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Author Topic: DMX cables  (Read 13420 times)

Kemper Watson

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DMX cables
« on: November 10, 2010, 08:36:13 am »

What is the real difference in 3 pin DMX cables vs mic cables? Should I use only DMX cables? Thanks for your time
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Rob Timmerman

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2010, 08:44:34 am »

Kemper Watson wrote on Wed, 10 November 2010 08:36

What is the real difference in 3 pin DMX cables vs mic cables? Should I use only DMX cables? Thanks for your time


First off, the DMX standard calls for 5-pin XLR connectors, not 3 pin.  Secondly, the RS485 (which is what DMX is based on) standard recommends cable with a 110 ohm characteristic impedance.  Most mic cable has neither 5-pin XLR nor a 110 ohm characteristic impedance.
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Matt Melberg

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2010, 09:51:16 am »

My rule of thumb is, mic cables can work in a pinch, but if failure is not an option, use real DMX cables.  And a terminator at the end of the chain.
But the big difference is that DMX cable is intended for digital signals and has the proper impedance for those signals.  They are usually a little better shielded, but that all depends on the quality.
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Thomas Bishop

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2010, 09:55:31 am »

... and 3-pin DMX is perfectly acceptable for microphone cable.  I have 1000' spool of DMX cable on order to replace all my mic cables, and it's only pennies more than mic cable.
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Silas Pradetto

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2010, 11:53:39 am »

Read the article in this thread. It explains what happens to the leading edges of a digital signal that is transmitted over a high-capacitance cable.
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Kemper Watson

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2010, 06:45:04 pm »

Thanks.
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Micky Basiliere

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2010, 12:07:06 am »

I have always used 3 pin mic cables and NEVER had ANY issues! i really think its all cable hype!!! five pin is a different story...any high quality xlr 3 pin would be just fine. AND, using a DMX splitter eliminates the need for terminators
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Rob Spence

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2010, 12:10:31 am »

Thomas Bishop wrote on Wed, 10 November 2010 09:55

... and 3-pin DMX is perfectly acceptable for microphone cable.  I have 1000' spool of DMX cable on order to replace all my mic cables, and it's only pennies more than mic cable.

But DMX cable may not be ok for audio.

Different cable for different uses.

Audio cable works ok for DMX use for short runs. Long runs or reliability should use DMX cable.
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Rob Spence
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Rob Spence

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2010, 12:13:16 am »

Micky Basiliere wrote on Thu, 11 November 2010 00:07

I have always used 3 pin mic cables and NEVER had ANY issues! i really think its all cable hype!!! five pin is a different story...any high quality xlr 3 pin would be just fine. AND, using a DMX splitter eliminates the need for terminators

Option I assume. There is no science in your statements.
Connector type is simply a choice you make for the instruments you are using. The cable types are different. Terminators are important. Some times you can get away with out them for short runs.
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Rob Spence
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Marlow Wilson

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Re: DMX cables
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2010, 09:12:18 am »

Kemper Watson wrote on Wed, 10 November 2010 08:36

What is the real difference in 3 pin DMX cables vs mic cables? Should I use only DMX cables? Thanks for your time


The best affordable DMX cables I have found are the ADJ Accu Cable line.  They are obviously not top shelf quality, but the soldering appears to be okay (Better than I can do, I'm ashamed to say)and the cable is generally workable.  The connectors are not perfect, but for the price they are very serviceable.

At these prices, there is no excuse not to use the correct cable (and buy the terminator while you are at it):

http://www.godirectmusic.com/advanced_search_result.php?keyw ords=accu-cable&x=0&y=0

(That's where I ordered from and I was happy with the service).

If you want I can try to take some pics of the connectors and soldering later today.
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