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Anyone made the leap to digital snake?


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  • Anyone made the leap to digital snake?

    Hey all,


    Just curious if anyone has gone down this path or not yet with digital snakes and with what kind of results?


    I am on the fence about buying another reel or taking the plunge, probably leaning more toward another reel as I am concerned this might be one of those things that gets a lot cheaper before long. Rather than the "canned" retail versions I was looking to go this route as it definitely adds scalability to the long term. The other reason this looks more attractive is the quality units like Aviom or Proco have little or no support anywhere near where I am.




    My slut math tells me this is going to be about $500-700 more than a reel with some pros and cons. I like the idea of speeding up setup and some of the places I play really are a challenge to run a snake. One of the real pros I see is a lot of scalability to add more returns or sends and the ADAT to pipe units are reasonably inexpensive to have a couple of spares....and those spares can fill either function.


    I did a search and could only find some news releases, looking forward to any feedback or just bench racing on whether it is a good idea or not.




    Did I mention the new forum sucks?

  • #2

    About $2000 for 16 channels. You can buy a DL1608 and two iPads for that.


    • Rob_H
      Rob_H commented
      Editing a comment

      RoadRanger wrote:

      About $2000 for 16 channels. You can buy a DL1608 and two iPads for that.

      Well up here a 24 channel snake is expensive (at least for a quality one) and already have the 24.4.2 and a few iPads...but I get where you are coming from...

  • #3
    Didn't Stuart get a digital snake?
    PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

    LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


    • RoadRanger
      RoadRanger commented
      Editing a comment

      StratGuy22 wrote:
      Didn't Stuart get a digital snake?

      Yes, he uses the audiorail system  .

  • #4

    I use them from time to time when I'm on a Venue system. It's nice to have, but not something I'd go out of my way to spend money on unless I was already planning on dropping $40-50k on a console (that's what my boss is for.) We love this package when we're in hotel ballrooms... run the coax through the suspended ceiling and we don't have to clamp the snake over door frames and such. If there's any chance someone will be stepping on our snake, we just use copper and put the stagebox at FOH... seems silly sometimes, but I'd hate to lose 48 channels of audio because someone runs a wheelchair or catering cart over the snake.

    "A performer without techs is standing naked, on a dark stage, and no one can hear them. A tech without a performer... has marketable skills."


    • #5

      I have 5 Audiorail units. They do exactly what they say they do. They have been rock solid, not a single issue with quality or noise. It took a few night to get over the fear of preamps beyond my reach, and then I found it was not the big deal I feared it was. I stopped using my 32/150 EWI on a reel and went with a 300 ft Duracat Cat5 cable that you can carry in one hand. If you decide to add a monitor board, just insert another Audiorail in the ciruit, punch a few buttons, and every console gets the split from the preamps.

      I bought my 5 units as 2 package deals that I found. I only needed 3 at the time, but used Audiorails are tough to find. With that said, I do have 2 of them I don't use and would let go for $600 for the pair if you are interested.

      Going back to copper would be a VERY tough sell to me at this point.


      • Koopdaddy
        Koopdaddy commented
        Editing a comment

        We use the S16's with our X32 and it works great. I know that isn't exactly a stand alone system like you are looking at tho.


    • #6

      If you've got a digital console that supports ethernet or AES, digital snakes are a no-brainer.

      If you've got a more traditional console that accepts only XLR input at the console, copper makes more sense. It's much cheaper and much simpler to deploy than digital snake systems that require preamps, an encoder, a decoder/interface and a loom to the mixer. Depending on the system you chose, you also lose control of your preamps but as Axisplayer said, this isn't that big of a deal in practice. HOWEVER, DS systems can be configured to be very easily deployed.

      In a properly configured digital snake system:
      - coax, CAT-5e or CAT-6 cable that's much lighter and much easier to manage
      - digital snake cable can cover greater distances without signal loss (100m)

      The cable and connectors can be finnicky, though. They're moving a lot of data and are susceptible to interference unless you're using STP or shielded coax cable. They're also being wrapped and moved a lot and this puts a lot of stress on the fine strands in UTP/STP cable. I also very highly recommend you make permanent connections to a patch panel and only make your temporary connections to that panel. BNC connectors aren't bad, but RJ-45 ethernet connectors aren't very robust and can be damaged with repeated use.


      • #7
        The cost and inconvenience and potential unreliabity consequences of most digital snakes exceeds the minor issues of using copper, especially if you already own quality copper.
        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


        • Rob_H
          Rob_H commented
          Editing a comment

          Appreciate the feedback everyone,


          At this point I will just grab another reel for my portable rig; I am working on a deal for providing a house system as well though and will look to digital for that...when I get there I will have some more questions I am sure.