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Wireless vs Redundant

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Mullet1215, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. Mullet1215

    Mullet1215 Member

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    Every year I run sound for a live show at my school, that includes many scene changes and daily rehearsals. After the weeks of rehearsals we find that we always run into the problem of dead/dying XLR or 1/4 inch instrument cables resulting in signal loss. Currently we use a 1/4 inch instrument cable (from an instrument lets say a guitar) to a passive direct box and then XLR to the snake back to our mixing board.

    After having stressful moments trying to repair what isnt working and time praying that it will work for the show I have decided that I need to do something about it.

    My first thought was everything wireless. Because if everything is wireless how can we have signal loss due to a broken cable. However, I have used wireless before and know that it presents its own problems with batteries and such.

    So my next thought was to run a Redundant (copy) signal back to our mixing board. But im still not exactly sure how I am going to do that. My first thought is to use a 1/4 inch Y cable in the instrument and then run two of the systems that we normally use. So it would be 1/4 inch Y to two parallel 1/4 inch instrument cables into the passive direct box, to XLR, then into the snake fed to the mixing board.


    If anyone could give me any suggestions or let me know if im on the right track or if I am forgeting something obvious and important. Thanks
     
  2. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Wireless is much much much much worse. Can I stress that enough? :)

    Get good cables or fix your old ones. Nothing is more reliable than a hardwired connection. You just can't have crap cables. Fix 'em or replace 'em.

    Guitar to DI to snake to console is almost error-proof. Mic to snake to console is almost error-proof.
     
  3. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    And by the way, in that redundant loop you're thinking about with the guitar, there's a major logical fallacy:

    The most likely thing to fail is the guitar cable itself. Honestly, it is; it's the thing that gets the most abuse, and they're usually built like crap too, at least the cheap ones. And next after the guitar cable, the jack on the guitar itself. Nothing you do after that guitar cable will solve any problems that are introduced by either a bad guitar cable or bad guitar jack.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I think you're ignoring the obvious, and trying to over-complicate things, Mullet1215.

    First, use high-quality cables, from a reliable live sound manufacturer. If building them yourself, make sure you're following all correct solder techniques. Also be sure to use the highest quality cable and connectors you can afford. I'm not saying the connectors have to be gold-plated or that the cable has to be Monster, just that the parts shouldn't be coming from El Shacko de Radio.
    [​IMG]
    Lastly, invest in a good cable tester, such as this, or this, and be sure to thoroughly wiggle, twist, and abuse the wires while testing. (Ya know, like a muzoid will :rolleyes:.)

    Stop by the New Member Board and start a thread introducing yourself. We like to know as much as possible about our members.;)
     
  5. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    To echo the above statments (I'm good at that), a wired connection is much more reliable. I used to have a wireless rig for my guitar, but I had too many dropouts and switched back to wired. Personally, I'm starting to build all my cables myself. A) it's cheaper (as far as I'm concerned), and B) quality control begins and ends with me.

    Definitly invest in a good cable tester, it'll solve many headaches down the line. The Qbox is a good one, but I'm waiting to purchase a rat sniffer/sender (which probably won't help you much because it's geared more towards XLR) linky.

    I'd say to nix the wireless and redundant cable and invest/build quality 1/4" cable. THe problem you're running into, as wayne hoskins said, is that most instrument cables that musos use are poor quality, coupled with the fact that they're abused night after night, and they become the weak link in that signal chain. I've rarely had failures after the DI (once or twice, but those were from bad snake channels), but have plenty of stories of musos' cables crapping out on them. Just watch it lending out cables, rarely do the lent ones come back.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2008
  6. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    I just want to pop in and share a quote that I read somewhere. Unfortunately, i don't remember where I saw it, so I can't credit the source, but it goes something like this:

    "The best multi-thousand dollar wireless system is almost as good as a $20 cable."
     
  7. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    Most musicians buy cheap cables, their "good cables" commonly come from radio shack. Funny how i have very rarely had problems with any of my rapco cables or monster cables. I have reciently started purchasing cables from CBI with very good results. I really wish people would quit trash talking wireless systems so much. Whenver there is a problem with a wireless system it is usually due to A)being cheap crap to begin with B)not properly setting frequencies C)tech who does not know how to properly setup a wireless system D)batteries

    My shure wireless systems are now going on about 8-10 years old and they are still working great, and we usually have the recievers 50+ feet away from the transmitters. I have the U and UA series wireless. I also have had very little problem with my sennhizer wireless. I have had numerous audio guys quit and get fired due to lack of knowlege when using wireless microphones. We also do many dance shows where wired mics are NOT an option. If i had them a wired mic they will be looking for a new audio guy. Just some food for thought.
     
  8. nmccoart5

    nmccoart5 Member

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    Personally i find that musicians tend to beat the crap out of all of our equipment!... they need to learn that its not our equipment that screws up or sucks... it is their stuff........ definitely stick to a wired connection all of the way and like everyone else make sure you use quality cables... they will make a difference...

    good luck
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  9. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    In most cases it is the 1/4 inch that is the problem, can be the cable or the jack. Inexperienced musicians tend to abuse these to the point of failure on a regular basis. A wireless typically will still have to use a 1/4 inch to connect to the guitar.

    In general I try to only use wireless for a function that really needs wireless, usually for the mc, I agree a 20 dollar cable is better than a 1000 dollar wireless.
    Sharyn
     
  10. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    And I'd agree that a $50 cable is better than a 5K wireless system. Consider that as Sharyn noted, you'll still need a cable to connect to the wireless and from experience, TA4F connectors don't take abuse too well and are a right pain in the rear to reterminate... You'll also be using thinner and thus generally more fragile cable because the boots on these sorts of cables is smaller than a standard 6.5mm jack.
     
  11. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Can say this situation has happened to me several months ago...we just buy 1/4" to xlr cables from guitar center and they work very well. Although, since we have several wireless packs and the instrument cables to connect guitars to them, we mainly use wireless for this. It is a lot, and I mean A LOT easier. PLUS, the sound quality is great too.
     

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