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  • XRL cables sticking in jack

    I have an older Peavey (XR680) powered mixer and at a job today three of my mic cables got stuck in their respective input XRL jacks. I was able to get them out, but I actually pulled out the female XRL connector from the mixer and had to re-install each of them. I have had this problem from time-to-time, but never had this many at the same time.

    I'm not sure what is actually sticking, whether it's the pins or the barrel of the XRL plug. I'm thinking it's probably the barrel of the XRL plug, and wonder if some sort of lubrication would help. Anyone have some suggestions on how to cure this problem?

    Thanks in advance for your comments.

    One_Dude
    I've had enough of folks who don't know what they want, but are very good at knowing what they don't want.

  • #2
    Are your cables brand name, using quality connectors?
    Thanks,
    Bill Cronheim
    Entertainment Systems Corporation
    Back stage since 1965
    Equipment specialist since 1973

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    • #3
      I have a collection of cables of different brands that I have acquired over several years. But the cables in question in this instance are ones that I recently purchased from an online retailer. They are their house brand cables rather than a name brand, but I have many of these house brand cables from the same retailer that I have had no trouble with.

      Since you asked however, I just tried the questionable cables in four other mixers that I have and they fit well and do not stick. The other mixers are a Mackie, a Tapco, and two Peavey's. One Peavey mixer did seem to have less clearance on the female jack, but the male end did not stick as firmly as it did in the original mixer yesterday. The other Peavey mixer works very well with not even a hint of sticking. Maybe this is an issue with some Peavey mixers having really close tolerances on their female XRL jacks.

      This was a two day event, so when I got home yesterday I went through my collection of cables and test fitted several to use today. No problems on the job this time, so I'm a bit stumped and thinking I will make sure that I test fit my cables to this particular mixer before each job.

      Any suggestions you can offer are appreciated.

      Thanks, One_Dude
      I've had enough of folks who don't know what they want, but are very good at knowing what they don't want.

      Comment


      • #4
        Is it possible that something got spilled on the mixer's connectors?
        As a human being, you come with the whole range of inner possibilities
        from the deepest hell to the highest states.

        It is up to you which one you choose to explore
        .

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        • #5
          I have had similar problems with cables purchased from Parts-Express, which used Ningbo-Neutrik connectors. They were assembled incorrectly (??!?!!!) with the innards rotated slightly. It takes a lot of Talent to get that wrong. I don't think you can assemble real Neutrik connectors wrong, but the Ningo parts seem to have sloppier tolerances on the casing, allowing the locating notch to be subverted.

          I no longer consider the cables sold by P-E to be cables; I consider them and cost them as cable kits. When I buy them, I disassemble and QC each one myself. I have found several serious flaws this way; my acceptance rate is about 80% which is very low for this type of product. It should be in excess of 98%.

          Wes
          Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

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          • #6
            In response to the question of whether something may have spilled on the unit; I am confident that nothing like that has happened since I have owned the unit, but I did not buy it new so I don't know its entire history.

            It has occurred to me that this instance was one of the rare times when I have plugged mic cables directly into the unit; I normally plug a snake into the unit and the mics into the snake. I almost never have trouble using that arrangement, but this was a job where I was playing in the band and trying to mix from the stage, which I almost never do. But there are times when the band doesn't earn enough on the job to hire another sound guy.

            It is certainly possible that this problem is a quality control issue with the cable maker, and I suspect that the online vendor I use takes the lowest bid from a variety of manufacturers. I may take one of these cables apart to check out the pin alignment and perhaps measure the inside and outside diameters of the XRL barrel. I have also noticed that the XRL's that tend to get stuck are also the ones that require more effort to insert.

            Thanks for your responses, and any additional ideas are welcome.

            One_Dude
            I've had enough of folks who don't know what they want, but are very good at knowing what they don't want.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have seen offshore male XLRs with oversized pens, but I don't think this is the problem.

              The latch mechanism on the female connector can be somewhat sensitive to shell diameter and if it's too small (even 10 thousandths can be a problem) the latch won't clear. On some older Peavey mixers, the female shell is press fit into insert after assembly and will come off with the male connector if the latch won't clear.
              -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

              Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

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              • #8
                I think you have hit on the problem. I measured the male XRL end of the questionable cable and there is definitely a difference between it and a trouble free cable.

                Outside diameter good cable = .720 bad cable = .730
                Inside diameter good cable = .634 bad cable = .626
                Depth of pins good cable = .546 bad cable = .587
                Pin diameter good cable = .093 bad cable = .093

                So on the bad cable, the OD is larger; the ID is smaller, and the pin depth is greater. The pin diameters are the same, but once the bad cable is plugged in the entire plug is seated deeper in the female XRL.

                This is an older Peavey mixer and as you mentioned, the female shell is press fit into the assembly and is coming off with the male connector; that's exactly the problem I had. I don't see any sort of locking mechanism for the XRL's on this mixer, so I suspect that the bad cable is just too tight and gets pushed in too far causing it to get stuck.

                Thanks for your analysis, I will definitely have to pre-fit the cables I use with this mixer.

                One_Dude

                I've had enough of folks who don't know what they want, but are very good at knowing what they don't want.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There you go. Experience counts for something.
                  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                  Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Absolutely!!!
                    I've had enough of folks who don't know what they want, but are very good at knowing what they don't want.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I made the mistake of using some house brand XLR cables in my SRX815's when I first got them. The cables are many years old and I had never had a problem but the SRX cabs must be less tolerant of generic (chinese) XLR connectors. One got stuck so bad ( male end - couldn't get tab to release) I had to send it in for repair and they had to take the amp apart to get to it. I have only used Neutrik or Switchcraft since - lesson learned.
                      I have changed all my PA speaker cables to named brands and they fit nice and smooth.

                      One more thing - I have noticed a couple of the cheaper brand XLRs male end can become distorted - probably due to stepping on them and such. This has never happened to any of my better brand XLRs so the cheapies are probably made from softer/thinner metal which bends more easily. This has caused the barrel to not fit into the chassis connector a few times too.
                      Do yourself a favor and invest in some good quality cables, or if you make them yourself - good connectors.

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