A multi channel group of cables that consists of one large outer cable (comprised of several individual cables), a fan out of individual output connectors for each cable, and a fan in or stage box with all of the individual inputs for each cable. Each end has a numbering or lettering system to aide in patching at each end.
A typical audio snake has XLR male connectors on the fan out end that are connected to a splitter or directly to a mixer, and a stage box made of metal with rows of female XLR connectors to plug microphones cables into.
The advantage of a snake is that it saves time from running long distances with each individual cable.
Something newer are digital snakes that codify the signals and send it through CAT5 or CAT6 cable instead of large, bulky snake cables. Many digital snakes are designed to go with specific sound boards that can communicate directly with the snake end. (The CAT5/6 cable connects directly to the board.) Other versions has both an end to connect the mics into/codify and another end to decode/patch mics to the sound board. They are handy, however they are quite expensive.
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