Frequently Asked Questions: ZEROCAP Technology

Q: What does ZEROCAPTM technology do, exactly?

A: ZEROCAP technology reduces the capacitance of our specially designed cables to near zero, allowing high impedance instrument cable connections to provide tonal transparency regardless of length.

Q: What does ZEROCAPTM VC technology do, exactly?

A: ZEROCAP VC technology makes the capacitance of the guitar cable variable, so you can dial in whatever capacitance sounds good to your ears. Also, this means that you can emulate the sound of any guitar cable on the market with the twist of a knob. Read our article, The ZEROCAP VC as a Guitar Cable Emulator.

Q: What determines the price of your products?

A: Our products are made in the USA, assembled in our facility by skilled technicians, not $1/day sweat shop labor from Asia. Every cable is sound tested after manufacture and before shipment by a real live guitar player. We don’t just take them off a boat and ship them to music stores. If you have a problem or question and call, we answer the phone and answer your question. You don’t have to post to a forum and wait a week for a response. This is the way business was done in America before WalMart, and that’s how we do business. It’s not cheap, and we are not making money like the Chinese importers, but our customers love the product.

Q: What are high/low impedance instrument cable connections and why does it matter?

A: Impedance as it relates to instrument cables pertains to how much current the source instrument will supply. A passive guitar pickup produces tiny amounts of current when the strings are picked as compared to the signal supplied from a buffered output like an electronic keyboard or active guitar pickup. Higher impedance sources are affected by small amounts of cable capacitance. Our Musician’s Impedance Primer article explains this in greater detail.

Q: How can I tell if my instrument has a low or high impedance output?

A: If your guitar has a passive pickup (no batteries required), then it has a high output impedance. Generally, if you have to plug your instrument up to a wall outlet to make it work (or install a battery) it’s got a low impedance output.

Q: Where do I use the ZEROCAP cable or VC device in my pedal chain?

A: At any high impedance point in the chain (see above). These are typically between your guitar (loaded with passive pickups) and the first pedal in your chain, and between the last pedal and your amplifier IF true bypass pedals are used throughout your pedal chain. Check out this diagram for more information.

Q: Can you build a custom cable for me?

A: ZEROCAP cables can be ordered at various lengths and with right angle or straight plug options on either end of the cable. These options can be selected when adding the cable to your cart. There are no other customization options are available at this time.

Q: Why don’t you use molded plastic connectors?

A: We use standard machined nickel-plated brass plugs because they are made of durable metal, fully shielded and are reliable and serviceable.

Q: How do I change the battery in my ZEROCAP cable?

A: Right next to the ON/OFF switch on your ZEROCAP cable is a phillips screw. Remove the screw and lift the lid to replace the 12V A23 battery, which you can buy at an electronics retailer. Replace the lid and the screw and you’re ready to rock!

Q: What is variable capacitance? How is that different than an EQ or tone control?

A: Our ZEROCAP VC Device offers the ability to adjust the capacitance of our ZEROCAP VC cable (variable capacitance) from near zero to the natural capacitance of the cable. A tone control changes the tone by ADDING capacitance to your signal (full cable capacitance + tone control setting). The ZEROCAP VC Device SUBTRACTS capacitance from the guitar cable, preserving your instrument’s original tone. Active EQ circuits change the original tone of the instrument, and they do not provide a direct connection between the pickups and the amplifier.

Q: Can I use a standard guitar cable with the ZEROCAP VC Device?

A: Yes, however you will not be able to take advantage of the ZEROCAP capacitance elimination technology. ZEROCAP technology is only available when using a ZEROCAP VC cable on the input.

Q: What if I use a ZEROCAP VC cable without the ZEROCAP VC Device?

A: The ZEROCAP VC cable will sound and function like a standard guitar cable, without the benefits of ZEROCAP capacitance elimination technology.

Q: Why does ZEROCAP technology seem to have a greater effect on guitars equipped with passive pickups (single coils especially)?

A: Read our article on the interesting effects of cable capacitance on guitar tone and how that relates to different types of pickups.

Q: Why do you only sell to the USA and Canada?

A: Other countries have testing requirements due to environmental and electromagnetic interference regulations which are too cost prohibitive to obtain at this time.

Q: Why can’t I try your products at my local music store?

A: We sell direct to our customers in order to offer the best possible price for our products. All of our products are made in the USA from high quality materials and have a money back guarantee so you can try them without worry.

Q: Where can I get tech support for your products?

A: We welcome questions, comments or suggestions from our customers regarding any of our products. Feel free to email, call or write us if you have a question or problem. Technical support for our products is always FREE. Visit our contact page for more information.