Multimedia Sound System Floor Box. Floor Pocket. Microphone Cables
In most permanent installation applications, how a sound system looks is every bit as important as how it sounds. Often the most egregious offender in the system from an appearance standpoint is not speaker cabinets or mixing consoles; its the cables most people notice. In many of these situations, a floor box could save the day.
It is relatively commonplace to see an audio snake used in most professional or semi-professional sound reinforcement systems. Essentially a group of cables bundled together into a single, larger cable, a snake performs several functions. First, it provides a single connection point for all of the stages microphone cables. It also saves having to run a multitude of cables from the mixer to the stage and back. It allows the mixer to be placed a distance away from the stage so the person adjusting the relative volume levels and other audio parameters can hear what the audience is hearing. Additionally, it sends information from the mixer back to the stage, where it can be amplified for the stage speaker system(s) and monitors. While this snake helps to minimize some cable runs, connecting all of the necessary cables to it can still leave quite a mess. This is where a floor pocket comes into play.
Imagine, for example, the stage in a multi-purpose conference room. It could be used for any of a number of different purposes from corporate presentations to wedding receptions. Using a traditional audio snake would result in unsightly cables lying around, which may also prove to be a potentially costly trip hazard. Utilizing a floor box, or maybe even several of them, the connection points for microphones, computers, or other audio/visual devices could be discretely tucked away out of sight and out of harms way.
Another significant advantage to using a floor box is that delicate connections are protected under a sturdy metal lid, and are therefore much less vulnerable to damage from being kicked, stepped on, etc. These lids usually have notches in them which allow the cables room to pass through, while still providing valuable protection to sensitive solder joints. As someone who has spent far too many hours on the business end of a soldering iron repairing damaged cables, I can attest to how important this can be.
Another great place to utilize a floor box would be in a church. Say, for example, the drum kit needed microphones. In this application in particular, appearance is a huge factor. Having a single point on the platform right behind the drums where all of the microphone cables could simply disappear from sight into a floor pocket leaves the stage/platform area with a cleaner, uncluttered appearance. The same could be done in the area where the guitar and bass player are located, with all of the necessary connections to the main audio snake being made under the floor or in another hidden location.
While our discussion here has focused mostly on microphone cables, most floor pocket designs can be fitted with any connections necessary to suit your audio/visual needs. Cat5, RCA, XLR, 110VAC, VGA, Ό, Speakon, or a multitude of other cable types can be accommodated, so your floor box can be tailored to meet the needs of your particular system and application.
With so many options available, you owe it to yourself and to your audience (or congregation, as the case may be) to incorporate a floor box or several into your sound system installation.
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