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Author Topic: What person built preamps into the snake.  (Read 1412 times)

Willy Traver

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What person built preamps into the snake.
« on: May 01, 2024, 02:48:51 PM »

I am trying to discover who I talked with back in the 1970's.  The guy had a slight paunch. He wore gray like a professional engineer. He built preamps into the snake.  Had a crapload of Phase Linear 700's which had window box fans blowing on them and heat sink panels constantly wiped down with wet towels.

Cannot remember which group. The sound system was much more interesting.
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Andrew Broughton

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Re: What person built preamps into the snake.
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2024, 04:12:03 PM »

You mean an Active Split? They've been around for decades...
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Brian Jojade

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Re: What person built preamps into the snake.
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2024, 05:40:11 PM »

Preamps built INTO the snake just seems like a nighmare of potential problems.

I can see why having the preamps on stage to have a higher signal level traveling down the snake, but if that were the case, a rack of external pre-amps would seem like a much better solution.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: What person built preamps into the snake.
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2024, 06:28:28 PM »

I am trying to discover who I talked with back in the 1970's.  The guy had a slight paunch. He wore gray like a professional engineer. He built preamps into the snake.  Had a crapload of Phase Linear 700's which had window box fans blowing on them and heat sink panels constantly wiped down with wet towels.

Cannot remember which group. The sound system was much more interesting.

Which coast?

I kind of remember someone in Cali doing something like this back in the Tycobrahe era, although in 1974 Tyco had their own modular power amp design.  I don't find a mention of the pre-amp snake in a quick look through my Tyco links that are still working, but I'm pretty sure it was in that group of live audio folks during the era.
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Willy Traver

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Re: What person built preamps into the snake.
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2024, 09:12:24 AM »

Woah slow down a bit. I do not know exactly where the preamps were in relation to the snake. Just that he had a big silver (aluminum or stainless) box with the preamps he built. So it was probably just ahead of or part of the stage box for the snake. (I of course thought it was the snake stage box)

The show was at WIU (Macomb, IL) setup the long way in Western Hall (huge basketball court) lots of seating.  Impossible room.
The guy was emphatic that preamps close to the mic ahead of the long cable run were the way to go.
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Riley Casey

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Re: What person built preamps into the snake.
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2024, 10:47:08 AM »

All kinds of things 'seemed like a good idea at the time' in the early - mid 70s. Coming from the days of say doing sound for the early folk music groups, think Peter, Paul and Mary it's easy to imagine why someone would think that preamps on stage where a good idea. They would have been pretty shocked to discover that dynamc mics on screaming rock n roll vocalists could put out half a volt. Clearly that kind of thing didn't come back around til active mic splits appeared but hell I used to think that carrying JBL 4560s and 2350 radial horns into small bars for bands and getting a cut of the door seemed like a good idea. Thankfully that business model didn't last long.


Preamps built INTO the snake just seems like a nighmare of potential problems.

I can see why having the preamps on stage to have a higher signal level traveling down the snake, but if that were the case, a rack of external pre-amps would seem like a much better solution.

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: What person built preamps into the snake.
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2024, 11:17:13 AM »

There are a small handful of major sound companies that might have experimented with a primitive stage box. There is a benefit to putting the mic preamp closer to the mics, but the huge downside is difficulty varying the gain from FOH. One solution was to use only modest fixed gain in the front end, slightly worse for S/N but better for preventing overload in the middle of the show.

Nobody made  one that got traction and persisted. Today with digital consoles and digital gain control it would be relatively easy to make one that overcomes the technology limitations of several decades ago.

JR
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Re: What person built preamps into the snake.
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2024, 11:17:13 AM »


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