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Stage snake question

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  • Stage snake question

    I have a few questions regarding a stage snake. I use need 16 XLR sends and at 6 returns. Most snakes I see are 16x8. Could I change the extra 2 returns to handle 1/4 sends? For acoustic guitar or keys. Just wondering how everyone get their signal up tothe mixer with a similar set up.

  • #2


    The above will work to use the returns. Most use Direct Boxes to go from Keyboards etc to the snake.



    • #3
      Snakes are made using multi-core cables available from the manufacturers. A 24 pair cable which would give you a 16/8 snake can be configured anyway you'd like connector/direction wise.
      Bill Cronheim
      Entertainment Systems Corporation
      Back stage since 1965
      Equipment specialist since 1973


      • #4
        I wouldn't recommend running an unbalanced 1/4" source a long distance, such as down a snake. This can cause noise issues and signal level issues at your mixer, as well impedance issues in some cases (like with some guitars) which can affect the tone of the instrument. The best way to do this is with a direct box, which turns the unbalanced line level signal into balanced mic level, and they typically have some features for minimizing ground noise and usually have a switchable pad for extra-hot signals.

        As for the snake configuration, Bill is absolutely correct. The wire doesn't care which way the signal runs. You could reterminate each end of the 2 channels you want changed to be the correct XLR's for your use, or you could use turnarounds (assuming the connectors are XLR, it won't be great if they're 1/4"). Turnarounds or other adapters aren't a great long-term solution, but they'll definitely get you by.

        Changing out the fantail connectors is simple, and if the panel connectors are Neutrik D-size, then changing out the connectors on the box is probably going to be easy too. If the panel connectors are the normal sized Switchcraft XLR's or 1/4" with a nut it'll be a little trickier, and probably involve some drilling and/or punching. It's less fun if the connectors are riveted on rather than screwed, but it's not super tough to deal with it either way.


        • #5
          Originally posted by B. Adams View Post

          Changing out the fantail connectors is simple, and if the panel connectors are Neutrik D-size, then changing out the connectors on the box is probably going to be easy too.
          Something I recall I've seen a few times in reconfigured snake sends/returns is where the XLR connector genders were changed and rewired visually the same... "somebody" put the wires back on the changed gender connectors the same way they came off... being the ground reconnected to pin 3, and pos reconnected to pin 1. The first time I ran into this, it threw me for a bit of a loop... the individual conductors tested fine (proper continuity), and visually the solder connections looked "fine"... till I realized "wait a minute... duh... it's all bass-ackwards" (well "there's" your problem). Now that I remember... recall... I think the tip-off that there was a problem beyond unusual noise was intermittent dysfunctional channel(s) due to inter-channel ground bleed affecting some of the mis-wired connectors. Anyhoo: If you swap genders, pay attention to getting the rewiring correct.

          I need to catch up with those guys, for I am their leader.


          • #6
            If you already own it... do what you want. If you're looking to buy something new (or new to you/used) ALWAYS buy more channels than you think you'll need... both send AND return. They will rarely go unused for very long. Until I went wireless for DMX lighting control, I regularly used one of the send lines to get the main DMX signal to our stage from my control point. I can also eat up several send channels easy if we hit a venue where we exceed our rock-solid distance for wireless mic and IEM transmission... where I need to locate all wireless gear on the stage instead of putting it on the doghouse plugged directly into the mixer. Rare, but it happens.

            Our snakes evolution:
            Two 100' snakes (8x4 front, 12x4 rear)
            Two 100' snakes (8x4 front, 16x8 rear)
            One 150' reel snake (24x12 at rear and 4 smaller custom drops... drum/horn/and the two front corners for FOH... much quicker setup/teardown)
            Where the Mississippi River runs west...