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Author Topic: Bare snake cable; where to buy?  (Read 4963 times)

Tommy Peel

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Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« on: August 08, 2013, 03:12:37 am »

I'm assisting my church in upgrading the sound setup and installing a projector in their youth room(there's another thread about that). Anyway they have a Peavey powered suitcase mixer that's currently at the front of the room next to the stage. They are going to be putting in a small media booth at the back for a laptop and the mixer. They already have appropriate speaker cables for the mixer but they need a snake with bare ends to run through the walls and suspended ceiling from FOH to the stage. I'll be soldering ends on the snake(wall plates at the stage and male XLR ends at FOH) after we get it pulled through. They are only wanting to put in an 8-channel snake(which will suit their purposes fine) and so far the only bare snake cable I've found is on Parts-Express for $1.87 per foot. I'm not sure if this is a good price or if I should look elsewhere; any advise is welcome. They are not wanting a premade snake because of the issues of getting it through the wall and they don't want the stage box on the tiny stage.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 06:28:52 am »

I'm assisting my church in upgrading the sound setup and installing a projector in their youth room(there's another thread about that). Anyway they have a Peavey powered suitcase mixer that's currently at the front of the room next to the stage. They are going to be putting in a small media booth at the back for a laptop and the mixer. They already have appropriate speaker cables for the mixer but they need a snake with bare ends to run through the walls and suspended ceiling from FOH to the stage. I'll be soldering ends on the snake(wall plates at the stage and male XLR ends at FOH) after we get it pulled through. They are only wanting to put in an 8-channel snake(which will suit their purposes fine) and so far the only bare snake cable I've found is on Parts-Express for $1.87 per foot. I'm not sure if this is a good price or if I should look elsewhere; any advise is welcome. They are not wanting a premade snake because of the issues of getting it through the wall and they don't want the stage box on the tiny stage.
Contact any Horizon/Rapco dealer.  They do this type of thing all the time. 

You are looking for a "box to blunt" product.
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Sam Feine

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 08:03:36 am »

Alternately for just parts I have never had a problem with redco.com.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 08:47:50 am »

On a more generic basis you may want to look for bulk multipair cable, I think you find many options.  However, you may also find that some cable cannot be easily obtained in less than full spools or boxes or through specialized distributors.  Another option is to check with local audio contractors and rental houses, they may have something that would work for you that they purchase in bulk and might be willing to sell you a partial spool/reel/box length.
 
You mentioned wall plates, as in plural.  If the wiring terminates at more than one location at the stage then is a single snake the best approach?  If you do go with one larger snake then you might want to consider whether you need or want the component cables to be individually jacketed.  Some multipair cables have individually jacketed component pairs, they are essentially multiple individual cables with an added overall jacket, while other multipair cables use unjacketed individual pairs.  The latter may work fine if everything terminates at one location, however if you will have to strip back the overall jacket in order to run pairs to different locations then it may be beneficial for the individual pairs to be jacketed.
 
You might also want to consider running a larger snake than you actually need, that way if something ever happens to one of the lines or they do decide they need another connection then that can be addressed without having to repalce or supplement what is already there.
 
Based on your description of the path, you want to make sure the cable used is rated for in-wall installation.  You might also want to verify whether the area above the ceiling is considered a plenum space and if plenum rated cable is thus required.  Also plan on making sure the installation is code compliant, e.g. the cable is not laying on the ceiling tile or supported from ceiling hangers, ductwork, pipes, etc.
 
Just a tip, but look at how the individual pairs in the multipair snake are identified and consider how that might affect your identifying them and any appropriate labeling.  Some snakes use individually color coded and/or labeled pairs so you can match ends by those provided indicators, however other multipair cables contain multiple identical pairs in which case you may want to match and label both ends of the snake before pulling the cable.  It's a pain to pull the snake and then realize that you don't know which pairs correspond at the two ends.
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Tommy Peel

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 11:00:16 am »

On a more generic basis you may want to look for bulk multipair cable, I think you find many options.  However, you may also find that some cable cannot be easily obtained in less than full spools or boxes or through specialized distributors.  Another option is to check with local audio contractors and rental houses, they may have something that would work for you that they purchase in bulk and might be willing to sell you a partial spool/reel/box length.
Redco, mentioned above, and Parts Express sell by the foot so I'm ok there. I'll probably order from PE because while Redco had cheaper cable the shipping cost made up the difference because PE ships for free.

Quote

You mentioned wall plates, as in plural.  If the wiring terminates at more than one location at the stage then is a single snake the best approach?  If you do go with one larger snake then you might want to consider whether you need or want the component cables to be individually jacketed.  Some multipair cables have individually jacketed component pairs, they are essentially multiple individual cables with an added overall jacket, while other multipair cables use unjacketed individual pairs.  The latter may work fine if everything terminates at one location, however if you will have to strip back the overall jacket in order to run pairs to different locations then it may be beneficial for the individual pairs to be jacketed.
 
You might also want to consider running a larger snake than you actually need, that way if something ever happens to one of the lines or they do decide they need another connection then that can be addressed without having to repalce or supplement what is already there.
I'm thinking that we'll use two 4 XLR wall plates side by side so I'm sure that a single snake will be fine; I'll strip off the outer jacket and run 4 pairs into each box. On the FOH end I'll terminate it with Neutrik male XLR connectors that will plug into the mixer directly.

The 8ch one will actually have an extra channel to two and I think the mixer only has 6 inputs; they'll normally be using around 4.
 
Quote
Based on your description of the path, you want to make sure the cable used is rated for in-wall installation.  You might also want to verify whether the area above the ceiling is considered a plenum space and if plenum rated cable is thus required.  Also plan on making sure the installation is code compliant, e.g. the cable is not laying on the ceiling tile or supported from ceiling hangers, ductwork, pipes, etc.
 
The cable I'm looking at is CL2 rated and I'll check about the ceiling to make sure it's not a plenum; if it is I'll have to find some appropriate cable.
Quote
Just a tip, but look at how the individual pairs in the multipair snake are identified and consider how that might affect your identifying them and any appropriate labeling.  Some snakes use individually color coded and/or labeled pairs so you can match ends by those provided indicators, however other multipair cables contain multiple identical pairs in which case you may want to match and label both ends of the snake before pulling the cable.  It's a pain to pull the snake and then realize that you don't know which pairs correspond at the two ends.
The cable on PE looks like it's color coded in the picture and one reviewer says it's clearly labeled. I'll definately check it before running it though.
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Jason Lavoie

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 09:33:45 am »

I'm thinking that we'll use two 4 XLR wall plates side by side so I'm sure that a single snake will be fine; I'll strip off the outer jacket and run 4 pairs into each box. On the FOH end I'll terminate it with Neutrik male XLR connectors that will plug into the mixer directly.

check the specifics of what you buy.. some cheaper snake cables only have foil around each pair and not an actual individual jacket. while this is fine for terminating a snake box, it's a pain to make pretty and rugged at the mixer end.

Jason
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Tommy Peel

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 11:38:20 am »

check the specifics of what you buy.. some cheaper snake cables only have foil around each pair and not an actual individual jacket. while this is fine for terminating a snake box, it's a pain to make pretty and rugged at the mixer end.

Jason

Will do, thanks for the heads up on that.
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Josh Millward

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 12:53:27 pm »

check the specifics of what you buy.. some cheaper snake cables only have foil around each pair and not an actual individual jacket. while this is fine for terminating a snake box, it's a pain to make pretty and rugged at the mixer end.

Jason
Yes, this is very important.

For example, the ProCo cable that you linked to from Parts Express is NOT individually jacketed and the pairs are identified by color of the wires in the pairs. This means at your fan out end you will need to spend a lot of time putting on heat shrink and labeling the connectors to keep the whole thing from falling apart over time.

On the other hand, this Gepco cable from Markertek (GA61808GFC) will cost slightly less per foot, but each pair is individually jacketed. This means you can just strip off the outer jacket and each internal pair has another jacket so you can just put the Male XL connectors on it and be ready to go. This is what I would do in your situation. According to the specifications on the site, this cable is also CL-2 rated so it is probably good to go for your situation. I hope your ceiling space is not a plenum air return for the HVAC, because if it is, the cable is going to get really expensive, really fast. In fact, it will probably be cheaper to just install actual conduit through the ceiling and pull in a bundle of West Penn X454 or 291 cable.
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Josh Millward
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Tommy Peel

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 01:42:31 pm »

Yes, this is very important.

For example, the ProCo cable that you linked to from Parts Express is NOT individually jacketed and the pairs are identified by color of the wires in the pairs. This means at your fan out end you will need to spend a lot of time putting on heat shrink and labeling the connectors to keep the whole thing from falling apart over time.

On the other hand, this Gepco cable from Markertek (GA61808GFC) will cost slightly less per foot, but each pair is individually jacketed. This means you can just strip off the outer jacket and each internal pair has another jacket so you can just put the Male XL connectors on it and be ready to go. This is what I would do in your situation. According to the specifications on the site, this cable is also CL-2 rated so it is probably good to go for your situation. I hope your ceiling space is not a plenum air return for the HVAC, because if it is, the cable is going to get really expensive, really fast. In fact, it will probably be cheaper to just install actual conduit through the ceiling and pull in a bundle of West Penn X454 or 291 cable.

Thanks for that info; I'll plan on going with the Gepco cable unless the ceiling is a plenum(the more I think about it I'm pretty sure it's not, but I'll check and make sure). I'll probably just order everything off of Markertek as they have the other parts I need for the snake install too. Once I get the stuff then I get to have a soldering party....  :o Thankfully I've fixed enough mic cables now and am halfway decent at it; when I started mixing for the band I work with most of the cables they had were cheap and had cheap, worn out, XLRF ends(they would cut out and crackle if you moved the mic...) that needed replacement. I used some GLS audio Neutrik clones for all of those and was surprised how good they were(I got them for around $1ea in a box of 20); easy to solder and they have held up well.
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 05:54:56 pm »

Thanks for that info; I'll plan on going with the Gepco cable unless the ceiling is a plenum(the more I think about it I'm pretty sure it's not, but I'll check and make sure). I'll probably just order everything off of Markertek as they have the other parts I need for the snake install too. Once I get the stuff then I get to have a soldering party....  :o Thankfully I've fixed enough mic cables now and am halfway decent at it; when I started mixing for the band I work with most of the cables they had were cheap and had cheap, worn out, XLRF ends(they would cut out and crackle if you moved the mic...) that needed replacement. I used some GLS audio Neutrik clones for all of those and was surprised how good they were(I got them for around $1ea in a box of 20); easy to solder and they have held up well.
I've been building snake fan-outs for years and historically there was very little individual pair jacketing other than the foil shield.  That was what heat-shrink was for! 
Even now with some of the modern individually jacketed snake cables I still heat-shrink as the jacket is so thin and doesn't seem like it would hold up too long. 
I guess that for an install it would be fine.  The few studios I've done I just left mogami cable as-is since it doesn't get moved very often.
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Craig Hauber
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Re: Bare snake cable; where to buy?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 05:54:56 pm »


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