Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

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Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by Mark Butler »

I'm trying to save some precious minutes in the set-up time of my function band rig. (I'm sure many of you have had to deal with the quick turnovers at weddings, where an event planner seems mystified that a 10-piece band cannot set up their entire rig in sub 30 minutes just because desert over-ran.)

We use a Soundcraft Ui24R digital mixer situated at the back of the stage and currently have three relatively cheap 8-way XLR stageboxes. These are labelled up with input channels on the dangling ends, so someone has to sit there for 5 minutes each gig untangling the ends and then plugging in 24 ins and 8 outs. (We're a large band -- one stagebox goes to the rhythm, one to the drums and one to the horns.)

I'd like to simplify this by using multi-pin connectors. I'd buy 24 angled XLR connectors and leave them permanently plugged in to the inputs, and then have three multi-pin cables coming out the rack going to three stageboxes.

Problem is, those 12-in-4-out ones are the smallest I can see on Thomann, and I'm looking ideally for smaller ones (perhaps 8 ins/outs total for each) as they are going to different parts of the stage. Does such a thing exist? Am I solving this problem in the wrong way?
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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by Wonks »

Have you tried simply taping the lose multicore ends into fours and then pairs? With just enough lose cable to spread out between the channel connections. I did that with my 16-way multicore and it made it all very easy and the ends didn't get tangled.

Worth giving it a go as it's very easy to do, and may save you a lot of extra effort.
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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by Luke W »

Mark Butler wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 4:27 pm Problem is, those 12-in-4-out ones are the smallest I can see on Thomann, and I'm looking ideally for smaller ones (perhaps 8 ins/outs total for each) as they are going to different parts of the stage. Does such a thing exist? Am I solving this problem in the wrong way?

It's a sensible way to solve the problem. I'd probably tackle it in much the same way by making up a patch panel at the mixer end populated with some Amphenol multi pin connectors, and then equip the tail end of the stagebox cable with the same.

I'm not immediately aware of any off-the-shelf solutions, but thats not to say they don't exist and there are plenty of people around who'd be able to make something up for you if it wasn't something you'd fancy tackling yourself.

Wonks' suggestion is definitely worth a bash as well, I've done the same with one of my multis and it makes it a lot more manageable. Little bags that tie over the ends of the tails can help to stop them getting too tangled as well.
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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by blinddrew »

Mark Butler wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 4:27 pm Problem is, those 12-in-4-out ones are the smallest I can see on Thomann, and I'm looking ideally for smaller ones (perhaps 8 ins/outs total for each) as they are going to different parts of the stage.

A 12-in-4-out easily becomes an 8-8 with four M-M xlr adaptors https://www.thomann.de/gb/neutrik_na3ff_xlr_adapter.htm
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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by shufflebeat »

Wonks wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 4:51 pm Have you tried simply taping the lose multicore ends into fours and then pairs? With just enough lose cable to spread out between the channel connections.

Deffo this ^^^

Untangle all your leads, plug in all your XLRs, then tape them in 4's, then further back down the cable tape 2 of the 4's together.

Problem solved.

Multi-pin mini-snakes can cause as many problems as they solve.
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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by ef37a »

If the 'plugger' is familiar with the resistor code you can colour each XLR for the right input. E.g Brown is 1, Red 2, Brown+Red 12.

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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by Wonks »

ef37a wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 8:45 am If the 'plugger' is familiar with the resistor code you can colour each XLR for the right input. E.g Brown is 1, Red 2, Brown+Red 12.

Dave.

Or label them 1, 2, 3 etc. A lot easier and almost anyone* should be able to plug them in correctly.

*this assumes that as normal, the drummer and singer won't appear until the PA is already set up.
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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

For really fast rigging of multicore tails, I've cut the XLR tails to length and re-made the XLRs, so that the cable runs neatly along the back of the console, and then used spiral wrap so that each XLR comes out of the wrap in the right order and the right place. The exposed tails are too short to tangle together and plugging is fool proof (provided the installer starts at the right end!)
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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by ef37a »

Wonks wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 9:02 am
ef37a wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 8:45 am If the 'plugger' is familiar with the resistor code you can colour each XLR for the right input. E.g Brown is 1, Red 2, Brown+Red 12.

Dave.

Or label them 1, 2, 3 etc. A lot easier and almost anyone* should be able to plug them in correctly.

*this assumes that as normal, the drummer and singer won't appear until the PA is already set up.

Ha!! We found brightly coloured XLR cables were easier to claim back when the TV guys tried to nick them!

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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by Dave71 »

I feel your pain, nothing worse than trying to plum all that lot in a hurry with a co-ordinatior expecting background music on before you’ve even finished loading in

We have Veam connectors on all our stage boxes at the box end but you could use them at the mixer end, very expensive and a lot of work involved though.

I’d go with a mix of the advice above, colour coding definitely is a quick cost effective solution. We have some drum looms following the colours of a rainbow, with black and white to make up the numbers.
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Re: Small multi-pin XLR snakes?

Post by AlecSp »

All really good advice.

Using multicore connectors is great, but very pricy.

Taping cables in groups of 4 speeds things up immensely. I had a snake where each group of 4 had plugs in red, blue, green, yellow. Very quick to connect, and to confirm visually over 32 inputs.
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