What's in a Patch Cable?
Now, this is a split issue for me... at least on the surface. Some of the most powerful moments in music (live, or recorded) have been performed with average or even sub-par equipment. Respect should be given to those with the attitude of plugging the ****king thing into an amp and just playing what's in your soul. To the extent of composition, performance, and overall musicality; simplicity is paramount.
Simplicity is paramount. And an arguable extension of this mantra is to establish a clean and direct signal path between your instrument, equipment, and the end of the line amp or mixer. For those who love working with knobs and gadgets, a pedalboard can reach an excess of dozens of effect units. The recent emphasis on true bypass only increases the physical distance your unbalanced signal has to travel. While buffers, line boosters, and similar tools can help a bit; using poorly soldered and low quality patches will kill your bandwidth.
The catch 22 of a cramped or complex effect rig is a classic double edged sword. You want to have low footprint jacks, and flexible think cabling. At the same time, you want to maintain solid connections and save as much bandwidth as possible. Like with any niche, brand loyalty is a huge component, but there are plenty of options out there. Personally, I love Mogami cable and use it throughout my signal path as much as possible. As far as jacks are concerned, I think the pancake form format is great and could care less about the manufacturer... as long as it's designed well.
At best, I'm an amature at soldering and building components from the ground up. It's fun to install new hardware and wiring harnesses in a guitar, but fumbling around trying to make perfectly small joints in slim jacks takes me more time than its worth. So here's a fantastic little company I found that's great at doing one thing.... making cables. Aptly, they're called World's Best Cables and you can find them on Amazon.
Before I made a purchase I reached out to them and asked them about their solder joints, if they were hand-soldered, and some of the materials they used in the process. They offer all of their cable lengths in pancake jacks; both in traditional steel and in 24k gold. Now, essentially the difference between steel and gold connection points is miniscule... so I thought I'd asked them the real difference. The 24k jacks they use have superior construction to the traditional Switchcraft or generic versions you might be used to.
World's Best Cables use their own unique 4% blend of silver solder in all their cables, and the joints are military-grade hand soldered. Like most manufacturers, they offer a 5 year warranty. Their 24k Gold Eminence jacks have an advantage over the Switchcraft counterparts. Instead of having in-line solder points which are prone to shorting out, the Eminence jacks have solder points that are almost 90 degrees apart from the cable. Moreover, the Eminence shorting prevention substrate is affixed to the inner roof of the jack's top half... keeping it snug in place.