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Author Topic: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?  (Read 5248 times)

Will Cash

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Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« on: August 23, 2016, 04:35:08 pm »

Was hoping to kill 2 birds with one stone and deliver power/audio via NL4MP through a snake. The only thing I see out there is Seismic for the most part - which I understand is shit.

Is there a reason that this is uncommon? Is there a more logical way to keep my power amps @ FOH than purchasing super-long speakon and bundling that with wherever I run the snake to?
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Mike Pyle

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2016, 04:42:35 pm »

Most people would rather keep the amps closer to the speakers.
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John Penkala

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2016, 04:47:23 pm »

Was hoping to kill 2 birds with one stone and deliver power/audio via NL4MP through a snake. The only thing I see out there is Seismic for the most part - which I understand is shit.

Is there a reason that this is uncommon? Is there a more logical way to keep my power amps @ FOH than purchasing super-long speakon and bundling that with wherever I run the snake to?

The most common way is use NL8 breakouts for the audio. You could make your own snake with NL8's with a 12/3 or 10/3 power cable taped together. I don't recommend running your power through the NL8 even if they are rated for it. Use PowerCon or standard Edison for that. Incidentally,  I've seen proprietary hybrid setups using 19pin Socapex.
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Will Cash

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2016, 04:59:22 pm »

Bad idea to run NL4 straight from amp to speaker?
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2016, 05:02:48 pm »

Bad idea to run NL4 straight from amp to speaker?
As mentioned, amps are rarely kept at FOH.  Long speaker cables are undesirable for several reasons - Cost, weight, and power loss over the run.

Keep your amps stageside and wire them however is convenient.

NL4 straight from the amp to a speaker is fine.
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Corey Scogin

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2016, 05:03:24 pm »

Is there a reason that this is uncommon? Is there a more logical way to keep my power amps @ FOH than purchasing super-long speakon and bundling that with wherever I run the snake to?

Why do you want to keep the amps at FOH?

The reason for keeping amps close to speakers is to minimize power loss. The low impedance of speakers means you need heavier gauge wire to keep the resistance of the cable significantly less than the impedance of the speaker.

http://www.cirris.com/learning-center/calculators/133-wire-resistance-calculator-table
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Will Cash

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2016, 05:08:51 pm »

Thanks for the knowledge and pardon the ignorance.

Amps @ FOH seems convenient because this a mobile setup and if the board could stay with the road case containing the amps it'd just simplify everything (seemingly).
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Corey Scogin

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2016, 05:17:31 pm »

Amps @ FOH seems convenient because this a mobile setup and if the board could stay with the road case containing the amps it'd just simplify everything (seemingly).

The more common approach for a simple mobile setup these days would be to use a digital console, keep it stage side in a rack with everything else, and mix FOH from a tablet. That way the mixer is always available if you need it in a pinch but most operations can be accomplished remotely.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2016, 05:19:49 pm »

Thanks for the knowledge and pardon the ignorance.

Amps @ FOH seems convenient because this a mobile setup and if the board could stay with the road case containing the amps it'd just simplify everything (seemingly).
Most people find that one huge box with everything in it is harder to manage than a couple smaller cases.
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Goerge Thomas

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2016, 05:20:23 pm »

Thanks for the knowledge and pardon the ignorance.

Amps @ FOH seems convenient because this a mobile setup and if the board could stay with the road case containing the amps it'd just simplify everything (seemingly).

This is exactly one reason why people buy compact digital mixers. I myself have a few X32 racks that stay in the amp rack for a much simpler setup. Amps and mixer and wifi stay on stage in one rack, and I roam with an ipad. Easy deal! No snakes, no consoles. Just one rack on stage plus speakers, mics and stands and cables for everything and off we go...
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Will Cash

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2016, 05:28:08 pm »

Very true! I do like mixing with my hands but our Soundcraft has this capability....

Somehow I got an Si3 for a lower price than an Si2.... will be great for larger possibilities but kind of wishing we didn't have to build something custom for travel....

So if I put the amps on stage, going NL4 straight from amp to each is advisable?
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2016, 05:48:34 pm »

Very true! I do like mixing with my hands but our Soundcraft has this capability....

Somehow I got an Si3 for a lower price than an Si2.... will be great for larger possibilities but kind of wishing we didn't have to build something custom for travel....

So if I put the amps on stage, going NL4 straight from amp to each is advisable?

Well, I wouldn't keep the amps ON stage, but rather just off to the side. ;)

But yes, running NL4 (or NL2 cable with NL4 ends if you're running passive rather then bi-amp) from amps to each speaker is advisable.

If you're running a biamp rig (tops have two amps powering it) then NL4 from the one amp into the speaker.

If you have a rig where you have a sub with a pin switch on it (like JBL subs like to have), and passive tops, you can run an NL4 to the sub, with lows on Pins 2 and Tops on Pin 1. Set the switch on the subs to +2/-2, and then run a single cable from the sub to the top. Pins 1 carry through that loop out jack, and would deliver the signal to your tops.

-Ray
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2016, 06:26:13 pm »

Amps @ FOH seems convenient because this a mobile setup and if the board could stay with the road case containing the amps it'd just simplify everything (seemingly).

That's the way I used to run it. But then I realized that the weight of a single box with mixer, processors, and amps was an awful lot to handle, especially when I'm setting up and striking by myself.

Another reason for moving the amps closer to the speakers is that if you already have gear that you want near the stage (wireless receivers or IEM amps, for example), it's not a big deal to put the amps in the same case as that other gear.

As for simplicity, there's a tradeoff: you might need to make more line-level connections, but you have less cabling to lay if you're using a snake. I find that the reduced time neatly laying cables outweighs the increased time making connections. Fewer cables makes for fewer tripping hazards, too.

It will probably be a long time before I jump into the digital realm. At this time, it's not cost effective for me, and I don't have a real good reason to go digital.

TIP: For racked gear with hard-to-reach connectors, use a 3' XLR or 1/4" pigtail. Leave the pigtail connected to the gear and then use longer interconnects to patch the pigtails to instruments or snake boxes. Or put a patch panel on the back of the rack and connect everything via that.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 06:29:36 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2016, 03:01:06 am »

Why do you want to keep the amps at FOH?

I have done it occasionally, but only for quite small gigs with about 30' of speaker cable.  The advantage is having everything you need in one rack.

In my case, 12 channel rack mount mixer, effects, EQ and a couple of amps.

For larger scale gigs, it makes no sense.


Steve.
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2016, 05:45:31 am »

If you are trying to be mobile, powered speakers, saimese power/xlr cables and digital mixers (smart stage boxes) make things very fast and clean.
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2016, 09:10:53 am »

This is my setup

Behringer X32 Rack for the Mixer  S16 in another 4U rack not seen. 
two Crown XLS 2500 one for bridge mono on Subs, one in two channel for mids and horns.   Drive rack to crossover.
Behringer Inuke 4-6000 for monitors. 

two speakon 4  out to the monitors.  split to 2 out at monitors. 

one speakon 4 out to the tops  70 ft and 30 ft. 
one speakon 2 out to the subs.  70 ft and 30 ft.

4 cables out around stage.

S16 near drummer for drums and backline.
  50 ft  CAT 5e to mixer.

Amp rack sits well behind one of the speakers.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2016, 09:20:07 am by Jerome Malsack »
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2016, 02:06:08 pm »

I have 3 wires going to FOH.  Line level snake, power (running from the distro on common ground) and a DMX for the lighting controller (which I'm not comfortable running though the snake.  Eventually I hope to replace the multicore snake with CAT5 and a digital stagebox.

I have passive subs so there's a 6u rack I set back behind them on one side that has the sub amp, DSP, I/O panel and a poor man's distro for smaller gigs off Edison.  The location of the rack also lets me put the wireless receiver on top of it if I'm using that.  Power from whatever circuits I can find around the stage congregated at the PMD, power outlets for the active tops as well.  I run siamese cables to the tops.  Lately I've been running a power stringer across the front that I put the active frontline wedges into and just daisy chain the signal along them.  But I do have my siamese cables with Edisons on the end so I can either use short IEC stubs or these Hosa IEC stub things with an Edison on the back that I can daisy chain power from down the string of front line wedges.  I use siamese cables from the snake stage box and a nearby quad box for sidefills.  I also sometimes use a siamese cable to the drum monitor set up.  Although I also plug it into the backline stringer and either run a separate signal cable or use gender reversers to take it through the sub snake on the drum riser if there are lines available.
I have a variety of siamese cables from 50' to 15' and can usually work out an efficient way to hook things up.  It depends on how I've needed to run power around (everything is either off a PMD or proper distro so the ground is common).
But the only long speaker level run is across the stage from where the amp rack is to the other subs.  Which is seldom more than 50'.  If I ever get to the point of running 4 TH118s, I'll get another Pro9200 and put it on the other side.
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Jeff Bankston

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2016, 03:58:09 pm »

I keep my amps behind the speakers. Short cable runs have less power loss, cost a lot less and are easier to wind up and pack.
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2016, 09:40:42 pm »

Was hoping to kill 2 birds with one stone and deliver power/audio via NL4MP through a snake. The only thing I see out there is Seismic for the most part - which I understand is shit.

Is there a reason that this is uncommon? Is there a more logical way to keep my power amps @ FOH than purchasing super-long speakon and bundling that with wherever I run the snake to?

I remember in the "good-ol' days" we used to use these with powered mixers or box-mixers to get the soundman out in front of the PA.

http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/snakes-splitters-and-multiwiring-systems/snakes/medusa-power-series-audio-snakes-hand-made-rochest

Not ideal, but they worked far better than attempting to mix from stage or side-stage.
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Craig Hauber
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Re: Speakon Snakes - why uncommon?
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2016, 09:40:42 pm »


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