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Thread: Cords on the ground

  1. #1
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Cords on the ground

    Heya, Folks:

    Thanks for indulging in me in my recent mandolin, pick-up, Preamp, PA system ramblings. I've got a ring dinger rig at this point and am grateful for all of your feedback.

    Now that I've got a great rig, I realie I have a bunch of cords on the ground.... I have the following cords:

    2 power cords (Bose and Preamp)
    3 XLR cables

    ... and that's just to rig my mandolin the way I want. A microphone for singing would obviously add a fourth XLR cable.

    What are some ways to hide the cords? A rug/mat? Tape? Velcro windies?

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Is it a good idea to hide power and other leads, Kevin? We tend to have them where we can see them. I have seen them taped down, or fitted into moulded rubber shields and even, as you mention, having rugs over them, but as potential hazards, both to performers and instruments, maybe better to have them visible? Yesterday as a duo, we had two amps plugged into an extension board which went to the power supply with our radio mic receiver also plugged into the extension socket. a radio mic each meant no XLR cables in use and we each had an instrument lead going into our amps which were close to us.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    I don't know what all you're dealing with but a couple friends and I recently have gotten the Xvive cordless things. Bluetooth. rechargeable. about a 70 foot range. Something like a 5 millisecond delay- nothing most people can detect.

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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    I route the cords out of my way, especially the XLR's and instrument cords. I don't want anyone stepping on them. Repeated stepping on a shielded cords will add to the natural capacitance of the cord taking out more highs. Power cords and speakers cords I still route out of the way, but they are not damaged if stepped on.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Delve into wireless, maybe? Depending on the conditions, a snake might clean up some of the wiring.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    Delve into wireless, maybe?
    You made me think of the 90's when a lot of bands went wireless......I saw the Eddie Bond band play in Memphis, keep in mind still going strong 40 years past their "prime".......anyway his bass player had the wireless rig on top of his giant Peavey bass amp with the antennas, and the other part attached to his strap and plugged into his bass.....he didn't move 2 feet from in front of his amp the whole night, BUT HE WAS READY to walk through the crowd if the song called for it! Anyway, I got the biggest chuckle out of that over the years thinking he could have gotten by with a 6 foot cable and be done with it....................

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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Setting up in a hurry usually results in cables all over the place. When I worked with a PA hire company, the rule was to position the PA’s stage boxes in front of the band and therefore all mic/ DI cables went forward towards the edge of the stage. Any extraneous cables the musicians wished to add to this (e.g. to their backline) were their responsibility.

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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Don't run your XLR and power cables together. Better to have them cross at an angle to prevent potential noise.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by gspiess View Post
    Don't run your XLR and power cables together. Better to have them cross at an angle to prevent potential noise.
    That isn't necessary. XLR cables are "balanced," which means the mic signal is duplicated and then one of the two signals is inverted. Any external noise that enters the cable run is identical on both signals. At the other end, one of the signals is inverted again, the two signals are combined, and any noise introduced in the cable run will null itself out.

    I know this works, because my compact PA system has two QSC K10 powered speakers as mains, and they need both AC power and XLR audio input. To keep cables to a minimum, I use "Siamese Twin" cables that run the AC power cord and XLR cables side-by-side, wrapped together within an outer rubber covering.

    I never had a noise problem using them. The downside is that it's a fairly heavy cable, and has to be circle-coiled instead of the usual figure-8 wrap. But it keeps the stage neater. You can even get versions with more than one XLR cable bundled with AC power, which can be useful for wiring up powered stage monitors.

    Regarding cord safety:

    In the bands I've been in using powered speakers, there wasn't any audience hazard with our stage or performing area setup. The main risk is the main AC power cord (or cords) for the outlet distributor box. That's the cord more likely to cross audience traffic areas, especially at wedding gigs, where AC power availability might mean a long distance run.

    I haven't found a perfect solution to prevent people tripping over AC cables, but we have used two methods in the past. One is just taping down the cable with bright yellow duct tape in a wide-enough roll. Not ideal because it's still a tripping hazard, and it only works on a dry floor. Carpeting is problematic. The other method is to carry some heavy rubber mats designed for this application, with a small rise in the middle to run cables underneath, tapering down to a thinner edge. Usually marked at the edges in a bright color so people can see them. You can find these cable mats on industrial and warehouse supply sites.

    One more thing regarding AC power: Make sure you're only tapping into a single circuit at the venue. Don't connect AC cords to two different circuits or you can get ground loop noise, or even damage your equipment if the venue isn't wired correctly. You never know what you're walking into, in some of these places.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    I have short cords running to floor pre amps, then long XLR cables from there. Two more XLRs for mics. So I end up with four XLR cables going to the mixer. I run them side by side across the stage taped down with gaffers tape. My AC power cords tend to be well away from foot action.

    Anything that might get foot traffic, like an extension cord across a restroom access gets completely taped down. Never had one tripped over. I know folks that's go the wireless route, but to me everyone should go wireless, or no one.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    One more thing regarding AC power: Make sure you're only tapping into a single circuit at the venue. Don't connect AC cords to two different circuits or you can get ground loop noise, or even damage your equipment if the venue isn't wired correctly. You never know what you're walking into, in some of these places.
    I’d second that. I once did a job in the ballroom a very large hotel in the UK (the national political parties have held their anual conference there so I mean “big”). In order to save time and keep the price down, I agreed with them that I would use my desk and mics and plug those into their amps and speakers.

    The amps were powered from the stage and I plugged my desk into a socket at the back of the room. Trouble was, despite trying all the usual remedies, I couldn’t get rid of the hum. I called at reception and asked if they had a house electrician. He came down and couldn’t get rid of it either. I then asked him if the front of the room was wired on the same phase as the back. “No, I don’t think they are.” he replied. Problem solved!

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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    ... if the front of the room was wired on the same phase as the back.
    Learned the hard & fast way at my (our) very first rock band practice, summer of '65. Ya don't need no steenkin' hum; just play electric guitar while lips touch the microphone ... !!
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    You can buy rubber speed bump like pieces that get used for those purposes not stumble- walking on cables,, in offices..



    a "snake" is a way to combine a lot of inputs with a multi conductor cord and a box of XLR & 1/4" inputs.. You use short cables..

    the far end has plugs to go to various mixer channel inputs...

    There are spiral sliced plastic tubes you can put cables into & leave them there
    Use various colors of tape to mark one end from the other..
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Yes, a snake is an ideal method for sending wiring to and from the FOH mixer... They are pricey and big though. With many festival sound teams snakes also get encased in a protective flat-ish rubber/plastic housing so if someone wheels a cart or something over it, or even drives over it, it doesn't destroy the snake.

    Similarly, where possible monitor/speaker cables on stage get taped down, but as has been mentioned mic and guitar/amp cables get moved around too much to tape, so they just get organized out of the way as well as possible.

    There is no perfect answer and people do trip; there is a cable related liability issue that has to be considered. But wireless has its own set of concerns.

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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    I like to make cords short and use them as needed. I have XLR cords that are 1ft. long, and 5-7ft. long. I carry around a few of these and use them most of the time. It's rare to use a full length mic cord these days. I can always snap a couple of short XLR's together for a longer one if need be. Keeps them out of the way with all that excess laying on the floor.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I like to make cords short and use them as needed. I have XLR cords that are 1ft. long, and 5-7ft. long. I carry around a few of these and use them most of the time. It's rare to use a full length mic cord these days. I can always snap a couple of short XLR's together for a longer one if need be. Keeps them out of the way with all that excess laying on the floor.
    I appreciate your using the shorter cords and I try to do likewise but I always have longer cords available. I feel that the fewer connections (plugs), the better: less to go wrong.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    I appreciate your using the shorter cords and I try to do likewise but I always have longer cords available. I feel that the fewer connections (plugs), the better: less to go wrong.
    Yep I have long cords that I carry too, it's just that I rarely have to use them. I also carry backup's for most cords, then backups for the backups.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Yep I have long cords that I carry too, it's just that I rarely have to use them. I also carry backup's for most cords, then backups for the backups.
    Yep. It's called CYA.
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    Exclamation Re: Cords on the ground

    Yes.

    A Roll of Gaffers tape is always useful..
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Yes.

    A Roll of Gaffers tape is always useful..
    We get the same stuff only we call it duct tape and it's half the price.
    David Hopkins

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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    But not as good.. I have fixed worn case bare patches with Gaffers tape , 20 years ago ..
    whole different adhesive and better cloth backing.. YGWYPF..
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    We're always standing in piles of spaghetti. My last band had a light cheapo fake oriental carpert that we would put down over the speaker chords where we could and that helped a little. The places we played and the nature of that band trashed it pretty quick.

    My current band is more civil and I might try that rug trick again. Feels good to go barefoot too. But since we switched to a digital mixer that helped some. The mixer can now be on a box on the floor in a central spot to shorten the chord runs as the controls and monitor readout is on my laptop or tablet and is wireless and can go anywhere. So we dont have to trip and dodge over to the actual mixer box anymore. Plus, now we have a stand up bass player who uses his own awesome amp so that is one less cord for the rest of us. Still 4 vocal mics and 4 instrument plug ins. Yeah, we still stand in a pile of spaghetti.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    I’d second that. I once did a job in the ballroom a very large hotel in the UK (the national political parties have held their anual conference there so I mean “big”). In order to save time and keep the price down, I agreed with them that I would use my desk and mics and plug those into their amps and speakers.

    The amps were powered from the stage and I plugged my desk into a socket at the back of the room. Trouble was, despite trying all the usual remedies, I couldn’t get rid of the hum. I called at reception and asked if they had a house electrician. He came down and couldn’t get rid of it either. I then asked him if the front of the room was wired on the same phase as the back. “No, I don’t think they are.” he replied. Problem solved!
    Thank you for explaining a mysterious hum I have experienced running my mixer into hotel sound systems
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Ludewig View Post
    I don't know what all you're dealing with but a couple friends and I recently have gotten the Xvive cordless things. Bluetooth. rechargeable. about a 70 foot range. Something like a 5 millisecond delay- nothing most people can detect.
    Those are not Bluetooth. They are 2.4 GHz wireless.
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    Default Re: Cords on the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Stueve View Post
    Thank you for explaining a mysterious hum I have experienced running my mixer into hotel sound systems
    Just make sure you plug your mixer etc. into the same socket as the house system.

    Strange things happen! On another occasion, at the Leeds festival, they had their own on site electrician. Mid-way through Saturday afternoon, he asked me if I minded turning the sound system off for ten minutes so they could connect up an ice-cream van. My answer is unrepeatable here!

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