Recently, I received a nice surprise in the mail, a cable made by INTEX cables located in Carlsbad, California. As a technologist, and musician, I’ve reviewed a lot of products over the years but rarely does one stand out from the pack. Especially when it comes to cables.
According to their website, “INTEXcables are completely hand made from the finest components here in the USA. All connector parts are made of solid metal, from the brass Military Spec connector & custom engineered shell to the plated spring steel stress relief spring. All cables are made with Belden 8412, an industry standard microphone cable for over 30 years. No compression or crimping is used to attach cable to connector, INTEXcables are welded insuring the strongest and most durable connection possible.“
I’ve been making my own cable for years based on audio guru Paul Rivera‘s specifications, which basically favor Mogami or Beldon wire and Neutrik or Switchcraft plugs, both being very good wire and plug combinations. I’ve had to make my own, as commercially sold wire and plugs usually do not meet this criteria (ie. generic wire, generic plugs; or good wire with generic plug). The problem with this is cables generally endure a significant amount of abuse, and inevitably there will be a short, or a bad connection at the plug end, or the plug itself can become damaged from repeated use and ordinary wear and tear. As a musician and technician, I’ve become accustomed to carrying several spares, as I know as good as my cable is it will fail eventually. Here’s a general side by side of an INTEX, Monster Cable, and Generic plugs:
INTEX has created the best solution I’ve seen to date to solve the the weakest point in a signal wire, and that is at the connection. Notice how the Monster Cable is bowed and the cable shielding bubbling near the connector? That’s not a good sign! The Generic below is also bowing, but to get the rubber shielding off the plug would likely break the solder work in the process.
Here’s another side by side showing the inner workings of the INTEX cable, and the Monster Cable. Notice how loosely the Monster Cable is wired compared to the solid wiring of the INTEX cable? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way bashing Monster Cable. The way they do it is simply the way most all cable makers have done it all along. The good news is INTEX has innovated the weak point where the wire meets the plug, and I find that ingenious. INTEX plug design starts with a Swichcraft PJ047 military grade plug which is welded to a steel spring shielding that allows for flexibility, without sacrificing durability.
Then, the wire leads are firmly mounted with flat screw connections that resist heat, involve no crimping, and insure the purest connection resulting in near zero signal degradation.
Jean-Marc du Mouchel, the founder of INTEXcables, has over 30 years experience as a highly trained and skilled electrical engineer working as an independent contractor for Synergetics, Emerald Systems Corp., ACI Medical, and NASA, to name a few. His company INTEXcable has been hand-making these cables since 1978, and are being used by numerous companies, and discerning performing artists.
I contacted Jean-Marc to discuss his product offerings, and to my delight he can custom make just about any configuration you wish. Inquiring about XLR cables he said, “We do make XLR cables with a slightly different wire. For a mic cable, I would use Belden 8423, the same exact cable but with an extra conductor. I do have a killer design for a new XLR connector but I don’t know how much time it will be before I offer it as a commercial product”.
At the end of the day, as an audio professional, you want to be able to depend on your cables. I put the INTEX cable I was sent through the wringer. It’s been with me on every event, and show I have worked over the past few months. It’s be stepped on, pulled on, twisted, and spilled on. We even tried to break the welds with a tug-o-war, and it simply wasn’t going to break. In addition to creating what is, perhaps, the world most durable audio cable INTEX also offers custom branding on it’s plug shells, and a limited lifetime warranty against defects and workmanship. This cable isn’t just built to last, it’s built for a lifetime of rugged use.
- Capacitance between conductors = 98 pf/M (30 pf/ft)
- Jacket thickness = 0.89mm (0.035 in)
- Conductor AWG = 20 (26 X 34)
- Conductor material = ETP high-conductivity copper (99.95% pure copper). The high purity obtained from ETP copper results in microphone cable performance that is comparable to that of oxygen-free copper cables
- Insulation & outer jacket material = EPDM Rubber (Ethylene Propylene Diene Rubber)
- Operating temperature range = -50 deg. C to +90 deg.C (-58 deg. F to 194 deg. F)
- Maximum recommended pulling tension = 45.45 Kg (100 lbs)
- Minimum bend radius (install) / minor axis = 70 mm (2.750 in)
- EU ROHS Compliance = 01/01/2004
- Nominal inductance = 0.055 uH/M (0.18 uH/ft)
- Nominal conductor DC resistance @ 20 deg. C = 32 ohm/1000M (10.6 ohm/1000ft)
- Nominal outer shield DC resistance @ 20 deg. C = 13.7 ohm/1000M (4.5 ohm/1000ft)
- Hand-soldered using quad eutectic solder
- All-metal connector assembly
- Connector and cable welded together