So, you’ve just bought some new gear and need extra cables? Or maybe you need to replace the worn out cables lying around your studio or room?
Sure, you can get the same black cables you always get, or I can tell you about Pig Hog cables and why you shouldn’t have to be stuck with boring, flimsy cables.
Pig Hog Cables - Overview
Pig Hog started in 2011 and they specialize in instrument and microphone cables. Their primary focus is highly durable 1/4 inch TRS and XLR cables.
Pig Hog cables are made with extra thick and strong cable shielding to ensure the cables remain undamaged and to minimize signal interference. Marketed as ‘road-worthy’ cables, Pig Hog cables are ideal for live performances and extended touring.
They also make various cable solutions such as adaptors, connectors, RCA cables, MIDI cables and even power supplies.
Durability and Design
Perhaps the main selling point of Pig Hog cables is their durability. Their cables are made with a thick, woven jacket that helps protect the cable from damage due to bending or having things like amps put on them or people stepping on them.
The jacket also has less of a risk of tearing, which can leave the cable exposed and susceptible to damage and signal interference from dust.
The jacket is also made extra thick to prevent interference from other signal sources like wireless mics and in-ear monitors.
The cable connectors are also shrink wrapped to protect them against dust and dirt that can cause audio problems.
Moreover, the TRS jacks are gold-plated to have better conductivity that helps keep the audio signal constant. They are quite compact and gives you a tighter, more secure connection, so, you won’t have to worry about the cables being pulled out easily.
They come in both straight, angled and a mix of both connections. I prefer angled connections, especially at the guitars side. Straight connections tend to break more easily and I feel like they help keep the cable out of the way.
Another thing I like about Pig Hog cables, although this doesn’t affect their quality, is the fact that they come in a variety of colors and even different patterns.
The standard black cables can get a bit boring, so it’s nice to be able to get cables with some actual color.
They stand out a bit more and I even found that they can help you manage your signal chain.
You can have one color for your guitar, different colors for each amp if you’re using multiple, and even have different colored patch cables for the pedals on your pedalboard.
Possibly the most important quality for any instrument cable to have is how well it transmits sound. It might seem idiomatic to some, but cheap, nasty cables tend to have a crackly, dull, or overly bright tone.
Much of the spiel about superior sound quality in a cable is just marketing, but it’s undeniable that some cables are built better than others.
Sound quality can also decay over time. A cable that started out clear and crisp could become fizzy or muddy with repeated use or after being subject to less-than-ideal conditions.
Many years ago, a cable I used for repeated gigs in a particularly humid underground venue started playing up on me. Moisture from the room had leached into the cable and rusted some of the internal wiring!
So how do Pig Hog instrument cables match up?
First of all, these cables are much, much quieter than my other cables. I typically use Fender, Boss, Ernie Ball or D’Addario leads. I have a few short MXR patch cables.
I haven’t experienced any pops, hiss, or crackles from the Pig Hog cables, which is a pleasant feature.
However, the actual sound quality is not noticeably better than that of the other cables in my arsenal. While I’ve observed some crackling or hissing here and there, by and large most decent-quality guitar leads sound about the same.
I’d strongly recommend these cables to anyone with a noisier rig or guitar, like an old-school Stratocaster and Bassman setup. While it won’t cut out the classic single-coil hum, it will prevent additional unwanted noise from tampering with your tone.
Pig Hog vs Other Cables
So, how do Pig Hogs stack up against more ‘standard’ cables?
In terms of sound quality, I would say they are pretty much the same as other similarly priced cables like the ones from D’Addario or Ernie Ball.
I haven’t experienced any pops or other sound anomalies with Pig Hogs, but I have once or twice noticed small things with other brands.
Although, I would have to see how they fare after a few years of use to really know how they stack up.
They real difference is in their build quality. Even compared to other braided cables, the Pig Hogs just feel much more durable.
The thickness of the Pig Hog cable, perhaps the source of inspiration for the brand’s name, really does lend it a reassuring heft. These cables feel like you could use them indefinitely.
I gig pretty heavily, sometimes six nights a week, and I can imagine that having these ultra-heavy-duty reliable cables would be very helpful.
Twists and bends also don’t stick around in the cables and they straighten out quite quickly. Other cables don’t straighten out as quickly or evenly, and usually need a bit of help to straighten out completely.
Pig Hogs also don’t seem to have that natural twist other cables have when rolling them up. Meaning it’s easier to roll them up correctly to avoid twists that can cause damage.
This takes valuable seconds, or even minutes, off your setup and pack up time, a very welcome feature when sharing the stage with another act and you need to pack down your rig quickly.
As I mentioned earlier, apart from the standard instrument and mic cables, Pig Hog also offers a variety of other cables from RCA to speaker to lighting cables, and even power supplies, cable bags and guitar stands.
It’s nice and convenient with such a huge range of products to choose from, meaning you’ll probably be able to pick up everything straight from Pig Hog, rather than having to buy everything piecemeal from different places.
If you’re looking for durable, good looking instrument cables at a reasonable price, Pig Hog cables are a great choice.
So, throw out those old, worn out cables, and grab yourself some colorful, tour built ones.