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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Dumb PA hookup question...

mroulier
Contributing Member
*********

Suburban MD.

Are your prayer beads maple or rosewood?
Jul 11th, 2016 08:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

So a standard XLR microphone cable is acceptable to run from mixer to outboard gear, and then from outboard gear to amps or powered speakers?
And I'm sure the nicer the cable (Mogami or Monster instead of MF branding!) the better connectors and longer life?
Is there any sonic difference between a "nice" 1/4 to 1/4 cable versus XLR to XLR? My EQ's and amps have both options available.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
*********

So. Cal. USA

Jul 11th, 2016 10:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm one who has never been able to "hear" the difference between cables. TRS 1/4 cables perform the same task as XLR however I use the XLR as the they seem to make better connections over time. If I have a choice I always go XLR. I also prefer Speakon for speaker connections of non-powered cabinets.

Most of my XLR (mic) cables are GLS audio for the former Orange County Speaker. Most are 15 years old and still going strong.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Jul 11th, 2016 10:31 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yes, a standard XLR cable is perfect for outboard gear and powered monitor interconnections so long as you're moving mic-level or line-level signals.

They are not good for carrying speaker-level voltages--not even in a pinch. You can damage a power amp by doing so.

A 1/4" plug cable will work fine too, but if the jack connections are dirty or corroded, it can sometimes make for noisy operation.

Generally--an XLR connection between plug and jack is much more positive than a 1/4" plug connection.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
*******

Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Jul 11th, 2016 11:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Balanced 1/4" cables are expensive too! You can use unbalanced 1/4" patch cables, but they could be susceptible to noise.

I buy ProCo cables from Sweetwater. Neutric connectors and lifetime warranty, no questions asked. Never had one of those fail on me though.

mroulier
Contributing Member
*********

Suburban MD.

Are your prayer beads maple or rosewood?
Jul 11th, 2016 02:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for the help all!

ProCo's look to be OK for XLR's and won't break the bank!

One more question! :)
The Mackie soundboard I have has 2 AUX sends for monitors...but only 2. So that means only 2 available mixes for mons?
Example: The drummer gets one mix so he can hear guitar plus vocals, and the line across the front can get vocals only?

I did think this paragraph about pre- and post-fader in the actual Mackie manual was VERY funny:
"In pre-fader mode, you can take the
drummer's vocals out of the main mix by turn-
ing his fader down, but since he still hears
himself in the monitors, he's happy!"

Or this one about AUX level sends:
"Typically, when the talent (or lack thereof)
wants a louder monitor mix, this is the knob to
crank up — watch out for feedback!"

gdw3

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Jul 11th, 2016 04:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The difference in XLR cable quality will be more evident the longer the cables are. If the XLRs you're using are fairly short, you should hear basically no difference between decent brands, especially if everything is line level.

Right, so each channel on the mixer will have a knob for sending to each Aux. They will be an independent mix for each. So, yes, 2 monitor mixes in this case, differing from the main mix.

(This message was last edited by gdw3 at 06:28 PM, Jul 11th, 2016)

greg1948
Contributing Member
******

Vero Beach FL

Tbird Greg
Jul 12th, 2016 05:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

""In pre-fader mode, you can take the
drummer's vocals out of the main mix by turn-
ing his fader down, but since he still hears
himself in the monitors, he's happy!"

Imagine that, humor in a user manual!

Tony Wright

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Jul 12th, 2016 07:13 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Honesty is refreshing...honesty disguised as humor, earth shattering.

mroulier: Don't mistake a "TRS" (Tip-ring-sleeve 1/4) balanced cable for a "TS" (Tip-sleeve 1/4) guitar patch cable also known as UN-balanced cable.

It is not uncommon for manufacturers to have a 1/4 balanced (TRS) input AND an XLR input so the user could use either cable. I had a "Patch snake" that was male TRS 1/4 fan end to male TRS 1/4 fan end (each cable was color coded).

That allowed me to pay one "reasonable" price for the patch snake and connect my effects processor, my Drive Rack, and my six graphic EQ. It made connecting the mixer to the rack units very simple and gave the same results as if I had used XLR mic cable. Probably about 50% of the cost of mic cable...
EDIT FOR CLARITY: The "patch snake" was about 50% of the cost of buying eight (8) mic cable the length of the patch snake. A single TRS 1/4 male to male cable is about the same cost as a single XLR to XLR mic cable the same length...You "save" by purchasing the patch snake.

And as Peegoo pointed out...XLR and balanced TRS cables should be used for line level signal only NOT powered or amplified signal coming out of a power amp to a speaker.

(This message was last edited by Tony Wright at 08:04 AM, Jul 13th, 2016)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
**

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jul 12th, 2016 08:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Balanced 1/4" cables are expensive too!"

Easy to make your own. All you need is quality 2-core cable (with shield braid) and stereo plugs.
Oh, and good basic soldering skills.

The advantage here is making them custom lengths for your particular application.

"They are not good for carrying speaker-level voltages--not even in a pinch. You can damage a power amp by doing so."

I never thought about it before but that explains why every power amp and passive speaker I've ever seen/used has speaker outputs with 1/4" or Speak-on connections, and every powered speaker I've seen/used has XLR (and 1/4") inputs.

Thanks Pee

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 10:19 PM, Jul 12th, 2016)

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
*******

Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Jul 13th, 2016 07:07 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Easy to make your own."

I know it is. I'm either too lazy or don't have the time to mess with them though. LOL

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
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******

Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Jul 13th, 2016 07:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Easy and a *whole lot cheaper* to make your own.

Your homebrew cables will also be better than anything you can buy, because you can control the quality of the cable, hardware, and workmanship.

mroulier
Contributing Member
*********

Suburban MD.

Are your prayer beads maple or rosewood?
Jul 13th, 2016 08:07 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Duly noted Tony...And yes, the Mackie does have both 1/4 TRS and XLR outs for mains.

I'm a lousy solderer so making my own is out! :)

And yes, I'm using a heavy speakon-to-1/4 cable from PA to the speakers.

rockdoc11

USA

Bass is the place . . .
Jul 15th, 2016 12:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Back to the original post . . . IME, Monster cables (at least their guitar cables, and I have no reason to think their mic cables would be any different) are among the LEAST reliable cables I've ever come across.

In this case, prices are no guide to quality and reliability.

"You can return them when they go bad and get a replacement." That does little good at a gig at 10:00 p.m. Saturday night.

Martin G
Contributing Member
*

Canada

Jul 20th, 2016 01:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Agree 100% with rockdoc11's post above.

Roly
Contributing Member
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**********

Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
Aug 3rd, 2016 02:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The Monster cable folks are really good at marketing.

If possible, avoid 1/4" connectors for passive speaker boxes.


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