Some microphone cables I bought used around 1991 from the old Greenville, SC Memorial Auditorium, are still in very good shape.
Take care of your cables and they will serve you well for a long time.
) Check that the outer cable jacket is in good condition.
) Dip the rubber part of the cable in a tub filled with soapy water. Scrub with a sponge/scrubber. Keep connectors dry.
) Rinse, dry with old towels. Lay out in sun to make sure cable is completely dry.
) Learn how to over-and-under cables. This is a cable coiling method that minimizes twisting of cables.
Good video showing over/under: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yPcJD7RVuY
) Put velco ties on the male end, or use black cotton trickline.
) At a venue you can store cables on pegs.
) Or store cables on a reel. My issue with reels is I have 5′, 10′, 15′, 20′, 25′, etc. cables. Using a reel means I may have to pull every cable off the reel, even though I might only need half the cables on the reel for a particular gig.
) Do not wrap cables around your elbow. Do not wrap cables around your elbow. Do not wrap cables around your elbow.
) The ultimate test it to plug a condenser mic in a cable, talk on the mic, and wiggle the cable ends at the mic and mixer.
) Simpler is a basic cable tester.
) Another test is running a cable though your closed hand, feeling for insulation tears, kinks, leftover bits of tape, etc.
) For minor abrasion and tears, wrap with a bit of tape for a quick fix, or better, put a piece of shrink tubing over it. For bad damage, cut cable in half, add connectors and now you have a couple shorty cables.
) When a cable gets kinky from bad coiling, being jerked, wrapped oddly around a stand, etc., lay it out in the sun.
) When it is warm and soft, knead out kinks, and carefully re-coil, with no twists. The cable will (mostly)forget its bad ways.
Mice & Rats:
Over the years I have seen mic cables, snakes and other cables gnawed on by Mice or Rats.
Usually this is near the ends, where th cable is handled, and salt and oil transfer from skin to cable.
) Storing cables where rodents can’t get to them is advisable.
Some singers spin the mic in their hand, or walk in little circles on the stage, while holding a mic. This puts twists in a cable.
I know one dance caller that will on average put a dozen twists in a cable per night.
) If you ask them to stop doing this, they might.
) If you regularly work with someone who does this, you can start the dance with some reverse twists in the cable.
) Or just know you will have to undo this at the end of the dance.
There are at least a couple reasons for labeling cables:
1) One being so you know who owns a cable:
If you label the male end, then the female end will look good for performers, and on camera.
<> These days my first choice is an ultra-fine paint pen. Depending on use, once-a-year touchup might be needed.
<> Adhesive labels are another option, or shrink tubing that has your name and contact info printed.
2) Another use for labeling is so you know what cable goes to what channel:
<> Put a small bit of tape on a cable end and mark the channel number.
Have a plan for the stage crew to keep track of what cable is where.
<> Use different color cables. In addition to black, blue is commonly available.
You can also get pretty much any color of the rainbow.
) Brown can sometimes be hard to tell from black.
) Red might be desired by some folks, but I try to use it only on the floor,
for going to a direct box, a foot switch, or maybe a shorty mic stand, etc.
) Orange is like red.
) Yellow definitely stays on the floor
) Green look ok on a stage to me, as long as it isn’t bright lime green.
) Blue is good, as long as it isn’t some neon blue.
) Violet works, but be careful, the less noticeable hues start looking pretty close to black.
) Gray, in the darker shades, can work, but again be careful how close you are going to black.
) White will look dirty very quickly.
) Some stage lighting makes colors hard to see.
) Short, bright colors can be handy for patching the back of a rack.
You may have very different color sensibilities than me!
<> If you are using Neutrik connectors, there are various colored sleeves available.
<> A couple inches of colored shrink tubing at each end can identify a cable.
But you have to remove a connector from the cable to install it, or have this figured out when building cables.
Or buy high-ratio shrink, that can go over a connector, and then shrink down to cable size. Can get kinda pricey.
<> Colored electrical tape.
Though I have done this in the past, it is my least favored solution.
If you go this route, don’t leave the tape on very long.
I recently removed some tape from some cables(not mine!). Adhesive was starting to come out around the edges of the tape.
GooGone got rid of most of the remaining residue, but some tape that had been on a LONG time left a hard crust that only yielded to steel wool.
Even then, the adhesive had permanently etched in to the connector.
What mic cable care advice do you have?
Thanks and good health, Weogo