What’s in a cable? No, really…What is in a guitar cable?
Most all guitar cables look the same. They have ¼” jacks on either end, some kind of stress relief for an inch or so off the jack, and 15 to 20 feet of cable in between. Hosa’s Elite series in somewhat based off of the old mother’s adage, “It what’s inside that counts.
Not that the Elite series is any kind of ugly duckling. In fact, it looks quite dapper…as far as guitar cables go, anyway. The flexable PVC wrap on the exterior of the cable looks like black tweed with a sheen that puts one in mind of a Black Mamba or a Kevlar bullet-proof vest, and the gold plated tip and sleeve contrast nicely with the black metal casing of the Neutrik plugs. Sure…it looks nice on the outside.
On the inside…what you can’t see…is OFC: Oxygen-Free Copper. Okay, a brief moment here. Everyone knows that metal is conductive; that electricity can be carried through it. However some metal conducts better than others. Gold (hence the plating on the Elite cable’s plugs) and silver are two of the best, but a little cost prohibitive. Copper is next in line, but its value on the market is increasing all the time. Municipalities sometime find their street lights don’t work because they have been stripped of their copper wire!
VIDEO 1 CABLE COMPONENTS AND CONSTRUCTION
And oxygen…can add to corrosion, which would inhibit the conductivity, hence making OFC an ideal material for a cable.
On (or rather in) a Hosa Elite cable, the inner core wire is OFC surrounded with a foam Polyethylene which is then wrapped with conductive PVC directly beneath the braided OFC shielding.
Outside of that is a lubricated wrap and the exterior wrap mentioned earlier.
Obviously, impressive components went into the cable, but it wouldn’t matter to a musician unless it sounded good.
For this video review, we ran a Hosa Elite 20’ cable from my guitar into an A/B box. The A channel had a second 20’ Hosa cable plugged into it, the B channel had a 18’ cable from another company. Both inputs on the console we set exactly the same amount of gain and flat EQ.
VIDEO 2 AUDIO DEMO AND COMPARISON
Playing samples were played switching the A/B box, sometimes in the middle of a phrase to show (or really to avail, since we’re talking about listening) the difference between the cable. Remember, the difference is only between the one Hosa Elite and the other brand that are running into the mixer. One can only assume that if a different cables were used for the input into the A/B box as well as the output the differences would be even more apparent.
The Hosa Elite cable lists for $73.35.