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Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby ronmac » Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:49 pm

I have used Neutrik connectors the past few decades for my studio/live cable stock (100+ cables) and several theatre installs. They have always worked well.

I decided to try some Amphenol cables, on advise from a colleague, and find them quite good. After having had a few hundred connectors in the field for a couple of years I have not had a single failure.

They are priced about half of what a Neutrik costs in my market.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby ore_terra » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:17 pm

My local dealer didnt have any neutrik male XLR the other day and sold me Switchrafts instead. I knew the brand for guitar electronic parts but never herd of their XLR.

I found their design quicker to work with than Neutrik’s. Performance wise, they look pretty solid too, and tightness is ok. I think they’ll be all right.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:27 pm

Switchcraft were one of the good makes before Neutrik became common. They'll be fine.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:07 pm

ore_terra wrote:I knew the brand for guitar electronic parts but never herd of their XLR.

Cannon invented the X connector... then added a latch (XL) and then used a rubber insert to hold the pins/sockets (XLR).

Switchcraft subsequently designed their own compatible version... and then later Neutrik came up with a more elegant version with simpler and quicker assembly, which has become extremely popular and widespread.

All three brands are high quality and reliable, and they each have their own small practical strengths and weaknesses.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:16 pm

Well I must admit to finding many Switchcraft designs somewhat more elegant.

Neutrik products can be trampled on by a herd of elephants and survive, but while Neutrik XLR's may be 'de rigueur', I find their 1/4-inch jack range bloated and totally over-engineered compared to Switchcraft and others ;)


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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby Luke W » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:29 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Neutrik products can be trampled on by a herd of elephants and survive, but while Neutrik XLR's may be 'de rigueur', I find their 1/4-inch jack range bloated and totally over-engineered compared to Switchcraft and others ;)

:thumbup: I like the Neutrik 1/4" for things like guitar cables, but I've found them to be a bit too bulky when space is more of a concern. When put my guitar effects rack together choosing Switchcraft TS connectors meant being able to save enough space behind the pedals to fit everything on a single shelf rather than having two.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 07, 2020 2:42 pm

Martin Walker wrote:...while Neutrik XLR's may be 'de rigueur', I find their 1/4-inch jack range bloated and totally over-engineered compared to Switchcraft and others ;)

They current range is certainly well-engineered... but bloated and over-engineered? How so?

I would agree that their earliest attempts were daft in being way too large, but the current PX series, especially, are slim, easy to work with, and very secure and reliable.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby merlyn » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:00 pm

It's about the strain relief, innit? I've got Neutrik and Switchcraft 1/4" jack leads. The strain relief in the Switchcraft is the basic two prongs that I have clamped onto the cable with a pair of pliers and this is fine for a lot of applications. Mercifully the Switchcraft doesn't have a spring, as I have come to hate springs. The two prongs are enough, but if I made an effort I could pull this apart.

Not so with the famous chuck-type strain relief. When bending the cable on a Neutrik jack connector the cable will give out before the connector. There is approximately zero strain on the cable inside the connector meaning the solder joints are purely electrical.

I don't think it's over-engineered as much as the design goal is different for Neutriks -- zero strain inside the connector, so my gigging leads are Neutrik.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby ef37a » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:26 pm

There are a couple of things to be aware/wary off with the, shall we say "lesser" connectors.

Jack plugs first: The tip of a Neutrik plug is all one piece of metal with the rod that goes into the body . Thus it is extremely unlikely to break off and get stuck in a jack.
Other designs can have tip retained by a thread and thus can and has been known to come off. The result is that the tip is almost impossible to retrieve and the jack must be replaced, for some sorts of gear that can be quite a task.

Next the XLR. Some designs use an insulator which softens at even Lead solder temperatures so ALWAYS plug the 'plug' into a mating connector to solder then even if the matrix softens the pins will retain their positions.

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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby adrian_k » Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:21 am

That’s a good tip (sorry), thanks.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby adrian_k » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:50 am

OK one final daft question.

What I am actually doing is replacing the two balanced cables that go from my keyboard mixer on one side of the room to the AI on the other. They are not quite long enough to route them safely so I'm either unplugging or tangling myself up in them It was a 'temporary' solution :roll:

So I've bought a length of 2-way individually jacketed multicore and some TRS connectors. I'm OK with the standard balanced connections but what, if anything, do I do with the outer foil screen? I've downloaded datasheets for this and similar cables but can't spot anything specific about it. :?:
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby ef37a » Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:27 am

adrian_k wrote:OK one final daft question.

What I am actually doing is replacing the two balanced cables that go from my keyboard mixer on one side of the room to the AI on the other. They are not quite long enough to route them safely so I'm either unplugging or tangling myself up in them It was a 'temporary' solution :roll:

So I've bought a length of 2-way individually jacketed multicore and some TRS connectors. I'm OK with the standard balanced connections but what, if anything, do I do with the outer foil screen? I've downloaded datasheets for this and similar cables but can't spot anything specific about it. :?:

Think of the outer screen as an extension of the metal cases of the equipment you are connecting together. Thus, if going from a tower PC to a mixer with an earthed chassis say, that outer screen would connect both cases together.

In THEORY (!) the screen of a balanced system plays no part in the audio signal path but, 'it'appen and that is when you have to get into transformers and such but the default position is to maintain a continuous screen for maximum RFI protection.

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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby adrian_k » Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:50 am

Hi Dave,

Yes I think I understood that so on a 'normal' balanced TRS I would connect screen to the sleeve and the other two to tip and ring paying attention to getting them the right way round.

But each individually jacketed core in this two way multicore is a three wire, one of which is not insulated so I would treat as an 'earth' (excuse me if I am using the wrong terms here) and connect to the sleeve of each individual connector.

I'm then still left with this very flimsy foil screen that encases both cores. I'm not even sure it would remain connected even if I could somehow solder it to (say) the 'earth' of both cores... (scratches head)...

cheers
A

[EDIT] Ah - I've just noticed in among the fibre strands surrounding the cores there is a bare braided wire that will be in contact with the foil. So maybe I somehow tease this out into two strands and connect to the 'earth' wires in the two cores at the plugs?

[EDIT 2] Thus ensuring I have a ground loop? (haha). Actually thinking about it the outer screen probably only needs to be connected to one of the plugs as both core will be connected to the same equipment.

[EDIT 3] OK for clarity, I just cut open one of the cores and it does have a foil screen too (not immediately visible), so at least each core is screened so I can just connect that via the drain wire to the respective sleeves and have a properly screened setup. I can then just ignore the outer foil screen I think..

[EDIT 4] Ignore me I'm talking to myself while I think this through :crazy:
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:41 am

adrian_k wrote:So I've bought a length of 2-way individually jacketed multicore and some TRS connectors. I'm OK with the standard balanced connections but what, if anything, do I do with the outer foil screen?

Normally, you just cut it back level with the outer sheath.

The foil provides the electrostatic screening, and it's grounded by a 'drain' wire running along the inside -- a simple twisted bare wire. So once you've cut back the foil you should have the drain wire, and two insulated signal wires. You solder the signal wires to the tip and ring terminals, and the drain wire to the sleeve of the jack plug.
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Re: Worth paying extra for Neutrik?

Postby ef37a » Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:44 am

https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALe ... 6zBdURPrHM

Maybe the above will clarify? AFAICT there is no connection to the body of a Dsub Tascam connector, the pins follow Cold, Hot and Screen for the individual circuits (XLR/TRS) but if there was an overall screen I would make a connection to the shell of the plugs both ends. This might entail some 'crafting' such as several turns of thin, bare wire, contacting the "flimsy" screen and making it good back on the cable outer.

In other words, where you have a cable with an overall screen it just continues the screen of the source to the sink.

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