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Author Topic: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps  (Read 5926 times)

Kevin Pilsbury

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Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« on: July 20, 2011, 03:00:15 pm »

Greetings all,
We are in the process of remodeling the stage in our church and installing multiple stage pockets.  Each stage pocket in addition to the XLR inputs also have Aux 1 and Aux 2 1/4 jacks as well.  My questions is should these be wired in series from one to the other with the final one going to the amplfier? or is there another more "proper way" 6-Aux 1 jacks and 6-Aux 2 jacks wired back to Channel 1 and Channel 2 respectively on the amp?
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2011, 03:06:07 pm »

Greetings all,
We are in the process of remodeling the stage in our church and installing multiple stage pockets.  Each stage pocket in addition to the XLR inputs also have Aux 1 and Aux 2 1/4 jacks as well.  My questions is should these be wired in series from one to the other with the final one going to the amplfier? or is there another more "proper way" 6-Aux 1 jacks and 6-Aux 2 jacks wired back to Channel 1 and Channel 2 respectively on the amp?

Are these for feeding wedges FROM the amps?  You should wire them in parallel (not series) and just make sure that you don't put more monitors on each amp output than they're rated to handle.  If your amps will only handle a 4 ohm load and your wedges are 8 ohm boxes, you can only put two wedges on each amp channel output no matter how you wire the stage boxes.  If your amps will go down to 2 ohms, you can use three wedges/amp channel.

When you say 6 jacks for each "aux" I'm assuming that you'll have 6 stage pockets and want an "aux 1" and an "aux 2" output jack at each box.  That's a lot of wiring and a lot to trouble-shoot if something goes wrong, but it would work as long as you don't overload each amp channel as explained above.

I know the idea is to keep the stage neat and cable runs to a minimum, but I wouldn't rule out fewer monitor outputs and chaining the mixes together above ground.  A little more cable management, but much easier to wire up and keep working.
 
Hope that answers your question.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 03:20:48 pm by dick rees »
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Kevin Pilsbury

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 03:19:18 pm »

What are you trying to accomplish????  What reason do you have for running stage inputs directly to the amps????

My use of the Aux inputs both 1 and 2 would be for stage monitors. We currently only have one location on the stage with monitor inputs, by adding the additioanl inputs we were hoping to limit the clutter on the stage when using additional wedges. So these would be connected to the Amp Channel outs if I am thinking correctly?
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 03:22:46 pm »

My use of the Aux inputs both 1 and 2 would be for stage monitors. We currently only have one location on the stage with monitor inputs, by adding the additioanl inputs we were hoping to limit the clutter on the stage when using additional wedges. So these would be connected to the Amp Channel outs if I am thinking correctly?

We were posting at the same time.  Take a look at my revised response.  Also please note that these are not monitor "inputs" but "monitor outputs".  You're feeding signal TO the monitors, not FROM the monitors. 
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Kevin Pilsbury

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2011, 03:42:08 pm »

You should wire them in parallel (not series) and just make sure that you don't put more monitors on each amp output than they're rated to handle.   
Hope that answers your question.
Thank you very much for the quick reply, I may revist the need for the 1/4 outputs in each box.

It does answer my questions and as you figured out, I was feeding TO the monitors, my mind was thinking about going from the stage pocket to the amp, and thus my confusion.  So if I understand parallel wiring I would go from the amp to aux 1 poitive (box1) to aux 1 positive (box 2) and so on until the end, repeating for the negative side and then again for Aux 2 output. Or did I get that backwards?
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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2011, 03:49:53 pm »

Thank you very much for the quick reply, I may revist the need for the 1/4 outputs in each box.

It does answer my questions and as you figured out, I was feeding TO the monitors, my mind was thinking about going from the stage pocket to the amp, and thus my confusion.  So if I understand parallel wiring I would go from the amp to aux 1 poitive (box1) to aux 1 positive (box 2) and so on until the end, repeating for the negative side and then again for Aux 2 output. Or did I get that backwards?

That is correct.  I will just repeat my opinion that the fewer points you have, the easier the trouble-shooting.....should you need to service the setup.

As to stage cabling:

I find that a few 3 x 10 rubber backed carpet runners are very handy in covering up stage cabling.
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Kevin Pilsbury

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2011, 10:41:04 pm »

That is correct.  I will just repeat my opinion that the fewer points you have, the easier the trouble-shooting.....should you need to service the setup.

As to stage cabling:

I find that a few 3 x 10 rubber backed carpet runners are very handy in covering up stage cabling.

Thanks again for all your time and suggestions, I am definitely going to rethink the number of Aux jacks on the stage, sounds like this time less is better.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2011, 01:32:38 am »

If I were doing it, I'd home-run each output jack -- separate wire from each stage pocket back to the amp rack rather than daisy-chaining. That would give me more flexibility if, down the road, I wanted to have more than two monitor mixes, or wanted to have two wedges with the same mix coming out of the same box. I would be able to selectively choose which jack is connected to which mix by moving wires around at the amp end.

Since this would mean a lot of extra runs (and therefor lots of copper), I'd put the monitor amps near the stage OR set up a patch panel just off stage for the monitor speaker runs.

Be sure your 1/4" jacks and plugs are the proper type for speakers (heavy duty!) or use Speakon connectors. Make sure NOBODY uses an instrument cable to connect a monitor speaker (or uses a speaker cable to connect the pickup on their electric flutophone). Be sure to clearly label the jacks MONITOR SPEAKER ONLY lest some poor unwitting soul plug his guitar in there.

1/4" phone plugs/jacks should never have been used for speakers. Between confusion with instrument cables and poor connectivity, they are simply not a good choice for speaker connections. Banana plugs are better in that regard (but usually have no strain relief). Speakon connectors are -- get this -- only used for speakers and they are designed for that purpose. They provide good contact, a locking connection, strain relief, and very durable... but a little more expensive. I think they are worth it.
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2011, 02:27:35 am »

Speakon connectors are -- get this -- only used for speakers and they are designed for that purpose. They provide good contact, a locking connection, strain relief, and very durable... but a little more expensive. I think they are worth it.
+1 for SpeakOn jacks.
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Kevin Pilsbury

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2011, 11:20:56 am »

Since this would mean a lot of extra runs (and therefor lots of copper), I'd put the monitor amps near the stage OR set up a patch panel just off stage for the monitor speaker runs.

Be sure your 1/4" jacks and plugs are the proper type for speakers (heavy duty!) or use Speakon connectors.

I will be using Speakon only going forward for the monitor spaekers, I know not to use intrument cables etc. But it is a church, and if the plug will fit in, someone will surely try it at leas once. :-).  The amps will be located right behind the stage so the longest run will probably be about 30 ft.  I am interested int the patch panel idea, just not sure I totally understand it. I grasp the concept of future flexibility, but for the near future does this allow me to take my Aux 1 out from my amp to all 6 locations? (understanding that I can oly have 3 speakers max to one channel).  I am familiar with pc network patch panels, just not audio, is it the same concept? Is there a site you can recommend that explains the actual configuration of a patch panel.  And finally can you recommend a good "cost effective" patch panel solution?  Thanks for all of your help.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2011, 06:06:36 pm »

I will be using Speakon only going forward for the monitor spaekers, I know not to use intrument cables etc. But it is a church, and if the plug will fit in, someone will surely try it at leas once. :-).  The amps will be located right behind the stage so the longest run will probably be about 30 ft.  I am interested int the patch panel idea, just not sure I totally understand it. I grasp the concept of future flexibility, but for the near future does this allow me to take my Aux 1 out from my amp to all 6 locations? (understanding that I can oly have 3 speakers max to one channel).  I am familiar with pc network patch panels, just not audio, is it the same concept? Is there a site you can recommend that explains the actual configuration of a patch panel.  And finally can you recommend a good "cost effective" patch panel solution?  Thanks for all of your help.

Kevin,
A cost effective solution that would allow for future flexibility and the option of adding a patch panel later may be to link through barrier strips.  This would allow all home run wiring from the stage pockets, with properly crimped and soldered spade lugs at the terminal strips.  Then the terminal strips would link to the appropriate amp channels.  Much less expensive than a patch bay but it lets you change or troubleshoot any individual runs easily.  It also allows you to split the cabling to the floor pockets into additional monitor outputs as you add more amp channels by simply changing your wiring at the terminal strips.

Lee Buckalew
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Brian Ehlers

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Re: Stage Pockets - How to wire 1/4 monitor jacks back to amps
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2011, 07:20:39 pm »

I agree with Lee.  You don't have to wire a patch panel, but installing "home runs" for each stage box does give you the flexibility to grow and add more amplifier channels.  The separate runs also mean that if a short develops somewhere, you only lose the connections at one stage box, not all (which is what Dick was getting at).

Make sure you leave a service loop of speaker wire underneath each floor box.  If you have to service it later (and you will), you need enough cable to work with so that you're not trying to solder in an impossible location.

Speakon connectors are an excellent idea.  Even if your current wedges only have 1/4" jacks, use speakon for all NEW wiring (both under and above the floor) and build speakon-to-1/4" adapters for your old wedges (or actually replace the jacks in the cabinets).  Think forward, not backward.
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