DIY cables

emanueltech

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Mar 27, 2004
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London , England
Basically we have two mackie speakers that run by speakon nl4 we have very short cables. we need longer ones, but the prices in london are way over our budget, but we have cable and we can get chap connectors. The problem is how do you cable them. Any help? Please. If you can tell us the same about XLR aswell cheers
 

ship

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Illinois
Go to the speakon website or your suppliers website for how to wire them. I expect such things wiring diagrams are widely published, even a web search would find lots of how to subjects and drawings. Othewise inside of the plug is L,W and ground. Should be easy enough to wire them be it by taking apart one of your short jumpers and wiring your new cables the same or metering out what is going where. Don't try to splice one cable to another.

One note on speakon plugs is to use ferrules around your wire. Any time you have a screw directly clamping down on strands of wire it's going to cut into it. A properly sized ferrule will prevent this and give a good connection.

Had to work with some for the first time about a week ago thus it's fresh in my memory. Overall they are a pain in the rear to wire up. Don't forget that there is inlet and outlet plugs and they are not universal.
 

Foxinabox10

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Boston, MA
What are ferrules and what are their purpose?
 

ship

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A ferrule is a tin or other coated copper tube you fit around the wire and is sized to the wire gauge. It's purpose is to band those wires together much similar in a way that a crimp on terminal will band those wires together to terminate them in what ever fitting is desired be it quick disconnect, fork, ring or what ever terminal end. In fact there is a type of crimp on terminal called a pin terminal that is designed to go into set screw terminals which would work here given there were enough space within the body of the plug. Basically this would take all your wires, crimp them into the body of the terminal and allow you to install the solid rod off that crimp into the set screw clamp.

Otherwise, ferrules are just as stated a tube of conductive material that's going to band those wires together in providing equal pressure on all strands, and it's going to provide a bit harder of a shell when sized to the wire which the set screw won't dig and cut into in clamping the strands of wire. It's very common on our Stage pin plugs a set of 12ga ferrules will be provided with them. This on normal 12ga cable is all you need. On lesser sized wire however since that ferrule is now larger than the wire it's banding together, it's still possible for the screw to dig into and break the conductors after it cuts thru the ferrule. Also dispersed pressure on the conductors is not in effect any longer short of bending the conductors in half thus doubling up the wire inside of it. Ferrules need to be sized to the wire, or the wire needs to fill itself up to the size of the ferrule or it's not doing it's job in protecting and providing a good termination to the wire.

Here is a web page http://www.mcmaster.com/ that you probably won't be able to order from given you are in Europe, but punch in part number 7850k24 than go to the catalog page for a list of about every type of ferrule on the market. Your local domestic electronics supplier would be the source for such things just as McMaster is not the only source for ferrules in the US.

Cee Form connectors while they don't normally come with ferrules work in a similar way to stage pin connectors. Cee Form is just more of a pain in the rear to wire. In any case, since it's often screws bearing directly onto the wire's conductors, use of a ferrule would allow for a much better connection. Where you don't need a ferrule is when it's a plate and not screw clamping down on the wires. Barrior strips and Edison type plugs have plates that bear down on the conductors thus there is no screw twisting and turning it's way in digging into the strands of wire. Should your Speakon plug have a plate clamping on the wire, a ferrule often won't hurt but most likely is not necessary.
 

Foxinabox10

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Thanks. BTW...what makes you think I'm in Europe?
 

ship

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Silly me. Don't know where that came from. One should not watch the Simpsons while typing. It leads to only half thinking.
 

Foxinabox10

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Or at least wait until the commercial breaks...lol.
 

bdesmond

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Mar 8, 2004
Location
Chicago, IL USA
It's not terribly difficult to custom build cables. It's certainly cheaper, parts wise. The question is how many connectors/feet of cable are you going to destory learning how. :)

If you need really high quality signals, and you've never built the connectors before, you'd be better off buying stuff already. In general, it'd be best to learn how to do it, it's not that difficult, and building your own cables as needed is a handy skill.
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
ok to start off try and stay away from doing it your self let it to a pro. if you do it yourself, you could screw up the speakers due to faulty wiring which would then void all warranty's, if you want to i have a friend that works a whirlwind cables here in the US and if you contact me and we can discuss details i could help you get professional cables very cheap.
you can call me at 512-247-8539 or email.


_____________
Derek Gaul
D.M.G. Productions
[email protected]
 

halojen

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Joined
Mar 29, 2004
Location
new zealand
For those out there like me who are forever making themselves new random leads and adaptors some of these resources are extremely good.

http://www.spiritbysoundcraft.com/

and go to "learning zone" then "wiring guides".
..or more accurately:
http://www.soundcraft.com/download.asp?filename=pdf/palz/connections_lead2.pdf


if you hunt the site a bit go to the "brochure request" page.
they will sent you heaps of brochures for free. i cant remember which one, but one of them has the same wiring guide. i have had the poster version of the above guides on my bedroom wall for years.

reply and tell me if you people agree with me on this one.
 

Mayhem

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dmgproductions said:
ok to start off try and stay away from doing it your self let it to a pro. if you do it yourself, you could screw up the speakers due to faulty wiring which would then void all warranty's, if you want to i have a friend that works a whirlwind cables here in the US and if you contact me and we can discuss details i could help you get professional cables very cheap.
you can call me at 512-247-8539 or email.
Not sure that I entirely agree with you there Derek. I think that building cables is an essential skill in this business.

You raise a good and valid issue with regards to potential consequences from faulty wiring but with the aid of a multimeter, cables can be easily and accurately checked. If in doubt, or in the first couple of instances a more competent person should check the work but as long as there are no shorts or (undesired) cross overs then most people will be pretty right.

Most manufactures of equipment put schematics either in their manuals or on the chassis of their equipment to assist people. Those in doubt should visit the manufactures web site, or phone/fax/email them. If no luck, they can always post a message on this forum.

One of the advantages of making your own cables is that you can repair or build cables at gigs if required. I do not know how many times I have had to fix a cable or make an adaptor to solve a problem (usually someone wanting to plug into my rig and turning up with RCA leads when they informed me that they had XLR’s – for example).
 

halojen

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Location
new zealand
Mayhem said:
One of the advantages of making your own cables is that you can repair or build cables at gigs if required. I do not know how many times I have had to fix a cable or make an adaptor to solve a problem (usually someone wanting to plug into my rig and turning up with RCA leads when they informed me that they had XLR’s – for example).
where i come from that could not be a truer statement.
two of the most important tools in my box were my soldering iron and multimeter.. along with some spare assorted plugs and a few old "smack up" leads. (no points for guessing what that name means).
..anyway, with a two-core speaker cable you cant really go wrong cause if you get it out of phase, so what?
 

DMXtools

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Oct 14, 2003
Location
Elgin, IL, USA
with a two-core speaker cable you cant really go wrong cause if you get it out of phase, so what?
If you get it out of phase, you create a "hole in the middle" effect. Assuming you have speakers on either side of the stage, if they're out of phase, the closer you get to the middle, the weaker the sound will be, especially at bass frequencies. In a stereo setup, instrument positioning in the stereo sound field gets screwed up - instruments and voices that should be front-and-center and pretty dominant are instead weak and distant-sounding, while instruments panned hard-left or hard-right are overbearing.

Phasing is very important to good sound quality.

John
 

halojen

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Mar 29, 2004
Location
new zealand
but i thought you always get phasing out but it would just be in opposite places.
you always have constructive and deconstructive interference all round the room dont you.
trying to dredge up the physics i failed.
and in a hall with heaps of reverb? im not sure you would even notice it.
i dont think ive ever got one out of phase so im not sure how it sounds.
but as far as i can imagine the difference is unnoticeable.
 

Mayhem

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Best thing to do is try it for yourself.

I recall some time ago (and someone may wish to comment/correct) that the cheap and nasty way to make backing tapes was to record from the original source with one of the channels out of phase. The result was (supposedly - I have never had the desire to do it) that the vocals would be removed on the copy.

Please note – I am not condoning this process, just commenting on it as it relates to the topic.
 

halojen

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Location
new zealand
Mayhem said:
I recall some time ago (and someone may wish to comment/correct) that the cheap and nasty way to make backing tapes was to record from the original source with one of the channels out of phase. The result was (supposedly - I have never had the desire to do it) that the vocals would be removed on the copy.
aha. yes. that works fairly well if the vocals are in the dead centre of the "stereo image". cause anything that as evenly in both channels will cancel itself out, but, anything that has sterio effects will have little fancy phase variances and what-not so will not.
but if your instruments are also centered then you will probly lose them too.
i think the only thing is that you have to mix it into mono just after the phase is flipped.

..to get back to the original topic.. you could easily DIY yourself a little Y-shaped adapter that switches one phase then combines them.

i stand to be corrected but im pretty sure that is right.
 

Mayhem

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halojen said:
Mayhem said:
I recall some time ago (and someone may wish to comment/correct) that the cheap and nasty way to make backing tapes was to record from the original source with one of the channels out of phase. The result was (supposedly - I have never had the desire to do it) that the vocals would be removed on the copy.
aha. yes. that works fairly well if the vocals are in the dead centre of the "stereo image". cause anything that as evenly in both channels will cancel itself out, but, anything that has sterio effects will have little fancy phase variances and what-not so will not.
but if your instruments are also centered then you will probly lose them too.
i think the only thing is that you have to mix it into mono just after the phase is flipped.

..to get back to the original topic.. you could easily DIY yourself a little Y-shaped adapter that switches one phase then combines them.

i stand to be corrected but im pretty sure that is right.
LOL – thanks halojen, but my last post was more to illustrate the point that was previously raised about the issues that can be caused by having a speaker lead out of phase.

Obviously it has had the desired effect as in your answer, you have answered correctly and described the same scenario and effects as having two speakers out of phase with one another. Item of the audio picture will be more affected the closer they are to the centre.

I have absolutely no desire to make myself any backing tapes and just used that example, as it was one that came to mind when I was reading the post. I think that one of us (the band I use to be in) did do several tapes for our lead scream to practice with but that was a long time ago.

Just touching on your comment regarding combining two stereo signals into one mono, I would not advise the use of Y leads to do this. I was taught by a well-respected and knowledgeable tech that doing this risks damaging your equipment. As the leads most commonly used are unbalanced, there are phases shifts within each of the signals. When you combine them, it is possible for all sorts of funky things to happen and I do not understand or remember them all. However, I did remember the part where I was told that it could damage the output stages of the source device.

He gave a very simple demonstration be running a signal into a Y lead and then unplugging one of the stereo feeds. The result was an increase in volume and a fuller sound.

The solution was to build a summing amplifier, which will convert stereo to mono using a handful of components.

I would be interested if anyone out there has any opinions on the stereo to mono aspect of this post.
 

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