Posted by: "Michael Oates"
> What is the best mic cable for nature recordings, ideal qualities being:
> - flexible even in low temperatures
no problem with canare cables, at least down below freezing. We don't
get below zero F around here so I've not really tested it in super cold
conditions. Like any plastic I'm sure it has limits.
Canare's covering is also a matte finish which is not that slippery even
when wet. Very nice to handle.
> - lightweight (got to carry it!)
The smaller diameter canare star quad is lightweight. And still fairly
reasonable to handle.
> - hard wearing, (rocks and trees can take their toll)
I've yet to wear out canare star quad cables in many years use. They all
still look new. I use, but don't abuse the cables. I don't drag them
around on the ground.
It is not immune to Beaver bites, however, ask Lang Elliott.
> - capable of stereo transmission (prefrable to two seperate cables)
Canare starquad in either diameter works fine for stereo nature
recording for myself, Lang Elliott, and others. And we, at times, use
long lengths. I've run out more than 400' a few times and it worked fine.
> - good RF rejection ? I don't know how important it is to use starquad
> when used outside. Any starquad is going be less flexable and greater
> weight, so is this needed?
For nature recording you are usually far away from strong EMF fields.
Except if you record under high tension power lines. And under those the
mics and recorder will generally not have enough shielding either. Note
I don't think I'd recommend doing stereo with the star quad in other
types of recording where much more EMF is around. There you'd need to
either go to snake or two conductors.
I don't think you will do much better than the high quality starquad. At
least the Canare is very flexible. Either diameter is not all that
heavy, the smaller diameter is particularly lightweight. This is well
designed cable for the job it's doing. The Canare starquad is also not
very likely to produce noise when bent, at least if you do not go to
extremes. Some less well built cable will creak when bent. Be sure
whatever you get it has a full braid shield instead of foil shield. Foil
shield is intended only for permanent installations where it won't be
moved, though you will find it in cheaper cables where it does not belong.
> Canare starquad L-4E6S was mentioned in recent posts, but the spec doesn't
> seem anything special. And to be honest using it for stereo seems rather
> dodgy as each channel is not twisted together.
Actually the 4 conductors of the star quad are twisted together. So when
you use 2 opposite conductors for one channel and the other two opposite
for the other they are still twisted together. In other words use the
two blue conductors for one channel, the two white ones for the other.
You do have to use a meter when making them up to ID the hot and cold
wires for each channel.
I used to worry about crosstalk between the channels, but have never had
> So what do you recommend?
I use and recommend Canare star quad in either diameter. I also use some
of the even finer diameter star quad stripped out of Canare star quad
two channel snake for the short Y breakouts.
BTW, if you want to completely preserve the full capabilities of Canare
star quad while avoiding two cables you could use the two conductor
snake. But it is big and heavy. Still surprisingly flexible and
reasonably easy to handle.
If you are unsure, order in a small length and make up a cable and try
it. That's what I did when I first started. I order much more at a time
now to get cheaper per foot rates.