With the explosion in popularity of pedalboards in the last five or so years, the amount of pedalboard accessories available has also experienced rapid growth. Once the territory of boutique brands such as George L, custom patch cables kits have now gone mainstream. The Pedalboard Cable Kit is D'Addario's first foray into custom cables and retails at £54.99, a price that falls in line with similar kits from Diago and Evidence Audio.
What do you get?
The Pedalboard Cable Kit includes 10 feet of instrument cable, ten right angled jack plugs, a cable cutting tool and a small screwdriver for attaching the cable to the plugs. The cable seems rugged, as do the jack plugs, and the entire package is incredibly well made.
Why use custom patch cables?
As you can see from the above photo, my pedalboard is neither huge nor particularly complicated, yet using a mix of pre-made patch cables and short instrument cables has left it pretty untidy. When putting together a board using pre-made cables, you are constantly having to make compromises. Either the cables won't quite stretch to where you want the pedals to sit on the board and you have to move them closer together, or the pedals are too close and you end up with excess cables underneath the board. As you can see from my board, this means you often end up with cables all over the place, often interweaved with power leads. The underside was even worse...
How does the D'addario Pedalboard Cable Kit work?
Making patch cables with the Pedalboard Cable Kit is really simple. First, plan how long you need the cable to be. I did this by placing the jack plugs in to the in and out sockets of my pedals and then laying them out on the board in the positions I wanted them in. This allowed me to accurately gauge exactly how long each cable would need to be. I then cut each cable to the desired length using the supplied cutting tool. Attaching the cables to the jack plug is also very easy. Simply unscrew the small screw on each jack plug and feed the cable into the plug until it stops. Tighten the screw back up, and the connection is complete. When making up the cables for my board, I only had one instance where the cable did not work first time, and this was solely down to not feeding the cable in far enough before tightening the screw. This was easily resolved by untightening it, feeding the cable in further and re-tightening. The connection between the cable and plug feels solid and as convincing as any pre-made patch cable.
As you can see from the above photo, my pedalboard ended up being much tidier once the custom patch cables were in place. I no longer had to use the instrument cable to go from one row to another, and could avoid power cables crossing audio cables. There was no longer excess cable underneath the board, meaning that it now sat truely flat on the floor. Aesthetically and functionally, a massive improvement.
You may also be able to spot that I am still using a single pre-made patch cable due to there only being five included in the Pedalboard Cable Kit. While five will probably be enough for most users (it seems to be the norm for this type of kit) it would be incredibly useful to include one or two more pairs of jack plugs, or at least make these available to purchase separately.
My only other criticism of the kit would be the size of the jack plugs. While this wasn't a huge inconvenience for my board, I did have to shuffle the Soul Food and Echoplex pedals to accommodate the fairly chunky jacks, and I would imagine this becoming trickier on bigger and more complicated boards.
The D'Addario Pedalboard Cable Kit is a really neat product. It provides a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution to tidying up compact pedalboards. My only reservations are that the size of the angled jack plugs may prove difficult to accommodate into bigger and more complicated setups. Still, for the average user, this kit is a vastly better option than buying a bunch of individual (and fairly useless), pre-made patch cables.
8/10 - Mark