We’re all guilty of it – We spend thousands of dollars on that one mic and channel strip. We’ve convinced ourselves this channel strip is going to take our music to the next level. We then proceed to interface said gear with “just any old cable.” Be honest – do you even know what brand your cables are, or have they been passed down or “borrowed” from previous gigs? Or are you in the other camp that can swear they hear a difference in blind tests? Part 1 of 3 of our review on Cordial cables will dispel some of the meanings of the fancy words cable manufacturers use. We will also give an introduction to the company whose cables we are reviewing.
The Missing Link?
While cables are an often-overlooked link in our signal chain, do you need to buy cables with catchwords like “Oxygen Free Virgin Copper”? Although I did buy all new cables when I finally could afford it, I’m going to level with you – I didn’t give much thought to the components used. I bought middle-of-the-road cabling from a trendy online retailer and didn’t look back. I figure all cables are relatively equal. What if I was wrong? Even though companies can overkill on hype, the truth most likely lies somewhere in between the two extremes.
Scientifically speaking, there is some truth on the part of those who say there is a difference. The sound coming from your microphone into your preamp is actual electricity and the better the conductor, the more robust path. In turn, this means more signal passed through the cable more accurately and unencumbered. The result is simple; more frequency bandwidth allows all of those smooth lows and silky highs from that 10,000$ U47 to pass through to the preamp. The same goes for longevity if manufacturers use quality components, but to what lengths do cable manufacturers have to go to get the ideal balance of quality before reaching diminishing returns? We’ve found the answer to this question in a German cable company that has finally made its way into North American markets.
While some of us in North America may not have heard of Cordial Cables until recently, their reputation precedes them in Europe and Asia. Cordial Cables lays out the facts in an unassuming way and allows their product to speak for itself. On paper, the specs of these cables are very impressive.
Cordial makes each cable from select materials including the above mentioned ultra-pure oxygen-free copper. These German-made cables also feature Neutrik connectors that are hand soldered for that extra warm and fuzzy feeling (but not fuzzy sounding!) that comes with having the human touch. While we’re on the subject of touch, the cables feature double wraps for extra durability on the frontlines or in the studio. On a non-sound note, the packaging is very minimal and made from sustainable products.
What Do the Catchwords Mean?
To better understand what “Virgin Copper” and “Oxygen Free” means for your cables, Cordial, kindly sent over an explanation.
Cordial: “We use the term “virgin” to denote non-recycled. This means the cable began life as new, unused copper before becoming wire, as opposed to being made from recycled materials, which introduces impurities, which in turn degrade performance. The oxygen-free part serves two purposes: oxygen impedes the flow of electrons, and its presence can lead to corrosion. BTW: Cordial owns raw copper reserves.”
What about “Hand Soldered” connections? You would think a machine could be more precise than a human, but there is a lot more to the story. Cordial helps us out again with this question.
Cordial: “There’s actually a quality advantage that comes from the hand-soldering. When cabling that has been cut is viewed under magnification, you can see that the edges are far from even and perfect. An automated soldering machine ignores the differences in cuts from cable to cable. It then makes the exact same solder joint using the exact same amount of solder for every single connection. A human being can evaluate the condition of the wire ends and adjust the solder joint accordingly for the best possible connection. Actual human craftsmanship. ;-)”
Even though Cordial Cables are considered premium cables by every description, the price doesn’t reflect this. Yes, these cables are more expensive than your stock “Guitarget store” mic cables but come packed with the same features as cables twice the price.
My Overall Thoughts
There is no doubt when you have a Cordial Cable in your hand that you’re not dealing with a stock cable. Their instrument cables combine both great aesthetics and heavy-duty feel. The wraps are thick but flexible and surprisingly, roll up without that horrible kinking and twisting I get from thinner cheaper cables. The connectors are top notch and super sturdy and covered under the cable’s lifetime warranty.
To Be Continued…
When it’s all said and done, my opinion doesn’t honestly matter as much as how it performs. Parts 2 and 3 of this review will deal with the fun stuff. Part 2 will determine if there is any difference in sound quality with the components versus stock XLR and instrument cables. We will use the same mic and preamp and record a few things to see if anyone can tell the difference.
Part 3 is going to be the fun part. We are going to test Cordial cables durability by running them through a week in the life of a demanding musician. We have a series are relatively strenuous situations that any musician or touring band would face and see if these cables stand the test.
Until next time!
For more information on Cordial Cables, visit https://www.cordialcablesusa.com/