Stage Ninja INS-26S

Gig setup and breakdown just got a bit easier, thanks to the folks at Stage Ninja. The INS-26S ($65 retail/$60 street; two XLR models—the XLR-26S and XLR-26D—are also available) is a 26-foot retractable cable system that’s reminiscent of a high-tech dog leash. This innovative device includes 20 feet of retractable cable within a housing, and a 6-foot, non-retractable cable that can be conveniently wound around an outer spool for easy transport. The housing is so hefty that Bruce Lee’s most powerful karate chop would have trouble cracking it. I dropped it on a cement floor and kicked it around, and the Stage Ninja suffered just a few small nicks.

To use the Stage Ninja, you just plug in the non-retractable cable to your amp, pull out the desired length of retractable cable (the shortest length is three feet), and plug the jack into your guitar. However, a sharp tug (like starting a chainsaw) is required to either release or retract the cable. An audible click alerts you when the cable is locked in place. The input jacks are Neutrik NP2Xs with diecast nickel shells, and the shielded cable is designed by HOSA.

Testing the Stage Ninja with an Epiphone Les Paul Standard plugged into a Marshall MG50DFX, I found the cable exhibited clear mids and low background noise. Obviously, what you’re paying for here is the ease and neatness of the Ninja’s retractable cable, as it’s comparable to the sound of good cables that don’t cost $60. It was also a little weird if I walked beyond the cable length, because the housing acted as if a ball-and-chain was welded to my guitar. And yet, when you retract that cable into its housing after a gig or rehearsal, it’s definitely a bliss moment.

Kudos No need to wind cables after gigs or rehearsals. No more snake’s nests of knotted cables.

Concerns Pricey. Heavy.

Contact Stage Ninja, (866) 889-5782;