Meet Solid Cable
Once in a while you come across a product
that is built with so much care that you just
know it will sound good even before plugging it in. That was recently the case when
I tried out a Dynamic Arc Ultra cable from
Pasadena, California-based Solid Cable.
By now, we all probably roll our eyes at
the common chatter about how important
cables are to our tone. But way too often,
when doing sessions, I look at what the
musicians are plugging into their instruments and shake my head. That’s why when
I’m wearing my producer/engineer hat,
I often bring several high quality cables
with me, just in case. After using a “slab”
of Solid Cable for a while, I have no doubt
about what’s getting packed into
my bag, both in the studio
and on the road.
was a touring musician
cable failed him
during a show overseas. After a little research,
he became determined to “redefine what a
top quality cable sounds, looks and feels like.”
From there he designed the Dynamic Arc
Ultra – a fancy name for a damn good cable.
Just looking at some of the components
used in the construction of the Dynamic Arc
Ultra proves that the company means business. The woven, triple carbon braid/shield-ing reminds me of the engine cables in my
tricked out Camaro (back in the day). The
all-metal, nickel die cast jack can’t even be
unscrewed. The interior of the cable is filled
with an aerospace-grade epoxy to keep
the components from shaking or otherwise
coming apart. The copper conductor is also
of aerospace quality and all of the mechanical components are chemically welded
together. Even the outer “armor” has been
overbuilt; it is tear resistant to over 6000 PSI
– enough to double as a tow rope in a pinch
– and each end features triple strain relief.
All this adds up to a cable that will not only
take a beating, but also deliver pristine,
high quality sound.
As you probably can guess, cables like
these are not inexpensive – a 15’ Ultra
will run you $143 retail. But that’s in line
with other high-end cables (even less than
some), and for those of us who take our
work seriously, it’s an investment in sound
that will last. In fact, these hand-built
cables offer a lifetime warranty.
I’m not here to blow smoke up your ass and
Solid Cable’s Dynamic Arc Ultra
tell you that this cable will change your life.
But without a doubt, it delivers all the highs,
mids and lows your instrument can put
out. I’ve played my guitars for upwards of
20 years and I know their tone intimately.
I first plugged it into my Tele through a
DI, and got a super clean, fat tone on all
three pickup settings. I then tried it with my
Jaguar Baritone and an old amp; the “beef”
was certainly there. I followed that up by
plugging my Les Paul into a Focusrite preamp and into various software amps – once
again, the sound was impressively full.
Finally I plugged my old Fender Precision
into a Fender amp for more cabley goodness – I was absolutely hooked on the full
range of tone I was hearing. In short, the
Dynamic Arc Ultra gives me the sound I
know these instruments can – and should
– deliver. It also gives you a sense of confidence, both because of the tone that it
delivers and because you know it won’t fail
in the middle of a critical moment.
Another feature that will surely be appreciated by pros is that Solid Cables do not
kink up. When rolling and unrolling it, they
simply “fall” into place. I noticed this when
taking the Ultra out of my cable draw –
unzip the cable tie and plug and play. This
is even more important for those of you
out on the road, where you’re packing and
unpacking almost every night. Aside from
the tonal benefits, this cable will make your
setup easier, which may be worth the price
alone to the most dedicated road warriors.
For those playing basses or hot single-coil
pickups, the company also makes
the Dynamic Arc Beta cable,
which “aligns the highs
and gives a warm
out the harsh
that the Beta
makes use of helical
wound spiral shielding.
Don’t forget that the tone of your instrument is delivered after the pickups, so
it’s important to get that sound as cleanly
and clearly as possible to your performing
and/or recording source. There is no doubt
that cables, especially good ones, really
do make a difference in your sound. Do
yourself a favor and really think about the
cables you use. If it’s time to replace those
old dogs, drop by solidcables.com and
check them out a little further. Your sound
will be glad you did.
is a producer, engineer and mixer who has worked with
artists ranging from Al DiMeola to David Bowie. A lifelong guitarist, he’s also the author of Pro Tools Surround
Sound Mixing and composes for such networks as
Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon and National Geographic.