound great, but I’ve never personally played through one.

Wireless probably compresses the signal a bit. It may be below the threshold of perception, at least on the high dollar units, but I would see dynamic range as being a possible limitation of wireless.

As regards the capacitive effect of a cable, IMO, there’s much to gain, and little to lose. Capacitance bleeds highs to ground. If you switch to wireless and find that there are too many highs, the tone control on your amp will accomplish the same effect.
 

T00DEEPBLUE

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As mentioned above, the lower the cable's total capacitance, the more transparent it'll be. Cables with less capacitance per foot are obviously better, but so is also having shorter cables in general, especially cables between the guitar and the first buffer in your effects chain.

Having a good quality buffer before any long cable run is key to maintaining transparency, and keep the cable run between the guitar and the first buffer as short as is practical will minimize any tone sucking effect. Its also worth spending a little extra for a good quality cable with low capacitance in said area. Anything after the buffer doesn't matter nearly as much.

I use a Sommer Spirit LLX cable with Neutrik ends between the guitar and the first buffer. The Sommer LLX is to my knowledge the lowest capacitance cable per foot on the market and it isn't that expensive either. Especially when you can solder the cables yourself. Considering their price you might as well get the best.

How transparent the wireless unit will be obviously depends on the quality of said wireless unit.

The only way to truly guarantee tone suck won't be an issue is to use active pickups,
 

gb Custom Shop

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The serious HiFi audiophile people I know, albeit not that many, will swear by a cabled set of headphones vs. wireless. Even on the super expensive stuff (upwards of 10 grand).

I have no experience with wireless guitar set ups, but I try to buy the shortest cable I can get by with, which is most often 10ft for home use. But I can't tell an audible difference between a 10ft vs. 25ft cable of the same components.
 

Synchro

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As mentioned above, the lower the cable's total capacitance, the more transparent it'll be. Cables with less capacitance per foot are obviously better, but so is also having shorter cables in general, especially cables between the guitar and the first buffer in your effects chain.

Having a good quality buffer before any long cable run is key to maintaining transparency, and keep the cable run between the guitar and the first buffer as short as is practical will minimize any tone sucking effect. Its also worth spending a little extra for a good quality cable with low capacitance in said area. Anything after the buffer doesn't matter nearly as much.

I use a Sommer Spirit LLX cable with Neutrik ends between the guitar and the first buffer. The Sommer LLX is to my knowledge the lowest capacitance cable per foot on the market and it isn't that expensive either. Especially when you can solder the cables yourself. Considering their price you might as well get the best.

How transparent the wireless unit will be obviously depends on the quality of said wireless unit.

The only way to truly guarantee tone suck won't be an issue is to use active pickups,
You are 100% right.

There is so much misinformation out there, that I can’t believe it. The problem is, information is passed along on the Internet and in many cases, the people passing it along in good faith have no way of knowing if that information is truly valid.

When it comes to buffers, I have the impression that many players are under the impression that all buffers are bad. Buffers serve a purpose, and, unless a buffer is of very poor quality, they do their jobs well. The thing is, building a good buffer is not expensive, so there’s not much of a motive to scrimp. The other thing that a lot of people don’t realize, is that when a pedal is engaged it is essentially buffered, in the sense that there is a buffer transistor on both the input and output ends of the pedal‘s circuit. No one complains about the negative effects of the buffers that are in operation when a pedal is engaged, but they are in place and buffering the signal.

Short cables are a good idea, but most of us want some room to move around when we play. I personally use a 15’ to the pedalboard and a 10’ from the board to the amp. I use Temple Audio boards and use Temple Audio’s buffers for all signal entering and leaving the board. What happens on the pedalboard doesn’t make all that much difference, so long as the gear on the board is of decent quality. I have no complaints about the sound quality I get from my setup. Individual pedals came and go, but the overall sound I get has remained good.
 

SRHmusic

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The main difference between good wireless systems (e.g. Shure) and cables is probably that the wireless system is buffered by nature. So the frequency response of a guitar with passive pickups and tone and volume will not be affected by the cable and amp input impedances. There is a possibility for compression and limiting, as well, if you don't set the gains of the system correctly for headroom (e.g. Shure lets you adjust the gain/attenuation).

(There may be some systems that emulate cable capacitance for when you might actually eant some of that accounted for?)
 

Humbuckers

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I’ve heard both Slash and Santana use long cables because they prefer the tone.

Yeah, I’m liking a 25ft cable right now. It shifts the frequency emphasis for a more vocal and less “stringy” sound. I suspect that long cable runs without buffers is an under-appreciated contributor to some of the old classic rock sounds I love.
 




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