Audio Organization: Cables

The_Guest

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Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Location
Detroit, MI
What do you guys do to organize your XLR and other longer audio cables (TRS, etc)? Currently our XLR supply is sitting on top of a cabinet, it's not working out for us. I purchased two different styles of hooks just to experiment with what will work out the best. We don't have a lot of space so we can't have hooks allover the place. The XLR and long TRS supply almost all have velcro cable wraps on them. I bought more wraps this weekend, it should all be covered. All the short TRS, adaption, and patching cables are hung from there connectors these little hooks mounted on the wall to hand them.
 

mbenonis

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Sep 1, 2003
Location
Chicago, IL
A couple of years back we built a frame out of 2x4's and put a pegboard over it. Currently, it's positioned in the booth next to the sound console. We can have three rows of 7 columns each, and each hook can hold 2-3 XLR cables. It's organized like this: The top row has 50' XLR audio cables, and all DMX cables. THe middle row is exclusively 20'-25' audio XLR cables. Finally, the bottom row is any short XLR cables, TS cables, XLR-TRS cables, and any random cables. This system has really worked out well for us.
 

SuperCow

Active Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
Location
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
We use a pegboard for our shorter cables, but for the really long ones, we use somewhat sturdier coathooks. At one of the places where I worked, we just coiled all the cables tightly and tied them up, and then put them in those large totes, with labels on them, according to length. The latter option has the benefit of being stackable (it takes up less space) and also easily transportable.
 

avkid

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Feb 17, 2004
Location
Lakewood, NJ
i have a room with pegboard covered walls that is used to hold coax, xlr and all other types of cables, we also keep our backup system in that room, it consists of a Peavey xr-86 mixer a pair of beat up yamaha speakers and hopefully (i'll see this week) a newly repaired set of JBL speakers ( they are about 10 years old and were not used for years , until i saved from a life of siitng in storage ) they are almost in mint condition minus a few scratches.
 

bdesmond

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Location
Chicago, IL USA
Given a shortage of vertical space, I'd look at picking up some plastic containers with lids at your local Crate & Barrel, Linens 'n' Things, Contianer Store, etc. I'd imagine you probably have a good sized handful of cables in varying lengths. Take an inventory, and then logically group them by length and function into the containers. So long as the cords are wrapped neatly, you won't have any trouble getting them out. I'd also pick up a selection of rip-ties in various colors. Designate one color for each length. This will let you grab cables very quickly. If you frequently rent stuff, you might want to sync up your color scheme with theirs to save the confusion.
 

Nephilim

Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Location
Australia
The warehouse has large shelves with cable classified by type and length; every single cable in use has a velcro strap. When pulled for rental or jobs; the cable is stored in milk crates by kind; and then the crates go in square-pack cable bins.
 

Lightingguy32

Active Member
Joined
May 2, 2006
Location
New York
For XLR or Stagelighting cable, to easily make identifying lenght, near each connector end use different colors of electrical tape rings to ID lengths for instance a white ring would be a 25 foot cable, red would be 5, and so on, other wise i can't help you with the different 3, 5 and 6 pin configuration sorting
 

Dillon

Active Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Location
New York
The best system I've used has been a big steel bracket lagged into the wall. It was a custom build that we did -- welded 1x2 tube steel at about 30 degrees to a second piece that went flush on the wall. We had 4 or 5 of these on the wall -- 2 for long XLRs (all of ours were 25-30 feet), one for speakon cables, and one for black extension cords. We had a couple smaller ones too for short patch cables. A great way to store bulk amounts of cable!
 
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Peter

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Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Location
MA, USA
This is going to seem ... backwards... but it works really well. My college has several (3 or 4) bins that are about 2 foot cubes with hinged lids. Each bin has a (roughly) equal asortment of XLR and speakon neatly coiled and stacked inside. Each coil is held togeher with velcro straps that stay right on the end of the cable when unwound. Also, each cable is color coded by length, so you can just reach in and grab the color (length) you need. If you need a cable that is not on top, you lift the top ones out, grab your cable and lay the others back down flat. It doesnt sound like it would work, but it does. and it has the added benift of being super easy to bring arround to all the venues we work in. I think the real key is neat coiling so each cable lifts out without getting tangeled. If you can pull that off, it may just work for you too. (be warned if you have alot of kids who arnt great at coiling, or mic cables that are already bent in all kinds of funny ways, this may be hard to do!)
 

jonhirsh

Active Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
For indentifying the pins on cable i love the chrisite lights method. You use differnt colours of cable for each type ie.

4 pin black
3 pin purple
5 pin green
etc.

also you can get some heat shirink and label them with lengths and your company or the theatres info.

JH
 

soundlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
In response to Peter's post: If the mic cables are bent, lay them out in the sun for a few hours, then coil them really neatly, (this also works, in my experience, on new mic cables that have an irregular, tight twist to them) then leave them neatly coiled for a few days. That usually fixes them up...but laying them out in a driveway (my case) can be problematic, especially if a car drives up, so I had to be kind of careful...
 

BillESC

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Joined
Aug 29, 2005
Location
Kilmarnock, VA
All of our mic cables are color coded for length using colored boots on the male end.



Each cable also has a velcro "one wrap" at the male end for a neat wrap.

Due to our large rental inventory of mic cables, we constructed 2' wide by 2' deep by 4' long plywood bins on straight casters. These just fit under the first shelf of our rental shelving so they are absolutely out of the way until needed. Just pull on the handle and out rolls the bin, each one can hold around 2000' of mic cable or about 1000' of AC cable. We have them for DMX cable, Multi-cables, coax cable, cat 5e, and snakes. Makes storage convenient.

When loading out a show or rental you can roll a road case along the aisle and pull the cabling list as required... returning the inventory is just as easy.
 

soundman1024

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Denver
Ours XLR cables tend to end up in a stack somewhere in the amp room or, more likely at FOH. Lately it seems they've been coming to rest in rack drawers. I always coil them nicely then take the end i'm going to end on and use it to tie around so that the cable can be grabbed easily. Not everyone ties them if they did it would work out fine. It may not seem like the best system, but its much better than it has been in years past. I remember when we had a large round bucket (wider but shorter than a 5 gallon paint bucket) with a tangled array of assorted cables in it. Getting an XLR cable could have been a task that took more than 5 minutes.

As for instrument cables, we really don't have many spares. Musicians handle that. Inserts are all done by insert snakes which are in the main amp room hanging on the wall coiled. Thats where speakons are usually as well. On occasion there is a small drop snake on the wall, but sometimes its in a bucket or something on the floor.

It may sound quite unorganized, but once there is a system in place it tends to stay that way. The people who need to get stuff can find it quite quickly most of the time.
 

Ech725

Active Member
Joined
May 28, 2011
Location
California
Heat shrink labels for audio cable and cable ties

I've inherited a bunch of audio cables recently. Now that I have some downtime, I'd like to organize them.

Can anyone recommend some inexpensive labels?
I've seen the heat shrink labels and was wondering if the heat can damage the cables?
Also what about cable ties? Is velcro the best? What about tie line-what knot do you use?

Like always-I appreciate the advice and suggestions :)
 

themuzicman

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Joined
Apr 27, 2007
Location
On Tour
Re: Heat shrink labels for audio cable and cable ties

I've inherited a bunch of audio cables recently. Now that I have some downtime, I'd like to organize them.

Can anyone recommend some inexpensive labels?
I've seen the heat shrink labels and was wondering if the heat can damage the cables?
Also what about cable ties? Is velcro the best? What about tie line-what knot do you use?

Like always-I appreciate the advice and suggestions :)

Heat shrink labels are fine, it's just expensive to print onto heat shrink. It's not going to damage your cable unless you can heat the cables enough to melt the plastic, the insulator, and the copper inside of them.


Cable ties are a personal preference, velcro is decent. There are fancy 1/2" bungie type ties that are good to.

A square knot, like how you would tie your shoes.
 

gafftapegreenia

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CB Mods
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Location
Michigan
Re: Heat shrink labels for audio cable and cable ties

I worked at shop that used Ripties on all of their cables, with the length of the cable and company name on the Riptie itself. I personally have become a big fan of putting the LENGTH of the cable on the cable, instead of choosing from the 30 color codes out there, or creating a new one.

I still like tie line on lighting cable, but thats my theatre training. For stuff like feeder and mult, sash cord is better.
 

FMEng

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Mar 31, 2008
Location
Tacoma, WA
Re: Heat shrink labels for audio cable and cable ties

Heat shrink labels are fine, it's just expensive to print onto heat shrink. It's not going to damage your cable unless you can heat the cables enough to melt the plastic, the insulator, and the copper inside of them.
When terminating thousands of cables while building radio studios, we use standard, Brother P-Touch labels and put clear heat shrink tubing over them. The same thing works on some connectors, too.