Atlantic Quality Design: ZEROCAP Cable

A POTENTIALLYTONE-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
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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. And if you forget to turn it off after the gig, the circuit automatically switches itself off after an hour of non use. We tested the ZEROCAP with a PRS Modern Eagle II and SC 245 into a Reeves Custom 12 PS combo. Comparisons were made by switching a 20-foot ZEROCAP on and off, as well as by swapping it with a 15-foot George L’s .155 cable and an 18-foot Klotz LaGrange, both of which were winners in our recent 49-cable Fight Club article.

The ZEROCAP definitely delivers an increase in high-frequency content, which was noticeable both when toggling the cable on and off, and when we substituted it with our standard cables. The sound, however, was a little more strident through the ZEROCAP than it was with either of our reference cables. The George L’s and Klotz cables were a tad darker than the ZEROCAP, but they also both had a sweeter top end and sounded “browner” with this guitar/amp combination. Bottom line: All cables have a sound—including the ZEROCAP—and you should try this unique product to see if the absence of capacitance yields the sound you want. (Wallace responds: “I designed this cable with zero capacitance so that the sound that hits the amp is the sound of the guitar, and nothing else. What you do with that as an artist is up to you.”)

KUDOS Extended high-end response. Coils easily. Rugged construction.

CONCERNS Sounds more clinical than a standard cable.

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