Mike Dunne and Rob Stepnowski are two avid guitarists with a synchronous vision of both music and audio product design philosophy. While their musical background lays the bedrock for their pro audio enterprise, the duo’s unique perspective on precision and ruggedized products first materialized in collaboration on a Navy aviation project with the Department of Defense. Harnessing their expertise in the development of rigorously engineered electronics systems and rugged aviation cables, they were able to plant the technology within their own line of products, leading to the formation of Elevon Audio in 2011. EA has since spawned into a boutique product shop for musicians, offering high-end custom cables, pedal modifications, and custom pedals. [Elevon Audio will be introducing their own line of effects in 2013.]
Earlier this year, I was just about to head out on a two week tour of Greece and Cyprus with the Nikolas Metaxas band when Mike of EA invited me to check out their Pro Series guitar cable. The timing was right on point, as I’d be able to road-test the cable in a range of different settings. Over the years I’ve developed an affection for Monster and Mogami cables. Interestingly, EA uses the Mogami Neglex technology within their Pro Series Guitar Cables, so the sound performance was very familiar: the cable is transparent and the guitar’s natural tone is present and clear.
While on tour, my friend and I had the opportunity to compare our Fender Strats, which both had similar specs. In a simple guitar / cable / Fender Twin amp signal chain, the nuances and unique distinctions of both instruments came forward, speaking to the fact that both the EA cable and the classic Fender Twin permitted these details to shine, rather than dulling them into an indistinguishable mess. Furthermore, EA’s “Directional Construction” method shields the cable for noise rejection, which helped in keeping my rig quiet when not playing.
The EA cable comes equipped with Neutrik connectors, which are known for their durability. As the EA website explains: “Their unique chuck-type strain relief system increases tension on the cable’s outer jacket when the cable gets tugged. This reduces the amount of force placed on the wires and solder joints inside the connector, extending the life of your cable.”
One of the neat features of the cable is the optional Neutrik silentPLUG system, which allows you to plug/unplug the cable in a live amped rig with no pops or squeals. This allowed me to swap out guitars on the fly and not have to worry about a bunch of noise should the cable accidentally come unplugged at a large theater volume level.
The Elevon Audio Pro Series Guitar Cables’ Techflex outer jacket technology seemingly makes these cables indestructible. While I didn’t attempt to put that statement to the test, the cable was subjected to being dragged across stages, stepped on, and rolled over by heavy racks – an inevitable scenario in day-to-day live use.
Following the tour, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there wasn’t a single nick, cut, abrasion, or tarnish of any sort to be found on the tough exterior. Not only that, but it still looked clean and brand-new, much unlike the rest of the cables I had brought with me. The ruggedness and texture of the exterior does make the cable more difficult to wrap, as it doesn’t take shape as quickly as traditional cables. However, after some time it begins to take shape and develop coil ‘memory,’ making wrapping quicker and neater. It can be rough on the hands when wrapping it quickly, but that’s a very small price to pay for the durability that inevitably is ingrained in the product.
Elevon Audio products are built by hand in the US and are made-to-order. Mike and Rob take pride in their work and state “We have a combined 19 years in the aviation industry, so you know you’re going to get products that are built to spec, built to last, and built to perform.” My experience with their Pro Series cable is right in line with this statement.