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I currently have a 24x4x50ft. The rig requires 16 channels and 4 returns at the moment and I know I want to double the length.

 

So the question is do I get a 16x8 in order to have room to grow or a 16x4 and add a 4 channel fan to fan as a drive snake down the road when needed. I like the idea of not carrying things that I don't need and that includes sends that would not get used all of the time. I just don't want to back myself into a corner.

 

What do you think?

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ok, you should probably consider an 8 channel return then. you could do stereo mains, 5 monitors and possibly a dmx light send us you live on the risky side of impedance (i send dmx down audio snakes routinely) or any variation of that.

 

100' might be enough for you but i find it too restricting. i prefer 150' as if you need to go vertical or around corners/doorways etc it can get short quick.

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The bad part of buying a snake is that if it is too small, it is too small and there are no easy fixes (as you are seeing.) Also, the days of 4 returns are gone for almost everyone so resale on a 4 return snake is difficult at best. You can never have too much money or too much snake. If you use 24/4x50 now and want 16/8x100 then I would buy a 24/8x150 at minimum. It is easy to grow into and out of snakes. The additional amount up front is not a lot, but the extra when you have to sell the old one, take a loss and buy another one adds up fast. Fix the problem once and move on to other things that need attention.

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And thats the problem with snakes. A 16 is a reasonable choice and will always have value because that is a standard configuration, but I always allow for needing more tomorrow than I need today so I won't revisit the issue that much sooner.

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I have to agree with Axisplayer on this.

When I was ordering my snake, I figured I would only need 100'

I however ordered the 150'

Since then, I've had a few gigs where I needed 120'+

Also.

You may someday move up to a 24 board, and then you will need that 24 snake.

but until that day comes, if you are setting up at a gig, and discover some of the sends on the snake are not working, you'll have

some spares you can use.

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to further add to the confusion i must add that i see more and more bands (at least in my area) either providing or requiring on stage monitor mixers with 6 mixes. it does add about 30 minutes to the setup/teardown but negates the requirement of many returns on the FOH snake. the number of shows i do that i end up running one main send/one dmx send down the foh snake outnumber the number of shows i do where i use my 8 return ewi snake (stereo + 4 wedges) 10 to 1.

 

of course with the current race to the bottom of production in fargo its getting difficult. bands require more and pay less, and some bands (amateur hour lets get drunk and laid bands) have no idea what they are requesting with the onstage monitor board, cant mix it themselves and thus require me to run back and forth all night which is just plain stupid. OTOH the bands that can do it themselves (pro level experienced bands)make my night a lot easier. half of one six dozen of the other.

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So it will just depend on the needs of your shows. I have outgrown only 8 returns and wish I had 12 or 16 at this point, but I am mixing monitors from FOH (4 stereo IEM) along with stereo mains, DMX, comms, etc. If you don't use comms, don't run DMX, use mono monitors, etc it could be a lot less.

 

All I am getting across is buy a bit more than you need today because it seldom becomes less. How much capability that actually is needs to be determined by you. I suspect that most 16 channel FOH shows won't have the luxury of separate monitor board, but even that could be the case in your area.

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So it will just depend on the needs of your shows. I have outgrown only 8 returns and wish I had 12 or 16 at this point, but I am mixing monitors from FOH (4 stereo IEM) along with stereo mains, DMX, comms, etc. If you don't use comms, don't run DMX, use mono monitors, etc it could be a lot less.


All I am getting across is buy a bit more than you need today because it seldom becomes less. How much capability that actually is needs to be determined by you. I suspect that most 16 channel FOH shows won't have the luxury of separate monitor board, but even that could be the case in your area.

 

 

these are good points and i will add that i find myself hauling 24 channel split rigs (separate monitor/foh) around to do ten channel shows (K,S,T1,T2,T3,BASS,GUITAR,3VOX) which i do find absurd. its a lot of stuff for ten channels when i could do the whole show on a mixwiz.

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...i end up running one main send/one dmx send down the foh snake ....

 

 

You run DMX in your audio snake? Have you had any noise coupling issues doing this? I've never done this for fear of noise, but it would make things FAR more convenient.

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You run DMX in your audio snake? Have you had any noise coupling issues doing this? I've never done this for fear of noise, but it would make things FAR more convenient.

 

 

i have had no problems with this, and i know several others that do it as well. i dont recommend it based on knowing its a little wrong but it has worked fine for the many years i have done it. i've had issues with dimmerpacks/shure pgx wireless though, but not related to dmx over audio snake.

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Once you get to 16 channels of returns, generally it's more convenient o have a seperate return snake too. Otherwise you get into total pair count limits. 56 pair is pretty unwieldy (40 + 16)
;)

 

If I ever thought of going to 16 channels I would certainly run a separate drive snake instead of buying a single large channel count snake. The snake I have is 32/8x150 on a reel and that is as large as I want to go for a single snake. Beyond that gets reel heavy real fast. (couldn't resist the pun but it is true.)

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i have had no problems with this, and i know several others that do it as well. i dont recommend it based on knowing its a little wrong but it has worked fine for the many years i have done it. i've had issues with dimmerpacks/shure pgx wireless though, but not related to dmx over audio snake.

 

 

I do the same and have not had any issues with it.

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If I ever thought of going to 16 channels I would certainly run a separate drive snake instead of buying a single large channel count snake. The snake I have is 32/8x150 on a reel and that is as large as I want to go for a single snake. Beyond that gets
reel
heavy real fast. (couldn't resist the pun but it is true.)

 

 

That's my liimit as well. 200 feet of 40 pair is a substantial load, about 125-150 lbs or so.

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DMX on a snake may work ok some of the time or even most of the time BUT, you need to be careful of ground loops between the controller (should be powered by FOH tech power), the dimmer side is almost always opto-isolated so ground loops from that end are generally not the problem.

 

The biggest issue is the integrity of the DMX waveform at the receive end. Capacitance will cause a rounding of the pulses reduction of pule width (due to lower voltages at the logic transitions) and even a reduction of amplitude. Then, there's the completely different characteristic impedance and degredation from the reflected signal. This can cause erratic and undependable operation of DMX devices. Characteristic impedance is around 120 ohms for DMX cable.

 

Noise generally isn't a big issue but it can be for RF sensitive devices. The frequency and risetimes are quite high compared with audio. DMX is s 250kBAUD serial digital protocol.

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Decent brand USED 16x4/100 can be had at decent prices all over and AT USED PRICES be an excellent choice for your situation. THEN look for a 100' fan to fan OR fan to box 8 channel drive snake, harder to find USED but with a little patience doable. If buying new, by all means get a 16x8. While I agree with the thought "buy more channels and length snake than you THINK you need" that is not always economically feasible. Also, with your existing snake, you would have plenty of options of what to take for a given gig and not always have to take a huge snake for a little gig.

 

Reel snakes are wonderful things. I'd like to have one but I've bought ALL my snakes and subsnakes used. Over-undering into a box is a talent you need to develop OR get big enough case(s) to figure 8 the long snake(s) into.

 

Boomerweps

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