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Home > Additional Information > Organize with a Cable Reel
 

Organize with a Cable Reel

Snake Cables. Sound Snakes. Cable Reels

When you get right down to it, most sound reinforcement systems operate on a pretty simple premise: you take a signal, amplify it, and then put it through some speakers. When you add a mixer, you’re just adding to the number of signals you start out with and adjusting them in a couple of different ways so they all sound good together. We may process some of those signals differently, and we may take the mixed signal and split it into different parts so we can amplify them at different levels, but the basic concept remains the same.

Within this simple block diagram concept, a snake cable fits in as a larger-scale version of a microphone cable; it’s really just a group of them, all within a single housing. What follows is a brief look at what a sound snake does and how it may benefit you.

As I’ve already mentioned, a snake cable is really just a bunch of smaller cables all bundled together. While they’re usually used for microphone applications, that’s not always the case. You can find sound snakes in a variety of sizes, from 8 channels up to 40 or even more. They can be found in lengths of 25’, 50’, 100’ or more. There is a virtually limitless variety of options, depending on what you need and what connection options your equipment offers.

Here is a basic rundown of how a snake cable would fit into a basic p.a. system:

  • Microphone cables from the stage plug into a box, which is fitted with the appropriate connectors (usually XLR female). The box is centrally located on the stage, and forms the head end of the snake.
  • The snake runs to the mixing board, a.k.a. the mixer, usually located within the listening field of the audience. This way, the sound man hears what the audience hears.
  • Once the sound is mixed, the outputs from the mixer are connected to the returns at the mixer end of the sound snake (also known as the fan).
  • The signal is returned to the stage, where it can be sent through power amps and out to the front-of-house speakers.
  • In the case of a powered mixer (one with one or more amplifiers built in), snake cables are available with speaker cables added in place of or in addition to the regular returns. (Be aware that the two are not interchangeable.)

When purchasing a snake cable, make sure you know what your connection needs are. For example, the returns could be configured with XLR or Ό” connections, so you’ll need to know what kind of outputs your mixer has. You’ll also need to know if they’re line or speaker level outputs. Also, if your sound snake is not going to be used in a permanent installation, you’ll want to consider getting a cable reel for easy storage and transportation. In fact, there are snake cables available with the stage box built into a cable reel-like design, perfect for quick set-ups and tear-downs. I have seen people try to use garden hose reels as a cheap alternative, and I can attest that their results were far less than optimal.

Most importantly, buy the best quality snake you can possibly afford, and buy one that will grow with you as your needs expand. An inferior quality sound snake will be poorly shielded, making it susceptible to noise and electrical interference. Also, the connectors will be of lower quality. Learn from my mistakes: this is not a good place to skimp on quality.

- Clear Recording Microphones
- Quality Lavalier Microphones
- A Shure Wireless Microphone
- Sennheiser Wireless Microphones
- Wireless Microphone Systems
- Organize with a Cable Reel
- Custom Sound - Floor Pockets
- Tidy Up with an Audio Snake
- Take control with a Floor Box
- Tame the Mess with a Stage Box

Snake cables, sound snakes and cable reels in huge variety of sizes at cheap prices. Sound reinforcement systems that fit all your needs

Specializing in professional audio equipment, sound systems, microphones, wireless microphones, mixers, amplifiers, equalizers, PA speakers, signal processing, snakes and cabling, floor boxes, accessories, interfaces and connections.


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