Seismic Audio Cable Tester Model Number SA-CT3
WHAT IS A CABLE TESTER?
Technically speaking it’s a battery, various connectors, some current limiting resisters and LED indicators connected to a switch which lets you select which wire path you’re checking for continuity.
SEISMIC AUDIO CABLE TESTER CLOSE UP
I found the Seismic Audio cable tester on Amazon but Seismic also sells direct through their web site for a slightly lower price. They also offer the tester in yellow and orange paint jobs from their website.
Besides testing TRS, TS, RCA style phono and XLR cables, it also tests Speakon cables and all 5-individual paths on midi cables.
As an added bonus the cable tester comes with a continuity tester function and a pair of test leads which connect to front panel banana plug jacks. When these test leads are shorted together a light comes on and the tester makes a squeal to indicate continuity between the probes. This is almost all you ever need for trouble shooting wiring in an installation.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are connectors on the right side and connectors on the left side. XLR are gender specific so there is a female on the left and male on the right. Speakon don’t have gender. I love the midi cable test function, I went through a big box of imported 5-pin DIN cables and found two with serious wiring defects.
It is so quick and easy to test a cable. Plug one end into the left side and the other end of the cable into the right side, set the six-position rotary switch to full counter-clockwise and observe the two rows of LED indicators. Rotate the switch to step through the conductors in the cable under test. The top row of lights should match the bottom row except for TS plugs which will indicate wrong on the sleeve position. The function of the cable tester is easy to figure out once you test a few cables.
You can test across some connector gender combinations, for instance you can have a TRS 1/4” male on one side and an XLR on the other side. You can also test between a speakon and a 1/4” male.
The enclosure is heavy gauge folded steel painted sports car red. I was very impressed by the detail on the metal work, there are no sharp edges and it feels quite heavy duty. An external battery compartment access is where you install a standard 9-volt DC transister radio battery. Rubber feet are attached with screws so they won’t fall off.
WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
It’s hard to complain about this cable tester. With the jacks located on the right and left sides of a four-inch wide enclosure it will limit how short of a cable you can plug in. You definitely could not connect short stompbox cables because it seems like about nine-inches is about as short as you can test using the jacks. To test those really short cables with the SA-CT3 you could use the banana plug jacks and test leads provided with the unit to test for continuity and shorts.
The SA-CT3 does not test 1/8” TS or TRS. It is easy enough to use a 1/4” to 1/8” adaptor and use the standard 1/4” test jacks to get around this limitation. If I was working on a Eurorack synth setup I’d look for a cable tester that tests 1/8” TS natively since these patch cords are used extensively with these synthesizers.
Currently the Seismic Audio SA-CT3 is my favorite cable tester. I especially like how easy and straight forward it is to use. I needed the Speakon and Midi test functions and that’s what caused me to buy the one on review here. I also like the bright red paint job, it makes the cable tester stand out in dark or shadowy lighting.
The rotary switch is probably the weakest link, if you threw this into a bag of tools like most bands do the knob will probably break off and render it useless. I recommend treating it like a precious tool and protect it from physical abuse.
A shorted speaker cable can fry a tube amp pretty quickly. If you test your amp-to-speaker connection cables before you use them you can avoid a costly transformer replacement should one of your cables become shorted or open.
I have a lot of cables in inventory and since buying this cable tester I test every cable before plugging it in. By checking in advance I’ve identified nine bad cables that would have caused hours of trouble shooting.
For under $40 this is a great tool for anyone who uses connectorized cables.
Thanks for reading High on Technology.
Good Music to You!
©June 2021 by Mark King. It’s not ok to quote or copy without written permission