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When I used to play in a band, I quickly learned that carrying a decent cable tester made the difference between wondering whether the PA system would work — or whether it’d cut out in the middle of the second set and make me look like a complete ass.

This is the one I ended up carrying, mainly because it’s cheap and effective.  As you can see from the picture, it can handle balanced and unbalanced mic cables, 1/4″ and 1/8″ cables — or best yet, any combination thereof.  For example, if you’ve got a balanced 1/4″ to XLR, just plug each end into the appropriate hole and you’re good to go.

The small lights next to the LED grid (at the right of the photo) turn on whenever continuity breaks, making it easy to diagnose cable problems by yourself; you just plug it in, hit the reset button to extinguish the “intermittant” LEDs, then run around and wiggle the cable.  If they’re on when you come back, the cable’s screwed. 

Best yet, the LED grid shows you the wiring of the cable, so you can tell the difference between when the cable itself has failed and when the guitarist just installed the wrong one.  (It’s also great if you build your own cables ’cause you can troubleshoot them.)

It runs on a 9V — which you’re carrying for when the guitarist all of a sudden can’t perform because he’s still running one of his pedals on battery power and it’s dead anyway, right? — and is durable enough to a roadie’s beating.

You can find it at Guitar Center or other large music stores for around $50, but Froogle’s turning up one for $30 right now.  Trust me — if you’re gigging, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without one.

One last piece of advice: When you find a bad mic cable, cut the damn thing in half and throw it away.  Sure, you could recover the parts or “repair” it, but here’s what’ll really happen: It’ll lay around with the other cables waiting for you to find some “spare time,” then eventually get mixed back in and screw you publicly at a future show.  Count on it!

The CT100 Cable Tester [Behringer]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


5 Responses to Finds: Behringer’s CT-100 Audio Cable Tester

  1. Andy says:

    The Behringer CT-100 is a blatant knockoff of Ebtech’s Swizz Army Tester. I’m sick in bed with bronchitis right now, LOL, so I hope you’ll forgive my laziness in not digging it up myself, but a Google search will give you lots of info backing this, including some correspondence from the big cheese at Ebtech.

    Short version is, Behringer has a longggggggggg history of ripping off other companies’ products (early products of “theirs” were such direct copies that the circuit boards of some of their units still had Aphex’s name silkscreened on them, and their manuals still contained the original companies’ support phone numbers!; there is much documentation online about court cases between Mackie and Aphex and Behringer).

    Please, please, please resist the urge to save a few bucks by buying the Behringer, and do the right thing. Support Ebtech, the small company that actually invested the time and money to develop and design this tester!

    –Andy, NYC/touring sound engineer

  2. Andy says:

    Of course, I left out a link to the Swizz Army:

  3. Tim says:

    Obviously if there was patent rip off, I’m sure Swizz Army would already know about it and sue Behringer. If there is no patent infringment at all, then your “concern” is moot.

    As a result, telling customers what they should buy is irresponsible and none of your business. No matter what kind of engineer you are. You are certainly not a detective or representative of the federal government.

    Having read reviews, the Behringer has more postive reviews than the way over priced Swizz Army Tester. Good enough for me and the majority of other legal consumers.

  4. Ivan says:

    Surely original Swizz Army Tester is overpriced, the little tin box with 2 chips doesn’t cost a hundred bucks, even if all ‘research’ (ridiculous =] ) included.

  5. Alan Hardiman says:

    The CT100 cable tester runs on 2 AA batteries (1.5V each), not a 9V battery as mentioned in the review.

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