Instrument cable used as speaker cable.

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Member Since: Apr 10, 2009

I used an instrument cable as a speaker cable with a line 6 hd150 head and a crate flexwave cab for almost 2 years and finally bought a speaker cable friday. I get comments that my rig sounds like it's dying. Is this a result using an instrument cable? Is this repairable?

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Since: May 14, 2011

Oct 31, 2011 02:16 pm

Shouldn't affect the working of the amp and the speaker if it's just a speaker cable.
Check the new cable and connections for a short. That will kill something.

Since: Jan 05, 2009

Oct 31, 2011 02:44 pm

yes should work, but the resistance (impedance) could be a little high. means the amp has to fight its way through the narrow cable to the speaker.

the purpose of a speaker cable is to run a higher diameter of metall and therefore less resistance (ohm) inside and with the cable. the speaker cable should provide as less resistance as possible.

also speaker cable do not need to be shielded - unless other cable or electric is affected. there are usually two metall souls running in parallel, whereas the shielded and balanced line-cables have one inner cable\soul which is covered and isolated by an outer one.

did the cable get a bit warm under load? ;-)

just dial in and level the amp and speaker with the new cable, can be in fact that the amp or speaker got some damage ...


MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Oct 31, 2011 03:02 pm

No idea of permanent damage, but definitely do NOT use instrument cable as speaker cable... Instrument cable is very low-voltage, heavily shielded cabling -- Speaker cable is very HIGH voltage, unshielded, low impedance stuff.

Thinking about it, depending on the circuitry, I suppose there is a chance that you "melted down" certain components if this was over a long amount of time.

Might be worth having a tech give it a checkup...

Since: Aug 17, 2004

Nov 05, 2011 06:12 pm

I blew a few amps doing this when I was younger. Don't recommend it ;-).

Since: Apr 10, 2009

Nov 06, 2011 06:53 pm

could I find one of these techs at my local music store? Or should I hit a guitar center... or what?

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Nov 07, 2011 07:29 am

I am with CS, in my youth I made the assumption of "well, it's just a cable"...didn't generally end well.

Any electronics tech could at least diagnose the problem, if any, but I'd recommend you find an authorized repair tech for your brand to get it fixed properly.

Since: Aug 17, 2004

Nov 10, 2011 03:34 am

Oh, I didn't read your post properly :-)

There looks like a million things that could go wrong with that Line 6 head... I say look in your local music directory for an amp tech, or yeah, take it to GC.

Since: Oct 18, 2011

Nov 11, 2011 08:36 am

You should always use a speaker cable for a speaker hence the name. :)
Instrument cables can affect the quality of your sound, and I think they can also damage the speakers with long use.


The Czar of BS
Since: Dec 31, 2007

Nov 11, 2011 01:06 pm

As many have pointed out here, it is a very bad idea!

Speaker outputs, are much higher voltages then instrument outputs. Speaker outputs, can be 70 volts or higher. Depending upon the wattage of the amp. An instrument cable is .22 gauge cable. It can handle up to 600V, but at less then .25 of an amp. Speaker cable is between 10 and 12 gauge cable. And is rated up to 600V as well, but the major difference being that it will take up to 15 to 20 amps! (Remember that watts and amps will also translate into heat!)

With only a .22 gauge cable measured resistance cold is about 190 ohm for every thousand feet. 10 to 12 gauge cable will about 1ohm per one thousand feet. As wattage increases, so does resistance. Plus, instrument cable is also shielded. Which means it has a Mylar foil that the cables are wrapped in. This Mylar shield will reduce the amount of current that can run through the cable.

So, with higher resistance, and being shielded, an instrument cable will do one last thing to your amp that is just devastating. I will cause the current to bounce in the cable. Leading to oscillations in your amp. Or feedback. Your instrument will sound like it has really high gain. That will overheat the amp, and lead to damage.

Sorry for the long explanation of this. But, it's important to know why it's such a bad idea.

Since: Nov 08, 2010

Nov 20, 2011 01:33 pm

I wasn't aware of the science behind it, but I've been scorned for it more than once. Since I bought my prize powered mixer last year from Carvin, I've been very anal about these things.

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