R&M Tone Technology PowerWire guitar cables incorporate active electronics into the front end signal of a conventional guitar cable. The idea is to add an active pickup-like extended frequency response to passive pickups without any installation or routing to your existing guitar. The result applies itself to a number of situations in a guitar rig.
R&M offers two clean boost cables in the PowerWire series: The CB6, which offers a +6dB gain boost (as we have for review), the CB0 which is a 0 dB clean boost best paired with high-output pickups, acoustic electrics and steel guitars. Two other cables feature onboard effects: the Super Sizzle (SS), which features a sub-harmonic bass boost best suited for electric bass guitars, and the TS09 – their “Dynamic Distortion” cable.
We reviewed the 20’ PowerWire CB6, which is a standard dual TS instrument cable with an active +6dB boost at the guitar end of the signal, powered by two cell batteries. The idea nixes two common methods of boosting signal or output of pickups. The first would be to use a boost pedal at the front of your signal. Instead of adding a pedal, possibly re-wiring your pedalboard – or perhaps even bringing out more than one pedal at all – the cable does the job for you. What makes this method interesting is the PowerWire CB6 boosts the signal as soon as it hits the cable, as opposed to boosting the signal after 20 feet of cable. By design, multiple feet of cable and solder connections typically results in signal degradation. This method is a pure signal boost from the front of the guitar.
Using the PowerWire CB6 may also keep a player from adding an active boost to their guitar’s electronics – or routing the guitar’s body for active pickups. Obviously, these methods leave permanent scars – and may be costly to have done. Testing this cable first may keep the apprehensive player from sending their guitar to the shop.
The PowerWire CB6 is an interesting take on cables that may prove to be the missing link in your signal flow. Active electronics aside, the cable sounds clear and provides a large high frequency range. If you don’t mind changing two button-cell batteries (either #675 or #357) approximately once a year, this cable may see plenty of time in your rig.
CB6 street price: $149.00