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Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:04 am
by Erotic Cabaret
Obviously, MIDI timing and MIDI CC accuracy are keys to good sounding sequences. I've seen "boutique" MIDI cables that are quite expensive, such as Monster Cable's M-MIDI line. Are these "boutique" MIDI cables better in some way?

EC

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:14 am
by sequentialsoftshock
A lot of people will suggest you stay away from Monster. I am one of them. If you want a high quality MIDI cable, I'd search places that are smaller and actually boutique; they're usually even higher quality and actually cheaper. Death Valley Cable Co. makes excellent cables, but unfortunately they're still only making 1/4" instrument cables.

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:26 am
by smoothcriminal
I can understand the expensive instrument cable argument because it's transferring voltage (AFAIK? I hope) so you can get a weaker signal/interference/etc. But a MIDI cable is either transmitting information or it isn't, I don't think it's possible for it to be degraded physically.

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:28 am
by meatballfulton
I've used plain old Hosa cables for years and never had any issues with them. I don't see any advantage to boutique MIDI cables. MIDI timing is affected more by too much data on the wire than any flaws in the cabling.

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:00 am
by shaft9000
of any kind of cable, MIDI tends to last longer than any. this is probably because they don't get unplugged or moved about much.
I never buy any expensive ones. I've got a couple dozen, and can't remember a single failure in over 17 yrs. The only cables imho worth splurging on are balanced 1/4" and XLRs anywhere you can use them to their advantage. Also some rugged cables for if you need to re-plug a jack often.
As long as the line impedance is correct, metals non-corrosive and the shielding is good, and placement is 90 degrees perpendicular to power cables, there is little else you can do to improve a cable's performance.

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:01 pm
by madtheory
meatballfulton wrote:I don't see any advantage to boutique MIDI cables. MIDI timing is affected more by too much data on the wire than any flaws in the cabling.
It's safe to say that there actually is no difference at all. It's possible to get very well made cables with metal plugs that will last longer than any of us will, and cost around $6.

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:25 pm
by th0mas
smoothcriminal wrote:I can understand the expensive instrument cable argument because it's transferring voltage (AFAIK? I hope)
I LOL'd at this point and stopped reading. :lol:

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:37 pm
by Erotic Cabaret
Glad to get that cleared up, thanks.

EC

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:51 pm
by smoothcriminal
th0mas wrote:I LOL'd at this point and stopped reading. :lol:
Am I wrong?

So, kinda related question, where's a good place to get cheap MIDI cables?

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:21 pm
by meatballfulton
smoothcriminal wrote: So, kinda related question, where's a good place to get cheap MIDI cables?
Define cheap. $6 is too expensive for you?

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:03 pm
by smoothcriminal
I think I just paid something like $10 for a MIDI cable at Radioshack. So yeah, $6 would be cheap enough.

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:08 pm
by MIDI_Thru_Kid
smoothcriminal wrote:I think I just paid something like $10 for a MIDI cable at Radioshack. So yeah, $6 would be cheap enough.
NEVER NEVER NEVER buy cables from Radio Shack! They are junk, and they won't accept returns on them. AND you pay too much!

I go to Guitar Center for ALL my cables. LiveWire has a lifetime warranty. ;)

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:17 pm
by b3groover
Unless the cable is really, really, really crappily made, the only time you should pay a premium is if you're running it 100's of feet. Otherwise, any signal degradation is going to be minimal if at all. This goes for audio and data cables (both of which are "transmitting" voltages... what else would they be carrying?)

I make my own audio cables from Mogami wire, not because it sounds better (I defy anyone to actually tell the difference between two 25' mic cables) but because it is higher quality wire and lasts longer. Ditto for using high-quality Neutrik or Switchcraft connectors. They last longer and make a more solid connection.

For MIDI cables, I use el-cheapo 5 conductor Belkin bulk cable and Neutrik 5 pin DIN connectors. Works fine.

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:39 pm
by sequentialsoftshock
Yeah, the RatShack cables are s**t. I'd suggest the Hosa cables over anything else. The type I get have metal connectors versus plastic connectors and they hold up well.

Re: Expensive MIDI Cables...?

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:07 pm
by th0mas
smoothcriminal wrote:
th0mas wrote:I LOL'd at this point and stopped reading. :lol:
Am I wrong?
Every electrical signal, be it analog, digital, etc, is the transfer of electricity. One measure of the electricity being transferred is the voltage. It'd be like me saying "this hose transfers pressure". No, it transfers water. You can measure the flow of water by looking at the pressure.

So, wrong terminology, but also, wrong idea, because what do you think a MIDI signal is, not an electrical signal?

Right reasons for a more expensive cable would be durability and for analog cables (like guitar and mic cables), how well they shield noise. Except for in the extreme case, noise on cables with digital signals doesn't really matter because a 1 with 10% noise is still a 1 and a 0 a 0.

Tangentally, people claiming a 40$ HDMI cable has a nice picture than a $4 are in most cases completely wrong and just trying to justify their expense.