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Big Snake or 2 smaller?

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  • Big Snake or 2 smaller?

    I sometimes run a 16 channel mixer and other times a 24 @ 150ft. Should I get a 24x8 snake or a couple smaller like 2 16x4's or a 16x4 & 8x4. 

  • #2

    You need a 24 to get you to/from the stage, but it's a good idea to add a shorter stage-snake/drop-snake (or two) that you can plug into the main stage-box, so you can place the smaller stage boxes at strategic locations on, or around  the stage. It's common for example, to have 8-10 mics on a drum-kit, plus you might want to run a monitor or two to the drummer, and adjacent musicians. An 8/4,  or better yet, a 12/4 stage-snake is ideal for that scenario.

    How many monitor mixes does your 24ch board support?.You need enough returns for those monitors, and FOH. If you can do 8 monitor mixes, get a snake with 12 returns. The 4 extra returns will serve for FOH, and a few spares to give you different FOH options, or, extra channels for use with gender-benders, in case some of your sends go bad..

    Draw up a stage-plan, and think of where the main snakes' stage-box would be placed. Plan for your largest musician location scenario; for example, in the back row, you may have drums, keyboards, horns, back-up singers; and across the front edge of the stage, you might have bass, lead-guitar, lead-vocalist, rhythm guitar. Plan to have a "clean" floor, between the front and back rows, to avoid trip-hazards.


    If you've already got a 16/4, and you don't want to spend for a dedicated 24/12 snake, add a 16/8.. Better to have too many channels, than not enough. It's false economy to run right at the limit, with no back-up available.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro;

    (I came, I saw, I stuck around)


    • Unalaska
      Unalaska commented
      Editing a comment
      Large snake with enough sends and returns (24x8 100' works great). Then use a smaller 8 or 12 channel drop snake by the hi-hat for back line.
      If you're only doing you band you could drop the box end by the drums and wire from there, depends on the amp rack situation.

  • #3
    Sorta like floggin' a dead horse thread, but here I go anyway... since I'm looking for advice on the best way to proceed.

    Our band just bought a nice lightly used EWI 24x12x100 reel snake from another forumite (Jeff Grocki - Thank, Jeff!) to replace our two non-reel snakes (a 16x8x100 EWI and a 12x4x100 ProCo Stagemaster). We have a 32ch. board but rarely use more than 18ch. currently so having a reel and ease of setup trumped max capacity. We're debating on what to do now for drop snakes on stage to get everything to the reel. We're a 12-piece with 2/4 of the frontline vox on wireless and also use powered mains so the need to get more returns to stage front is greater than the number of inputs required. I'm having trouble uploading a stage plot but previously we had the EWI stage rear/center by the drum kit and the ProCo stage front/center for Vox1, Vox4, Bass, LdGtr inputs and BassMon, GtrMon, and HornsMon as returns. Horns/Drums/Keys/RhyGtr plugged into the rear snake and we also had 2 mon feeds and the 3ch. (L/R/Subs) for the mains coming out of there as well.

    What I'd like to do now is place the reel behind the drum kit and run several drops to simplify things. One drop from behind each mains stack to the reel and a staggered fan from the reel out to in front of the horn section with leads long enough that they can plug their bell mics/etc. directly into that drop. The latter would need to be custom-made, I think... but for the other two to the mains stacks I'd need 4x4x30' drops most of the time and there are a couple of venues where one side would need to be a 4x4x50' due to needing to hang the snake above a path used by rolling food/beverage service carts. I have the time and skill to make all of these custom, but after adding up the cost of the parts/cable it doesn't really seem cost-effective.

    I'm tempted to get a pair of the Hosa Little Bro 6x2x50' drop snakes for running to the back of the mains stacks and swapping out the gender on two of the panel-mount XLRs to make them 4x4. That seems the easiest way to go. For the staggered fan, I'll probably just find an 8ch. fan to fan recording snake and modify it to be staggered.


    Where the Mississippi River runs west...


    • Gordon Sound
      Gordon Sound commented
      Editing a comment
      Those Hosa snakes suck, they don't have locking connectors which wouldn't be so bad if they were on the top of the box but they are on the side and slip out
      Last edited by Gordon Sound; 01-16-2015, 02:57 PM.

    • monthlymixcd
      monthlymixcd commented
      Editing a comment
      That thought DID cross my mind. How about the OSP Elite Core drop snakes, then? Locking connectors... and the reviews of their durability are horrible.

  • #4
    There's a point of diminishing returns on custom cabling. Are you sure you wouldn't be fine simply running single cables of varying length to a standard drop, instead of building a custom staggered drop? Seems as if it would limit your future use should situations change, and it doesn't buy you all that much.

    I'd place the main snake to one side, and run drops from there. The main snake can directly service the amp/processing stack on that side so it saves you one drop snake...all you need is one longer drop to service the opposite stage end. And if you want a drop at the stage front, placing the main snake at sidestage saves you a long run or worse, running one upstage where the band has to step over it.
    "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015


    • #5
      Good advice, Craig. Depending on the venue, that'd work. For many gigs where the space is available... our musicians tend to take it. We played one gig last year in a historic ballroom in the memorial union at the University of Iowa that had an elevated stage and the band used nearly all of the 25' depth and 50' width of the stage, especially true for the rear line that includes 5 musicians in the horn section, the drum kit, the rhygtr/mando, and the keys. That was luxury for them when mostly they are squeezed into 30' or less side to side. Although it obviously presents challenges with cabling and having adequate lighting to cover that much area. We added a variety of cables for that gig in various lengths from 20' to 50' and still barely had enough.

      I'd love to decorate the back of the reel snake and just place it in front of the kick drum so everything could reach it easily, but people be trippin'.

      Where the Mississippi River runs west...


      • #6
        So, wanting to take Craig's advice here and not do custom cabling for the drops off of our reel snake, here are my needs; to stage front left 3xsends/4xreturns, to stage front right 2xsends/3xreturns, to the "horn" section 6xsends/2xreturns, to the drum kit 8xsends/1xreturn. Everything else plugs straight into the reel. for the first two, a 4x4x50' would be ideal and for the other two a couple of 8XLR fan:fan snakes would work... 30' for the horns and 20' for the drums. Any recommendations on brand or source?
        Where the Mississippi River runs west...


        • #7

          "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015


          • #8
            If it's my band, the mixer is on stage. I use an 50' 8x0 to go back by the drums. That covers 6 channels for drums, bass and guitar on that side. My guitar amp on the same side as the mixer is a single mic cord.

            Then i use a small 25' 6x2 to go to the front corner of the stage. This covers 4 vocal mics, an acoustic guitar DI and keyboard DI. One day I'll find the time to turn the 6x2 into an 8x0.
            PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

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


            • #9
              Of the three 100' snakes we own, two are EWI from Audiopile.net. (Both found used... thanks again Jeff Grocki for the deal on the reel snake!) Love 'em and couldn't agree more, Craig. I search for used EWI drop snakes almost daily online. Mark had said at one time that he takes trade-ins and so he may be getting our 16x8x100' back yet in exchange for some drop snakes.
              Where the Mississippi River runs west...