Friday, February 8, 2013

Nady CT-6 6-Way Cable Tester Review


There is nothing like having a channel go dead while you are running a show. I had a mic crap out on me during a recent show, and after switching channels I figured it had to be the XLR cable or the microphone (praying it wasn’t the snake), so I ran up and swapped out both components real quick to keep the show going.

Later on I tested the mic and found out it was ok, and threw the cable on a shelf and figured I would get to it later. Well, I recently picked up a Nady CT-6 6-way cable tester, and thought I would see how well it worked. I used to scoff at cable testers because I have a pretty strong electronics background and have a really nice digital multimeter so I can test things out myself without needing to have another piece of equipment. In theory this is nice, but I hadn’t gotten around to checking this cable, had I?

Besides testing failed equipment, it is also nice to have something like this so I can go through all of my cables before I pack up for a gig, so I know I am not taking any bum equipment. Of course I carry spares, but why deal with the hassles of tracking down dead leads during the stress of a set-up.

The Nady CT-6 gets the job done for me. It is a sturdy metal component, painted silver with kind of cheap looking graphics on the front. It is not a lot bigger than an effects pedal, measuring 5 x 3 ½ by 1 ½ inches, and it weighs about 1 ½ pounds. There are outputs and inputs on the top and sides that allow you to test cables with the following ends: banana plugs, ¼-inch TRS, DIN, phono (RCA), Speakon and XLR.

This unit is fairly easy to use. It is powered by a 9-volt battery (not included), and there is no ON/OFF switch -- the unit powers ON as soon as a cable is plugged in. When you plug a cable into both sides of the CT-6, it passes a small amount of current through the cable, and if it comes out the other side ok, it will illuminate one of the LEDs. By turning the 6-position knob, a pair of LEDs will light up for however each conductor that is inside the cable (up to 5). If an LED does not come ON, there is an open circuit. The sixth position is for testing the battery.

If you have a cable or circuit that you want to check that is not included on this unit, you can plug electrical test leads into the banana plug jacks and use this as a continuity checker.

I have been using this tested religiously and have already found a few bad cables before loading up for shows, so it has already paid for itself. Learning how to use it was a breeze, and it seems to be holding up well. If any of the connectors go bad, they look like they should be easy enough to service. The only hang-up I have is that the battery leads seem REALLY thin, so I think that will be the first thing to break.

The Nady CT-6 6-way cable tester gets the job done for me, and did not break the bank. These have a list price of $39.99 and a street price of $34.95, but I recently saw that had them on sale for $29.79 online.



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