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In the past few months, we have had many customers ask us if they really need a silentPLUG on one end of their Instrument Cable. Our answer is, it depends on your application and needs. The purpose of the Neutrik silentPLUG is to automatically mute an instrument cable to avoid pops and squeals while changing the instrument under load. A silentPLUG contains a reed switch that is triggered when plugged into an instrument thereby activating the cable. It's an awesome concept that prevents pops and squeals from changing out an instrument while the amp is on or while the volume is still up. For most musicians, it's generally a habit to mute the amp whether through an pedal or on the physical amp itself so it really depends whether they're willing to give up this habit. Having a silentPLUG is simply a means of reducing another step that needs to be done in order to swap out an instrument under load. We recommend it for most of our customers who don't mind spending the extra $5-10 for the plug over a typical TS plug, but there are some situations where the cons outweigh the benefit of having a silentPLUG.
Although Neutrik makes the most popular "silent" plug, there are other manufacturers such as Amphenol and Switchcraft that have their own version a plug that does practically the same thing. Each of them have different means of "shorting" the signal but we still recommend going with the Neutrik silentPLUG. We consider it the best "silent" plug though the Amphenol "silent" plugs are not far behind.
Below are some situations and shortcomings of these types of plugs.