We’re straying from the usual reviews of guitar pedals to bring you an in depth review of the Evidence Audio SIS “Screw-In-Solderless” patch cables. This is of vital importance to readers of Best Guitar Effects as the patch cable dilemma is one that has plagued every guitarist who’s ever used more than one pedal in series. The myriad issues we face include having cables of the proper length, the thinness/thickness of the cables and end plugs, reliability, and overall sound quality among other things. In recent years several companies have released various do-it-yourself cable options, one of the most affordable and flexible variations being easy-to-assemble “solderless” patch cables. But Evidence Audio has taken the concept to the next level.
Evidence Audio’s SIS patch cables use their acclaimed Monorail audio cable (notable for its solid copper core instead of threaded wire) and their original SIS end plugs. These plugs are unique in that they allow the cable’s copper core to be screwed directly into the plug, eliminating the need for soldering and supposedly creating a solid airtight connection for the best possible signal transfer in a solderless cable option. I expected good things, and I wouldn’t be writing this review if the product wasn’t worthy of all this typing. And since cheap knockoff versions of this product have already crept onto the market, Evidence Audio must have done something right to warrant the flattery of imitation.
Dispelling The Cable “Tone” Myth
One thing that caught my attention about Evidence Audio a few years ago was that they try to avoid hyping up the “super epic tone enhancements” that come with using their “super high-tech” cables. Do you know why? That’s because all the talk about cables that enhance tone is straight up bogus. A cable only “enhances” your tone by transferring a pure signal and having as little affect on your tone as possible. Essentially, all cables diminish your audio signal. Sure, this is more or less noticeable in some cables compared to others, but it’s a truth that many guitarists probably don’t want to hear. All Evidence Audio cables are designed with one purpose: to affect your tone as little as possible. This may seem counter intuitive to grasp at first if you’ve been suckered in by all the marketing hype spewed out by cable companies over the years. Achieving the highest cable transparency is the core philosophy that Evidence Audio is built upon and perhaps the most important deciding factor that should be considered when buying cables. Read the previous sentence again and let that sink in. Of course striking the balance between audio purity and reliability is another hallmark of Evidence Audio products.
Years ago I ended up buying a mountain of overpriced fancy cables which I still have to this day. These cables scored points for reliability and sounded pretty good to my ears, but I always knew that behind the marketing hype a better product could be found. Long before I started writing for a review site (this one) with the aim of helping guitarists find the best gear, I was in the same boat of finding products through magazines and advertising at the mercy of whichever companies had the biggest marketing budgets. Store clerks helped out, too, although I learned over the years that some retail workers’ recommendations may be influenced by profit margins, not necessarily helping consumers find the best products. My point is that sifting through all the marketing bs to find a quality product that lives up to expectations can be tough. Fortunately, I was turned on to Evidence Audio Screw-In-Solderless patch cables a couple NAMM shows ago by a fellow pedal junky, a chance encounter of two passionate guitarists that finally culminated in the review you’re reading today.
Here’s a quick rundown of features before we get to our Evidence Audio SIS Screw-In-Solderless patch cable review.
- Monorail sound quality.
- Convenience to build and rebuild without solder.
- Super Compact – Fits in small spaces few other cables can travel; even inside components for internal wiring.
- 0.155″ Outer Diameter – Backwards-compatible with many solder-less plugs IGL™ Copper conductor – Fatigue-free midrange and highs.
- Solid Core Primary Conductor – Tight, articulate bottom with midrange clarity and speed.
- 20 awg Conductor Size – Large enough to communicate punch and authority, small enough to avoid skin effect anomalies.
- 98% Shield Coverage – Outstanding noise rejection.
- Nickel-plated brass plugs.
- Spiral Shield – Parallel conductor geometry minimizes strand interaction compared with braided shields.
- Low Capacitance – May be used in long runs without high-frequency roll-off.
Sound & Performance:
There’s good enough, there’s better, and then there’s the best. Sometimes the best is plainly obvious; other times it can be quite elusive. I’ve learned that what’s most expensive isn’t always the best, yet you also typically get what you pay for. Sure, there are cheaper cables available, but Evidence Audio is a prime example of you getting exactly what you pay a little more for. They’d probably sell a lot more cables if they touted all the tone-hyping hoorah like the lesser cable makers who try so hard to sell inferior products. Instead Evidence Audio relies mainly on the reputation of their products to sell themselves. The evidence is in the result. David Gilmour knows it. Billy Corgan knows it. Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien knows it.
The SIS concept is simple enough. Evidence Audio already created the industry leading (and great sounding) Monorail patch cable, an incredibly thin audio cable with a solid copper core. The idea of screwing the copper wire directly into a threaded nickel-plated brass end plug was the stroke of genius that led to the Screw-In-Solderless cable kit. While you don’t need a soldering iron to assemble the SIS cables, some wire cutters/strippers and a little elbow grease are called for.
To start I clipped off a small piece of Monorail and proceeded to make my first cable. A wire stripper comes in handy for stripping off about a centimeter of the outer jacket. This reveals the outer copper threading. This is peeled back over the jacket. You can twist it however you see fit as long as it’s generally folded back parallel with the cable. From here you peel off the visible conductive black layer. I prefer to strip it as well, but you can peel it with your nails if you’d like. Then you strip the solid white layer down to about 2 millimeters and cut the copper core wire to about 4 millimeters. It’s that simple. After I made a couple I was confident to just visually estimate the lengths for further assembly.
When the cable is properly stripped, you stick the prepared end into one of the SIS end plugs. Gently push it all the way in. Then give it 2 half turns. You’ll feel it screw into the threads in the SIS plug. If you pull on the cable at this point you’ll notice how strong the bond is. Its’ really surprising just how precisely these plugs are engineered and how perfect and strong the connection is. Bend the cable at the plug to a right angle and put the cap on the end of the plug. You can turn it a few more times to screw the plug on while simultaneously threading the Monorail cable more tightly into the plug.
At this point it’s worth noting my only minor concern with the entire process. To screw the end caps tightly on, you’ll probably want to use gloves or something that’ll help you get a nice firm grip. Or if you’ve been doing your crossfit and have a grip of steel you may not need to. But it does usually require a bit more force to completely screw on the end caps. If you’re making several cables I’d recommend building all your cables to the step of screwing the caps half-way. Then come back after you’ve assembled all your cables to tighten them up with your gloved death grip. It’s not much of an issue as you’ll typically do this assembly process once during a pedalboard build and reuse many of the cables as-is if needed later.
The first SIS patch cable I made. It worked great as have all the rest.
Something I really like about the SIS and Monorail combination is that the cables are easy to reuse if disassembled. You can take apart a cable to use the end plugs with different lengths of cable. If you save the old Monorail pieces you can easily use them again and again while achieving the same sturdy build and tone as before. That means less cable scraps and more length options.
And tone is another talking point although there isn’t much to say really. These cables don’t intrude on your sound. You could try to get into technical details and spec comparisons with other products, but it’s a moot point. Monorail sounds excellent. The ultimate test comes when you just close your eyes and listen. That’s the only evidence you need. (Let’s see if I can sneak that pun in one more time.) The Evidence Audio SIS cable kit sounds great because it really seems to impart no sound of its own on your guitar sound.
There are a few technical matters that make the SIS/Monorail combination especially relevant. Small end plugs and thin wire make wiring up complex pedalboards more convenient. With pedal obsessed guitarists filling every possible space on their boards with ever more pedals, the Evidence Audio SIS cable kit helps you conserve space thanks to its small end plugs. Monorail cable is also exceptionally thin, allowing easy routing in the tightest of spaces.
Any guitarist who uses pedals and cares deeply about their tone has probably spent some time looking over the various cable products on the market. While I don’t intend on doing a full on patch cable shootout, it’s worth mentioning a few factors that set this product and this company apart from others while touching on my thoughts about many of the other cable products out there. One of my general concerns with some of the older reputable companies making cables is that they’ve ceased to innovate and are just rehashing the same old products. No spectrum of cool new colors is going to change the same old product designs. On the other hand you have companies who clone newer products and sell inferior versions. At least one other cable maker even falsely labeled their patch cable products as 100% “Made in USA” until the FTC came knocking. (Dig in the public domain for the facts on that one.) When I look for products to buy and when I review products, my greatest considerations are how good the product is and how the product is helping to push the market forward. I say without any reservation that as of this writing Evidence Audio is pushing the market forward in ways that are unmatched. There’s also an integrity factor that I’ve come to realize is perhaps equally if not even more important when in regards to people, their businesses, and the products they sell. Evidence Audio’s product quality and philosophy are to be admired by their peers. While no company, the people who run them, or any audio cables for that matter are perfect, Evidence Audio is the leader in their field because they strive to come ever closer to that ideal.
The final verdict is below.
I can give no better praise for the Evidence Audio SIS Screw-In-Solderless patch cables than this: these are the cables I now use for my pedals, and these will be the cables you see in our future review YouTube videos. If a better pedalboard cable solution does come along, I’d also bet that it’ll most likely bear the moniker Evidence Audio. The Monorail sound quality lives up to the hype. The SIS cables are fairly easy to assemble. They’re durable and convenient. What more evidence do you need? These are the best pedalboard patch cables you can buy today.
That concludes our Evidence Audio SIS Screw-In-Solderless patch cables review. Thanks for reading.
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