the nerd diaries...
I tell people, you really have to love doing this stuff, and thankfully I do. Some days are not as exciting as building/testing/burning in microphones (if that qualifies); some days and days on end are really just prep work. Testing up tubes (or cleaning them), organizing new parts, or prepping up cables and assemblies. For the past few days, I've been prepping up the high end audiophile IEC (mains) cables that ship with my premium microphones. I now have US, UK, and EU cables stocked... the three most common. There is a certain process to this, which I won't give all away; but I will say it starts with a very nice Gotham cable stock that is shielded, OFC. I always add an oversized ferrite clamp to the receiving end to help block ultra HF noise, Japanese audiophile grade connectors that are treated with a Caig Labs contact lubricant, and the wire ends are tinned, then meticulously de-fluxed with a solution and brush. And the screws are put down fairly tight, both for contact and for assembly. The end result is a pretty impressive cable which measures pretty much nonexistant on most meter tests, with no more resistance than touching the two contacts together.
Do I feel it makes a difference? In my listening tests, yes. The easiest way to test them is to put 2 of them on a pair of speakers and a third on the monitor controller driving them. You will immediately hear a better stereo imaging and separating, improving width and depth and revealing slightly more microdynamic detail. It also seems to help when driving a main interface, clock, master converter, and other outboard gear. Do I think it really makes a difference on a vintage style tube microphone that probably already has so many arcane design limitations built into it? Maybe... I'm not sure really, but I know if I'm tracking a lead vocal here and I have the opportunity to use a fine cable such as this, why would I not do so?
Ultimately, I like to do something very special for folks who buy my premium microphone, and one of those things is to hand-make all three cables that ship with the mic, rather than just the 7 and 3 pin XLR's. It's just a lovely handcrafted added touch, and they really are quite beautiful.