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messy cables

Postby graham mckelvie » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:06 am

hi i want to clean up the horrible and disorganised mess of cables what is the best way and how to do so
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Re: messy cables

Postby The Elf » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:17 am

It depends on how you run your studio - whether it is for your own use, or for clients (paying or otherwise), and simply how far you want to take things. You can begin hiding cables behind walls and using wallboxes and the like, but this is often too much for the casual home user.

The simple approach I've taken to sort out the mass of cabling in my home-based keyboard/synth/module studio is to use a couple of 24-way balanced stageboxes to handle the keyboard inputs from two strategic places in the room, then use multi-core looms behind the racks as far as possible. Everything goes to a trio of patchbays.

A lot of the mess for me has always been mains cabling and this can be reduced by the use of a couple of mains distribution panels, though to get maximum use out of minimum space it might involve replacing a few standard mains plugs with IEC connectors - well worth the effort IMO.
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Re: messy cables

Postby chris... » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:15 am

Back in the days of having loads of devices to power, I found these triple mains leads useful:

http://www.studiospares.com/leads-mains/cord-set-treble-blk/invt/574450/
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Re: messy cables

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:32 am

Hi Graham, and welcome to the SOS Forums!

I'll move this post to our DIY forum where all the clever folks hang out

I'll leave a link here so that you can follow it though


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Re: messy cables

Postby Bob Moose » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:48 am

Before, I had the common problem of disconnecting / reconnecting devices all the time, so it was difficult or time-consuming to keep my home studio really clean.

Now I use rather inexpensive rackmount patchbays with 1/4 TRS sockets (Neutrik, Samson and Behringer make some, among many others). I connected all devices at the back of these patchbays. As you do this only one time, I spent about one or two hours installing the cables as clean as possible. These things help a lot. I did not even take the time to cut the cables at the exact required length: I just folded each cable surplus, tied it and hid it behind the patch panels, inside the rack cases.

For some devices that needed non-TRS plugs (MIDI and XLR for instance), I made a custom front-connection panel using D-format sockets and a D-format rack plate.

Actually, all this is organized so that part of the gear can be disconnected from the remaining in about 10 seconds, when I need to take it outside for recording, etc, but this is another subject.

With this simple system, I can change signal paths only connecting small patch cables at the front of the racks. It works just like modular synthesizers. So yes there is still a kind of cable mess in my studio, but it takes very little space and it is easy to manage (another advantage is you don't have to plug things at the back of devices). I only use short patch cables (about 15-30 cm), plus a few longer cables for connecting occasional instruments and devices.
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Re: messy cables

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:37 pm

I've attempted this several times during my career, both on stage and in the home studio.

Trouble is, the more you work towards permanent wiring, the more it is difficult to fix when it breaks, or when an unexplained hum gets into the system. I looked at my home setup a couple of years ago, realised that the patchbay didn't get changed that often and was just introducing additional points of failure into the signal paths, most of my effects had long moved into the computer, and when an instrument arrived it had to be plugged in SOMEWHERE, and direct to the mixer was as good a place as any!

I'm certainly not arguing against a stage box and snake between performance area and mixer, if you work that way. But I've rather fallen out of love with patchbays!
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Re: messy cables

Postby hollowsun » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:18 pm

The trouble is, it doesn't matter how tidy you get your cabling sorted, the 'cable goblins' come in at night and mess it all up!

No! It's true! Come on - we've all had it. Tidied everything up, rolled up unused cables perfectly and placed them carefully in a box and within no time at all, it's a tangled mess of something resembling poorly served spaghetti (but without - thankfully - the Bolognese sauce!). While you're asleep, the cable goblins are wreaking havoc in your gentleman's bunker!

So you tidy up again and sure enough, it's a bloody mess in no time.

I gave up on cable tidying years ago - a futile cause ... a bit like dusting!!

And don't get me started on what wimmin can do with cables - the feminine gene for knitting seems to still be strong in them! What they can do with a few lengths of flex defies description!
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Re: messy cables

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:05 pm

Here's a novel way to stop cables falling down the back of your desk that I spotted whilst on another forum (ooh - sacrilege! )

Image

The wonderful world of bulldog clips eh?


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Re: messy cables

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:05 pm

hollowsun wrote:The trouble is, it doesn't matter how tidy you get your cabling sorted, the 'cable goblins' come in at night and mess it all up!

This is so true. Fold up a cable nice and neat, place it a static place. Come back to it a few days later and it will have tied itself in a knot.
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Re: messy cables

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:07 pm

Anyway, I'm thinking about stripping down my set up and giving it a clean and tidy up soon. I'm thinking about tying cables together and I think that the best bet will be re-usable cable ties like these:

http://www.kenable.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=5472

That way, when I move or if something fails, it can be released without much trouble.
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Re: messy cables

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:10 pm

Richie Royale wrote:Anyway, I'm thinking about stripping down my set up and giving it a clean and tidy up soon. I'm thinking about tying cables together and I think that the best bet will be re-usable cable ties like these:

http://www.kenable.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=5472

That way, when I move or if something fails, it can be released without much trouble.

I use rubber bands. The red ones that postmen drop on your front path work well. Tie, loop, hang..use and throw away.
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Re: messy cables

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:24 pm

Rubber bands tend to rot away though and in some cases leave residue.
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Re: messy cables

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:57 pm

Does nobody like my bulldog clip pic then?

I thought it was a great idea!


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Re: messy cables

Postby The Elf » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:12 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Does nobody like my bulldog clip pic then?

I thought it was a great idea!
It certainly is a good idea! When I had an office job I used to do something vaguely similar (with odd shaped 'acrobat' clips) to this to hold my phone/Archos/laptop charger cables, but it never occurred to me to use it for USB extensions and the like - clever!
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Re: messy cables

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:32 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Does nobody like my bulldog clip pic then?

I thought it was a great idea!


Martin

It's a belter and will be adorning my IKEA bureau the minute I get to the Post Office. Much of my setup is moveable and this will keep everything nicely in place when needed. Much neater and spouse friendlier than cup hooks.
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Re: messy cables

Postby zenguitar » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:19 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Does nobody like my bulldog clip pic then?

I thought it was a great idea!


Martin

They all rushed out to buy bulldog clips rather than reply

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Re: messy cables

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:20 pm

Hooray!!




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Re: messy cables

Postby Folderol » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:28 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Does nobody like my bulldog clip pic then?

I thought it was a great idea!


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I thought it was great but I've been at wor... w.. wo... not here all day so only just had time to comment.
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Re: messy cables

Postby graham mckelvie » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:36 pm

thanks to all for ideas and yes liked your bull dog clips lol, a mate suggested to use these what do ya think i think its possible Image
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Re: messy cables

Postby Folderol » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:47 pm

graham mckelvie wrote:thanks to all for ideas and yes liked your bull dog clips lol, a mate suggested to use these what do ya think i think its possible Image
Yes they work... sort of. They make the whole cable group extremely stiff, springy and totally opposed to going where you want it.
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Re: messy cables

Postby Dynamic Mike » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:51 am

Martin Walker wrote:Does nobody like my bulldog clip pic then?

I thought it was a great idea!


Martin

I've got a huge one I can hang my headphones on...

I also clip guitar leads to the desk to stop me running over them with my chair.

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Re: messy cables

Postby hollowsun » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:54 am

Dynamic Mike wrote:I've got a huge one I can hang my headphones on

Image
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Re: messy cables

Postby Hamund » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:04 am

A pair Jecklin Floats. Now that would be impressive.
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Re: messy cables

Postby Music Wolf » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:32 am

Martin Walker wrote:Does nobody like my bulldog clip pic then?
Martin

I've been using this method for a while now. Somebody sent he a 'funny' email entitled "I can fix that" full of pics of bodges. The clips were included but I thought they were a really good idea. I use them for my lap top cables.

For my studio wiring my preferred method is velcro ties. Rather than buy the pre-cut ones (which are expensive) I buy a roll of 10mm wide stuff and cut as required. You can use a staple gun to fix the velcro to the underside of work surfaces etc.
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Re: messy cables

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:49 pm

Yes I must admit I use a lot of velcro ties in my studio too for permanently tidying cables in a bunch where I want them to stay


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