Amphenol Audio SwitchPlug
- Amphenol Australia Pty Ltd
First used in original format in early manual telephone exchanges phone plugs have an intrinsic design limitation when applied to modern professional audio. If instrument changes are performed under load and on the fly then loud “thumps” or “pops” are generated as the plugs’ live signal circuit inadvertently and suddenly grounds. The SwitchPlug is an automatically muting phone plug with application to instrument leads for electric guitars and other electronic instruments. It effectively eliminates these extremely annoying and undesirable spurious noises, especially in live concert or studio recording environments, simultaneously protecting sensitive audio equipment. Amphenol Audio SwitchPlug …Sounds of Silence.
Fully Automatic: the SwitchPlug activates automatically simply through inherent use and needs no instruction. Merely plugging or unplugging the lead makes it work so the musician doesn’t need to independently activate any switches or devices. Utilising the front face of the corresponding output jack connector (e.g. located on the guitars’ body) as the reference, the blue actuator is urged backwards at the precise moment the signal tip clears the output jack’s grounding circuit allowing the lead to only go live at the exact moment. Conversely, on withdrawal, the blue actuator returns automatically, muting once again at the precise moment.
Reliability and Simplicity: the SwitchPlug employs a patented one piece 360 degree sliding ring contact to perform the precision switching. As it slides a wiping action occurs on every activation cycle automatically cleaning contact surfaces preventing build up of oxidisation. Redundancy is achieved through a plurality of shorting points. The construction, including the cable clamping system, is one of sandwiched layers of elements all retaining each other through a co-operative assembly arrangement eliminating the need for conventional and additional fastening elements. Finally, a stylised robust ergonomic die cast housing aids the musician’s grip and makes orientation and handling easy.
Broad Application and Audio Performance: the SwitchPlug has extensive application for use with a wide range of electronic musical instruments interfaced to sound reinforcement systems. Featuring a solid one piece, precision machined, high grade brass tip-shaft element the SwitchPlug guarantees that when it is not muted the audio signal is transmitted with pure high fidelity. The sleeve contact is similarly one piece brass featuring an oversize solder bucket for use with thick braid screen cables. As the muting components are fundamentally external to and on a parallel circuit with the standard phone plug, distortion of signal paths is prevented.
Serviceability and Environmental Considerations: Endurance tested successfully to over 5000 cycles the SwitchPlug is nevertheless still designed for a high level of serviceability, repair, and reuse (after cable lead breakages for instance). In particular the threaded housings enable access to all of the switch moving elements without the need to de-solder cable leads, all further extending product life cycles. Utilising highest flammability rated engineering thermoplastics and fully compliant with both the European Union’s RoHS and REACH Directives covering restrictions in the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, the SwitchPlug design also embraces safety and environmental considerations.
Design Innovation: the patented SwitchPlug (US Patent 8,162,697) exemplifies strategic Victorian based innovation through a product design led initiative. It leveraged sophisticated three dimensional computer aided modelling techniques, local professional engineering and design knowhow, and established research and development processes over several iterative design cycles. These cycles, while improving function and competitiveness, also achieved systematic reductions in parts as component functions morphed. Embodied in the SwitchPlug is an engineered upgrade to a well established standard industry product (origins circa 19th century) enabling Amphenol Australia to compete successfully in what is a very mature international professional audio connector market.