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A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

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A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby mac.churchmouse » Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:43 am

Very early on in this Covid season I became inspired to re-structure my studio - change the layout to reflect workflows and frequency of use. My studio consists of 30 plus fairly decent quality hardware units (Keyboards, Rack synths, Processors, etc) acquired inexpensively as people devolved (?) to ITB production. It's a creative choice for me as I'm very hands on and I like physical controls.
So now we get to the topic at hand ...

Everything is laid out and looks actually quite elegant. However ... I haven't cabled anything up yet, as my neurological disability didn't handle lockdown, and being denied support, at all well. But now I'm surfacing from my depression, so some encouragement to deal with this rather "boring thing" would be much appreciated.

Any hints on how to make it all look 'pretty' and uncluttered? And at minimal cost? I'm in a rental situation so can't modify walls or the like. As I struggle to maintain some inner order, the last thing I want is tangles of looped and drooped cables straggling behind everything and dribbling along the floor, making the studio seem crowded and confused.

Nga mihi nui, many thanks, Glenn
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:33 am

Try and use multi-core cabling as much as possible, terminating in stage boxes, near main banks of equipment. If you have lots of rack gear, use IEC mains socket strips.
Rubber cable protectors can be used where cables have to go across the floor.
Individual cables that have to be used can either be clipped together, or clipped to stands, using cable ties.
Carefully work out your wiring plan, and make sure you make it as short, succinct, and as logical as possible. Importantly, take your time.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby DGL. » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:30 am

Naturally making cables yourself for each piece of gear that is the correct length can help matters, using "shotgun" cable for stereo devices and you can even use cable that has either one or multiple cores plus power to make things even tidier.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby ef37a » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:06 am

I am with DGL in respect of 'roll your own' when it comes to cables but you can save a lot of money and space by avoiding rugged, 6mm+ 'mic' cables for fixed site interconnects.

A two core foil shielded cable is readily available with an OD of around 3mm, so you can get more down the same hole! This cable also comes with a stranded, bare 'drain' wire and this construction confers several benefits.

1) The foil screen gives 100% RF shielding, lapped (ugh!) and braided screens not quite.

2) The drain wire makes termination a dream, no braid to tease out and no possibilty of a 'whisker' causing havoc.

3)The small OD gives a tighter bend radius.

4) The cable is much cheaper than standard balanced mic cable and can be had in 50mtr drums and a variety of colours.

Plugs: Nukies are lovely but expensive to just leave in the back of gear for the spiders to look at? Shop around and you can buy 3, even 5 very serviceable jack plugs for one Nuke.
Gold plating costs little more and makes things a dream to solder and they won't tarnish over time (but in any case I always give plugs a wipe of WD-40 before final seating)
Make extensive use of heat shrink sleeving to improve the less than brilliant cable relief and clamping on budget plugs.

Last but NOT least, buy a cable tester BEFORE you start and test as you make. Not only for shorts/opens but also 'phase'. A swapped Ring-Sleeve cable in a system can be hidden to the listener for quite some time only to cause havoc at some point.

https://cpc.farnell.com/pro-power/pp374 ... HmEALw_wcB

They only seem to do black but keep looking!

Dave.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:12 am

I would avoid being tempted by small diameter plastic screen cable, I’ve known this to cause a noticeable increase in overall noise, changing to foil screened cable made a hell of a difference. It’s quite significant if you have lots of gear.
Klotz Installation cable is very good, nice to work with, just a great cable all round.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby ef37a » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:22 am

Arpangel wrote:I would avoid being tempted by small diameter plastic screen cable, I’ve known this to cause a noticeable increase in overall noise, changing to foil screened cable made a hell of a difference. It’s quite significant if you have lots of gear.
Klotz Installation cable is very good, nice to work with, just a great cable all round.

I did not mention "plastic" screened cable Arp? I have used many mtrs of the kind of stuff I linked to and my noise floors are where the interface specifications would suggest they be.

Dave.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:35 am

And in addition to the wisdom above, label both cable ends!
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:40 am

ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I would avoid being tempted by small diameter plastic screen cable, I’ve known this to cause a noticeable increase in overall noise, changing to foil screened cable made a hell of a difference. It’s quite significant if you have lots of gear.
Klotz Installation cable is very good, nice to work with, just a great cable all round.

I did not mention "plastic" screened cable Arp? I have used many mtrs of the kind of stuff I linked to and my noise floors are where the interface specifications would suggest they be.

Dave.

Sorry Dave, I just meant it in the context of my post, it wasn’t meant to be related to yours, just wanted to drop that in about plastic screen.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby Folderol » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:42 am

ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I would avoid being tempted by small diameter plastic screen cable, I’ve known this to cause a noticeable increase in overall noise, changing to foil screened cable made a hell of a difference. It’s quite significant if you have lots of gear.
Klotz Installation cable is very good, nice to work with, just a great cable all round.

I did not mention "plastic" screened cable Arp? I have used many mtrs of the kind of stuff I linked to and my noise floors are where the interface specifications would suggest they be.

Dave.
That looks exactly like the stuff we used to use for audio in full size rack cabinets, where we'd have 50+ incoming sources then distributed around various processing and recording devices. The rack to rack and rack to wallbox umbilicals often had bunches of these too... on 90/120 pin EDACs (hate the 'kin things).
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:15 am

Another +1 for foil screened twin installation cable. I recently bought 120 metres of Canford Audio's own branded stuff for 54p a metre inc VAT. Very easy to work with and surprisingly durable, I have a few patch cables I made up 25 years ago when I was skint out of FST and they still work fine.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby ef37a » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:14 am

Arpangel wrote:
ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I would avoid being tempted by small diameter plastic screen cable, I’ve known this to cause a noticeable increase in overall noise, changing to foil screened cable made a hell of a difference. It’s quite significant if you have lots of gear.
Klotz Installation cable is very good, nice to work with, just a great cable all round.

I did not mention "plastic" screened cable Arp? I have used many mtrs of the kind of stuff I linked to and my noise floors are where the interface specifications would suggest they be.

Dave.

Sorry Dave, I just meant it in the context of my post, it wasn’t meant to be related to yours, just wanted to drop that in about plastic screen.

Ok matey, no worries. Whilst we are a bit OT? I don't know if they still make that instrument cable that was loaded with graphite grease? Supposed to reduce 'cable clonk'? If you did not clean off EVERY trace with meths or similar, gave all sorts of weird results.

Dave.



'
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby zenguitar » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:22 am

I've put some of these on my shopping list for when I set-up again. Extension lead with 4x IEC mains connectors. Could prove very helpful for keeping the power connections neat and organised.

https://www.studiospares.com/Cables-Lea ... 574430.htm

Andy :beamup:
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby Dave B » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:38 am

In terms of cabling, I'd go a different route. I would be looking at ordering a number of pre-made 8 way looms and using those instead. Yes, they are not as robust, but this is a fixed installation so I wouldn't expect them to be knocked about much.

I would also be thinking of patchbays. I can get away with just the one half-normalled patchbay at home, but do have the odd spare. If I were running to other places where there were random connections to make (like various keyboards), I'd either be thinking along Arpy's lines of stage boxes, or another patchbay and a loom back to the main system. That way, shorter cables from the keys to the box/patchbay and you can re-patch when needed.

Also, you have a large number of devices - great - but are they all going to be in use at any point in time? If not, then I'd also be looking more at patching via patchbays/stage boxes and shorter leads.

All other advice above is good : rubber matting to cover unwanted cables, ties, rack mounted IEC power blocks - all good ideas.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby ef37a » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:42 pm

Dave B, you have prompted another idea in my head regarding cable management.

Mini Trunking. Cheap as chips* and available in various sizes. You can get an awful lot of that 3mm stuff in a 20x30mm trunking.

*Get the stuff SANS adhesive backing and fix it with blobs of No Nails. The S/A job grabs like a Scotsman on a poond and is virtually impossible to re- position. You can cut 100mm pieces of the snap in cover and use them to hold the cables as you feed then through then slide in the rest of the top. You can hardly see the join 'Ern.

Dave.
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Re: A "Boring Thing" That Drives Me Nuts In The Studio

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:00 pm

ef37a wrote:Dave B, you have prompted another idea in my head regarding cable management.

Mini Trunking. Cheap as chips* and available in various sizes. You can get an awful lot of that 3mm stuff in a 20x30mm trunking.

*Get the stuff SANS adhesive backing and fix it with blobs of No Nails. The S/A job grabs like a Scotsman on a poond and is virtually impossible to re- position. You can cut 100mm pieces of the snap in cover and use them to hold the cables as you feed then through then slide in the rest of the top. You can hardly see the join 'Ern.

Dave.

Only problem is he’s in rented, so can’t stick stuff to walls.
Good idea though, I would have suggested it also, but....
This cabling business can all too easily become OCD Obsessive Cabling Disorder... :)
It’s interesting looking at people I admire, and their studios, they are either totally immaculate, or they look like a doss house, it seems to have no bearing on what you produce, but it’s massively important to the individuals piece if mind in a creative situation, so given that, it’s all fine....whatever.

:D
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