While performing with Andy Vargas at the NAMM SHow in Anaheim I met the good people from Klotz AIS - a high end cable and interface manufacturer based in Germany. They told me about recent double-blind tests they'd conducted in Nashville with respected producers, engineers and players, comparing their guitar and mic cables to some other established brands. I was interested to learn that the results almost unanimously favored the Klotz cables. They suggested I try their M5 mic cable, and LaGrange, and Titanium guitar cables.
Now, some months later, having had a chance to try them in a variety of situations ranging from album tracking sessions for Santana singer Andy Vargas's solo debut, to acoustic guitar/vocal tracking with Gavin James to multiple songwriting/demo sessions with Escape The Fate (two songs on their upcoming album due this fall!) to a new album's worth of guitars for the lovely Alyse Black, I can honestly say I love these things.
Granted, I was using great stuff before, so the difference is subtle but immediately apparent as a feeling of greater "aliveness" in the signal. For electric guitars and bass that translated as greater touch sensitivity and that wonderful shimmering magic where every nuance comes back at you through the monitors as you play. That feeling puts you in an optimum performance headspace because what you're hearing back is so satisfying.
The M5 Mic cable's properties were immediately noticeable when recording vocals. With Gavin James' heavenly voice, every detail came through, and with Escape The Fate's Craig Mabbit I felt like I was in the vocal booth for every raging scream and soaring chorus. Again - a feeling of no barrier between the performance and the recorded sound. Likewise when recording acoustic guitars with my '57 J-50. Yeah, it's an awesome guitar but it never recorded quite this nice.
Bottom line.. when producing a song we're always trying to coax every possible drop of expression and emotion from a performance. The nuances matter. The difference between between "good" and "great" often comes down to the accumulation of these tiny subtleties. Any one alone may not make or break a track, but cumulatively you can feel the difference. If a piece of gear we use every day creates even a subtle improvement in expression and sonics, why not stack the deck in your favor?
PS.. For the record.. I only hype things I truly use and appreciate.