Planet Waves Circuit Breaker Instrument Cable
By Todd Stuart Phillips
One of the best purchases I have made in many moons is the Planet Waves Circuit Breaker Instrument Cable. It is professional level gear that makes my on-stage life much better. I liked it so much I bought a second one when the first one was stolen.
There are several reasons to purchase this particular cable, the most noticeable being the circuit breaker itself. With this instrument cord I never have to send earsplitting noise through the speakers when I want to unplug a guitar or switch to another one. The simple push of a button is all it takes to sever the electrical connection between the cable and the instrument, insuring noiseless removal of the plug. And since the breaker button is located on the sturdy plug that fits into the guitar it is effortless to activate.
To my thinking, Planet Wave's circuit breaking mechanism is superior to other designs, which often employ spring-loaded breakers. Such breakers still broadcast an audible popping sound when the plug is removed. Springs can also lose their "springiness" over time. But the Planet Waves' circuit breaker does not use a spring so it will never lose its effectiveness.
But the breaker is only part of the story. Much of the reason to own this excellent piece of equipment is found on the inside. The actual wire conducting the signal is made from premium quality copper strands which are ultra-fine and wound to provide low impedance while maximizing flexibility. The wire is insolated with foamed polyethylene, designed to insure low signal loss and then shielded with double-sided, "metalized" polyester followed by an outer layer of heavy duty, copper braid shielding. This means the cable can be quite long without losing signal strength or integrity and it will not cause or be a victim of disruptions from electronic fields present on stage or in the studio, as well as being totally free of "handling noise".
The switching mechanism is error free and consists of a small, oval button to be pushed down to lock the breaker in the off position and depressed again to release it back to the on position. When the breaker is on the signal reaches a 24-karat gold-plated plug made with 8 grooves near the back end known as "compression springs." These grooves ensure equally distributed, positive connection without static charges when fitted into any standard 1/4" (6.45mm) jack.
The Circuit Breaker Instrument Cable comes with traditional straight plugs or with a right angle plug on the instrument side. Acoustic guitarists would do well to purchase the right angle version because their jacks are usually found at the extreme end of the instrument. I cannot remember how many times I have played a show and had to yank the cord out of my acoustic guitar because it would not fit into a guitar stand. So when I did buy the Circuit Breaker Instrument Cable I chose one with a right angle plug. Now I can set it into a stand without worrying about the plug being too tall or stabbing into the stage floor. It even works with my beloved Martin Shadow Stand, which was impossible to use when a straight plug was in my guitar.
As I mentioned, my first Circuit Breaker cable was stolen from a club in New York City. Apparently someone knew quality when they saw it. These cables are well made indeed, employing solid engineering and attention to detail. The silent removal just adds that much more professional an image when on stage. It even comes with a stretchy cable tie that clips on board so you never loose it. It is a woven loop that stretches around the coiled cable and hooks into place on the clip - a small but very welcome feature. I wish I had a dozen more for my other chords.
I have since replaced that lost cable with an identical one. The only criticism I can come up with about this product is the fact they only make them in black. Offering them in some basic colors would make identification easier on a busy stage with umteen cords running every which way. For now I have just marked it with my name. Despite the risks of losing another premium cable in the wilds of New York's club scene, I would not want to plug in without my Circuit Breaker. I think any performing guitarist will feel the same way once they treat themselves to one.
Out of a possible 8 Notes on the T Spoon Scale of Guitaracity, I give the Planet Waves Circuit Breaker an electrifying 7 Notes.