Male XLR wall jacks only?

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
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.
I don't think I ever even posted the specs or the scope of the project, so you missed a lot on my account.

Basically, long story short, we're trying to retrofit/renovate a 130-year old decommissioned desanctified (which is good for our group for sure) Catholic church and create a community performing arts center. The idea is to take the sanctuary area and create a stage while turning the downstairs fellowship center into a smaller performing area/gathering space. The main issue is the lack of cultural support in the area. The city would just as soon tear it down and put up a strip mall for the newest Dollar General, but they can't jump around the semi-historic designation. Because the arts aren't supported, it's hard to secure state grants, just private ones and those are impossible to come by for a venue that might hold 200 tops.

The retrofit for this phase is basically getting it up to code and running. While I'd love to buy new, we just can't do it, so I've been tasked with reusing everything we have while looking to the future. I'm here on the forums asking a lot of questions because not only do I not know a lot, it seems that our architect doesn't know much either. As evidenced by the XLR conversation that started this whole thread!
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
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.
The type (s) of pipe spec'd and installed to transport adult beverages (and sweet / sticky pre-mix + carbonation) from SECURE and refrigerated basement storerooms to lobby bars. The pipes are usually spec'd as EXPENSIVE stainless, rat-tooth resistant, steel, all too often 'value engineered' down to turquoise sewage piping.
Perhaps @MNicolai is familiar and may comment.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

jakebozz

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2006
Location
Sewell, NJ
Slightly off-topic, but addresses "standard install:" I was called in to mix sound for a musical at a high school where the main snake running from backstage through a conduit to mix position at the back of the auditorium was installed backwards during construction-- the XLR male pigtails were backstage & the box of female XLRs was at mix position!!! Instead of fixing their mistake, they left it that way and supplied a boat-load of double-female cables backstage and double-male cables for connections to the mixer! I show up 10+ years after this shabby install to find most of the "patch cables" with broken connections, and I needed to come up with a rediculous number of gender-benders of my own to get the job done! So much for "standard!"
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
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.
that is the dumbest thing I have heard in ... a long, long time. F-F cables are completely inflexible for being daisychained, etc. Better is that the XLR FEMALES go in recessed stage boxes, floor pockets, or recessed wall boxes with a notched-out door to allow cables to pass out. This also eliminates the potential of the connector shell being "bonked" by man, beast, or board.
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
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?"
Brilliant, Mike!
 
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
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?
oh oh!! Banjo Depot is where I got the bypass jumpers for my electric meter, too!
 
  • Love
Reactions: RonHebbard

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
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. 🕶
yet replacing them all at once would be a major win ... could even make a new panel, if you dont want to drill out the rivets. I've ordered panels like this (empty or populated, with nice engraving) many times and always been happy with the result.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Slightly off-topic, but addresses "standard install:" I was called in to mix sound for a musical at a high school where the main snake running from backstage through a conduit to mix position at the back of the auditorium was installed backwards during construction-- the XLR male pigtails were backstage & the box of female XLRs was at mix position!!! Instead of fixing their mistake, they left it that way and supplied a boat-load of double-female cables backstage and double-male cables for connections to the mixer! I show up 10+ years after this shabby install to find most of the "patch cables" with broken connections, and I needed to come up with a rediculous number of gender-benders of my own to get the job done! So much for "standard!"
@jakebozz Facetiously; perhaps they were years / decades ahead of their time.
If/when you need to feed a boat load of powered monitors; on stage, back stage, in the pit and /or off-stage band / chorus / vocal booth(s) you're all set/ good to go.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Think POSITIVE!
Test NEGATIVE!!
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
  • Like
Reactions: macsound

Geep Howell

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2018
Location
Virginia
Many years back, I think using male plugs was, in fact, a standard, as the females when floor mounted tended to get filled with dirt and become inoperable. Even today, one of the theaters I work in had a recent new install done with a switching setup to go from a locally rack mounted board to analog inputs to the amplifiers, and those jacks were male. They now have turnarounds installed (mine) so incoming touring companies won't use bad language...I agree with the other comments that electricians ought to stick to 110 VAC and higher, and leave the audio standards to those who know what they are doing.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
Many years back, I think using male plugs was, in fact, a standard, as the females when floor mounted tended to get filled with dirt and become inoperable.
Isn't that really just a sign of a stage with a lazy technical staff not doing proper maintenance?
 
  • Wow
Reactions: RonHebbard

Aaron Becker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Location
US - East Coast
If the installer is making a stink about the connectors at the wall boxes, is it an option to 1) let them install their garbage and just rip it out after? We can't be talking about more than a few dozen XLRs... $3 a pop x 36 = $108 dollars. Especially if they aren't going to use Neutrik anyways. A few solder joints never hurt anyone. Otherwise 2) tell them to leave the bare wires dangling from the box and you'll finish it yourself? Saves them money and labor, and you get it done correctly.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
If the installer is making a stink about the connectors at the wall boxes, is it an option to 1) let them install their garbage and just rip it out after? We can't be talking about more than a few dozen XLRs... $3 a pop x 36 = $108 dollars. Especially if they aren't going to use Neutrik anyways. A few solder joints never hurt anyone. Otherwise 2) tell them to leave the bare wires dangling from the box and you'll finish it yourself? Saves them money and labor, and you get it done correctly.
I second asking them to leave a loop of wire. I've asked this of many electricians over the years who couldn't wrap their head around low voltage anything but were happy to run the cable.
 

FMEng

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Location
Tacoma, WA
I second asking them to leave a loop of wire. I've asked this of many electricians over the years who couldn't wrap their head around low voltage anything but were happy to run the cable.
Most electrical contractors I have encountered, are happy to do the conduit and cable tray, but like to farm out the low voltage stuff to a sub contractor, who should know better.

I was told, first hand, the story of a college dormitory that was wired for cable TV (CATV) when it was built. This was back in the early 1970s, when CATV was still a pretty new thing in the area. Soon after the building opened, the school's TV engineers started getting reception complaints. They grabbed a field strength meter, and found very low levels in most of the rooms. Further investigation revealed that the electrician spliced one wall jack to the next with.... WIRE NUTS. For some reason, that just didn't work too well.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Absolutely!
Some friends and family who've bought newly built homes had contractors who "allowed" the homeowner (or me actually) to come in after hours to run network and speaker wire as long as I wrapped the end of the wire around a big nail (how many pennies? maybe 25₵) so the sheetrock guy could poke it through.
 

Aaron Becker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Location
US - East Coast
Absolutely!
Some friends and family who've bought newly built homes had contractors who "allowed" the homeowner (or me actually) to come in after hours to run network and speaker wire as long as I wrapped the end of the wire around a big nail (how many pennies? maybe 25₵) so the sheetrock guy could poke it through.
I've run my own network/CATV in homes.... but I'm not "seeing" what the nail accomplishes? At least in my case (or these peoples, I guess), if it doesn't work, it's on them, not someone else.
and to be fair, home builders charge WAYYYY too much to run CAT(whatever) in a new house. $100+ a room, come on, man.

edit: on the other side of the coin, I do giggle when I hear about custodians or general maintenance staff trying to fix network, audio, video, etc runs and wonder why their experience of watching one YouTube video doesn't yield them professional-level results.

edit2: moral of the story, unless you're ACTUALLY a professional, you're going to get sub-par results doing it yourself. you get what you pay for. It's no disrespect to janitors, but it's not their job. Also, don't ask me to clean a bathroom, because I don't have the keys to the cleaning supply closet. and I prefer it that way.
 
  • Love
Reactions: RonHebbard

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
I've run my own network/CATV in homes.... but I'm not "seeing" what the nail accomplishes? At least in my case (or these peoples, I guess), if it doesn't work, it's on them, not someone else.
and to be fair, home builders charge WAYYYY too much to run CAT(whatever) in a new house. $100+ a room, come on, man.

edit: on the other side of the coin, I do giggle when I hear about custodians or general maintenance staff trying to fix network, audio, video, etc runs and wonder why their experience of watching one YouTube video doesn't yield them professional-level results.

edit2: moral of the story, unless you're ACTUALLY a professional, you're going to get sub-par results doing it yourself. you get what you pay for. It's no disrespect to janitors, but it's not their job. Also, don't ask me to clean a bathroom, because I don't have the keys to the cleaning supply closet. and I prefer it that way.
I was contracted in to a high school many years ago to "fix" their spring musical. They, as a lot of schools do, let the kids do everything, which was great for experience and a disaster in terms of actually getting things to work. I had the tech kids walk me through what the situation was, and after we decoded that the director was a dancer and really had given them no clear direction, we started fixing. The lighting was pretty straightforward, just teaching them how to program the board (Ah, the ease of the old ETC Express 72/144...) since all they knew how to do from her was turn down the grand master, manually adjust the faders to the next scene, then turn the grand master back up...

The sound...

The head custodian was in charge of the sound system and equipment. Only he had a key to unlock the rack, and he insisted that only he could have the key. All the microphones and cables and stands and whatnot HAD to be stored in his closet NIGHTLY. When I went to ask him a few simple questions, he grumbled about how all this stuff gets stolen and broken and kids don't know how to do this and do that and when I assured him I was going to be taking responsibility for everything, he got nastier and refused to give me any of the equipment and threw me out of the office. After revising my quote to add in the cost of renting all the equipment, he called to tell me I could pick up the equipment daily. I revised my quote to add in an additional 4 hours a day to set up and tear down. He called me to tell me I'd be issued a key for the run of the show and I'd be personally held accountable for any broken equipment.

Long story short, none of the equipment had ever been used. Brand new wireless units, hanging mics, PCCs, two 414s, all still brand new after 4 years. The only thing used were three boom stands, three cables, and three handhelds that were Radio Shack brand. He didn't understand any of the equipment and probably didn't want the job of taking care of it, but prided himself on his inventory being perfect every audit.

After the run of the show, there was a well-trained student crew and a very happy school board president who heard his daughter and son clearly through the state of the art system that "never seemed to work" before. Everything was returned (with pictures taken just in case) and locked away. And I was not invited back because I was "difficult" to work with. And since he sets up for everything, he won. And they went back to the three handheld mic setup, and everyone complained, especially the kids, but that's the way life happens.

Believe me, some of my favorite people in the world are the custodians that understand how the building works and all the ins and outs of the place. The majority of them are good people who work hard but sometimes get things dumped on them that they don't understand. This guy wasn't one of those people.

This electrician I'm working with now is a very nice guy, very knowledgeable in his craft, talked me through the pros and cons of the major rewiring and pointed out some things with a new panel I hadn't thought of. I don't think he's a bad electrician, but I think that he's not knowledgeable in the theater world, and he's probably following a template that was set out by the architect, who probably knows his craft in general terms but not in specific terms. I still have my union card, so I'd be happy to labor and do work since it will be a building I'll be working in. I just get scared when I see what's on the paper as well as what's been done elsewhere and accepted as standard.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I was contracted in to a high school many years ago to "fix" their spring musical. They, as a lot of schools do, let the kids do everything, which was great for experience and a disaster in terms of actually getting things to work. I had the tech kids walk me through what the situation was, and after we decoded that the director was a dancer and really had given them no clear direction, we started fixing. The lighting was pretty straightforward, just teaching them how to program the board (Ah, the ease of the old ETC Express 72/144...) since all they knew how to do from her was turn down the grand master, manually adjust the faders to the next scene, then turn the grand master back up...

The sound...

The head custodian was in charge of the sound system and equipment. Only he had a key to unlock the rack, and he insisted that only he could have the key. All the microphones and cables and stands and whatnot HAD to be stored in his closet NIGHTLY. When I went to ask him a few simple questions, he grumbled about how all this stuff gets stolen and broken and kids don't know how to do this and do that and when I assured him I was going to be taking responsibility for everything, he got nastier and refused to give me any of the equipment and threw me out of the office. After revising my quote to add in the cost of renting all the equipment, he called to tell me I could pick up the equipment daily. I revised my quote to add in an additional 4 hours a day to set up and tear down. He called me to tell me I'd be issued a key for the run of the show and I'd be personally held accountable for any broken equipment.

Long story short, none of the equipment had ever been used. Brand new wireless units, hanging mics, PCCs, two 414s, all still brand new after 4 years. The only thing used were three boom stands, three cables, and three handhelds that were Radio Shack brand. He didn't understand any of the equipment and probably didn't want the job of taking care of it, but prided himself on his inventory being perfect every audit.

After the run of the show, there was a well-trained student crew and a very happy school board president who heard his daughter and son clearly through the state of the art system that "never seemed to work" before. Everything was returned (with pictures taken just in case) and locked away. And I was not invited back because I was "difficult" to work with. And since he sets up for everything, he won. And they went back to the three handheld mic setup, and everyone complained, especially the kids, but that's the way life happens.

Believe me, some of my favorite people in the world are the custodians that understand how the building works and all the ins and outs of the place. The majority of them are good people who work hard but sometimes get things dumped on them that they don't understand. This guy wasn't one of those people.

This electrician I'm working with now is a very nice guy, very knowledgeable in his craft, talked me through the pros and cons of the major rewiring and pointed out some things with a new panel I hadn't thought of. I don't think he's a bad electrician, but I think that he's not knowledgeable in the theater world, and he's probably following a template that was set out by the architect, who probably knows his craft in general terms but not in specific terms. I still have my union card, so I'd be happy to labor and do work since it will be a building I'll be working in. I just get scared when I see what's on the paper as well as what's been done elsewhere and accepted as standard.
@ACTSTech LOVED, and fully agreed with, your post. Your comments referencing architects and contractors / General Contractors who aren't exactly up to date / familiar with / fully conversant in theatres caught my eye, piqued my interest, and left me snickering,

I'll leave you with a precise quote from a nation wide contracting company's Site Supervisor / Chief In Charge of a major (100 million +) project; granted this was said unofficially while sitting around consuming liquid refreshments with his sub foremen at day's end:

"The actual auditorium's easy, it's a large empty hole in the middle. All those walls, stairs, four balconies, three basement levels below grade and eleven stories above, those are the toughies."

When the boss departed, the electrical and plumbing foremen chuckled and the LX foreman said:
"Just because he's built so many high-rise condo's with one basement, one roof, and 30 or 40 identical floors in between he thinks he's hot excrement. I wonder how many airports and theatres he's built?"
Laughter erupted and the 8 or 10 of us went right on consuming.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

ACTSTech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Location
USA
@ACTSTech LOVED, and fully agreed with, your post. Your comments referencing architects and contractors / General Contractors who aren't exactly up to date / familiar with / fully conversant in theatres caught my eye, piqued my interest, and left me snickering,

I'll leave you with a precise quote from a nation wide contracting company's Site Supervisor / Chief In Charge of a major (100 million +) project; granted this was said unofficially while sitting around consuming liquid refreshments with his sub foremen at day's end:

"The actual auditorium's easy, it's a large empty hole in the middle. All those walls, stairs, four balconies, three basement levels below grade and eleven stories above, those are the toughies."

When the boss departed, the electrical and plumbing foremen chuckled and the LX foreman said:
"Just because he's built so many high-rise condo's with one basement, one roof, and 30 or 40 identical floors in between he thinks he's hot excrement. I wonder how many airports and theatres he's built?"
Laughter erupted and the 8 or 10 of us went right on consuming.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
There's one of my pet peeves, those who know and those who KNOW. I know nothing, I admit that, so I ask questions. When someone asks me, I'll give them my knowledge, but I usually will say, "What I would do is... but I'm not an expert." On where I want microphone inputs, I'm kind of the expert on this project. If the electrician really doesn't know, I'd have a lot more respect if he said, "I'm really not that familiar with this..." or "I don't know what this is, could you explain..."

I'll give him credit on the DMX. I asked for Cat6A to be run rather than DMX wire. He crossed off the Cat6A and had 2-pr+drain written in, so I said that Cat6 is what I wanted. When he asked why, I said if we upgrade and move to ArtNET or sACN or something that's networked, I want the lines in place already. I can wire it for 5-pin now, or buy a DMX-to-RJ-45 adapter now. He looked at me and said no one had ever told him about that, and his young assistant said they'd never done anything with ArtNET before, they just run the wires and the next subcontractor comes in and installs the equipment. After I explained, they understood and agreed, so I'll give them credit there, but I'm sure they were just going off what was proposed and what experience they had.

Sort of like when the director told me he'd really like a waterfall on stage. With real water. That could turn on and off. "You'll make it work" was my guidance, so sort of like the GC's that don't know. I made it work. The only thing I forgot was to warn the pit orchestra that there was a waterfall, as a few minutes into the first rehearsal they all had to go to the bathroom. Didn't think the trickling water sound was that noticeable in the audience, but I forgot about the musicians. Oops.
 
Last edited:

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I've run my own network/CATV in homes.... but I'm not "seeing" what the nail accomplishes? At least in my case (or these peoples, I guess), if it doesn't work, it's on them, not someone else.
and to be fair, home builders charge WAYYYY too much to run CAT(whatever) in a new house. $100+ a room, come on, man.

edit: on the other side of the coin, I do giggle when I hear about custodians or general maintenance staff trying to fix network, audio, video, etc runs and wonder why their experience of watching one YouTube video doesn't yield them professional-level results.

edit2: moral of the story, unless you're ACTUALLY a professional, you're going to get sub-par results doing it yourself. you get what you pay for. It's no disrespect to janitors, but it's not their job. Also, don't ask me to clean a bathroom, because I don't have the keys to the cleaning supply closet. and I prefer it that way.
The nail is because that's how the other trades do it. So when the HVAC guy runs the thermostat wire into the hallway he wraps an extra foot or 2 around a 16 penny nail so they rock around it.
I think the nail is just the way tradesemen do it. So if they see something like that, they don't question it.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
There's one of my pet peeves, those who know and those who KNOW. I know nothing, I admit that, so I ask questions. When someone asks me, I'll give them my knowledge, but I usually will say, "What I would do is... but I'm not an expert." On where I want microphone inputs, I'm kind of the expert on this project. If the electrician really doesn't know, I'd have a lot more respect if he said, "I'm really not that familiar with this..." or "I don't know what this is, could you explain..."

I'll give him credit on the DMX. I asked for Cat6A to be run rather than DMX wire. He crossed off the Cat6A and had 2-pr+drain written in, so I said that Cat6 is what I wanted. When I asked why, I said if we upgrade and move to ArtNET or sACN or something that's networked, I want the lines in place already. I can wire it for 5-pin now, or buy a DMX-to-RJ-45 adapter now. He looked at me and said no one had ever told him about that, and his young assistant said they'd never done anything with ArtNET before, they just run the wires and the next subcontractor comes in and installs the equipment. After I explained, they understood and agreed, so I'll give them credit there, but I'm sure they were just going off what was proposed and what experience they had.

Sort of like when the director told me he'd really like a waterfall on stage. With real water. That could turn on and off. "You'll make it work" was my guidance, so sort of like the GC's that don't know. I made it work. The only thing I forgot was to warn the pit orchestra that there was a waterfall, as a few minutes into the first rehearsal they all had to go to the bathroom. Didn't think the trickling water sound was that noticeable in the audience, but I forgot about the musicians. Oops.
Yes, it is sometimes nice when the pros have an opinion when they actually know better.

A story I heard from a very popular Apple podcast about a guy getting his very expensive house built in NY. He told the electrician he wanted cat7 run everywhere.
Now, less than a year later, he's having major issues. Why?
1. CAT7 was never made a standard like CAT6A or 5e, so it doesnt technically conform to ethernet standards
2. Because it doesn't adhere to those standards it has a super weird connector that is really fiddly to install and can break easily

If the electrician asked why he wanted Cat7 and provided an argument for cat6a instead, this new home might have working networking.

On the other side of the coin, if the electrician told him he preferred fiber optic cable instead of ethernet, the homeowner should have pushed back asking for the "standard"
 

Users who are viewing this thread