Being as hard on cables as we are, a recent need arose to find an extremely burly cable that could withstand some serious torture. Spectraflex answered our call and was kind enough to send us an X-flex cable to demo in our studio. Having had fantastic luck with Spectraflex cables in the past, we were particularly excited about this one as it is described as the “best guitar cable available” on the Spectraflex website. That’s quite a meaningful thing to say for a company who has been making guitar cables for nigh three decades. Considering that we have a rather uncanny tendency to kick, bend, twist, step on, throw, and otherwise mistreat our cables, we were certainly the right crowd to verify these claims. So as to not keep you in suspense, we can safely say that the cable delivered on its promises and made us very happy to be able to use it.
Our favorite cables are the ones that don’t color our sound. We are pleased to report that the X-flex does very well in this regard. The highs remain articulate and clear while the lows are crisp and punchy. This was as true when playing the treble notes on our Telecaster as it was plucking the low-E on our Fender Jazz Bass. When handling the cable or moving around the floor while playing, there was no discernible noise that we could detect. No squeaking, no scratching, just peace and quiet. From a sonic perspective, this cable does everything we’d want it to.
Build quality is superb, no doubt. Upon handling this cable for the first time, the girth is exceedingly evident. This cable is an easy 3/8″ in diameter. Make no mistake, it’s a lot thicker than your average cable. It has a 20 AWG pure copper core with a 95% overall copper shield and an inner PVC shield that provides 100% coverage. Finishing the cable off is a multi-layered nylon braid and a PVC outer jacket.
The connectors are fantastic. They are Amphenol connectors with aluminum housings and a chuck style clamp to strain relieve the solder joint (which is where most cables tend to fail). The construction of these connectors makes it extremely unlikely that you will damage the solder joint as it moves the flex point at least a couple inches away.
For a cable this size, it coils and stows very nicely. The flexibility is great and allows you to maintain a decently tight bend radius when winding it up. Although you’ll never be as small or light as a thinner cable, for its size it is great!
Last but not least, we can always get behind a music product that’s made in the good old USA. As more and more cables are being produced overseas, it’s refreshing to see a company that likes to keep their production stateside.
In typical Spectraflex fashion, there are quite a few color options. We tested the “black widow”, which has a black and red braid, but the cable is also available in “big fatty” (think Rasta colors), camo, venom (rattlesnake colors), and alien probe (a radioactive green more or less). Aside from colors, it seems that the only other option is length, where you can decide between 10, 15, and 20 feet. The cable appears to be offered only with dual straight plugs at present, but this may be subject to change in the future.
All in all, this cable lives up to its reputation. If you want a beastly cable that can stand up to some abuse, the Spectraflex X-flex would make a great choice. That said, sometimes we have to pay for the best things in life, and this cable will run you a skosh over 60 bucks at the time of writing this article. Is it worth it? We think so. However, if you prefer a cable that’s a little easier on the wallet but maintains similar quality, you can always check out the Spectraflex Original and Vintage product lines as well.