Reviewing cables can be really boring—but then you run across something like this
By Phil O'Keefe
Instrument cables are an important, and sometimes overlooked aspect of a great rig. After all, a chain is only as good as its weakest link, and if you use poor quality cables to connect everything, it really won't matter how great the rest of the gear in your rig is - the signal quality - and your tone - are going to suffer. However, some cable companies make claims that are hard to justify or prove, and it's easy to get snookered by unsubstantiated marketing hype if you're not wary.
Having said that, there are definitely legitimate factors to consider when shopping for any cable - including instrument cables. The capacitance of the cable - the amount of high frequency loss - can be measured, and can definitely have an effect on your sound if you're using passive pickups. Other factors are important to consider too, such as the shielding, as well as the flexibility and durability of the cable's outer covering or "jacket" material. Of course, it helps if the cable sounds good too. The question is, how well do the Lava Clear Connect II cables measure up?
What You Need To Know
With some of the "snake oil" claims out there about cables and wire, it's easy to be skeptical when you read some of the claims that Lava and G&H make about this cable (and the plugs), but after extensive use, I have to say I'm convinced. The Clear Connect II cable is really a first-rate product. It has low capacitance, great shielding, low noise, and it has proven to be a completely reliable, long-lasting and durable cable that has held up well under heavy use. Best of all, it sounds great too. Sure, there are cheaper cables on the market, but when everything you have connected with them relies on the quality of the cables, it just doesn't make sense to compromise your tone by using inferior quality cables. You won't have that problem with Lava's Clear Connect II instrument cables. You can pay more for cables than this cable costs, but why? These premium cables feature excellent components and construction at a reasonable price - they give you what you need, without any malarkey. Definitely recommended.
Musician's Friend Lava Cable Clear Connect II Instrument Cable online catalog page (Prices range from $35.95 - $84.95 MSRP / "street" depending on cable length. 3' and 30' prices shown - review cable is 15', and is $54.95 MSRP / "street")
Lava Cable's Clear Connect II Instrument Cable web page
G&H Industries Pure PlugTM with Clear Connect Technology™ Q&A (PDF)
Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.