Evidence Audio, a Q&A with Tony Farinella

November 14th 2006 | Posted in Feature Guides | 22 Comments

One of the greatest things that’s happened to my tone are the cables from Evidence Audio. I always thought that my sound was pretty good and I had no idea that the cables I used was actually doing more harm than good. I’ve used all sorts of stuff, like Planet Waves, Monster and George L’s, but none of them come even close to cables from Evidence Audio.

About a year ago I got a Lyric and a Lyric HG. I was excited since David was seen using these on the Live 8 performance and the moment I plugged in, I understood why. It was like getting a stompbox made for removing all dullness in your tone (which would be pretty cool in it self!). I had never heard my guitar so clear or with such rich dynamics and I though “so this is how my guitar and amp really sounds like… Wow!”. Then I recieved a Siren speakercable and it totally blew my mind! I didn’t think I would notice a dramatic improovement, since the Lyrics had already done wonders, but I was wrong. Using the Siren between the amp head and cabinet is like removing a thick blanket from the amp!

Which cables I recommend is one of the most frequent questions I get, so I thought I’d do a proper presentation. It is important for me to say that I promote these cables based only on what I’ve experienced and not because I have some obligations to do it.

Gilmour’s Evidence Audio cables;
- On stage, David is using the Melody for his Strats, lap steels and other electric guitars, while in a studio setting he prefers the Lyric HG.
- Lyric HG for acoustic guitars.
- Lyric HG between Cornish pedalboard and additional effect units.
- Siren speakercables between head and cabinets, and used to rewire the inside of combo amps and cabinets.

I don’t really know how to describe these cables other than repeating “awesome!”, so it’s a huge treat for me to share this little Q&A with Evidence Audio founder and mastermind, Tony Farinella.

- Why cables? How long have you been doing this?

My attention turned to cables on a serious level in 1992. I wanted a job where I could foster my love for music and technology so I targeted a few local hi-fi manufacturers for employment. One was a cable company with a fantastic reputation for letting instruments and vocals sound more natural and realistic. It never occurred to me that cables could make a difference, so I did a little homework to see what this was all about. I did some back-and-forth comparisons between two cables I had lying around that were actually quite similar in design. After a while I was pretty convinced that I noticed a small, consistent difference. I had a friend test me to see if I could recognize the cables from each other, and I did so ten out of ten times in blind testing. C.V. sent.

Once I convinced the company to bring me on board I spent the next six years in the sound room comparing every imaginable variable with regard to cable design. Materials, geometry, environment, music… if it could conduct electricity, or could possibly have any influence on the matter as related to sound, I spent hours each day listening and learning about it. It was a wonderful experience and revealed far greater differences than I had been initially exposed to.

Since it was the focus of so much of my time and study for many years, I guess I became proficient at it. I realized my experience could be used as a “competitive advantage” in a different market where all of the products available were like the first two cables I compared at home – not very different. That field was the MI and Studio market. There are some very different needs in the MI and Studio market, but “analog audio” is “analog audio”, and if you want to keep from destroying its musical qualities a few of the same principles apply.

- How did you come in contact with David Gilmour?

Phil Taylor rang my phone a few days before Christmas in 2004. Phil has invested the “ear time” as well — comparing anything and everything that a signal will pass through in order to “keep it real”. He was after a small diameter cable for use in a pedal-board project. I didn’t have anything size-appropriate but sent a few samples of what I did have for evaluation. Guitar and speaker leads. Their sonic merits seemed very much appreciated and Phil asked me to build enough for the recording of On an Island. Then quite a few for the Live 8 show.

- Being the main provider of David’s cables during the recent tour, did you encounter some challenges?

No. I wish I had some dramatic or entertaining story about overcoming challenges, but it all went very well. Everyone involved is organized, thoughtful, prepared. They’ve done this a thousand times and only the courier left us with a few worries.

- David at Albert Hall with a Melody cable.

- What makes a good cable and what damage can bad cables do to your sound?

Wow. I could relate 14 years of listening experience to you and consume 100 gig of your web server on that one. A headline never tells the real story. With that risk in mind: A good cable gets out of the way of the music and passes it from Point A to Point B without changing it. I find the best way to do that is often with simplicity and purity. Less is more. Simple designs don’t cause much change to the signal. Pure materials don’t either. What does a bad cable do to your sound? The worst offenders do one or some combination of the following – make the bass notes slow and sloppy, add etching or brightness at the top end, blur midrange detail so you can’t hear the notes making up a chord, collapse dimension from 3D to 2D, take away the “feel” between your hands and the air coming off a speaker. I’ll stop there. Listen really. There lies the true answer.

- What’s the difference between the Lyric, Lyric HG and the Melody. Any suggestions where to put them in the chain?

I’ve always had this notion that there must be an absolute reference with regard to how a cable performs sonically. That reference is perfection. Perfection is passing a signal without changing it. Perfection can not be achieved, so the goal of a designer is to come as close to possible and be deliberate in his errors. Regarding the Melody, Lyric and Lyric HG: each one is the best I can make at that price point. Each costs a bit less to produce that the one above it as I’ve made compromises in the design. My job is to make compromises which still result in a friendly, musical cable for the price. I think the Melody is solving some serious problems with typical cable designs and is step forward towards hearing what your fingers and strings are doing. The Lyric is more faithful with better dynamic/transient response and is more dimensional. The Lyric HG is a step above that.

- What’s the importance of using good patch cables between effect units?

It is important but relative to practice, having a comfortable shirt to play in, etc. you shouldn’t drive yourself crazy over them. Just upgrade them as time and budget allow. The most important cables are the one coming out of the guitar and the speaker cable (if you use one). But basically every cable in your signal path adds some level of degradation to the signal. Call it “cumulative degradation”. A visual analogy would be looking through 10 panes of glass where each one had a bit of dirt and grime on it. The clarity of your vision is reduced the sum of the dirt on all the widows. Take any single pane of glass out, clean it and put it back, and your vision is better. It is best if you can clean all ten windows; but still very worthwhile if you only clean one. What you’re trying to look at is the sound of all of the other gear you’ve selected – and more important the music you make with it.

A big thanks to Tony!

Check out this list for your nearest dealer (hopefully one is nearby for a demonstration).

22 comments so far

  1. marcos says:

    Thanks man. Great contribution to the music.

  2. Leandro says:

    It´d be awesome if there were a dealer in Argentina hehe….

    [Check the list for your nearest dealer. Maybe they have an ordering service. I guess you could also contact Tony. - Bjorn]

  3. Matteo Bossetti says:

    What do you think I did in the last half an hour? I’ve bought a couple of The Melody cables for my blackie.
    You are my guiding light man! How is your strap? Mine is great but I’m thinking to add one more button. It’s a little bit short. Have you seen me on Youtube? Check out my Comfortably Numb solos. Search for matboss72!
    Ciao
    Matteo

    [Congrats! I garantee you'll be amazed! I also recommed a Siren for your amp. It really makes a huge difference. The strap is great and it's always a thrill opening the guitar case and seeing my "blackie" laying there with the strap, he he! I got Jeri to make me a long strap, but I'm thinking about an additional buton as well. I use the last one and I'm afraid it's gonna come off and there's nothing to keep the guitar in place. I'll check out your clips! - Bjorn]

  4. art says:

    thank you ,just went to the buffalo bros today and got two melody cables,they sound llike you decribed it,i must congratulated you ,on this wonderful web page , i must say that for me is a great guide for the gear of sir david guilmour, lately i been gathering as much similiar gear possible like the Hiwatt DG 103 amp,emg dg-20 pick ups for my 1987 red strat plus ,t-rex replica ,chandler tube driver, and a the dynacord csl 222 for that leslie sound ,keep it coming bjorn it only gets better everyday ,will we get a chance to see your performance on youtube too

    and for matteo ( matboss72) great clips at you tube just smile, you should be happy that you can play the way yo do

    [Thanks for your compliments! Seems like you've gotten yourself a great rig! I'll try to post some on youtube soon... - Bjorn]

  5. Leandro says:

    Hey, I was looking to Dark Side of the Moon DVD and an amp caught my attention, when David is shown with his equipment in the studio playing pieces of songs, there´s two Fender amps, one big tweed amp (bassman?) and other one that has the Peterson/Conn Strobo tuner on it…. it´s a Twin Reverb? I think not because it´s too little to be a twin…

    Leandro

    [It could be a Tweed Bassman or a Tweed Twin... David owns both. The one to the left is a '65 Twin Reverb I think. You can spot it on the studio footage on Pompeii as well. - Bjorn]

  6. Andy Rix says:

    Thank you for this great cable! With the Lyric HG, there’s a new instrument in my hand. I can’t stop playing. I never thought something like this could be. It’s a never known dynamic, wich makes me so enthusiastic.
    Thanks to Bjorn Riis and congratulations for the best guitar-site in the web!

    [I couldn't agree more! After I got the EA cables I can sit for hours just playing straight into my dry amp without any effects. There's so much character and dynamics that I never thought excisted! - Bjorn]

  7. Stephen Pearson says:

    have you ever tried Venom cables?

    I use them and they sound great (to me) but whats your opionio?

    [Nope, I haven't tried those... - Bjorn]

  8. Leandro says:

    Thanks for the tip Bjorn…I was just checking because I´m looking for a good tube amp…by the way, Congratulations for your new Composus and Sun Face!! ;)

    Leandro

    [So you spotted those :-) The Composus is something I had laying around for some time and forgot. I recently dug it out of my cellar and was totally blown away by how good it sounded. I love the Dynacomp, but the Composus is far better. The Sun Face is amazing! Dead on David's screaming Pompeii sounds. Cheers! - Bjorn]

  9. paulo says:

    man youre a sick motherfucka , i visit your page all the time, school, work, all the time.

    [I know I know.... - Bjorn]

  10. Matteo Bossetti says:

    Hey guys, you better stop with this because my quality expectance for those cables is arising a lot! If I’ll get disappointed, I’ll sue you! :-) Just kidding of course, I can’t wait for those!
    By the way, Bjorn if you had to buy the first amp for your guitar, what amp would you buy?

    [He he... You won't get disappointed! I promise. Difficult to say, I wouldn't trade my Sound City if my life depended on it. I would definitely go tubes and spend some extra time saving uo instead of starting with a transistor.... Gilmour sound or not. I personally like Fender Bassman. Very warm and dirty, but a really nice clean character. Fender Twin of course... I don't know, I guess you'll get different answers from different people, but I really like that dark, warm tube sound. - Bjorn]

  11. o says:

    on “aage.dk” they have the new clapton strat,, it cost 159.000,-!!!!!!!!
    Do you think the gilmour strat will be that expensive…??
    or is there something really special with this clapton guitar ??

    [Hard to tell the price as they haven't begun making the guitar yet. If it's gonna be a Custom Shop, I wouldn't be surprised if it's prized around 75.000, - / 100.000, -. - Bjorn]

  12. Matteo Bossetti says:

    Excuse me guys, are you talking about 75.000/100.000 what?

    [That's Norwegian/Danish kroners... It's about 12.000/16.000$. - Bjorn]

  13. Leandro says:

    Hey nice background man……it gives a special look to the site……well done!

    Leandro

    [Thanks! I'm trying out some new stuff... Never satisfied.... - Bjorn]

  14. Matteo Bossetti says:

    Hey mate, the cables arrived! Jeez! They are AMAZING! The guitar is far more powerful, the sound is simply great. I can clearly heard the difference! You were right!
    Man, you boosted my blackie! :-)))
    Thanks thanks thanks!!

    [I'm glad you liked the cables, still Tony deserves your gratitude... not me :-) Cheers! - Bjorn]

  15. Matteo Bossetti says:

    By the way, I agree with Leandro: very cool background! :-)

    [Thanks a lot! - Bjorn]

  16. o says:

    Hey, check out this band ” http://www.myspace.com/alfa9
    Music/ guitar mags are comparing them to Pink Floyd and giving great reviews…
    I bought the album and it’s really good! it’s a “consept album” so you kind of got to hear the whole thing…

    [Thanks for the tip! I'll check it out... - Bjorn]

  17. Sylvain says:

    Matteo B., I have checked out your clips. Great playing !
    Please, can you make an another video with your old cables and your new cables (without effects), just to see how the evidence audio cables sound ?
    Thanks,
    A+

  18. Hugo says:

    There’s something I don’t understand about the subject of cables. I mean.. I do believe that some cables are betters than others and I do believe that that reflects in your tone.. but Gilmour uses the cable to go from his strat to his wireless device.. any particular improvement that the cable could do to his sound is now gone. The wireless device (no matter how good) would have its own “voice” afecting the tone now or not?

    [I don't know much about wireless systems, but they have their flaws as any other equipment and I guess there's a possibility of interferance etc. Still, using good cables - instrument and patch - is still important to make sure that every piece of the equipment is as good as possible. But, David didn't use a wireless system on the On an Island tour... just cables (Evidence Audio). Phil Taylor has done all kinds of tests and stated that these were the best cables he had heard and I couldn't agree more. - Bjorn]

  19. Matteo Bossetti says:

    For Sylvain:
    I’ve tried to make a short movie demonstration of the sound difference between my old cable and the new (The Melody) one. Unfortunately, with a camera which takes sound from the air and a converted video for streaming, you cannot hear the difference quite much. However, you can strongly hear the difference with the headphones or directly with the amp. The sound is really much more clean…

  20. Sylvain says:

    OK.
    Actually, I’m using “Planet Waves” cables. They are not so bad but I think I will change for “Evidence Audio” later (just a question of money he he)…
    A+

    [I used Planet Waves for years and although they're quite good, believe me, EA is way better. - Bjorn]

  21. Ernest Peske says:

    This (great) interview with Tony Farinella actually made my order a pair of LHG cables! I just plugged them in: sounds really awesome :-)) I understand, it takes a couple of hours before they will sound even better!
    I am using a Fender combo, so I don’t need the Siren speaker cable, but I am thinking about changing all my effect-units cables. Am I crazy…?
    Cheers, Ernest

    [I'm glad you liked the cables Ernest! They really clean up your signal. I changed all my cheap patchcables for Geroge L's and it really helped and I definitely recommend doing it. That being said, I would much rather save up and buy one good cable at the time than going for the second best just to get everything right away. Geroge L's are great because you can measure the lenghts yourself without any soldering. Evidence Audio has some really good patch cables, although they're a bit expensive. There's also a bunch of other good quality patch cables... just saty away from the 2$ multi coloured "shoelaces"... - Bjorn]

  22. Ernest Peske says:

    Thanks for the info Bjorn! At the moment I am using $20 (!) patch cables (each one…): KLOTZ, signature cable T.M. Stevens, to be honest, I don’t know anything about these cables, they were simply the most expensive I could find in the Music Store in Germany… by the way, very big & proffessionel store, great deals (GHS boomers are very cheap over there!): http://www.musicstorekoeln.de …they do deliver all over Europe!

    I just checked an acoustic guitar using a Fismann Piezo & my new Evidence LHG cable: much better sound quality! My old cables (an “average” cable, but with Neutrik) used to produce some irriting harsh sounding high! I am very happy now :-))

    Cheers, Ernest

    [Glad things works out for you! Thanks for the tips... I'll check it out! - Bjorn]