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Which type of cable for my PA system?

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Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby onecrackpot » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:21 pm

I’m running two mains (12” active speakers) from one small Xenyx board. The mains are between 60-80 feet from the mixing board, so you could say we are doing long cable runs. The Xenyx board only has TRS out, not XLR out. One cable I need to be about 60ft and another I need to be about 75 feet. I want something reasonably priced but also good quality, and hopefully balanced (I think I need balanced for long runs like that?). I also read that I need 12 or 14 AWG, as opposed to the 16 gauge that I have been finding on amazon and monoprice, but it seems to me that 16 gauge is the largest they make in these balanced cables?

Please help me! I need to have a good event without sound interference.
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:39 pm

If they are active speakers you are sending a line-level signal, so wire gauge is not relevant (other than affecting the robustness of the cable). This is not a 'speaker cable' in the conventional sense of the term -- you're not transferring power so you don't need a particularly chunky wire gauge. Any standard balanced line or mic-level cable will be fine -- but terminated with TRS connectors at the mixer ends. 75 feet is not a problem either.

eg: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Neutrik-NC3MXX-B-VDSQBK2500-NP3X-B-Starquad-XLR-Cable/dp/B01B4IXXGY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520869355&sr=8-1&keywords=1%2F4+inch+TRS+to+XLR+male+25+metre+balanced+cable

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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby onecrackpot » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:48 pm

Would something like this work:

https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id= ... p_id=18819

Although this is only 50 ft so would I attach it to another XLR cable to extend it? (Two cables ran together)
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:55 pm

Yes, that would be fine.

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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby resistorman » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:54 pm

I wouldn’t buy monoprice cables... almost every one I ever bought failed, some immediately.
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby onecrackpot » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:40 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:If they are active speakers you are sending a line-level signal, so wire gauge is not relevant (other than affecting the robustness of the cable). This is not a 'speaker cable' in the conventional sense of the term -- you're not transferring power so you don't need a particularly chunky wire gauge. Any standard balanced line or mic-level cable will be fine -- but terminated with TRS connectors at the mixer ends. 75 feet is not a problem either.

eg: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Neutrik-NC3MXX-B-VDSQBK2500-NP3X-B-Starquad-XLR-Cable/dp/B01B4IXXGY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520869355&sr=8-1&keywords=1%2F4+inch+TRS+to+XLR+male+25+metre+balanced+cable

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These look like some nice cables. Obviously the price is a little bit higher, probably because of the quality. I’m guessing these will translate to a little less than $100 each. Are there any other cables that are higher quality than Monoprice, but maybe not quite as expensive as these Neutriks?
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby ef37a » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:09 pm

Don't think you need Star Quad at line levels and 75 feet?

Found this https://www.studiospares.com/Cables-Lea ... 593050.htm Then make the other 5mtr up with XLR toTRS.

And, learn to solder!
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby onecrackpot » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:02 pm

ef37a wrote:Don't think you need Star Quad at line levels and 75 feet?

Found this https://www.studiospares.com/Cables-Lea ... 593050.htm Then make the other 5mtr up with XLR toTRS.

And, learn to solder!
Dave.

Are self-soldered cables as reliable as factory produced?

Also, what does the term “quad” mean when referring to these cables?
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby onecrackpot » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:05 pm

ef37a wrote:Don't think you need Star Quad at line levels and 75 feet?

Found this https://www.studiospares.com/Cables-Lea ... 593050.htm Then make the other 5mtr up with XLR toTRS.

And, learn to solder!
Dave.

Are there any good websites for discounted good-quality cables like this but from a US vendor? The shipping rates are outrageous to the US from this site
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:09 pm

onecrackpot wrote:
Are self-soldered cables as reliable as factory produced?

It totally depends on how good your wire preparation and soldering is. I have mic cables here that I made over 30 years ago that are still working fine. Using good quality components helps.

onecrackpot wrote:Also, what does the term “quad” mean when referring to these cables?

Instead of two cores and a screen, star-quad cables use 4 cores and a screen. This helps to reduce interference even further but comes at the expense of slightly higher capacitance which could reduce high frequencies slightly with long cable runs driven from a poorly designed output. It is probably more useful for mic level signals rather than line level signals.
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:22 pm

onecrackpot wrote:Are there any good websites for discounted good-quality cables like this but from a US vendor? The shipping rates are outrageous to the US from this site

I'm not an expert on US pro audio dealers but others I know have often suggested the Markertek website

https://www.markertek.com/category/audio-cables
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby ef37a » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:26 am

James covered the 'quad' issue.

Rolling your own cables can certainly give you as reliable a product as store bought (when I had a workshop 'they' would never get MY money!)

Bit less convenient at home unless you have a garage or shed but can be done with a little preparation and thought.
You need a bench ('her' kitchen table?) and a small table clamped vice, $10? A soldering iron of course and this is the biggest upfront expense but a good temperature controlled "Solder Station" should be available around $50.00. After that some tools, wire cutters, small, needle nosed pliers and of course some solder. As a private individual you can still (in UK at least) use Lead 60/40 alloy, easier to use for the beginner. And! Last but by NO means least a test meter to check your work.

You won't save a heap of money but you can make cables to custom lengths, make up 'specials' and never be stuck of a wet Sunday night because a cable is faulty!

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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:56 am

:) I hadn't noticed those amazon cables used star-quad -- I just saw they were the right length with Van Damme and Neutrik labels which pretty much guarantees quality, and chucked in the link and pic as an example.

No, you don't need star-quad in your application, but it won't do any harm either.

Star-quad is a specific type of cable construction which provides enhanced rejection of interference when the interference source is ~very~ close to the cable -- such as can occur when running audio cables in ducts alongside old-school lighting power cables, for example.

It's not particularly relevant in your application, and more appropriate for cables carrying mic-level signals than line-level ones. But, as I say, it won't harm to use it for line-level signals either!

As for home-made soldered cables, yes, they can be as reliable if not more so than shop-bought examples. I have cables I made 30+ years ago which are still in daily use. But it all comes down to your soldering skills, the care taken during construction, and the quality of cable and connectors used.

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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby onecrackpot » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:58 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote::) I hadn't noticed those amazon cables used star-quad -- I just saw they were the right length with Van Damme and Neutrik labels which pretty much guarantees quality, and chucked in the link and pic as an example.

No, you don't need star-quad in your application, but it won't do any harm either.

Star-quad is a specific type of cable construction which provides enhanced rejection of interference when the interference source is ~very~ close to the cable -- such as can occur when running audio cables in ducts alongside old-school lighting power cables, for example.

It's not particularly relevant in your application, and more appropriate for cables carrying mic-level signals than line-level ones. But, as I say, it won't harm to use it for line-level signals either!

As for home-made soldered cables, yes, they can be as reliable if not more so than shop-bought examples. I have cables I made 30+ years ago which are still in daily use. But it all comes down to your soldering skills, the care taken during construction, and the quality of cable and connectors used.

H

I went with these Canare star-quads after all.

https://m.bonanza.com/listings/Canare-B ... d=65930014

It is for “line level” as I plan on connecting a mixer to two speakers. My mixer only has 1/4” out, not XLR out, so I’m going to connect a TRS-XLR cable to the end of this and connect it that way.

You don’t think I’ll lose too much of my high frequencies with these quads? I will be using PA primarily for vocals and backtracks
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Re: Which type of cable for my PA system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:27 pm

No, you won't notice any loss of HF, because there won't be any loss of HF.

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