Male XLR wall jacks only?

ACTSTech

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Perhaps they have already got the quote and this is now a change order. That could raise the price quite a bit.
That's what concerns me the most, nothing has gone out for bid yet. We're in design and spec stage, not purchase and install.

Again, the drawback of this area is there seems to be one architect that's used, and everyone gets the template approach. And I have a feeling that if they get their way, there will be one bidder for everything rather than let other companies bid.

I still don't understand why they would only provide male wall jacks though. Everything in my source catalogs and searches show that the prices are about the same. Nothing changes with the wire, nothing changes with the boxes, nothing changes with the plate.
 

TimMc

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That's what concerns me the most, nothing has gone out for bid yet. We're in design and spec stage, not purchase and install.

Again, the drawback of this area is there seems to be one architect that's used, and everyone gets the template approach. And I have a feeling that if they get their way, there will be one bidder for everything rather than let other companies bid.

I still don't understand why they would only provide male wall jacks though. Everything in my source catalogs and searches show that the prices are about the same. Nothing changes with the wire, nothing changes with the boxes, nothing changes with the plate.
You pulled the curtain away from the copy 'n' paste and now that folks see their BS, they went defensive.
 

MNicolai

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I still don't understand why they would only provide male wall jacks though. Everything in my source catalogs and searches show that the prices are about the same. Nothing changes with the wire, nothing changes with the boxes, nothing changes with the plate.
Hard to say. Could be they're using generic connectors and Neutrik is a bump up in which case $1 connectors may become $3 connectors. Could be they have a large stock of generic wall plates or connectors and are trying to pressure you into using them so they can clear inventory off of their shelves. Could be they don't know where to source proper equipment at reasonable prices. Could be they were banking on using XLR's with screw terminal connectors and going with proper connectors means someone has to solder them. Also could simply be that they're embarrassed and are trying to defend their original proposal rather than look at facts, or that they don't know what they don't know.

Probably some combination of originally quoting generic products and trying to defend their original recommendation as a matter of pride for fear of looking silly --- possibly because they've already gone all-male-plugs-all-the-time on other projects and already have some soul searching to do.

Lot of variables. None of which change the facts that in any installation the cost of XLR connectors is negligible. Now if we were talking fiber, ethercon, or MASS connectors -- then you are talking about connectors with major cost implications, but not standard XLR's.
 

gafftaper

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Print out pricing for Neutrik and Switchcraft in Male and female. Then show them that you can't go to somewhere like Sweetwater and buy a 25' Female to Female cable. Major companies like Hosa and Proco don't make Female to Female cables. So you will spend the next 25 years special ordering cables or cutting the ends off of them and resoldering new connectors on them. Ask them which is cheaper.
 

MNicolai

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Print out pricing for Neutrik and Switchcraft in Male and female. Then show them that you can't go to somewhere like Sweetwater and buy a 25' Female to Female cable. Major companies like Hosa and Proco don't make Female to Female cables. So you will spend the next 25 years special ordering cables or cutting the ends off of them and resoldering new connectors on them. Ask them which is cheaper.
No problem. Great deals on 600 MHz wireless to be had. No more cables.

Just make sure to earmark a line item in the district budget for FCC enforcement down the road.
 

ACTSTech

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No problem. Great deals on 600 MHz wireless to be had. No more cables.

Just make sure to earmark a line item in the district budget for FCC enforcement down the road.
FCC enforcement? We have an old LP Analog TV station still broadcasting like a flamethrower that you can pick up on toasters occasionally. Even the "local" TV stations have complained, but there's no interest from anyone in meddling in a religious broadcast in a rinky-dink area.

I'm better with wireless mics, but I'm still VERY afraid of wireless DMX. I know a lot of people swear by it. And we don't do anything large scale, and this house will be small, but I still rely on wiring. When I have interference from unknown sources that hops all over the spectrum, I'm not putting my shows in the hands of wireless technology. My 6 wireless mics have yet to have a show where there wasn't a problem from 20' away.
 

mbrown3039

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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...
Whaaaatttttt???????????????????????

No, no, and double-no. Our industry has standards, just like any other. Ask the EC if he can "just" install non-locking 480V outlets, or tape breakers to lock them in the "on" position (I mean, it's easier than constantly resetting them or fixing the root issue, right?) Granted, these are code matters, not industry standards, but that should help them understand. If not, ask the architect to only install doors without locks - that way, no one will ever get locked out. Also, windows that don't open will never get stuck, right?
 

mbrown3039

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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.
"Banjo Depot" = :clap::clap::clap:
 
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GameCrasher545

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...
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?!
I just had a look and they still do them it just appears as if they might of changed how they’re labeled, as if you looked at the A series XLR panel connectors they all come in a -0 variation which has no latch but instead has spring retention. As most others have said genuine Neutrik connectors as great quality and very rarely break. We had a couple of cheap XLR panel connectors that broke so we replaced them with genuine Neutrik ones and they are so much better and we haven’t had any issues with them. Especially if it’s in a school don’t cheap out on them just for the sake of saving a few dollars because it isn’t the right way of doing it and it will confuse people. Do it right the first time.
 

MBrodin

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Wow, this takes me back. 30 years ago starting out, I worked for an install company that did this. When I asked why all XLRM wall jacks, I was told it was cheaper and it fit a shallow box better. If I remember right, Switchcraft XLRF we’re longer (deeper) than the XLRM, at least some models were. So it could have to do with the box spec. At least that’s my memory of a 30 year old conversation.
Anyway, I got laid off and went independent. The client called me because I was the one they knew best. They were wondering why their mics wouldn’t plug into their cables. Both ends were male! I ended up switching all those jacks out using a new manufacturer I hadn’t heard of, Neutrik. I could do that because I didn’t have established/exclusive relationships with vendors. Remember this was really early internet days and most business was still done, via phone, fax and letter. Or you could get a “catalog” look up line descriptions of models. Detailed information wasn’t just a “click” away.

Today, there is no reason why this can’t be done right the first time.
 

Pyrotech

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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.
I got a chuckle out of this as I have mostly seen the opposite.

One of my early electric utility large customer design projects was connecting a new elementary school. I met with the contractor on site for a variety of issues, one of which was making sure we had the right compression connectors to fit their service wires to our transformer. When we looked through the plans, the architect had specified copper cable rather than the more typical (service panel to utility) aluminum. I mentioned that not only was this more expensive for the school, we would have to special order connectors to fit and why wouldn't they just use standard size aluminum.

The contractor looked at me for a while and said 'Son, you haven't been at this very long, have you?'

I said, well, no, but...

He laughed and said 'Architects get paid on a percentage of the project cost, why would they specify the cheapest option?'

Oh...

I graduated to a whole new level of cynicism that day.
 

KyMask

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Louisville, KY
I was told that the reason the XLR plugs are male is because students would stick a pencil into the female plugs and break off the lead in the holes. Our entire auditorium was wired with all male plugs and we didn't have a problem. When we decided we didn't need the mic plugs I rewired them and made it an intercom system instead.
 

ACTSTech

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Here's an add on:

The plan is, and always has been, that our 16x4 snake is being mounted where the "pit" is being planned. That gives us a good spot for a lot of inputs, feeds from the orchestra, etc... The architect just asked "How do you plan on wiring that?" My response, "You plug it in, no wiring or adapters required." It makes me really question how they could have handled multi-million dollar projects for the last 20+ years. They've done at least 7 high schools, at least that if not double middle and elementary schools, colleges and universities... I have to be missing something.

The band director when I called to ask about the all-male jacks asked me if I ever had problems with the phantom power on XLR jacks. Apparently his jacks along the front of the stage are wired so they share a common ground on pin 1. I never heard of it, but the more I think about it, I'd assume that using the wrong cables to begin with (two conductors no ground maybe) was the issue, then it was haphazardly corrected by jumping from pin to pin on the jacks. Since a fair amount of people don't ever think about anything except a hand-held cardioid, they probably wouldn't notice if there was no +48 on the line. Highly doubtful, but has anyone ever experienced that?
 

YesItWillWork

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I don't mean to dump on you, but didn't you have an acceptance walkthrough somewhere before that first show
I would've killed for the time for that. The whole project was months behind schedule (don't get me started), so we all had higher priorities than looking at XLR waylines.
 
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gafftaper

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Here's an add on:

The plan is, and always has been, that our 16x4 snake is being mounted where the "pit" is being planned. That gives us a good spot for a lot of inputs, feeds from the orchestra, etc... The architect just asked "How do you plan on wiring that?" My response, "You plug it in, no wiring or adapters required." It makes me really question how they could have handled multi-million dollar projects for the last 20+ years. They've done at least 7 high schools, at least that if not double middle and elementary schools, colleges and universities... I have to be missing something.

The band director when I called to ask about the all-male jacks asked me if I ever had problems with the phantom power on XLR jacks. Apparently his jacks along the front of the stage are wired so they share a common ground on pin 1. I never heard of it, but the more I think about it, I'd assume that using the wrong cables to begin with (two conductors no ground maybe) was the issue, then it was haphazardly corrected by jumping from pin to pin on the jacks. Since a fair amount of people don't ever think about anything except a hand-held cardioid, they probably wouldn't notice if there was no +48 on the line. Highly doubtful, but has anyone ever experienced that?
Both your comment about the snake in the pit and the phantom power have me worried that it sounds like they are talking about old analog gear. Your theater should have a large digital I/O unit in the rack distributing XLR to wall ports AND an ethernet line (preferably lines with a little patch panel) that runs to the stage for a digital snake head. Allowing you to drop a digital snake head anywhere on stage that you want with a single ethernet cable.
 

MNicolai

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Re: I/O at Pit
Like @gafftaper said, analog infrastructure is dying off. I still pepper a few inputs/outputs here and there for things where you don't want to have digital stage boxes set up all the time, but what it sounds like they're talking about is taking a premanufactured 16x4 portable snake and bolting it to the wall and the cable back to FOH. That's a very poor practice for a long term installation and those are -- again -- likely points of failure especially if they're buying a cheap 16x4 snake like something from ProCo or whatever.

Re: Pin 1 Problems

Could be a few different things. Grounding issue somewhere, someone may have misunderstood how you should lift the shield at one of some audio cables to avoid ground hums, could be that the drain wire has just become damaged or shorted. It could be that the shields are shorting to conduit ground. Really hard to say without inspecting it or seeing detailed photos inside of back boxes and at termination locations. If they do indeed have a common ground wire, that's some really bad juju because that probably means the balanced cables are not properly shielded from EM interference and the positive and negative conductors on each mic cable may not even be twisted together, which can also lead to problems with interference and signal degradation.

Honestly sounds like you need a professional AV consultant on your side if this is what you're up against. If you want to send me drawings/specs, I'd be happy to do a cursory review and give markups/opinions to you. In any case, I'm getting the sense that you have bigger problems than just an electrician wanting to use the wrong connectors.
 

RonHebbard

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Here's an add on:

The plan is, and always has been, that our 16x4 snake is being mounted where the "pit" is being planned. That gives us a good spot for a lot of inputs, feeds from the orchestra, etc... The architect just asked "How do you plan on wiring that?" My response, "You plug it in, no wiring or adapters required." It makes me really question how they could have handled multi-million dollar projects for the last 20+ years. They've done at least 7 high schools, at least that if not double middle and elementary schools, colleges and universities... I have to be missing something.

The band director when I called to ask about the all-male jacks asked me if I ever had problems with the phantom power on XLR jacks. Apparently his jacks along the front of the stage are wired so they share a common ground on pin 1. I never heard of it, but the more I think about it, I'd assume that using the wrong cables to begin with (two conductors no ground maybe) was the issue, then it was haphazardly corrected by jumping from pin to pin on the jacks. Since a fair amount of people don't ever think about anything except a hand-held cardioid, they probably wouldn't notice if there was no +48 on the line. Highly doubtful, but has anyone ever experienced that?
@ACTSTech LOVE your solution. Have little to no problem comprehending your astonishment / disbelief / puzzlement / wonderment.
In the fall of 1973 our "State Of The Art" 2183 seat / dual balconied soft-seater, multi-purpose, variable acoustics , speaker under every second seat, dual full width hydraulic lifts, four castered seating wagons carrying the fixed seating for the first 8 rows (complete with aisle lights and under seat speakers) + 6 or 8 female XLR3's (per lift) installed under load-rated hinged covers along the down stage edges of each of the two lifts ostensibly for use when they were used either as stage extensions to mic' our civic symphony for recording purposes, accommodate lecterns, stand mics, hand mics; all things for all users for ALL purposes.

In the lower level sub-basement below the pits, were two auto-retracting reels intended to pay out and retract mic level cables as each of the two lifts raised, lowered, and stopped at four preset elevations.
Similarly, two more auto-retractors supplied 70 V audio for the four individually delayed rows of under-seat speakers.
Two more for the 120 volt aisle lights and two more to power music stand lights via single, ~20 -24 ungrounded parallel blade, receptacles provided under ~20 0 - 24 load rated covers flush mounted within the lift's surfaces.

Cutting to the chase: All 12 or 16 twisted pairs of ~22 gauge were sheathed within one foil shield with one bare common drain wire.
Neumann KM84's, and other 48 V phantom powered mic's, were included in the specification and provided as part of our initial mic' stock.
The ground loops were . . . uh . . . "interesting" / educating / elucidating.
'nough said.
Think POSITIVE!
Test NEGATIVE!!
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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TimMc

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Both your comment about the snake in the pit and the phantom power have me worried that it sounds like they are talking about old analog gear. Your theater should have a large digital I/O unit in the rack distributing XLR to wall ports AND an ethernet line (preferably lines with a little patch panel) that runs to the stage for a digital snake head. Allowing you to drop a digital snake head anywhere on stage that you want with a single ethernet cable.
I may have missed that the proposed system design has this capability, but generally I like having analog lines installed to difficult-to-cable locations (spot booths, control booths, off stage band/orchestra spaces) so that doors can be closed (security and noise isolation). In today's world I want big, open pipes with no hard bend and installed pull lines for fibre and CAT cables.
 
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ACTSTech

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Both your comment about the snake in the pit and the phantom power have me worried that it sounds like they are talking about old analog gear. Your theater should have a large digital I/O unit in the rack distributing XLR to wall ports AND an ethernet line (preferably lines with a little patch panel) that runs to the stage for a digital snake head. Allowing you to drop a digital snake head anywhere on stage that you want with a single ethernet cable.
Yes. unfortunately it's an analog snake at the moment. Due to budget, we're not going to purchase anything beyond "necessities" so new snakes are off the table. However, the analog snake will run to the Allen & Heath AR2412 which is connected to the Qu32 by an ethernet cable. I already have the network switches and lines in the bid, so it will be ready in the future (assuming we have a future) for digital expansion. The problem is when we were conceiving the idea for the renovation, we knew we were going to have to do it shoestring, so all idea was to try to have a 5-year plan in place. Unfortunately, Covid hit and our income for the last year is 0, grant money is 0, and the companies which we had gone through for rights and royalties for the season won't refund anything.

However, money woes aside, this architectural firm still deals with analog. The last high school renovation they did came in so far over budget (which isn't hard to believe with any renovation) that the auditorium lighting system was totally cut. The line array they installed (for a 750 seat high school auditorium) is already out of production and the auditorium hasn't opened yet. Lots of Dante technology with no training and lots of new analog lines since that's what the bigwigs making the decisions understand.

I have no budget in this project to go digital. However, I've tried to prepare by including Cat6 cable everywhere so that when we're ready, we just plug and go.
 

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