Magazine article Guitar Player

Atlantic Quality Design: ZEROCAP Cable

Magazine article Guitar Player

Atlantic Quality Design: ZEROCAP Cable

Article excerpt

A POTENTIALLY TONE-SUCKING ELEMENT IN ANY signal chain is the capacitance of the cable used to connect the guitar to an amplifier or effects system. Capacitance is the measure of a cable's ability to store an electric charge, which, in turn, affects how efficiently the cable transmits high frequencies. The net result of this phenomenon is that any guitar cable basically works like a secondary tone control across your pickups. Cable capacitance is measured in picofarads (pf) per foot, and the lower the capacitance of the cable, the better it will be at passing the highs coming from your guitar. In theory, a capacitance reading of zero would be ideal, and the ZEROCAP cable ($109 for 20-foot length) aims for that number by incorporating an active circuit that negates the effect of capacitance. Powered by a tiny, replaceable 12-volt battery, the capacitance-nuking circuit is contained in the small plastic case near one end of the non-directional cable. According to ZEROCAP designer Hank Wallace, the circuit samples the audio to work its magic, but is not a buffer or a signal booster, and does not intrude on the audio signal. What it does do, however, is to reduce capacitance to a miniscule 50pf for the entire cable (regardless of cable length)--and that 50pf is created by the ZEROCAP's machined brass plugs. To put it into perspective, a standard 20-foot guitar cable could easily have more than ten times that amount of capacitance.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The ZEROCAP requires only that you remember to turn it on, which is done by pressing a soft switch on the face of the housing. …

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