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Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

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Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:40 am

I want to run some long cable to some monitors at the bottom of our garden, I’m torn between buying multi core and a stage box, or just running individual cables, I can make these leads myself.
I’m thinking the cheapest way would be to use individual balanced cables going to four monitors, the neater more convenient solution is to use 4 channel multi-core cable with an XLR box on the end, the run is quite long about 50 metres, I’d still have to buy two 100 metre drums of balanced cable, which is around £50 per drum, compared to a stage box and multi-core at around £150 plus the stage boxes.

:think:
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:47 am

Of course, there's always this option...

https://www.vtx.uk/product.aspx?id=161
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Folderol » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:51 am

How permanent is this going to be?
If it's just temporary I'd go for singles - quick, simple and easily reusable. For permanent I'd use multicore and run it along a fence (if there is one).
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:57 am

... but however you do it, beware of rodents!

That would suggest a multicore or Cat5 (see above) inside a protective layer - eg hosepipe - and buried if this is needed long-term would be best.

Or fastened off the ground to a fence...
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:03 pm

Thanks folks, it’s only going to be temporary, that’s why I want to spend as little money as possible, I think you’re right Folderol, and the cables will come in handy if I have to record in any churches!
I’ve found some cheap balanced cable that will do I think at £30 a drum from Cricklewood Electronics.
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:05 pm

Good call Mike -- I was going to suggest the same thing: Use external grade Cat 5e/6 cable between break out boxes. Smaller, lighter, cheaper. You'd have to be careful about breakout box location to keep the weather out, of course...

If you want to stick with the old school approach, a multicore would be neater, but actually separate cables would probably be a lot easier and a lot more more weatherproof! Whatever you use, make sure it's external grade as ultraviolet light breaks down the plasticisers in the sheaths of standard cables. If the cables are only going to be outdoors for a few days it won't matter, but if you're talking weeks or months then it really does matter!

Personally, I'd run four separate (external grade) balanced cables, each one direct all the way to each speaker. That avoids all the expense and inconvenience of a breakout box, as well as the problems of keeping a breakout box weathertight.

Use Neutrik 'TOP' XLR connectors which are weatherproof to IP65. They're over a tenner each, but well worth it for long-term garden use!

https://cpc.farnell.com/neutrik/nc3mx-t ... dp/AV28408

Ideally, I'd run the cables down a length of 32mm standard waste pipe buried in the garden, along the fence line or lawn edge etc... and then use expanding braid to bundle the four cables together into a pseudo multicore where they become visible which would look a lot neater. (And remember to leave a pull-through string along the pipe for future upgrades!)
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:08 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Good call Mike -- I as going to suggest the same thing: Use external grade Cat 5e/6 cable between break out boxes. Smaller, lighter, cheaper. You'd have to be careful about breakout box location to keep the weather, of course...

If you want to stick with the old school approach, a multicore would be neater, but actually separate cables would probably be easier and more weatherproof!

Personally, I'd run four separate (external grade) balanced cables, one direct all the way to each speaker. That avoids all the expense, inconvenience and problems of keeping a breakout box weathertight. Use Neutrik 'TOP' XLR connectors which are weatherproof to IP65. They're over a tenner each, but well worth it for long-term garden use!

https://cpc.farnell.com/neutrik/nc3mx-t ... dp/AV28408

Ideally, I'd run the cables down a length of 32mm standard waste pipe buried in the garden and then use expanding braid to bundle the four cables together into a pseudo multicore where they become visible which would look a lot neater. (And remember to leave a pull-through string along the pipe for future upgrades!)

Thanks Hugh, but I’m only going to using this on sunny days, and packing it up afterwards, so the single cables should be fine, and can be used for other things.
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:54 pm

I have several multicores and have made a few single cable drums with a central socket. They're much easier to deploy and pack-up than coiled cables - even using the over/under technique.

However, when I was feeling lazy I bought one of these:

https://www.terralec.co.uk/audio_leads/cobra_microphone_snake_lead_on_reel_50m_1_input/29962_p.html

which seems pretty robust and gives (gave!) me 50m when I needed it for long outdoor runs.

(Also comes in a two, balanced cable in one sheath config...)
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:09 pm

I assume these are active monitors (is this to do with the railway*?). If so a couple of TRS or XLR breakout boxes hardwired onto some shielded Cat6 would be the cheapest way and, at line level should work just fine.

* Do you know Chris Mackenzie? His bro, Andy, is a good (guitar playing) mate of mine?
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:23 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:However, when I was feeling lazy I bought one of these:

https://www.terralec.co.uk/audio_leads/cobra_microphone_snake_lead_on_reel_50m_1_input/29962_p.html

Looks good value, and I can appreciate the convenience...

But why two female sockets on the reel? I can't figure what possible use that would have at all...

If it was one male and one female I could get it -- a parallel split feed... Or if the cable plug was a female and it was two male XLRs on the reel that would make sense as a splitter as well...

But two females on the reel implies combining two output signals into a single feed and that -- as I'm sure we all know very well -- is a definite no-no!

What am I missing, please?
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby The Elf » Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Of course, there's always this option...

https://www.vtx.uk/product.aspx?id=161
That would be ideal for my mobile rig, where I seem to get through multicores like fresh socks!

It's one of those companies that seems shy of giving us any prices. Any idea of the cost for that pair of boxes?
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:33 pm

The same system with a different badge sells in the US for around $180

https://www.markertek.com/product/ets-pa202f/ets-pa202f-instasnake-adapter-4-fxlr-to-rj45-jack-all-pins

...And similar designs go for around £120 -- not including the cat5 cable.

https://shop.cie-group.com/shop/audio-visual_1/audio-system-tools_9/audio-system-problem-solvers_1003/sonet-cat5-audio-distribution-system-4in/4out_918.php

http://soundtools.com/audio-over-cat5-systems-page.html

https://www.ratsoundsales.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=soundtools-catsnake


The Radial Catapult and Capatpult-Mini solutions are double and treble that, of course, but they are capable of withstanding nuclear holocausts!

[url=https://www.thomann.de/gb/radial_engineering_catapult_tx4.[url]htm]https://www.thomann.de/gb/radial_engineering_catapult_tx4.[url]htm[/url]
https://www.thomann.de/gb/radial_engine ... lt_rx4.htm[/url]

https://www.thomann.de/gb/radial_engineering_catapult_mini_tx.htm
https://www.thomann.de/gb/radial_engineering_catapult_mini_rx.htm?

But Thomann does a much cheaper version for just £20 a box!!!

https://www.thomann.de/gb/the_sssnake_cat_snake_3mb.htm
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https://www.thomann.de/gb/the_sssnake_cat_snake_3fc.htm
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:36 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote:However, when I was feeling lazy I bought one of these:

https://www.terralec.co.uk/audio_leads/cobra_microphone_snake_lead_on_reel_50m_1_input/29962_p.html

Looks good value, and I can appreciate the convenience...

But why two female sockets on the reel? I can't figure what possible use that would have at all...

If it was one male and one female I could get it -- a parallel split feed... Or if the cable plug was a female and it was two male XLRs on the reel that would make sense as a splitter as well...

But two females on the reel implies combining two output signals into a single feed and that -- as I'm sure we all know very well -- is a definite no-no!

What am I missing, please?

I have no idea! :lol:

It's always struck me as bizarre in the extreme and I've sometimes pondered on possible applications... without success! But 50m of decent cable on a drum with a centre socket - or two! - for that money was almost as cost effective as buying the bits and doing it myself. My other two similar cable reels I made myself from drums and cable I already had.

... and good spot on the Thomann versions of the Cat5/6 links... I shall ponder as I'm about to start 'moving on' most of my remaining live-sound gear. But I don't want to box m'self in too much... one never knows when the 'call' will come! :lol:
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby shufflebeat » Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:40 pm

I've seen Dave Rat's discussion on the subject of Cat5 analogue some time ago and it seemed like a robust way to go from scratch but at the time prohibitively expensive to change an existing system.

At these prices, assuming a merchantable level of reliability, it makes more sense. Could I relay on a <100ft cable to run both line and mic levels both ways (with some swapping of XLRs) without major issues?
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Re: Long cable runs, multi-core or single cables?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:48 pm

shufflebeat wrote:I've seen Dave Rat's discussion on the subject of Cat5 analogue some time ago and it seemed like a robust way to go from scratch but at the time prohibitively expensive to change an existing system.

At these prices, assuming a merchantable level of reliability, it makes more sense. Could I relay on a <100ft cable to run both line and mic levels both ways (with some swapping of XLRs) without major issues?

I think so, as long as the Cat 5/6 is properly screened.

My multicores are by no means expensive ones, but when I was on the road I was regularly running mic signals one way and four lines (L&R FoH and two monitor sends) at line-level back to the stage. All balanced of course and never any problems.

Doubtless the cognoscenti will be along shortly...
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