To some players, purchasing the appropriate 1/4” cable is a breeze. After all, if the cable will ultimately be used as an instrument cable for rock, metal, blues, or any style of music that requires a generous helping of distortion, the ability of a cable to block noise and faithfully reproduce sound is a bit of a moot point. However, smart musicians realize that in certain contexts, choosing the appropriate cable is a necessity. For instance, jazz and acoustic musicians will want a cable capable of passing signal accurately, so that their overtones come through clearly. When connecting a PA or monitors, choosing a high quality, balanced cable is also of utmost importance. It is for these last two situations that Planet Waves peddles the American Stage. Just what makes this 1/4” cable so great? Read on as we dive into all aspects of the Planet Waves American Stage…
D’Addario (which owns Planet Waves) has always had a reputation for putting extreme care into the sound quality of their products, and the American Stage is no exception. Featuring Planet Waves’ “In=Out” technology, the American Stage accurately and crisply passes sound through it. The cable has a low capacitance rating, meaning it stores very little electricity and barely attenuates high frequency signals. The cable also utilizes Neutrick tips, which are well known for their ability to faithfully pass sound. The precision of sound quality these cables offered makes them suitable for use at home, in the studio, or even as part of a live rig.
Like most of Planet Waves’ cables, a durable rubber jacket coats the American Stage. While we’ve definitely held more rugged cables before, the American Stage seems more than capable of standing up to many of hours of use.
As previously mentioned, the American Stage utilizes Neutrick tips. However, these aren’t the Neutrick tips you may be used to on other cables. For the American Stage, Planet Waves’ patented the “GeoTip,” which is basically an improved connector shape meant to better keep the cable plugged in. When plugged into an instrument, the GeoTips guarantee that satisfying positive “click” every time.
The GeoTips are then connected to the wire itself via a 360º soldering process, meant to provide added security and accurate tone. The 360º soldering process is actually one of the biggest strengths of the American Stage cable, as it drastically reduces the amount of solder joint related maintenance issues the cable will experience. Anyone who has spent time in cable repair knows that solder joints are almost always the first thing to break on a cable, but Planet Waves’ unique soldering process helps to insure this won’t happen anytime soon.
One of Planet Waves’ biggest criticisms for all their products is the total lack of customization options. The cable only comes in one color, a dark grey, and does not feature any sort of patterning. Fortunately, Planet Waves does sell a variety of lengths of the American Stage. For the practice room and home studio, the 10 foot option is likely the best bet, whereas live rigs would benefit most from the extended range of the 30 foot option. Unfortunately, the American Stage does not currently come as a patch cable, though many of the technologies it features also appear in Planet Waves’ patch cable series. In addition to length, consumers can also choose between straight tips, right angled tips, or a combination of the two.
Planet Waves products are stocked almost everywhere D’Addario products are, which is to say almost all big box music retailers and many locally owned stores carry this product. Naturally, the American Stage is widely available on the internet, through retailers like Amazon where there are usually free shipping deals. Expect to pay prices between $20-30 for the American Stage, depending mostly on the length of the cable and place of purchase. This pricing makes the American Stage competitive with other “prosumer” cables, and thus it’s a decent value. If you’re looking for a solid cable that will last for some time (especially in a live rig), the American Stage would be an ideal choice.