Ernie Ball Braided Straight to Right Angle Instrument Cable Review: 10' - ¼" TS to ¼" TS
After years of being satisfied with the custom made cables at church, I finally got a new ready-made Ernie Ball Braided Instrument Cable. Will it outclass the cables that I've been using? Read on to find out.
Initially, I'm not too pleased with its non-existent packaging. The cable is simply rolled and attached to a cardboard label, secured on via zip ties. There was no box or plastic housing for protection. Thankfully, the cable didn't have any damage or problem when I opened up the bubble wrapped shipping pouch. As I inspected the cable closely, my worries about the packaging quickly turned to awe, I was immediately impressed with its overall quality.
Basic packaging, no box or plastic protection.
Closer look at the cable reveals its high quality exterior braids. It feels soft yet sturdy, and it has good flexibility without allowing the cable to bend too much into right angles. Rolling up the cable is easy, it bends nicely and is not rough on my hands. I haven't encountered any tangling problems, and it's not as heavy as I expected to be. More importantly, it does all this while providing protection for the innards.
Speaking of innards, this cable uses two 16AWG conductors made from 99.95% OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper) for improved resistance against corrosion. And underneath the braided exterior are dual shielding, to protect the it from damage and interference.
Going back to the surface, the braiding is neatly done down to the smallest details. I really tried but I couldn't find any cosmetic flaws to complain about. If you're not into the green and black color of this cable, there are a total of 5 color options to choose from in this series (straight to right angle plug configuration). And there are 2 more color options if you consider straight to straight braided cables as well. The one that I have is 10', but it is also available in two other sizes, 18' and 25'. Note that braids are prone to staining, so be careful when handling foods, beverages and the likes when using the cable.
Compared to all the cables that I've used, including tweed cables and custom made ones, this one definitely takes the cake when it comes to cable quality.
Solder joints are where the cable is soldered to the plug, and this part of the cable is notorious for being the root of many problems. Ernie Ball knows this, so they secured the joints properly with sturdy rubber jackets and metal covers. The rubber jackets cover have a more solid feel to them, so it will be harder to bend the cable at the joints. The also cover the entire soldered area, so it also helps in preventing unwanted noise and interference. The metal cover adds even more protection, and serves as the handles for the plugs. More importantly, the joints are user serviceable, which adds to the life expectancy of the cable.
User serviceable with rubber jackets over the solder joints.
There's nothing special about the plugs, but there's nothing bad about about them either, they are basic plugs made from nickel. They feel solid and have a good heft to them. I've tried plugging it into different electric guitars and acoustics, and I didn't encounter any problem. I can even use the right angle plug on my Strat, and it fits nice and snug - no annoying sideway movements. I've also plugged it in my amps, and got good results. The plugs are a bit longer than my regular cables, so the straight one is more prone to being accidentally hit and bent. This is why I prefer right angle plugs, because they can positioned in a safer manner. I find that using right angle plugs and looping the cable around the guitar strap makes for a safer and more secure setup.
Solid plugs that fits nice and snug.
Sound and Noise
I didn't really notice any tone improvement or degradation when switching to this cable, but it's probably because I don't have the ear sensitivity to notice subtle changes. One thing for sure though is that the cable does not degrade the sound. So in terms of sound quality, I'd say that it's up to par with what I'm using.
It's a different story when it comes to noise, the Ernie Ball Braided cable is noticeably quieter. No handling noise, and no crackling even when I move the cable and plugs around. This could be attributed to it being new, so it's double shielding is still 100% intact. Even still, this is an important advantage for the Ernie Ball Braided cable. It's nice to be able to move around without worrying about cable noise.
Used it on my Strat, Les Paul and Martin acoustic-electric, it's been incredibly quiet with no operation noise.
In the end, the Ernie Ball Braided instrument cable outclassed my other cables with its premium build quality and quiet operation. It really lives up to its impressively high ratings across major retailers.
- 16 AWG Dual Conductor
- Dual Shielding with Braided Jacket Exterior
- 99.95% OFC Conductor
- Available Lengths: 10' | 18' | 25'
- Average quality Plugs
- Braids are prone to staining
- Sturdy yet flexible braided exterior
- Easy to roll up and setup
- Low handling noise
- Snug fitting plugs