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Andy, a theatrical audio engineer, commented on our previous post regarding the Behringer CT-100 Audio Cable Tester, bringing to our attention that Berhringer borrowed the design from smaller audio firm Ebtech’s Swizz Army 6-in-1 Cable Tester, pictured above.  They certainly appear identical to me.

While I’m aware of Behringer’s past with Mackie and Aphex, I’ve never really been a Behringer hater.  When I was first struggling to pick up a mixer for my band, I was happy to find a Behringer that sounded pretty decent — it was a Mackie ripoff, after all.  Sure, it was built poorly, wouldn’t last as long as the Mackie (which I bought later), and Behringer couldn’t provide the same level of support for it.  But I couldn’t afford that level of quality and support, anyway — at the time.

Often we make choices like this not as much based on ultimate morality as we do the need to find something readily-available that we can afford and’ll do the job.

I remember when the company Eagle starter producing the first IBM PC clones way back when I was a kid.  (My parents owned part of a computer store, so I worked there on weekends.)  Eagle was sued — the boards we’re layed out identically — and eventually they worked out a deal that opened up the PC market to what it is today.  If IBM’d had its way, we’d still pay $3500 for a desktop PC — without any other options.

So while I don’t feel particularly bad for Mackie or Aphex, I have to admit that I do feel bad for Ebtech.  This tester’s a great idea, and I could totally have afforded an extra $30 or so to buy from the original creator — had I known they existed.  Sadly, Ebtech didn’t have the same kind of relationship with Guitar Center (or Mars, back when I was buying), which means I didn’t see it until Andy posted the other day — after I’ve had my CT-100 for about seven years.

Thanks, Andy, for pointing this out, and here’s a post with the Swizz Army unit.  It streets for around $80, and can be found in most quality pro-audio establishments.  You amateurs (like me) can pick it up from Musician’s Friend, where it’s selling for $90 as of this moment.

The Swizz Army 6-in-1 Cable Tester [Ebtech]
Street Pricing [Froogle]

Note: I really enjoyed Andy’s audio submissions, and I love seeing cool audio tools, so I’ve created a new “Audio” tool-type category.  Hopefully we’ll see more submissions along these lines!