R&M Tone Technology’s PowerWire™ Delivers and Enhances Your Guitar’s Purest Tone

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Tapping The Source

R&M Tone Technology’s PowerWire™ Delivers and Enhances Your Guitar’s Purest Tone

 <<full video review below>>

Where does electric tone begin? 

 

“In the hands, man! Give [random guitar hero] any guitar, and he or she will sound just like him or herself, man!!!” choruses the Internet-based guitar universe.

 

OK, that’s a fair answer. But in this case we’re thinking a bit differently. Technically speaking, where does electric tone begin? 

 

Don’t overthink it; it begins in the guitar! The strings, pickups, hardware, and many other components all push and pull against each other until a great sound shoots out the output jack by way of a humble guitar cable. From there, all sorts of other factors exert their influence, intentionally or not, on the final production that rushes out of the speaker.

 

And perhaps more than any other time in the history of electric instrumentation, guitarists and bassists have become especially diligent in accounting and, in many cases, correcting for all of those nuances and quirks that shape and re-shape our sound between the guitar’s output jack and the speaker. 

 

Outboard buffer and boost pedals have all been used with great success to mitigate these issues but often still have several feet of cabling in front of them, which impart unintended effects on your signal. Active pickups systems also provide a good solution for long cable runs or certain tones, but can only be used in the guitar they’re installed in and not easily switched out if they don’t meet your needs anymore. 

 

Cabling has also famously entered the fray, with all sorts of excellent innovations available on the market that reduce the effects of capacitance inherent in typical instrument cable designs. But there isn’t anything quite like the new offering from R&M Tone Technology. R&M’s PowerWire is an active instrument cable powered by compact battery cells. Available in four different models, PowerWires combine all the best elements of active pickups, boosters, and buffers, and overcome the inherent limitations of passive cables:

 

  • Unlike active pickups, they’re easily portable between all the guitars and basses in your collection;
  • Unlike boosts or buffers, they connect right to your guitar, resulting in boosted tone that is unadulterated by long cable runs of other effects in your signal chain;
  • Like a great boost pedal, they can be clean, clean but boosted, or provide great overdrive sounds and tonal color, all controllable with your instrument’s volume;
  • They are nearly indistinguishable from normal passive cables, and;
  • They can help streamline a signal chain by reducing the number of potential points of failure.

 

Via email, R&M’s Gene Della Torre gave us the scoop on the members of the PowerWire family.

 

“PowerWire currently comes in two broad categories: Clean Boost (CB0 and CB6) and Clean with Effect (TS09 and SS),” Della Torre said. “The CB models deliver exactly what the pickups send them without color or effect. If you look at the spectrum analysis of PowerWire compared to a passive cable, the signal strength across the frequency range can’t be denied. The improved signal sounds richer, fuller, more precise. It [can] take over as a buffer pedal, but with better results because the cable to the buffer pedal is not degrading the signal.  

 

Line 6

“The other two cables (TS09 and SS) have the signal improvements inherent in these active cables and they add an ‘effect’ that some players really like. TS09 for distortion and SS with increased bass frequencies and harmonics. Which PowerWire you choose is a matter of personal taste and the equipment you use, but by comparison, nothing performs like an active cable. Having the preamp right at the signal origin makes a noticeable tonal difference. What you’re hearing is the truest representation of the output of your pickups and your personal playing technique.” 

 

Overdrives and unique EQing capabilities have been built into active and passive systems alike, but integrating these effects into the cable itself is something new. It makes perfect sense; instead of those effects being driven by the cumulative effects that the cable itself (as well as other pedals or signal chain elements), these effects are receiving and effecting the cleanest, most unadulterated signal possible and effecting that instead.

 

No question PowerWire is a paradigm shift,” Della Torre noted, “but it addresses these tonal issues right at the source, rather than downstream somewhere after it’s too late. At that point, what’s lost is lost.”

 

Instead of adding cumbersome, full-size components to the PowerWire design, R&M Tone Technology spent a lot of time figuring out how to cram such an effective system into a tiny, practical package. Providing the compact preamp with some juice may have been the biggest hurdle going forward, but was elegantly solved by the R&M team. The PowerWire can be powered by two different compact battery cells, depending on your playing frequency.

 

“Fitting all electronics and batteries inside a such a small area was the biggest challenge. We found a way to fit it all inside an off-the-shelf ¼ inch phone jack that’s widely used in the guitar industry. Other technical challenges had us selecting (ironically), hearing aid batteries to power the circuitry!” Della Torre said. “PowerWire has patents that are issued for what we’ve developed.” 

 

Two models of batteries can be used in all PowerWire models. Model 675 Zinc-Air batteries or model 357 Silver-Oxide batteries. Not only is the PowerWire saving some space (and maybe some dollars) in your signal chain, these low-cost button-cell batteries give you options depending on how much you play. The 675 powering option will get the average musician about 90 days of playing time between battery changes, while the 357 batteries can carry on for a year or more if, say, your acoustic instruments (the CB0 and piezo-electric systems are a match made in heaven, by the way) get more work than your electric ones. 

 

We here at TheToneKing.com were also excited to learn that there are other exciting ideas bouncing around at R&M Tone Technology, building off of their pioneering active cable concept. But right now, we’re equally excited to hear how these cables add life and punch, even to a signal chain that has been carefully built and refined. For the price of a typical pedal, guitarists and bassists alike can add an innovative element to their signal chains. Depending on the model, the PowerWire™ can be used to preserve the guitar’s natural, unadulterated natural tone or add incremental gain and EQ boosts for the ultimate in touch sensitivity with seamless implementation. TTK gave the world the scoop on his May live webcast , and we’ve just posted an in-depth review (below) where you can hear for yourself just what the PowerWire is capable of doing for your rig. We are sure you won’t be disappointed! 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Hello. Welcome to TheToneKing.com! My name is Louis, but in name of good fun & entertainment - I call myself The Tone King. This website was born back in 2008, to compliment the videos I started uploading to YouTube on guitar & related gear (guitar, amps, pedals, etc.). It has since grown, thanks to the thousands that tune in, making it what it is. If you subscribe to TheToneKing.com, you can expect lots of Guitar, Amp, Pedal Reviews & Shoot-Out videos. I also have monthly Live Webcasts, perform Artist Interviews, and try to get all the juicy coverage Backstage and at trade-shows like NAMM. The cherry on top is that there are no shortage of How-To Videos & TTK Killer Deal Alerts getting you the most knowledge & gear into your hands & mind! Thanks for stopping by to check out my website! Rock ON!

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  1. website says:

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  2. Derek Sasaki says:

    Hi TTK , I think your reviews are awesome ! But all the amps ans speaker cabs you have I want to know all the amps and speaker cabs you have ! I think it is about time you have a webcast of all your old and new amps and speaker cabs and what you think of them ! I see them in the background but can not make them out as far as models go ! I want to know what Marshalls and what kind of speakers you have in all of your speaker cabs ! Are you in for a challenge ! Are you up to it ? Love your webcasts and I watch when I can ! Sincerely , Derek Sasaki P.S. And tell us which ones you love the best and why !

  3. Derek Sasaki says:

    Hi TTK , I think your reviews are awesome ! But all the amps ans speaker cabs you have I want to know all the amps and speaker cabs you have ! I think it is about time you have a webcast of all your old and new amps and speaker cabs and what you think of them ! I see them in the background but can not make them out as far as models go ! I want to know what Marshalls and what kind of speakers you have in all of your speaker cabs ! Are you in for a challenge ! Are you up to it ? Love your webcasts and I watch when I can ! Sincerely , Derek Sasaki

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