Male XLR wall jacks only?

ACTSTech

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My electrician came back with a proposal to install all the XLR wall jacks as male only. The architect told him that in most of the high school and middle school auditoriums, the first thing that the users complain about is the XLR jacks breaking. Because most of these are female with a spring clip, he recommends that you eliminate that "unnecessary headache" of having to repair a jack and just buy cables with a double female end...

Has anyone heard of this before? After making a few calls, several auditorium managers/band directors/janitors confirm that's what they've installed. My brain hurts.
 

Aaron Becker

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I wouldn't be asking an electricians advice on what audio connectors to install.
Aside from the obvious need for a bunch of gender benders or custom cables (and training people on how to use them)... why not just get non-latching females?

It's been 5+ years since I've sourced XLRs - and now I don't see the -NLs on Neutriks website anymore. Did they discontinue them?!
 

DrewE

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Never heard of this, which of course does not mean in any way that it doesn't happen. I would do most everything in my power to push back. If there are output XLRs installed for e.g. active speaker feeds, then it would make sense for them (and them only) to be male, while input XLRs are female.

I'm also a bit dubious of the idea that male connectors would be significantly less likely to be damaged than female ones....
 

derekleffew

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Has anyone heard of this before? After making a few calls, several auditorium managers/band directors/janitors confirm that's what they've installed. My brain hurts.
One of my colleges was like this. No idea why, other than incompetence. It took us two years, a little at a time, but eventually we made all mic inputs female and eliminated all the the lesbian mic cables.

Don't let it happen in the first place!
 

MNicolai

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The architect told him that in most of the high school and middle school auditoriums, the first thing that the users complain about is the XLR jacks breaking. Because most of these are female with a spring clip, he recommends that you eliminate that "unnecessary headache" of having to repair a jack and just buy cables with a double female end...
Huh?

I've never heard of this being an issue, and certainly what's being proposed is not kosher and is a recipe for disaster. That is going to be a nightmare cabling wise and risks pumping 48VDC phantom power into devices that are absolutely not intended for that and may become damaged as a result. Maybe if someone is using generic XLR connectors and wall plates like you'd find on Amazon or Monoprice, but if your system is being spec'd with Neutrik you should not have any issues.

Under no circumstances should you allow an electrical contractor OR an architect to be making decisions about audio connectors and cabling. You need a qualified, competent AV installer to be performing whatever work it is that you're doing.

If anyone gives you pushback, ask them to consider "Why aren't all AC receptacles male?"
 

gafftaper

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I have spent 30 years working with a variety of high school, church and college sound systems. All of them places where volunteers and people who are just learning are the key workers. Broken XLR spring clips has never been a major problem. I think I've replaced two in all that time. If they break they are very easy to fix. If you don't know how, learning to solder an XLR plug is a great first step in improving your skills. If the electrician says they always break they are probably using low quality parts. Insist that your plugs all be made by Neutrik for long lasting quality.

Below are the standard connections. :
-Input Jacks should always be female XLR plugs
-Output jacks to self powered monitor speakers (the ones with a built in amplifier that you need to plug in to power) should be wired with male XLR
plugs
-Jacks for the Clear-com system should be male XLR plugs
-Output jacks for passive speakers (no power required to the speaker, instead there are extra amplifiers off stage in the audio rack for them) should be wired with Speakon plugs (Speakon is the new standard, 1/4" is the old standard so if you have a lot of old speakers you plan to use you might want to go 1/4" but Speakon is the preferred route for the present and future. There are also easy to use 1/4" to Speakon adapters).

The reason these are standard is because all of the equipment you will want to connect to these plugs is wired this way. If you let them wire them another way you will hate yourself for decades until you replace them all. It'll be slow and painful work.

Somebody double check that I didn't mix this up... I'm posting at 1am o_O
 

DrewE

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Below are the standard connections. :
-Input Jacks should always be female XLR plugs
-Output jacks to self powered monitor speakers (the ones with a built in amplifier that you need to plug in to power) should be wired with male XLR
plugs
-Jacks for the Clear-com system should be male XLR plugs
-Output jacks for passive speakers (no power required to the speaker, instead there are extra amplifiers off stage in the audio rack for them) should be wired with Speakon plugs (Speakon is the new standard, 1/4" is the old standard so if you have a lot of old speakers you plan to use you might want to go 1/4" but Speakon is the preferred route for the present and future. There are also easy to use 1/4" to Speakon adapters).
That looks entirely right to me.

Neturik does offer combination Speakon and 1/4" connectors, though annoyingly only in PCB-mount versions (or maybe I should say PCB-connect chassis-mount).
 

DaveySimps

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This is crazy. Heaven forbid they focus on the root cause (poor or lack of training of staff / students). Interesting what educational institutions will focus on and spend money on. I have been working for them for 20 years, I continue to be amazed at what gets funded out of perceived value or ignorance.

~Dave
 

gafftaper

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This is crazy. Heaven forbid they focus on the root cause (poor or lack of training of staff / students). Interesting what educational institutions will focus on and spend money on. I have been working for them for 20 years, I continue to be amazed at what gets funded put of perceived value or ignorance.

~Dave
Schools will do terrible things on the advice of an architect who knows nothing about theater in order to "save money". When for a few thousand dollars more, a tiny cost on a multi million dollar project, they could hire a consultant who actually knows what they are talking about. So frustrating.
 

TimMc

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My electrician came back with a proposal to install all the XLR wall jacks as male only. The architect told him that in most of the high school and middle school auditoriums, the first thing that the users complain about is the XLR jacks breaking. Because most of these are female with a spring clip, he recommends that you eliminate that "unnecessary headache" of having to repair a jack and just buy cables with a double female end...

Has anyone heard of this before? After making a few calls, several auditorium managers/band directors/janitors confirm that's what they've installed. My brain hurts.
Your electrician should be slapped back to his/her/their trade. You can't "just buy cables with a double female end" at Banjo Depot. You can custom order them at a significant premium, though, and have a non standard installation that will teach students wrong information about audio systems in the process.

Where do people come up with this shat?
 

kmccoy

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Mar 15, 2008
While it's certainly not standard for us to do installs like this, I don't think it's that ridiculous for someone seeing a common complaint in their previous installs (broken spring tabs in the XLR socket connectors) and looking for a way to address that complaint through a straightforward cable assembly that reverses the connectors. There are plenty of reasons not to do it, which have been addressed here, but I think it's great that folks are seeing problems and working to address them. I hope that architect/electrician eventually wind up connecting with pro audio folks who can help them continue that attitude while understanding the bigger picture of why some of the choices were made in the past.
 

TimMc

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While it's certainly not standard for us to do installs like this, I don't think it's that ridiculous for someone seeing a common complaint in their previous installs (broken spring tabs in the XLR socket connectors) and looking for a way to address that complaint through a straightforward cable assembly that reverses the connectors. There are plenty of reasons not to do it, which have been addressed here, but I think it's great that folks are seeing problems and working to address them. I hope that architect/electrician eventually wind up connecting with pro audio folks who can help them continue that attitude while understanding the bigger picture of why some of the choices were made in the past.
The solution would be to specify non-locking female XLR. Without a doubt this is one of the stupidest things I've heard from an electrician playing audio person - most of them are actually much smarter than this one.
 

Jay Ashworth

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St Pete FL USA
Huh?

I've never heard of this being an issue
Oh yeah. The release clips on A3F's break and jam a *lot*, if you're not careful with them, usually locking in a plug in the process.

We've had 3 or 4 of them break that way in the 5 years I've been at my main house. Sure, it's mostly an annoyance, but if you're using everything in the box, and curtain is in 90 minutes, it's a pretty MAJOR annoyance. :cool:
 

TimMc

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You bet, but I didn't build the room, and it has 36 source jacks on the walls, *riveted to the box covers*...
And if *you* are not permitted to personally fix them (or it's not your job), what should be a 45 minute fix with $15 in parts becomes a $250 service call from a contractor or waiting 4 months for the building engineers to see to it. I understand. 🕶
 

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