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Title: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Bennett Prescott on November 29, 2006, 07:57:53 pm
One of the awesome handouts at the WedgeFest in September was the Neutrik Silent Plug. That I'm just getting to writing about it now tells you how good I am at time management.

Essentially, it's a 1/4" plug designed for guitars that shorts tip to sleeve when you unplug it, eliminating the loud pop that you might otherwise be subjected to. They accomplish this quite cleverly, with a reed switch built into the body of the plug and a moving magnet that closes and opens it. This way the switching circuitry is all sealed and rated for over 10,000 cycles. This image pretty much sums it up:

http://www.neutrik.com/client/neutrik/media/view500/Media_229115894.jpg

I have to admit that I haven't opened mine yet. Have any other LABsters used one, and what did you think? I don't play guitar :/
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Rob Spence on November 30, 2006, 11:05:48 pm
I removed the plug from one end of my "loaner" cable (bright orange/red) and put the Neutrik Silent Plug I got at Wedgefest on instead.
Like all of the Neutrik connectors I have used, it was a pleasure to install.

I have one other cord with another varient of this on it and it has saved me from some serious pops.

I expect to use it on a gig this Saturday so will report back on how it works next week.

Assuming it works as well as I expect it too, I will do the same to my other "guitar" cords.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Sara Elliott on December 01, 2006, 01:45:10 pm
Thanks Rob, I have had a few calls making inquiry on what you guys thought of the plug.  All of those that were at Wedgefest please make sure you post.  Neutrik was nice enough to provide these little gems as "freebies" for the event. So let them know what you think and how you are using it in the field.  
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Mike Butler (media) on December 17, 2006, 05:25:19 pm
Bennett Prescott wrote on Wed, 29 November 2006 19:57

...I have to admit that I haven't opened mine yet. Have any other LABsters used one, and what did you think? I don't play guitar :/
What, you can't use it on one of your double-barrel harpsichords?
Twisted Evil

OK, my turn. I took a store-bought guitar cable with the standard plugs and lopped off a 3-foot hunk, on which I went and installed a standard Neutrik nickel-plated plug from my inventory and am now using it as a stomp box patch cable. The remaining 22 feet with a newly bare end would be my test application for the aforementioned sample. My first impression is that it is an aesthetic tour de force, which is not surprising with Neutrik, and unlikely you will mistake it for a Switchcraft (more on that later). As an old advocate of nickel-plated all-metal-barreled plugs, I was a bit skeptical of this crimson-shelled beauty, especially knowing that an instrument cable will spend some time lying on stage where it can be stepped on. So I gave it the boot test, first standing on it wearing Doc Marten-type footwear on a hardwood floor. The plug survived, so it gets the thumbs-up for use by punk-rock bands. Next I tried snakeskin Nocona cowboy boot heels, a more stringent test, and this plug gets the OK for country-western bands as well.  Very Happy  It turns out the red barrel is not molded plastic, but enameled or lacquered bronze of a pretty good wall thickness, so much for judging a book by its cover. I didn't do a test of the wear-resistance of the coating, but did find that it is scratchable.

Gold plated throughout, including the solder points, I knew this plug would be a breeze to solder. Now as for what I said earlier, with a Switchcraft or other brand conventional plug, a common mistake is to solder the leads on without first sliding the barrel on up the cable. (Doh!) With this plug, the reverse is true; you don't put the barrel on until after the wiring is soldered.  Think Speakon. The center conductor has a handy solder cup; the shield has nothing but the semi-cylindrical sleeve to solder to (no tab or clamp), but being gold, it attaches readily.

In actual use, it works just as advertised. When unplugged, it does short out the cable, and totally eliminates the pop when plugging and unplugging, plus any hum or buzz that might be picked up when handling the bare plug, or any other stray hum from lying around open-circuited on the floor. I tried it with a solid-body electric and with an EA. One thing crossed my mind is whether this is available in a 90-degree angle plug. The straight configuration is just perfect for Stratocaster-type instruments, but there are some guitars, such as my Ovation EA, whose jack is on the back bowl where a straight plug would stick right out into the guitarist's leg. So I did some snooping and found that the NP2RX-AU-SILENT is available for just another half-buck. Life is good.

I hope these are distributed only to those who are intelligent enough NOT to use them to connect speakers to power amplifiers!  Shocked  Laughing  Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Philip Roberts on December 17, 2006, 07:22:03 pm
Mike Butler (media) wrote on Sun, 17 December 2006 17:25

 One thing crossed my mind is whether this is available in a 90-degree angle plug.


Yep they do the NP2RX-AU-SILENT, I saw it at AES.

How well does the muting work? Could you hear any popping?

I need to get my self some of these plugs.


Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jon Smith on December 17, 2006, 08:03:57 pm
I have four cables with the neutrik silent plug guitar cords. They work great! They are nice to have when you have a guitar player that loves to pull the "plug" a nano second after their last note. I still try to mute the channel before a disconnect.

I have noticed that there is a very small number of instrument jacks that will not let the neutrik seat completely. Make sure that it is seated completely if you have a problem.

They are great addition to the tool box.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Rob Spence on December 26, 2006, 01:45:42 am
Ok, so it isn't "next week" but I got distracted by an unplanned visit to Colorado in order to get snowed in Smile

2100 miles of driving later I am home for xmas and can report on the connector.

It worked as advertised. The guitarist and I had no problems with it. I guess I will do the other loaner cable now.

As Mike mentions below, like all Neutrik connectors it was a breeze to install.

I like it.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Scott Deeter on December 30, 2006, 03:47:28 am
Hmm, this caught my eye while looking around here. Well, an idea came to mind regarding this Silent Plug. Do you think an adaptor version of this would make any sense (straight & 90 degree)? Basically you could use it on any guitar cord without the need for soldering, if the cord goes bad, just switch it to another cord. If some type of locking mechanism was incorporated to hold it onto the regular plug in case of a yank. A thought of an internal clamp that grips the 1/4" tip with just a twist or something. Oh well, I'm not a guitar player either but trying to think for one. Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Phil LaDue on January 01, 2007, 09:20:19 pm
It could also work for V-Drums Scott!!
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Rob Burgess on January 02, 2007, 01:41:51 pm
Phil LaDue wrote on Mon, 01 January 2007 21:20

It could also work for V-Drums Scott!!


Not too many drummers play their last note and start unplugging their pads right away Smile  While the plug would be a nice thing I can't see drummers being priority users.

--
Rob
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Karl Winkler on January 02, 2007, 03:23:15 pm
I just got some samples of this connector from my Neutrik rep and I plan to make up some active and passive guitar cables to do some testing. I have one well-known guitar god lined up to test one of these for me. I'll report back as soon as I have some solid info.

I like the connector a lot though, and I think Neutrik has once again done it right. I've used the two Switchcraft "silent" 1/4" connectors before. They work, but they have some problems. I hope that this one from Neutrik works as well as advertised because I think the problems with the other ones are solved in this new design.

-Karl
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Mike Butler (media) on January 04, 2007, 11:43:45 am
Philip Roberts wrote on Sun, 17 December 2006 19:22

Mike Butler (media) wrote on Sun, 17 December 2006 17:25

 One thing crossed my mind is whether this is available in a 90-degree angle plug.


Yep they do the NP2RX-AU-SILENT, I saw it at AES.

How well does the muting work? Could you hear any popping?

I need to get my self some of these plugs.




Works fine, no pops, I found the same angle plug. It's all good.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Phil LaDue on January 14, 2007, 10:07:31 am
I'm having a hell of a time finding guitar cables with Silent Plugs already on them, does anyone know where I get them for a reasonable price. I'm beginning to think I would be better off buying some cheap guitar cables and making my own.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: John Horvath on January 14, 2007, 01:21:18 pm
Phil LaDue wrote on Sun, 14 January 2007 09:07

I'm beginning to think I would be better off buying some cheap guitar cables and making my own.

Nah, paying for connectors and labor that you're just going to chop off is silly.  Just purchase the raw wire & connectors and start from scratch.  Then you can get whatever color wire you want, and apply some heatshrink however you like.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Tim Padrick on January 14, 2007, 06:02:17 pm
ProCo used to make some that were available through PartsExpress, but no longer it appears.  I like the ProCo MusicMover cable for guitar use.    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshowdetl.cfm?&PartNumber =100-297&DID=7
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Phil LaDue on January 14, 2007, 07:44:58 pm
All set now, found the plugs on Markertek and by the foot ProCo cable that Tim suggested on Parts Express.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Karl Winkler on January 15, 2007, 01:30:30 pm
So I went ahead and made up two cables with these and did some testing. They work really well and IMO are much better than the Switchcraft ones. They were a little difficult to solder because I installed our JFET circuit board (for passive gtr pickups) but normally, most people wouldn't be doing that. I was a bit surprised that the circuit board fit in there.

I love the way these things work!

I'm giving these cables to someone at NAMM for further "real world" beta testing.

-Karl
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Sara Elliott on January 31, 2007, 07:41:16 pm
Hey Karl;
So inquiring minds want to know- did you pass it on to someone at NAMM for further Beta testing?  I would be interested to get their take?
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Karl Winkler on February 12, 2007, 10:29:17 am
Sara,

Sorry I just saw your question!

Yes, I gave a pair of custom cables with these connectors to Steve Stevens for his use and testing. He told me at the show that he's working on a solo record right now and probably wouldn't have a chance to test the cables for another few weeks. As soon as I have some input from him I'll post it here.

I've used my own cable made with one of these and I really like it. Since finding a bridge for my '67 Epiphone Olympic guitar at NAMM, I've been playing a little more guitar than in the past few years. This thing FINALLY plays in tune! (the original bridge was a fixed-saddle wrap-around with the 3rd saddle set for a wound string. Above the 4th fret you could really tell the difference. Yech!) This is one cool connector!

-Karl
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Adam Whetham on February 12, 2007, 06:58:47 pm
This road test made me want to try some out. So i bought 4 from our supplier... I have a band that i do sound with that has a bass player thats notorious for this sort of stuff...

Needless to say... No more pops... it was great! The guitar player and I were relieved that we didn't have to worry about stupid time.

I'm making one for a good customer of mine for an open mic night at the local pub that he covers.... You should have seen his eye's light up when i mentioned that someone made a cable like this... He can't wait for this thursday!
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jon Smith on February 12, 2007, 08:40:10 pm
I had four instrument cables made for me last July and have been using them ever since. They are great and I have had no problems with them. All my clients have really like them. Nice for those times when you are not on top of a player who a fast puller... A great addition to the cable box!

Jon
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Nick Aghababian on March 25, 2007, 09:28:01 am
If I cared a little more, I would find a link to some 1/4" silent plugs that have a little volume control on them for acoustic acts. they were expensive, but no pops either (that is if you remember to turn it down befor unpluging).
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Phil LaDue on March 25, 2007, 07:25:04 pm
Nick Aghababian wrote on Sun, 25 March 2007 09:28

If I cared a little more, I would find a link to some 1/4" silent plugs that have a little volume control on them for acoustic acts. they were expensive, but no pops either (that is if you remember to turn it down befor unpluging).


Maybe it was one of these fitted with a Silent Plug™?
http://tinyurl.com/2bktnf
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Nick Aghababian on March 26, 2007, 01:04:52 am
Phil LaDue wrote on Sun, 25 March 2007 19:25

Nick Aghababian wrote on Sun, 25 March 2007 09:28

If I cared a little more, I would find a link to some 1/4" silent plugs that have a little volume control on them for acoustic acts. they were expensive, but no pops either (that is if you remember to turn it down befor unpluging).


Maybe it was one of these fitted with a Silent Plug??
http://tinyurl.com/2bktnf

Probably. It's been years since i've seen one, but I'm sure that has to be it because I don't see them often, so there must not be too many of them
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Karl Winkler on August 28, 2007, 11:00:25 am
Just a follow up on this topic - I found that Neutrik also makes a right-angle version of this connector... and that's what I needed for my own personal guitar setup. I made a pair of cables with right angle connectors on one end, since my guitar has the jack on the pick guard ('67 Epiphone Olympic Single, with a Seymour Duncan Hot Stack pickup, for those who care). Man is that a nice connector!

-Karl
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Adam Whetham on October 05, 2007, 03:33:55 am
Karl Winkler wrote on Tue, 28 August 2007 10:00

Just a follow up on this topic - I found that Neutrik also makes a right-angle version of this connector... and that's what I needed for my own personal guitar setup. I made a pair of cables with right angle connectors on one end, since my guitar has the jack on the pick guard ('67 Epiphone Olympic Single, with a Seymour Duncan Hot Stack pickup, for those who care). Man is that a nice connector!

-Karl


I had completely forgotten they were making a right angle version... Tommorow its off to order some... They do come in handy for those acoustic guitar guys....
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jeff Babcock on October 05, 2007, 11:51:40 am
I love these cables too.  Made up a whole bunch to have on hand.  They work great.  I did find that I had to use a hotter gun or otherwise they were a hair more tedious to solder, they seemed to direct heat away more quickly.  That's very minor though.

Thanks to Bennett for bringing these to my attention!

Jeff
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Mike Newberry on January 22, 2008, 11:42:32 pm
I noticed several posts on this connector. Having used the simpler G&H 90 degree quiet plug, this seemed like a very nice engineering approach and an improvement, as the switch contacts were sealed for life. They also have a very well engineered cable retention strain relief which is the best I've seen.

I bought 5 of them from Mouser at about $10 each. I made up several cables for my band members and myself. So far, 4 of the 5 have failed in use. All have had light use and failed fairly quickly because the magnetic doughnut becomes stuck in the housing in the retracted (on)position.

This happens because the shaft body (electrical connection end) can move in the connector body while inserted into a guitar jack. Once the 90 degree alignment between the shaft and body is off a small amount the magnetic doughnut becomes stuck in the recess, where it retracts when inserted. Simply put they bend slightly and the magnet binds.

I am especially careful to loop my cable back over my strap to prevent accidentally pulling the cable or damaging the jack. Even this type of careful handling hasn't prevented the failure. Initially, I thought it may have been stepped on one and crushed the connector. But since I've been very careful with the rest, it's an aparent design problem. Yes, they can be bent back very carefully, but after use a couple of uses it's back to the same problem.

I sent several emails to Neutrik, but they have never answered one. Mouser on the other hand, replaced two of the connectors at no charge, but I had them beyond 90 days, which is all they warranty them, so the other 2 failed at my expense.

While this seemed like a very good idea, they don't hold up. I still think their cable retention and strain relief method is second to none, however.

I'm going back to the G&H Quiet Plug, which is about half the cost and I've never had one fail. They just have to be heat shrunk, to supplement the strain relief.

Mike
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Karl Winkler on January 23, 2008, 11:39:22 am
Good input, Mike. I haven't noticed that problem but I also haven't used my cables very much. I haven't heard of this problem with the straight version - has anyone else?

-Karl
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jon Smith on January 23, 2008, 03:22:11 pm
Karl Winkler wrote on Wed, 23 January 2008 09:39

Good input, Mike. I haven't noticed that problem but I also haven't used my cables very much. I haven't heard of this problem with the straight version - has anyone else?

-Karl


Karl,

I have four cables with Neutrik plugs on both ends. They are almost two years old. I just last week had the first failure on one end. Going to my jobber today and see what they do for the fix, repair or replace & cost. I have really enjoyed them so and still do.

Jon
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jerry Turnbow on March 25, 2008, 02:08:54 pm
I purchased five of these plugs and began retrofitting some existing instrument cables.

One of the plugs had an immediate failure - it would not mute.  I suspect the reed switch itself may have come loose internally or something, but the supplier replaced it at no charge after consulting Neutrik.

A second one failed after not very much use when using it with a Taylor T5 hybrid guitar.  This time, it failed in the muted condition.  It was not a mechanical issue with the magnet "donut" reported above; it traveled back and forth fine.  I suspect, perhaps, that the T5 switches power to the preamp using the typical "short ring to sleeve" method, and that the inrush of DC flowing through the tip-sleeve connnection on the plug probably "welded" the tiny contacts on the microswitch.  

Thinking that to be the case, I took the connector and smacked it against a table top a few times to jar the contact loose, and sure enough, it opened up, and the cable has been working normally ever since.  I any case, I always carry one or two spare cables (did that before the Silent Plug - it's just good practice.)

The other thing I noticed with the T5 is that when plugging in, there's still a "pop" somtimes, I suspect, due to the actual powering up of the preamp, as if there's a sizeable filter capacitor in the power supply circuit, which might also explain the "contact welding" issue.

I use one of the cables with my electric fiddle, which also has a preamp, and have never had either of these problems.

Bottom line is - I love the plugs, I think they're well-constructed, and they probably work great for passive instruments, and probably most active ones as well, but there may be a handful of devices that, due to the power-on circuitry, will still be problematic.  In those cases, it may be possible to change the power circuit to use one of the 1/4" jacks that uses a plunger-operated set of contacts, instead of the common sleeve-to-ring connection, or maybe even incorporate a blocking diode to keep the tip side from passing DC while plugging in.

My $ .02

Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jeff Babcock on March 27, 2008, 12:53:05 pm
OK, another update for me.....

I have about 10 of these in use, and have had 2 failures so far.
I have also found some pops occurring with certain guitars similar to Jerry's findings.

I still like the product but the couple of failures concerns me a bit, especially seeing that others have had the same problem.  I'm not sure if I have 100% faith in these connectors, especially in a really heavy-use situation.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jerry Turnbow on March 27, 2008, 01:58:12 pm
Jeff Babcock wrote on Thu, 27 March 2008 16:53

OK, another update for me.....

I have about 10 of these in use, and have had 2 failures so far.
I have also found some pops occurring with certain guitars similar to Jerry's findings.

I still like the product but the couple of failures concerns me a bit, especially seeing that others have had the same problem.  I'm not sure if I have 100% faith in these connectors, especially in a really heavy-use situation.



Jeff -

Just curious.  Did yours fail open (no muting) or fail shorted? Or did you have the mechanical problem others reportd?

- Jerry
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jeff Babcock on April 10, 2008, 01:53:58 pm
Jerry,
The failures have been shorted, and the other issue was the popping with certain few models of guitars.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jerry Turnbow on April 11, 2008, 10:19:11 pm
Jeff Babcock wrote on Thu, 10 April 2008 18:53

Jerry,
The failures have been shorted, and the other issue was the popping with certain few models of guitars.


Thanks, Jeff.

This would seem to support my suspicions that there may be a problem with active instruments that may have a high inrush current when powered up, resulting in "welding" of the reed switch.

Of course, even without the problem of the contacts sticking, the delayed "pop" as the preamp comes up is still a problem.  Sounds like the best fix would be to current-limit the power supply/filter cap when the preamp powers up.  I guess a blocking diode on the tip side would at least protect the contact, but one would probably have to stack several in series to ensure that one doesn't rectify the audio signal out of the instrument.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jeff Kaiser on July 08, 2008, 02:16:53 pm
Hi:
   I manufacture all types of audio cables. I use these quite a bit. It makes a great cable for those that "hot swap" guitars. It's quick acting, precise and has the Neutrik quality.
  One consideration would go out to those that want to use them with certain guitars. I've found that Tele's have a long arm input jack that will sometimes not have enough spring pressure on the tip. The spring assembly on the plug will actually defeat the spring pressure on the arm of the guitar jack. And this will cause the plug to push out of the guitar. This has been rare, and I have only had a couple customers report the problem. Also they loved the cable so much they didn't want a refund or exchange.
  I also make the same cables with G&H Silent plugs. Also great guality, and they're a little smaller.
They're available in straight and right angle in Neutrik & G&H
Neutrik is all gold contacts.
G&H is available Gold or Nickel/Silver
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jeff Lentz on September 12, 2008, 02:37:39 am
Back in February I built 3 cables with the right angle silent plugs. Last month I replaced them all with normal neutrik right angle TS plugs.  
One of the silent plugs became silent at top of show and I didn't have any EGTR for the first two songs.  It came back after he cycled the plug a few times in a panic. It was pretty ugly.

The ring seemed to be sticking up in the body of the plug.  

I'm pretty disappointed, when they worked it solved the problem of him forgetting to mute himself before unplugging all the time.
Title: Re: Neutrik Silent Plug
Post by: Jeff Babcock on September 15, 2008, 04:55:27 pm
Another follow up.... after originally loving these connectors, I have since stopped using them altogether after several reliability issues.  

I've been bitten by them a few times now at gigs and enough is enough.  Evil or Very Mad

They are a great idea but I think they need some refining before they can be considered really road worthy.