Corporate relationships are surprisingly common and largely unacknowledged in the music gear industry. Sure, everyone knows that Gibson owns Epiphone and Fender runs Squire, but did you know that Korg controls Vox? What about Planet Waves, which operates under the D’Addario umbrella? D’Addario is widely known for its high quality and creative acoustic strings, but it applies the same level of care and performance to the high-end cable market via Planet Waves. One such example of their careful design is the Planet Waves Circuit Breaker guitar cable. Not only does this cable high quality sound, but it also has a functionality no other cable offers. Curious? Then read onwards, as we review all aspects of the Planet Waves Circuit Breaker 1/4” cable.
Like most of Planet Waves’ other current projects, the Circuit Breaker utilizes their patented “In=Out” technology to achieve a high quality sound with minimal attentuation(though this isn’t the feature we’ve already hinted at). In reality, the In=Out technology isn’t so much one single upgrade to the cable, but rather a series of small touches that work in concert with one another to improve the sound. For instance, the company uses ultra-pure copper as the central wire, which is surrounded by two layers of ground shielding. This means that signal is passed but not tarnished, and protected from outside noise and electrical activity via the shielding. While these features aren’t unique in any way to the Circuit Breaker, Planet Waves’ commitment towards using the highest quality metals for its wire and shielding definitely helps the cable reproduce a crisp, accurate sound, making this cable suitable for monitors, PA systems, and instruments.
Alright, you’ve read this far, and it’s finally time to hear about the Circuit Breaker’s key feature: a mute button. On the side of one of the connectors sits a small button, which when pressed mutes all signal from passing through the cable. Press the button again, and the signal is restored. This unique feature has two main applications. First, it allows the cable to integrated or removed from a lengthy signal chain without popping. Second, instrument players could use the mute button as a kill switch, which can be used creatively to achieve a tremolo effect.
The Circuit Breaker utilizes a durable rubber jacket, complimented by plastic connectors. The tips are 24k gold plated, which not only ensures high quality tone for some time, but also lends a sense of luxury to the cable.
Interestingly, the tips of the Circuit Breaker are not soldered to the wire, but instead clipped to the wire’s leads. While this makes repairs a breeze, it lacks the security solder offers. If users begin to notice degradation of the sound or brief lapses in the sound, it will almost always be because of the solder-less contacts has begun to slip.
Unfortunately, Planet Waves doesn’t offer too many customization options. There are no different styles or colors the cable comes in. However, so long as you are a fan of dark gray, you may choose between a variety of lengths, ranging from 10’ to 30’. Currently, the Circuit Breaker does not come as a patch cable, likely because the mute functionality that makes it unique would be difficult to use in a pedal board setting.
In addition to these options, consumers may also choose between a model with two straight tips or a mixture of straight and right angled tips. In the latter option, the mute button is located on the right angle tip, with no option to place it on the straight tip.
Planet Waves stocks products in the vast majority of big box music retailers, so it’s likely that your local stores sell the Circuit Breaker. Of course, this product can be found more cheaply online, at places like Amazon. Expect to pay prices between $20-30, depending mostly on the length of the cable. Readers have likely noticed that the Circuit Breaker is comparatively priced to a standard cable without the mute functionality. Because the cable passes sound accurately and offers a feature other cables at the same price point do not, it is safe to consider the Planet Waves Circuit Breaker as a great value cable.