EMO Lead Tester
Cable testers have never really been a source of excitement, but when things start to go wrong, they make a welcome ally. The model on review comes from EMO Systems and is designed to test phono, jack and XLR cables plus fuses. There's also a pair of probes included for continuity checking, continuity being announced by means of an LED and an audible buzzer.
Powered by a 9V battery, the unit is housed in a die-cast metal box with all the buttons, sockets and connectors located on the top of the case. There's a pair of phono sockets, a pair of XLR sockets and a pair of jack sockets, the jacks and XLRs being wired for balanced/stereo operation. Mono jacks can also be tested and two raised metal terminals are provided for checking fuses, though there is no provision for checking MIDI leads, which might have been useful. The only controls are three blue buttons, each with an integral LED. The idea is that the three buttons are used to check out the three conductors in a stereo cable, one at a time. If the cable is good, the LED should light on whichever button is depressed but not on the other two. If the LED doesn't light, an open circuit is indicated, while any additional LEDs coming on indicate a short in the cable. The unit will also show up mic cables that are accidentally wired out-of-phase.
When checking mono jack leads, the LED indicating a cold-to-ground short comes on because a mono jack lead is, in effect, a stereo lead with the 'ring' conductor shorted to the 'sleeve' or ground conductor. The various permutations are explained on an attached sheet, though operation is self-evident after a few moments of thought. Even so, I feel it might have been better if the check chart were printed onto the underside of the box, as the piece of paper is sure to get separated from the unit very early on in its life.
The continuity probes may be used manually to check out virtually any other type of cable, and continuity is confirmed by a loud buzz plus the LED in switch 1 coming on. Though unlikely to set the world alight, a unit of this kind is invaluable in tracking down frustrating connection problems, checking fuses or other routine continuity checking, both in the studio and on the road. It's far more convenient than messing around with an AVO meter and considering its modest cost, I feel it's well worth having one around.
EMO Cable Tester £47.35
EMO Systems Ltd, (Contact Details).
Review by Paul White
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