Studio in a cable?

Sooner or later all guitar players will need to make records.  Playing the best solo ever during a  spontaneous jamming or well prepared and arranged demo – it’s important to have an easy to use and good quality recording device.

There are 3 main options:

  • Using dedicated recorder via cable/microphone (tape/cassette recorders when I started to play three decades ago, nowadays mostly digital recorders from Boss, Tascam, Zoom, Fostex, Yamaha, etc.)
  • Using computer with external audio interface (the on-board sound cards are mostly useless for that purpose: high latency, no impedance matching, driver problems).
  • Using smartphone with audio interface – there are dozens of quality gadgets for iOS devices, but Android phones are handicapped in audio recording.

Each solutions have pros and cons. None of them are really simple  to use. You should have an extra gear and prepare for recording, check cables, check settings, batteries, etc. If you forget it, probably that would be the time when you need it at most.

Gibson was always keen to experiment with on-board electronics in some of  their high-end models time by time. They feel comfortable adding advanced electronics to their guitars (although their customers don’t appreciate so much the Firebird X or LP Dusk Tiger loaded with “silicone magic”).

Gibson Memory Cable

Gibson Memory Cable

It’s not a surprise that they tried to figure out a simple recording solution having affair with  Tascam. The Japanese company is one of the high profile players on the market of portable recording, they contributed many innovations for the development of quality home studios.

Gibson Memory Cable

Gibson Memory Cable

Their baby was born and called the  Gibson Memory Cable that is basically  a standard instrument cable with a little twist: a palm sized, elongated spindle -shaped addition on it, similar to a remote controller of a wired headset or headphones, just slightly larger.

Under the hood we can find an AA size battery, a small  RTC button battery and the electronics with an SD card. There are a few small buttons to control the basic functions – otherwise it’ s like a regular guitar cable.

But it’s much more than a cable: the integrated Tascam technology is able to record CD-quality uncompressed audio!  Either you want manual or auto recording, the  signal of guitar (or any other electronic instrument) is converted to WAV format file saved to the SD card.

Based on factory specs the included 4Gb card can store up to 13 hours audio that seems more than enough.

The Gibson Memory Cable in use

The Gibson Memory Cable in use

Using in Auto mode the cable can recognize the longer breaks and stop/restart the recording to save memory. When the card is full, older files will be automatically deleted to free up some space for the fresh stuff. We can close a file and make a new one by pressing the Tag button, it helps to separate the different takes.  The small RTC battery allows to automatically “time-stamp” the files. When the RTC battery is dead, it stops only the time-stamp function and has no effect on recording. Of course, if the AA battery become dead we can’t make more records until we replace it – the GMC continues to work as a simple guitar cable.

Simple and convenient recording of guitar

Simple and convenient recording of guitar

According to Gibson you don’t need to worry about the clarity of your signal because their cable outperforms most average guitar cables.   $100 seems to a high price for a cable (although I have some high-end single cables over 100 bucks)  but considering the high quality recording capability bundled with simplicity and convenience, the Gibson Memory Cable is unbeatable as a portable recording solution!

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