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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB Lounge => Topic started by: Mark Campbell on August 14, 2016, 08:22:11 am

Title: Reasons not to buy crappy XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Mark Campbell on August 14, 2016, 08:22:11 am
Any opinions on this from PSSL:

http://www.pssl.com/25ft-XLR-to-XLR-Microphone-Cable-8-Pack (http://www.pssl.com/25ft-XLR-to-XLR-Microphone-Cable-8-Pack)

I realize maybe not the best quality but eight 25' XLR cables for $50 is hard to say no to and for use by less than Lounge level guy.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: jesseweiss on August 14, 2016, 10:06:27 am
Any opinions on this from PSSL:

http://www.pssl.com/25ft-XLR-to-XLR-Microphone-Cable-8-Pack (http://www.pssl.com/25ft-XLR-to-XLR-Microphone-Cable-8-Pack)

I realize maybe not the best quality but eight 25' XLR cables for $50 is hard to say no to and for use by less than Lounge level guy.

You have to figure it can't to have them as backup cables at worst.  I might just grab a pack.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Aaron Maurer on August 14, 2016, 10:34:16 am
For me I have always tried to match my cables and buy the best quality I could afford. For that price it seems like a good deal. I can build my 25' XLR cables for $9.50 with Neutrik connectors and decent wire. Really depends on how much you work them and how you treat them. Again for me I go bit more quality for other reasons beyond failure and one of those is wrap a cheaper cable and then wrap a quality cable. It may not be a big deal to most but at 2am I am not interested in fighting with cables. The most important information is missing what gauge copper is it unless I missed seeing I am on my iPhone viewing this. What is the grip in the connector?  All depends what the intended use is? 
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Robert Piascik on August 14, 2016, 12:26:47 pm

I bought a similar group of cheap cables once and within months they ALL had failed (every single one) and I learned my lesson from that. For not a bunch more money I now have reliable cables that I don't have to replace. Merely the time saved in troubleshooting why something wasn't working was worth the cost. The choice is yours: what kind of impression do you make on other people when you have the cheapest, LEAST reliable gear?
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Mike Pyle on August 14, 2016, 01:01:45 pm
On the DJ forums some people are always crowing about the amazingly cheap deals they get on cables with no-name components. I notice recently a rash of people complaining about having to ship speakers or amp modules back to the manufacturer for service because they can't remove jammed xlr connectors. Coincidence?
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Thomas Le on August 14, 2016, 01:33:07 pm
Buy Once, Cry Once.

Stick with reputable brands like ProCo, Canare, RapcoHorizon, Whirlwind, Mogami, etc. for cable and either Neutrik or Switchcraft connectors. If you're handy with the soldering, it's cheaper to DIY. Cheap crap will fail because of skimping on copper strands and worthless connectors that will bend easily.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Brian Jojade on August 14, 2016, 03:46:12 pm
I made the mistake of buying cheap cables ONCE.  Never ever again.

When it comes to a cable, I want to know that when I plug it in that it's going to work.  The cheap stuff always had me questioning.  Connectors fail, the cables hum, they coil for crap. Yeah, even at less than lounge level it's not worth it.

Buy good cables and they will last you the rest of your life.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Rob Spence on August 15, 2016, 12:57:39 am
I buy mine at Audiopile.net and they are pretty inexpensive and with a bit of care, last well. They sell them with optional Neutrik connectors but I have used their own.
I must have a hundred of them and in 10 years no failures. Of course, I coil them carefully and transport them in road cases.

Taking care of cables is good economy. You have a lot of money in cables. I have 2 50' xlr cables I made in the late 1960s with Switchcraft connectors that still work today.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Dave Garoutte on August 15, 2016, 01:21:01 pm
After having some cheapo cables go bad, including having to disassemble a snake head to remove a cable, we bought a roll of Canare quad wire and a pile of Neutric ends.  The actual cost of parts and assembly was less than buying mid quality cables at the local music store.  The xlr cable is now NOT the first thing I look at when trouble shooting.  Oh, and they're blue, so they don't accidently walk off stage. 
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Chuck Simon on August 15, 2016, 02:58:34 pm
I wouldn't touch those with a 10 foot pole.  I have seen too much trouble and time wasted with cheap Asian XLR copies.  The deal you mentioned comes to about 13.80 each.  You can get made in USA Rapco 25' with Neutrik connectors for $15.82.  Is it worth it to you to buy disposable cables to save $2.00 each? 

http://www.northernsoundandlight.com/Brands/Rapco-Horizon/Audio_Cables/_NM11.html
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Yoel Farkas on August 15, 2016, 03:20:12 pm
I wouldn't touch those with a 10 foot pole.  I have seen too much trouble and time wasted with cheap Asian XLR copies.  The deal you mentioned comes to about 13.80 each.  You can get made in USA Rapco 25' with Neutrik connectors for $15.82.  Is it worth it to you to buy disposable cables to save $2.00 each? 

http://www.northernsoundandlight.com/Brands/Rapco-Horizon/Audio_Cables/_NM11.html
I buy those XLR cables from Kopul.

2000 series
http://www.kopulcables.com/listing?category=22640

or the 3000 with XX neutrik connectors. with option of colors.
http://www.kopulcables.com/listing?category=22641

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: George Dougherty on August 15, 2016, 04:25:03 pm
I buy mine at Audiopile.net and they are pretty inexpensive and with a bit of care, last well. They sell them with optional Neutrik connectors but I have used their own.
I must have a hundred of them and in 10 years no failures. Of course, I coil them carefully and transport them in road cases.

Taking care of cables is good economy. You have a lot of money in cables. I have 2 50' xlr cables I made in the late 1960s with Switchcraft connectors that still work today.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

+1, Premium Series with Neutrik XX series connectors on them.  The older X series like on the Rapco linked above tend to deform easier with rough treatment.  XX Connectors, 22ga conductors, well shielded, handles well and worth every penny for a pre-made with that quality of components.  Just over $20 for a 25'.  I prefer mine in 10ft increments personally (I stock 10, 20, 30, 50 and 100ft in my rig)
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Mike Caldwell on August 15, 2016, 11:13:44 pm
Another bonus feature I've seen on cheap cables is that many of them will tie pin one to the XLR shell. Now you have a cable that not only can cause hum and noise problems but you can't get the stuck xlr connector out unit it's plugged into to stop the noise!

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: brian maddox on August 16, 2016, 12:00:33 am
XLR cables are, by far, the least sexy thing you will ever buy for your rig.  And as such, it's very tempting to see how cheap we can obtain said ugly necessary evil.

Don't.

I've now officially been in this business for 30 years.  So I know whereof I speak.  XLR cables are the ONLY part of your rig you will still have decades from now.  Period.  All those cool mixers and amps and speakers will all be gone, but your cables will remain.

Buy good cables.  Spend the money.  Deal with it.  You will NEVER be sorry.  I promise you.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Tim McCulloch on August 16, 2016, 12:36:05 am
Another bonus feature I've seen on cheap cables is that many of them will tie pin one to the XLR shell. Now you have a cable that not only can cause hum and noise problems but you can't get the stuck xlr connector out unit it's plugged into to stop the noise!

Preach it, Brother!
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Chuck Simon on August 16, 2016, 01:18:22 am
  The older X series like on the Rapco linked above tend to deform easier with rough treatment.

I have never seen that with any Neutrik connector.  I must not be "rough" enough with them ;)
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 16, 2016, 02:44:29 am
I have never seen that with any Neutrik connector.  I must not be "rough" enough with them ;)

Rough enough?  Your systems look like they just came out of the box.  Your mixer was even pristine.  If you have other guys working for you Chuck I would love to know how you motivate them to take that good care of your stuff. 

I like to think our inventory has acquired some patina.

Seriously I have a friggin jammed XLR in my brand spanking new Blizzard Weather light bars.  First gig I send them out with one of my best guys and he friggin must have pushed this deformed connector in with a 10 pound sledge.

The comment on the cables being unsexy is true but they have a utilitarian sexiness to them.  Good quality cable that rolls perfect and lays flat, with just enough heft that the performer has something substantial in their hand when they come off stand?  It's all in the details and nice cables is just another part of creating an overall value proposition that communicates quality and induces people to think of your product as premium.

Good mic stands do the same thing.  Once I bought my first pair of K&M's I was hooked.  It's like winding a Timex vs. a Breitling. 

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Yoel Farkas on August 16, 2016, 10:02:46 am
Some people might think that a cable is just a cable. it could be right for some other uses. but for audio we have a lot of issues to solve while transferring audio (low voltage) signals.

there is a good article about it.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/audio/buying-guide/xlr-cable-just-cable-right%3F
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Geoff Doane on August 16, 2016, 10:07:16 am
  XLR cables are the ONLY part of your rig you will still have decades from now.

I have no quarrel with that Brian, except to add that I've found microphones to have good staying power too.  That EV PL20 I paid way too much for back in 1982, did a fabulous job on trombone last Saturday night.

As I've stated here before, buying better than rock bottom cables is like buying insurance.  It's a good feeling to know that when you pull a mic cable out of the cable box, it will WORK!  Only once have I bought "bargain" cables (as a favour to a salesman friend).  3 out of a dozen failed on the first gig!  My friend had promised he'd replace them with the company's premium line if there were problems, and he was true to his word, but I still had to deal with the failures on a paying gig.

The problem with the Neutrik NC3MX plugs is that if they are treated roughly, eventually the little window that the female plug latches into gets deformed.  This prevents the connectors from latching together securely.  The XX-series solves this problem, as well as having the boot screw inside the shell, making it more difficult to crush.

GTD
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 16, 2016, 12:08:37 pm
I'm of the "spool your own" camp. If you have a new hire, or even an intern, it's a great project for them. Helps them to get solid on a skill that can be very important on site/on the road.

When we do ours, I do color coded e-tape (in this case, red is the cable pack it belongs to, and purple indicates a 10' or 50' cable) and a company tag. Nothing fancy; I just print these on the regular printer, but company name and just under it where you cannot see, an asset number. I also include an extra piece of clear heat shrink for when I eventually move to a bar code system- they will be ready to get a bar code label as well.

Having your name on EVERYTHING will help to avoid losing them... organizational types like putting the right cable back into the right case... Now, when I QC things coming back from a show, I know how many cables are supposed to be there, and can make sure it's all complete again.

We worked with a national campaign back in March, and the touring production manager lamented his need for additional 100' XLRs. I sold him 4 from our production kit... and since I had numbered them, I knew WHAT cables I had sold, and could re-build them with the correct asset number still.

(You can order cables from Horizon, CBI, etc, and have them include clear shrink on the cables so you can do your labeling when you get them. Just depends on whether you prefer to solder yourself or pay a bit more to have them do it for you.)

-Ray
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Steve Loewenthal on August 16, 2016, 08:41:46 pm
+1 Audiopile.net
In a similar thread, I posted about going through my inventory of cables that have required repair or are beyond repair. Not a single 1 of my better cables have needed repair. Almost all of my cheap cables are no longer in my inventory.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Tim McCulloch on August 16, 2016, 10:00:39 pm
I'm of the "spool your own" camp. If you have a new hire, or even an intern, it's a great project for them. Helps them to get solid on a skill that can be very important on site/on the road.

When we do ours, I do color coded e-tape (in this case, red is the cable pack it belongs to, and purple indicates a 10' or 50' cable) and a company tag. Nothing fancy; I just print these on the regular printer, but company name and just under it where you cannot see, an asset number. I also include an extra piece of clear heat shrink for when I eventually move to a bar code system- they will be ready to get a bar code label as well.

Having your name on EVERYTHING will help to avoid losing them... organizational types like putting the right cable back into the right case... Now, when I QC things coming back from a show, I know how many cables are supposed to be there, and can make sure it's all complete again.

We worked with a national campaign back in March, and the touring production manager lamented his need for additional 100' XLRs. I sold him 4 from our production kit... and since I had numbered them, I knew WHAT cables I had sold, and could re-build them with the correct asset number still.

(You can order cables from Horizon, CBI, etc, and have them include clear shrink on the cables so you can do your labeling when you get them. Just depends on whether you prefer to solder yourself or pay a bit more to have them do it for you.)

-Ray

Not sure in the image attachments come through in the quote, but i *hate* having labels on the female end of the cord.  It will be in every IMAG shot and it looks tacky.  The only thing worse is a shop that uses velcro ties and puts them on female end...
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: brian maddox on August 17, 2016, 01:09:12 am
I have no quarrel with that Brian, except to add that I've found microphones to have good staying power too.  That EV PL20 I paid way too much for back in 1982, did a fabulous job on trombone last Saturday night.

...
GTD

Agreed.  But it's way more fun to buy mics than the stupid spaghetti things that we connect them to.  😀
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Stephen Kirby on August 17, 2016, 01:40:01 am
I've gotten about 15 years of weekender use out of 25 odd cables I bought from Orange County Speaker.  I had to resolder one connector and toss one that got stepped on or rolled over hard enough to pinch the conductors.  I do try to get Rapco or similar cables nowadays, but these cheapies keep hanging on.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: John L Nobile on August 17, 2016, 10:43:35 am
Not sure in the image attachments come through in the quote, but i *hate* having labels on the female end of the cord.  It will be in every IMAG shot and it looks tacky.  The only thing worse is a shop that uses velcro ties and puts them on female end...

Great tip Tim. I've always kept my tie lines on the male end but never thought about it. Now I know why.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Josh Millward on August 17, 2016, 10:51:04 am
Great tip Tim. I've always kept my tie lines on the male end but never thought about it. Now I know why.

Yes.

Labels and fasteners go on the male end, always. With the velcro, it is always a good idea to wrap it back together before you plug it into your input box so all the velcro lines do not stick to one another. Bonus points are awarded if you are forward thinking enough to make sure that the fuzzy side is out on all the velco straps. This helps them to not stick together.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Stan Shields on August 17, 2016, 12:28:59 pm
Any opinions on this from PSSL:

http://www.pssl.com/25ft-XLR-to-XLR-Microphone-Cable-8-Pack (http://www.pssl.com/25ft-XLR-to-XLR-Microphone-Cable-8-Pack)

I realize maybe not the best quality but eight 25' XLR cables for $50 is hard to say no to and for use by less than Lounge level guy.
Run away! Big mistake. Make your own, you'll know they're right and you'll save some $$.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: jim whitmer on August 17, 2016, 12:48:35 pm
I've gotten about 15 years of weekender use out of 25 odd cables I bought from Orange County Speaker.  I had to resolder one connector and toss one that got stepped on or rolled over hard enough to pinch the conductors.  I do try to get Rapco or similar cables nowadays, but these cheapies keep hanging on.

No failures on mine here after several hundred gigs. HOWEVER, I am constantly losing those little rubber O rings on the female end. Do you experience the same???
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Brian Jojade on August 17, 2016, 02:13:56 pm
Not sure in the image attachments come through in the quote, but i *hate* having labels on the female end of the cord.  It will be in every IMAG shot and it looks tacky.  The only thing worse is a shop that uses velcro ties and puts them on female end...

It's a trade off.  A small label on the cable indicating cable number makes tracing things much easier. Clear heat shrink over a small label is not horrible in photos.

I make my labels inverted. They are black with white text.  From a distance, you can barely see them.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Stephen Kirby on August 17, 2016, 02:16:36 pm
Yes.

Labels and fasteners go on the male end, always. With the velcro, it is always a good idea to wrap it back together before you plug it into your input box so all the velcro lines do not stick to one another. Bonus points are awarded if you are forward thinking enough to make sure that the fuzzy side is out on all the velco straps. This helps them to not stick together.
That's a good idea.  I'd started moving them a foot or so down the cable so they didn't conglomerate at the stage box, but wrapping the velcro up is an even better idea.

Last weekend I needed an extra 50 footer for a wedding ceremony and ran down to the local music store.  When I got things set up the first thing I noticed was this obnoxious white bit of sleeving at the mic end with the store's name on it.  Swiss Army knife to the rescue.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 17, 2016, 03:04:38 pm
It's a trade off.  A small label on the cable indicating cable number makes tracing things much easier. Clear heat shrink over a small label is not horrible in photos.

I make my labels inverted. They are black with white text.  From a distance, you can barely see them.
I'm going to start inverting my label colors immediately- that's a great idea. I also have color ID rings (e-tape) for cable pack and length-- that's a bit harder to deal with, and I never thought about Tim's point regarding showing up in video. However, I can cut the e-tape bands in half, thus reducing the size they take. Saves on clear shrink as well!

Last weekend I needed an extra 50 footer for a wedding ceremony and ran down to the local music store.  When I got things set up the first thing I noticed was this obnoxious white bit of sleeving at the mic end with the store's name on it.  Swiss Army knife to the rescue.

I don't blame the local music store for wanting to promote their store when they sell cables- it's like the license plate holder you get on your new car- for as long as it's there, you're inadvertently advertising for the car dealership where ever you go!

-Ray
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 17, 2016, 05:08:40 pm
I'm going to start inverting my label colors immediately- that's a great idea. I also have color ID rings (e-tape) for cable pack and length-- that's a bit harder to deal with, and I never thought about Tim's point regarding showing up in video. However, I can cut the e-tape bands in half, thus reducing the size they take. Saves on clear shrink as well!

I don't blame the local music store for wanting to promote their store when they sell cables- it's like the license plate holder you get on your new car- for as long as it's there, you're inadvertently advertising for the car dealership where ever you go!

-Ray

Ray - What are you calling e-tape?  You talking about Brady labels or P-Touch stuff?

I am a big fan of the Brady/Panduit self laminating labels.

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 17, 2016, 05:40:50 pm
Ray - What are you calling e-tape?  You talking about Brady labels or P-Touch stuff?

I am a big fan of the Brady/Panduit self laminating labels.

Electrical tape. Just standard electrician's stuff- those photos I posted earlier in this thread, the red stripe to the right of my asset tag is the case code (All RED cables go here!) and the purple stripe to the left is the length indicator (purple is either 10 or 50 feet).

There are two other companies here in the PNW that use the same color scheme; since I work closely with both of them, it made sense to adopt a similar color code scheme.

-Ray
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 17, 2016, 08:27:25 pm
Electrical tape. Just standard electrician's stuff- those photos I posted earlier in this thread, the red stripe to the right of my asset tag is the case code (All RED cables go here!) and the purple stripe to the left is the length indicator (purple is either 10 or 50 feet).

There are two other companies here in the PNW that use the same color scheme; since I work closely with both of them, it made sense to adopt a similar color code scheme.

-Ray

Got it and I hope that you agree imitation is the best form of flattery because this is a great idea.

We just made that huge leap off a big cliff and hired an actual, direct, w2 employee to take care of the warehouse, logistics and loading the vans.  His very first task is to take inventory and update asset tags.  As we were running the company from 2 houses and a warehouse that was actually a portion of my business partners auto business we were not quite sure just how much stuff we had, especially stands and cables.  I am taking the 4th load from my house to the warehouse and my wife is actually starting to look happy. 

These types of ideas (the cable labeling) are solutions to the real problems small operators face every day. 

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 17, 2016, 09:18:00 pm
Got it and I hope that you agree imitation is the best form of flattery because this is a great idea.

We just made that huge leap off a big cliff and hired an actual, direct, w2 employee to take care of the warehouse, logistics and loading the vans.  His very first task is to take inventory and update asset tags.  As we were running the company from 2 houses and a warehouse that was actually a portion of my business partners auto business we were not quite sure just how much stuff we had, especially stands and cables.  I am taking the 4th load from my house to the warehouse and my wife is actually starting to look happy. 

These types of ideas (the cable labeling) are solutions to the real problems small operators face every day.
An accurate inventory is crucial to any business. I SWEAR I was losing cables, and it was driving me apeshitbatcrazy. Also, my previous 'labeling' was just using Audiopile's cute color ID rings on XLR ends- great for knowing the cable length, but doesn't tell you who the cable belongs to... :)

So here's a screen shot from my inventory database- pure Excel. Sequential numbering. And it actually starts with things I bought 15 years ago. (This particular file has only been around for the past 6-7 years, but when I built it, I actually started looking back to determine "what did I buy, and when?" The block after the acquisition cost is used for serial number(s), if applicable. Actually, there's another cell in there as well, but it doesn't get used. :)

By tracking where it belongs (color of cable kit) if something goes missing, I can determine how to replace it.

-Ray
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 17, 2016, 09:24:58 pm
Got it and I hope that you agree imitation is the best form of flattery because this is a great idea.

We just made that huge leap off a big cliff and hired an actual, direct, w2 employee to take care of the warehouse, logistics and loading the vans.  His very first task is to take inventory and update asset tags.  As we were running the company from 2 houses and a warehouse that was actually a portion of my business partners auto business we were not quite sure just how much stuff we had, especially stands and cables.  I am taking the 4th load from my house to the warehouse and my wife is actually starting to look happy. 

These types of ideas (the cable labeling) are solutions to the real problems small operators face every day.

Here's the other part of the system- cable trunk labeling. I just whipped this up in Word. Print it, and either laminate or put in a sheet protector and tape it closed. THEN, use a rivet gun and permanently attach it to your cable trunk lid.

Everything you see here is in one quarter-pack cube. The "patch kit" is a bunch of Husky branded black zipper pouches from Home Depot- one has short XLRs (something like 16, from 12" to 3'), one has 1/4" inserts (not like we use those anymore... haha), one for iPod cables/rat tail, one with MM XLR barrels (8) and one with FF XLR barrels (8). One has 1/4" M to RCA-F adapters, ground lifts, phase reverses, and XLR-F to 1/4" F barrels. One has a selection of 1/4" cables, and one has 1/4" to XLR adapter cables. Finally, there is an "Accessory" pouch-- Sharpies, extra AA batteries, Thunderbolt to VGA adapter, extra Cat5e cable, extra Audiopile drawer keys, and (seems to be the most important here--) a couple of USB bricks and USB-iPod and USB-Lightning cables. People ALWAYS forget iPod/iPad charging materials, amiright? All of the cables, barrels, adapters, etc, [IN THIS KIT] share the yellow labeling with yellow e-tape.

Now, when you're at a show, and you have "volunteers" or even audio techs that don't work with you normally, they can easily find things. They know how to determine which cables are 25' long. They know how many are in there, so if they've only used a couple 25 footers, or maybe they wish they had a 100 footer-- they'll know there are two in this cube.

When the pack comes back to your shop, the warehouse guy can QC the kit and based on that sheet, determine whether or not all of the cables, adapters, etc made it back OK!

-Ray

edit: added code to make the (8) display correctly
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Debbie Dunkley on August 17, 2016, 09:37:25 pm
Yes.

Labels and fasteners go on the male end, always. With the velcro, it is always a good idea to wrap it back together before you plug it into your input box so all the velcro lines do not stick to one another. Bonus points are awarded if you are forward thinking enough to make sure that the fuzzy side is out on all the velco straps. This helps them to not stick together.

Then I gots me quite a few points.... check, check and check!!
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Mike Mottsey on August 17, 2016, 10:30:02 pm
Buy Once, Cry Once.

Stick with reputable brands like ProCo, Canare, RapcoHorizon, Whirlwind, Mogami, etc. for cable and either Neutrik or Switchcraft connectors. If you're handy with the soldering, it's cheaper to DIY. Cheap crap will fail because of skimping on copper strands and worthless connectors that will bend easily.


I only buy Canare L4-E6s in fact I still have a few dozen since 1986 and there still going! No failers! Stuck with this brand ever since.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Rob Spence on August 17, 2016, 11:11:10 pm
An accurate inventory is crucial to any business. I SWEAR I was losing cables, and it was driving me apeshitbatcrazy. Also, my previous 'labeling' was just using Audiopile's cute color ID rings on XLR ends- great for knowing the cable length, but doesn't tell you who the cable belongs to... :)

So here's a screen shot from my inventory database- pure Excel. Sequential numbering. And it actually starts with things I bought 15 years ago. (This particular file has only been around for the past 6-7 years, but when I built it, I actually started looking back to determine "what did I buy, and when?" The block after the acquisition cost is used for serial number(s), if applicable. Actually, there's another cell in there as well, but it doesn't get used. :)

By tracking where it belongs (color of cable kit) if something goes missing, I can determine how to replace it.

-Ray

I do something pretty simple (weekend warrior style).
I use nail polish on much of my gear. I have a pretty much established color set that many folk know. A few dabs of nail polish in inconspicuous places makes it easy to establish ownership.

For things like adapters and such, the colors are blatant. For things like mics, a dab on the connector end which gets covered up by the cable connector lets us sort out which SM58 belongs to whom. All XLR ends are marked on all cables. Length is identified in other ways.
 


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: brian maddox on August 18, 2016, 01:20:39 am
Here's the other part of the system- cable trunk labeling. I just whipped this up in Word. Print it, and either laminate or put in a sheet protector and tape it closed. THEN, use a rivet gun and permanently attach it to your cable trunk lid.

Everything you see here is in one quarter-pack cube. The "patch kit" is a bunch of Husky branded black zipper pouches from Home Depot- one has short XLRs (something like 16, from 12" to 3'), one has 1/4" inserts (not like we use those anymore... haha), one for iPod cables/rat tail, one with MM XLR barrels (8) and one with FF XLR barrels (8). One has 1/4" M to RCA-F adapters, ground lifts, phase reverses, and XLR-F to 1/4" F barrels. One has a selection of 1/4" cables, and one has 1/4" to XLR adapter cables. Finally, there is an "Accessory" pouch-- Sharpies, extra AA batteries, Thunderbolt to VGA adapter, extra Cat5e cable, extra Audiopile drawer keys, and (seems to be the most important here--) a couple of USB bricks and USB-iPod and USB-Lightning cables. People ALWAYS forget iPod/iPad charging materials, amiright? All of the cables, barrels, adapters, etc, [IN THIS KIT] share the yellow labeling with yellow e-tape.

Now, when you're at a show, and you have "volunteers" or even audio techs that don't work with you normally, they can easily find things. They know how to determine which cables are 25' long. They know how many are in there, so if they've only used a couple 25 footers, or maybe they wish they had a 100 footer-- they'll know there are two in this cube.

When the pack comes back to your shop, the warehouse guy can QC the kit and based on that sheet, determine whether or not all of the cables, adapters, etc made it back OK!

-Ray

edit: added code to make the (8) display correctly

This is all great.

Just one question. What is your color code based on?  The one thing i REALLY appreciated about my first sound company is that their color code was based on resistor code. Yeah, it might be Proprietary but it was based on something.

To my eye your color code is Totally Random. And that to me just equals wasted on site time.

I'm very open to being wrong on this. I just want to know how.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 18, 2016, 02:53:58 am
Bad Boys R-!# our young girls but violet gives willingly.  Yeah like I am going stand on stage and try and remember the resistor color code.  I bet you know the tolerance rings and the inductor codes too.  That's cool but my addled old brain can't deal with that nor do I have anyone working for me that knows the code.

I can however read a 40pt font laminated on the lid of a case.  After about 200 shows I may even remember it.  Maybe.

Did I close the garage door ?

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Scott Holtzman on August 18, 2016, 02:56:40 am
Here's the other part of the system- cable trunk labeling. I just whipped this up in Word. Print it, and either laminate or put in a sheet protector and tape it closed. THEN, use a rivet gun and permanently attach it to your cable trunk lid.

Everything you see here is in one quarter-pack cube. The "patch kit" is a bunch of Husky branded black zipper pouches from Home Depot- one has short XLRs (something like 16, from 12" to 3'), one has 1/4" inserts (not like we use those anymore... haha), one for iPod cables/rat tail, one with MM XLR barrels (8) and one with FF XLR barrels (8). One has 1/4" M to RCA-F adapters, ground lifts, phase reverses, and XLR-F to 1/4" F barrels. One has a selection of 1/4" cables, and one has 1/4" to XLR adapter cables. Finally, there is an "Accessory" pouch-- Sharpies, extra AA batteries, Thunderbolt to VGA adapter, extra Cat5e cable, extra Audiopile drawer keys, and (seems to be the most important here--) a couple of USB bricks and USB-iPod and USB-Lightning cables. People ALWAYS forget iPod/iPad charging materials, amiright? All of the cables, barrels, adapters, etc, [IN THIS KIT] share the yellow labeling with yellow e-tape.

Now, when you're at a show, and you have "volunteers" or even audio techs that don't work with you normally, they can easily find things. They know how to determine which cables are 25' long. They know how many are in there, so if they've only used a couple 25 footers, or maybe they wish they had a 100 footer-- they'll know there are two in this cube.

When the pack comes back to your shop, the warehouse guy can QC the kit and based on that sheet, determine whether or not all of the cables, adapters, etc made it back OK!

-Ray

edit: added code to make the (8) display correctly
That is awesome.  I already was doing the lid sheet just not assigning. cables to packs.  Then we grew in spurts and cables got bought and just tossed into a pack and never coded

That all ends starting Monday morning. 



Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: William Schnake on August 18, 2016, 10:10:27 am
I already was doing the lid sheet just not assigning. cables to packs.  Then we grew in spurts and cables got bought and just tossed into a pack and never coded

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
Scott, we are upgrading all of our mic cable, about 400 of them all together.  Most of them 15 years old or so.  I have ordered the first 100 new ones from Horizon.  They are all 25'.  On the male end of the cable I am having a Neutrik with a red boot and my company name and phone number added to a piece of shrink wrap.  Our system is Yellow = 15' and under, Red = 25' and White = 50' or over.  I just decided that it was time to do it right.

Bill
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Steven Eudaly on August 18, 2016, 10:50:08 am
The one thing i REALLY appreciated about my first sound company is that their color code was based on resistor code. Yeah, it might be Proprietary but it was based on something.

There are some other folks in our area that do this to, so when the time came for us to color code we did the same. While most don't know "resistor code," many remember the colors of the rainbow which make up the bulk of the code. We skipped black for obvious reasons, used brown for short jumpers that you don't see often then move up from there.

Brown=3'
Red=5'
Orange=10'
Yellow=25'
Green=50'
Blue=100'

Odd sizes outside of that are combinations of the above; O+R=15', G+Y=75', B+B=200'

And a few colors left over for future needs.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Jay Barracato on August 18, 2016, 11:11:37 am
I don't think you really need a color to tell the difference between lengths, and I like looms so I prefer the color to tell the difference between cables within the loom.

My standard "backline/utility" loom is 3 25 ft cables with about 1 ft free at the male end and 10 ft free at the female end.

A basic drum setup might be 1 loom at the front of the kit (k,k,r), one RL (s,s,hh), one RR (t,t,t), plus possibly one extra (oh,oh, pad).

The same three lines in a loom can also cover an extra percussion position, or a keyboard position, or a combination of bass and guitar.

Three cables sit nice and tight in a triangle, and still coil nicely.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Dave Pluke on August 18, 2016, 12:45:48 pm
... the red stripe to the right of my asset tag is the case code (All RED cables go here!) and the purple stripe to the left is the length indicator (purple is either 10 or 50 feet).

Good idea, but some folks may struggle to tell the difference between red and purple - especially in a dimly lit venue.

Is there anything sacred about your color scheme?

Dave
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Yoel Farkas on August 18, 2016, 12:53:18 pm
Good idea, but some folks may struggle to tell the difference between red and purple - especially in a dimly lit venue.

Is there anything sacred about your color scheme?

Dave
+1 or color blinded
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Doug Fowler on August 18, 2016, 03:06:13 pm
One local regional uses male end shrink wrap for both color (length) code, and clear shrink over the barcode which also has the company logo.

Virtually no one knows the resistor code, unless you were trained a discipline that required it.

5'  - green
10' - yellow
25' - red
50' - blue
75' red and blue
100 ' - white

These get racked on a wall.  When they go to a show, they are scanned into the workbox.  In the workbox (double wide clamshell type) they go into plastic tubs, shorts together, middle length together, then longs together.

When they return they get scanned back in and hung on the wall.

There is little that irks me more than having to pull a 50' cable for a last minute addition that needs a 5 or 10, or for a comms cable.  I love having plenty of shorts in the workbox

Small operators can get away with A rig - B rig - C rig, but when you grow to the point you have a lot going on, that model falls apart.  You then have to allocate your resources on a per show basis, not a per rig basis.  And for most, the transition from rig based to show based resource management causes them to change the way they do things.  Which can be painful.

While I'm at it, a large touring operation I'm familiar with uses "red white blue" to indicate "1 2 3" in a fly loom, and for other things.  It's an Americanism, but it's handy to know, just like "red right return", which will fall out of usage when the last person who used analog inserts dies.

Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Dave Garoutte on August 18, 2016, 03:08:02 pm
When we made our cables, I just whipped out the label maker and put the actual lengths on the male XLR bodies.
"20  20  20" ,  "30  30  30" etc. and when wrapped around, shows the number from any angle.
It also identifies them as my cables.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Dave Garoutte on August 18, 2016, 03:20:30 pm
We keep them in a 5 gallon bucket (blue of course).
600' total feet fit when you pack them like tires.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Rob Spence on August 18, 2016, 03:36:15 pm
I only use a few lengths most gigs. I used to bring many lengths to a show but at one time I had a guy who would fuss over getting the best length for each run and it took forever.

So, for b rig sized things, it is all 20' except for specials like jumpers from subs to tops, drum mic right angles, or mults to amp racks or wireless.
Much easier and faster.
The A rig is mostly 25-30' on the stage with the same exceptions above. A few 50' or 100' for remote speakers when needed. Pretty easy to tell a 25 from a 100.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 19, 2016, 01:30:10 pm
Good idea, but some folks may struggle to tell the difference between red and purple - especially in a dimly lit venue.

Is there anything sacred about your color scheme?

Dave
Well, since there's no purple cable pack, red is only going to be on one side (the cable pack side of the tag). Since red isn't used on the length side, I don't see where anyone could get confused.

As I mentioned before, this color scheme is the same one used by two other companies in my area that we work closely with. In order to make it very easy on cross rentals, I decided to duplicate their labeling schemes. That way, when either they have our gear, or I have their gear, or we're otherwise working together, less time has to be spent explaining a "Special" labeling method.

As to why THEY chose these patterns, I couldn't tell you!

In regards to the resistor code- well, technically, I mean we're still in the same order, just not using brown, and more specific numbers. So we hit blue/purple quicker. I do not want to have people needing to spend time on site, "red, plus orange, divide by three, carry the two, add the square root of pi, and that's my length."

-Ray
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Scott Olewiler on August 19, 2016, 03:50:52 pm
I've gotten about 15 years of weekender use out of 25 odd cables I bought from Orange County Speaker.  I had to resolder one connector and toss one that got stepped on or rolled over hard enough to pinch the conductors.  I do try to get Rapco or similar cables nowadays, but these cheapies keep hanging on.

Orange County is now GLS for those who might want to know.  I have had about 40 of their cables for a couple of years and so far no issues.
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Mike Diack on August 19, 2016, 04:58:03 pm
I've now officially been in this business for 30 years.  So I know whereof I speak.  XLR cables are the ONLY part of your rig you will still have decades from now.  Period.  All those cool mixers and amps and speakers will all be gone, but your cables will remain.
And Mics. The AKG D12 and pair of Calrec 1050s I bought secondhand out of "Loot" in the UK in 1980 are still doing sterling service on kick and overheads, as are the 25 pink XLR cables I made up around the same time for a tour of an all girl group. As a bonus, being the colour that they are, not a single one has been stolen.
M
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Brian Jojade on August 19, 2016, 07:28:37 pm
While most don't know "resistor code," many remember the colors of the rainbow which make up the bulk of the code. We skipped black for obvious reasons, used brown for short jumpers that you don't see often then move up from there.

Resistor code IS just rainbow code, with black and brow in the front, indigo removed, and grey and white added to the end.

Why is it obvious to skip black as a color?

For printing the labels, I use Avery waterproof laser labels, printed inverted with a color laser printer.  Small, and unobtrusive, the color is easy to distinguish.  The label with all info on it, including cable number, length, type and date of manufacture is easily put on a label less than 3/4" in length, then covered with clear shrink.

My 2 most common lengths are done in black, brown and dark blue, so hardly noticeable, even labeled at both ends.

The problem with electrical tape is that it ALWAYS ends up as a gooey mess eventually. Under heatshrink, it should last quite a while, but if you just use it on its own, you are destined for a mess.

Writing on cables with a sharpie does not last.  Writing with a paint pen works better for larger cables.

Colored dots inside the connector work, but don't make it easy to see the length without grabbing the end.
Title: Re: Reasons not to buy crappy XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Lyle Williams on August 19, 2016, 07:38:17 pm
I have:

really short cables
2m cables
5m cables
10m cables
25m cables
100m cables

Zero chance of getting lengths mixed up.  They just look nothing like each other.  I did in the past mark lengths, but it turned out I never bothered to read the markings.
Title: Re: Reasons not to buy crappy XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: brian maddox on August 20, 2016, 12:53:06 am
the sound co I came up under used resistor code as its standard, with only the only exception  being that white was substitute for black. So, 10' was white, 20' is red, 40' is yellow and 60' is blue....and 100' was also white.

Odd sizes still,adhere to the standard.  150' is a white/green, etc.

Logical.  And consistent.

Every.  Other. Color code.  Is just random. 

Yeah, I've learned to deal.  My best bud in the biz uses a proprietary, and random, color code.  But seriously.  At least base your colorcode on something other than whim..... 

Follow,resistor.  Follow Clair. Follow,SOMETHING.  we will thank you.
Title: Re: Reasons not to buy crappy XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Ray Aberle on August 20, 2016, 03:20:27 am
Logical.  And consistent.

Every.  Other. Color code.  Is just random. 

Yeah, I've learned to deal.  My best bud in the biz uses a proprietary, and random, color code.  But seriously.  At least base your colorcode on something other than whim..... 

Follow,resistor.  Follow Clair. Follow,SOMETHING.  we will thank you.
I can't agree with this. Every "color code" is logical, to the person who creates it. As long as they are consistent throughout their inventory, there is some level of organization. Now, if you were to have something where different cable types had different systems, that'd be another story. :)

Ray
Title: Re: Reasons not to buy crappy XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Mike Diack on August 20, 2016, 06:35:40 am
the sound co I came up under used resistor code as its standard, with only the only exception  being that white was substitute for black. So, 10' was white, 20' is red, 40' is yellow and 60' is blue....and 100' was also white.
Odd sizes still,adhere to the standard.  150' is a white/green, etc.
Logical.  And consistent.
Every.  Other. Color code.  Is just random. 
Follow,resistor.  Follow Clair. Follow,SOMETHING.  we will thank you.
Amen to that - Even rainbows and Pink Floyd labels follow the resistor colour code -
Which is why the warped individual who came up with cusinaire rods should have been
(fiendish punishment of your choice).
Title: Re: XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Steven Eudaly on August 21, 2016, 02:41:02 pm
Why is it obvious to skip black as a color?

I chose to skip black as to avoid a black label on a black cable--although you could just say "if it doesn't have color, it is x-length" and put no label on it to indicated black, but I could see some helpers getting a bit lost when one cable isn't like the rest.

And yes, rainbow code is a subset of resistor code, which is why I feel it is not out of the question for people to remember at least some of it.

Title: Re: Reasons not to buy crappy XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Roland Clarke on August 21, 2016, 04:13:56 pm
Any opinions on this from PSSL:

http://www.pssl.com/25ft-XLR-to-XLR-Microphone-Cable-8-Pack (http://www.pssl.com/25ft-XLR-to-XLR-Microphone-Cable-8-Pack)

I realize maybe not the best quality but eight 25' XLR cables for $50 is hard to say no to and for use by less than Lounge level guy.

And that's the rub! 

It's tempting, but completely false economy.  I've only ever bought a handful of ready-made xlr cables, but I've always insisted on Neutrik plugs and decent cable.  Decent cable doesn't need to cost a fortune, I've used most things over the years, but cheaper cable from Studiospares and Canford audio have also worked fine.  As a guide I would expect to be paying around 1.00 a metre.  I don't buy esoteric cable, my last 100m drum was of Van Damme and was easy to work with and is holding up well.

All this being said, I've had several occasions in the last 10 years where I've used other people's rigs and they have bought cheap, Chinese pre packed cables.  My experience has been that the connectors can be problematic regarding fit, latches, getting bent, poor pins, etc.  The cheap cable on these leads can be problematic for coiling and also is subceptable to splitting down the length, particularly when cold.  I've never had these problems with my own leads, some of which are around 30 years old and still going strong.

IMHO, there is nothing much that screams "amateur hour", than cable failures.  To be honest, thinking about it now, I could rank the quality of companies I've worked with by the level of signal lead problems the have and it would equate accurately to the companies quality and competence.  Buy quality and you don't need many spares.
Title: Re: Reasons not to buy crappy XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: Brian Jojade on August 21, 2016, 05:45:03 pm
IMHO, there is nothing much that screams "amateur hour", than cable failures.  To be honest, thinking about it now, I could rank the quality of companies I've worked with by the level of signal lead problems the have and it would equate accurately to the companies quality and competence.  Buy quality and you don't need many spares.

Bingo.  That describes it perfectly. Yes, a good cable may cost 5-10X as much as the cheap throw away cable.  Yeah, over time you could replace the cheap cables as they fail and not care about the  cost of doing so. Yeah, over your lifetime, the cheap cables may cost a little less if you take care of them.  But the big problem is that they are likely to FAIL on you.  With good quality cables, you know that when you plug them in, they are going to work.

It's hard enough to do a quick patch on stage when everything goes as planned. When you have to scramble to figure out which cable is bad in your cheapie kit, it makes you look like you don't know what's going on.

If you're willing to buy el-cheapo mic cables, you probably have a bin of orange PVC extension cords too......
Title: Re: Reasons not to buy crappy XLR cable pack from PSSL
Post by: brian maddox on August 21, 2016, 08:36:53 pm
If you're willing to buy el-cheapo mic cables, you probably have a bin of orange PVC extension cords too......

 :) :) :) :)

Truth