It’s getting really easy to make seriously high quality recordings at home, and thinking about the cables you use for recording is very worthwhile. Getting the sound you wish to record as right as possible gets a whole lot easier if you use decent cables. The design features that make Cream such a good performance cable makes it perfect for recording as well, and Cream XLR cables almost always produce big improvements. Detail, dynamics and tone all get carried more accurately and the improvements are easy to hear.
The vast majority of instrument cables are built from coaxial design cables. A coaxial cable has a central set of conductors surrounded by an insulation material, which in turn is surrounded by a shield of some sort. To get some idea of how this design would look, think about an aerial cable. The central conductors carry the signal and the shield carries the return path that completes the circuit. This style of cable design is relatively cheap and easy to produce and is typical of the majority of available instrument cables.
The conductor material is often of a poor quality, likewise the insulation, and in particular the quality of shielding. Most shields are woven around the insulation surrounding the central conductor. The tightness of the weave will affect the cable’s ability to reject interference. A loose weave will not function particularly well in terms of interference rejection and it is also more likely to be subject to mechanical noise. The Cream Instrument Cable uses a different configuration best described as pseudo-balanced. This doesn’t mean that this is a balanced cable. Instead it refers to conductor configuration. Instead of a single central conductor, there are two sets of identical, separately insulated conductors, twisted around each other. One set of conductors carries the signal from the instrument and the other set of conductors are used to complete the circuit and provide a return path. This conductor configuration is far more typical of high performance interconnects and is capable of accurately carrying higher levels of timbral and dynamic information. The type of material chosen to insulate conductors will affect the tonal and dynamic characteristics of the cable. In this case we have used low-density polyethylene insulation. Through the use of this material in our interconnect range, we know that this offers a good performance. In order to minimise mechanically induced noise, these conductors are surrounded with multiple strand cotton spacers and around these is a high-density woven shield, which minimises external interference.
The shield is connected at the end of the cable that is plugged in to the amplifier and is not part of the circuit. To further improve resistance to mechanically induced noise the conductors and shield are surrounded by a soft PVC jacket, which in turn is surrounded by a hard PVC gloss finish outer jacket. The hard outer jacket is applied to increase reliability and to improve the cosmetic appearance of the cable. Despite its colour, the Cream Instrument Cable is remarkably resistant to scuffing and dirt, not exactly crucial but a good looking guitar looks even better with a good looking cable. Cream connectors and Terminations During the development process of the Cream Instrument Cable we experimented extensively with a wide variety of both ¼ inch jacks and XLR connectors. We settled on the latest version of the Neutrik slim line ¼ inch jack and we can fit either straight or right-angled versions.
The design and performance characteristics of the Cream Instrument Cable also makes it ideal for use with XLR plugs and all the design features that minimise noise and interference make it a perfect choice for both on stage and recording use as a microphone cable. The cable can also be supplied fitted with a stereo ¼ inch jack. This is not used to carry a stereo signal but some instruments use a ¼ inch jack output to carry a balanced signal (often referred to a tip/ring/sleeve). An example of this application would be some of the Taylor electro-acoustics. These are supplied with a ¼ inch jack to XLR cable. The jack looks like a stereo headphone jack but as explained above, carries a balanced (GO TO BALANCED SECTION ON CHORD WEBSITE) signal. A Cream cable configured like this represents a substantial upgrade in terms of sound quality.