R&M Tone Technology has developed a new line of patented active guitar cables to help players inject some life into their guitar sound. Each of the four PowerWire cables comes with a built-in preamp that boosts the signal direct from the pickups instead of at a pedalboard or amp, while promising to reduce noise and can even add distortion.

The PowerWire cables pack a battery-powered preamp installed in the jack, essentially giving any guitar active pickups, which are highly regarded for clean, clear and powerful sonic delivery. The integrated circuit is all-analog and is said to offer a clean, low noise 0.5 dB flat boost across the whole 20 Hz to 20 kHz spectrum.

"PowerWire releases the sound of your guitar or bass like never before by feeding exactly what's coming out of the instrument downstream to the rest of your equipment through built-in pre-amplification, for a stronger, more dynamic sound with greater note definition," R&M Tone Technology's CEO Michael Harvey said in a press statement.

Four versions are available in 20 or 40 ft lengths – two clean boost cables, one featuring a sub-harmonic bass boost "to give electric and bass guitars a richer, fuller spectrum of sound with a subtle sub-harmonic in the lower frequencies" and another with built-in mild overdrive to full-on distortion that's controlled using the guitar's volume control.

The PowerWire family of cables start at US$149, but as of writing the company is running an introductory offer that shaves a third off the price tag. You can hear the TS09 distortion-packing flavor of the cable in the video below.

Update February 8: We asked R&M about using the cables with guitars that already had active pickups installed, the company's Gene Della Torre told us, "With the exception of the CB0 which has no additional gain and may work fine with active pickups, we don't recommend using PowerWire with active pickup guitars. People are going to experiment and we don't discourage that because we and they may be surprised with the result. But because the other cables have gain of 6, 10, and 15 dB respectively (CB6, TS09, SS), those PowerWire's are likely to drive too hard."

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