Boost your sound, organization, and peace of mind with these affordable audio accessories
It’s the new year, so it’s time for new year’s resolutions. You can’t go wrong making resolutions to improve workflow, as well as make your professional life easier—and if there’s one thing almost everything we do has in common, it’s cables. These five cable accessories are all designed to improve your quality of life in the new year. While consumers may be busy “cutting the cord,” let’s elevate our cables.
TESTING, TESTING…1, 2, 3…IS THIS THING ON?
Cable testers aren’t of much use unless they can test all your cables, and the Behringer CT200 is an overachiever: it handles XLR, Speakon, phono, 1/4” TRS, 1/8” TRS, RCA phono, RJ45 (CAT5), MIDI/DIN, and USB. It can check for continuity, intermittent or shorted connectors, the presence of phantom power, and grounded shields. What’s more, it’s a test-tone generator with 1 kHz for testing audio gear and A-440 Hz for musical instrument tuning; available output levels are +4 dBu, -10 dBv, or -50 dBv. There’s no more need to waste time wondering whether your audio or data cables have a problem—just whip out this handy, compact tester, and get your answer in seconds.
WIN AT “CABLE HIDE-AND-GO-SEEK”
And while we’re on the subject of cables…with so many installations, it’s often essential to trace wires or cables. The ECL400-011 takes care of that task easily and efficiently, even with bundled cables. The package includes a Tone Generator with test leads, RJ-11 jack, continuity and tone modes, and LED display, along with an amplifier probe with earphone jack and signal LED for signal strength indication. You can locate and test any kind of copper cabling media (including shielded or UPT cable), 75 or 50 ohm coax cable, 10 Base-T or 10/100 Base-T datacom networks, POTS telecom service, and more—with a testing range of 4,900 feet. When you need to identify cables quickly and easily (including hidden cables), and verify conductor continuity, the ECL400-011 is your friend.
IT’S A WRAP!
If one of your new year’s resolutions is better cable organization, look no further. Sure, you can buy sets of cable ties or wraps, but they’re not always the exact size you need. With Hosa’s WTI-501, you can cut your cable tie to size from a 15’ roll of black velcro, with nylon loops on one side, and nylon hooks on the other. Cut what you need to length, wrap it around your cables—done. It’s fast, easy, and economical because you can use only what you need. Just add scissors!
WHEN YOU DON’T WANT THINGS HUMMING ALONG
Few things are more annoying than hum. You try different grounding schemes, filter the AC line, even take a chance with dangerous ground lifts. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to break ground loops safely: the Ebtech Hum Eliminator, which also leaves all signal grounds intact. It converts automatically between balanced and unbalanced line at either end, includes XLR inputs and outputs, and uses an all-passive design to avoid signal degradation. The crosstalk between channels is better than -97 dB, and the frequency response is 20 Hz to 70 kHz, ±0.5 dB. (Note that the maximum source impedance is 1k ohm, while the minimum load impedance is 10k ohm.) So go ahead—nuke that hum, and clean up your audio.
IT’S NOT ONLY BLOODHOUNDS WHO SNIFF OUT PROBLEMS
Cable testers are great—if you can access both cable ends. But for long runs and chasing down phantom power issues, you need a cable bloodhound that can sniff out problems. TecNec’s ST-XLR-SS Rat Sniffer-Sender Test Set does exactly that by delivering a battery-powered, XLR female sender voltage source that tests potential XLR line faults. Meanwhile, the XLR male cable tester can use either the sender or phantom power as a test source. Armed with the sender and tester, you can test out snake systems quickly and easily, as well as check cables whose ends are far away from each other. Both units are compact, fit easily in your pocket, and use color-coded LEDs to indicate shorts, opens, or crossed wires in XLR cables, as well as whether any problems are with a mic or the line feeding it. We’re in favor of anything that speeds troubleshooting—and the Rat Sniffer qualifies.