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Ethercon Breakout Box
Old 18th October 2020
  #1
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rmx16's Avatar
 

Ethercon Breakout Box

Hi guys I'm looking for four channel xlr to ethercon box? Radial? Redco? Soundtools?
Old 18th October 2020
  #2
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You're looking at the high-grade product set. I own four pairs of these, and they work fine.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ProX-XC-SBC...rd!27519!US!-1
Old 19th October 2020
  #3
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Remoteness's Avatar
We have been using the Whirlwind version with great success.

What I like about the Whirlwind boxes is the fact that you get both Female and Male XLRs connectors in each box.
So, you have the ability to use them as input/output boxes or as built-in turnarounds.

http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/snak...snakes/catdusa

We happen to be Whirlwind dealers among other pro brands.
Let us know if you have any additional questions.
Old 26th October 2020
  #4
Here for the gear
Recently picked up one of the Lyxpro sets (male & female xlr 4-channel boxes with fans and a 50' cat6 ethercon cable). It's cheap and workable: no complaints about the audio in the small trial I did. The tolerances on the XLR and ethercon connectors aren't up to Neutrik standards. The boxes are rugged enough; aluminum, except for the plastic (nylon, maybe?) collar where the fans exit. Connectors are labelled (1-4) at both ends, and colour-coded (could've wished for black, though). Stagebox-style rather than hard fans would let you use your own cables, of course: they sell both versions. The bundled cat6 cable seems fine, if blue.

Not sure I'd entirely recommend the Lyxpro set unless your budget doesn't reach to something better, but I'm okay with them for the occasional use. Amazon in Canada had nice prices on the bundles.

https://www.lyxpro.com/products/pair...32314299678853
Old 26th October 2020
  #5
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Simple (stupid?) question: can these 4xlr->cat5 devices used for 4 micsignals on p48 (in good quality)?
Old 27th October 2020 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
Simple (stupid?) question: can these 4xlr->cat5 devices used for 4 micsignals on p48 (in good quality)?
Yes, phantom power works fine. The Cat5e/6 wire *must* be shielded twisted pair (STP) so the common/return/Pin1 is connected to the shield.
Old 27th October 2020
  #7
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Apart from the quality of the connectors and the boxes, which determine the ruggedness and price, these are simply passive adaption devices...allowing the 3 cores of the 4 xlr cables to travel down the cat5/6 cable, and then transferred back to the xlr's at the receive end....unless I'm missing some conversion voodoo inside the box ?

My reservation on using this sort of device, compared with using a regular multi core snake, centres mainly on the integrity of the ethercon connector. It's effectively taking a shielded, multi strand audio cable and introducing a "connection-compromised weak spot" ....namely the minuscule gold-plated contact fingers of the ethercon connectors at both ends of the cable.

I'm fully aware that low level digital signals are happily whizzing through LAN and Dante networks, not to mention telephones, worldwide...but we're talking about jury-rigging this connection protocol for analog use, where the integrity of the shielding and contact area of the mating pins/sleeves (XLR connectors are very good at this !) are maintained, in your typical analog multicore snake.

At this stage, let's just put this down to my cynical paranoid reservations and aversion to unnecessary compromised connection bridges using ethercon vs XLR plugs. Note I'm not critiquing the cat5/6 cable per se, as the signal carrier, but more the multiple connector interfaces involved.

Any comments on the connection integrity side of things here...Jim Williams ?
Old 27th October 2020 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
...allowing the 3 cores of the 4 xlr cables to travel down the cat5/6 cable, .... introducing a "connection-compromised weak spot" ....namely the minuscule gold-plated contact fingers of the ethercon connectors at both ends of the cable ... where the integrity of the shielding and contact area of the mating pins/sleeves (XLR connectors are very good at this !) are maintained, in your typical analog multicore snake. ...
If that "3 cores" not a typo, it's actually all four twisted pairs of the XLR goes through the Cat5e/6 cable, and the shield is the Pin-1 shared among them all.

While we're waiting for Jim Williams to chime in, I'd like to offer the community here some numbers to give perspective on the capabilities and requirements.

Microphone and line-level signals are obviously very low-power connections. The typical current in an Ethernet link is about 60mA and runs at around 2Vp-p. The characteristic impedance of Cat5e/6 cable is 100-ohms (+/- 15%), so it creates the same world of opportunities as the use of 110-ohm AES3 cables for microphone audio.

For easy numbers, a +22dBu (10V RMS) line-level signal into a typical 10K-ohm load is 1mA of current. Microphone signals are obviously significantly smaller in both level and current. An XLR connector shines in its physical robustness to survive abuse in touring situations. The XLR pins are good for 10A, which is fantastic, but unnecessary for any mic or line signals.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) voltages are at a nominal 48V, but can be 57V. Current maxima for PoE connections is 960mA per pair for a max of 71W for the device on the end of the cable. There's quite a lot of power lost in the cable for that situation because of the typical 24AWG wires, although 20AWG is available. Most typical PoE demands are the <13W devices and 350mA of max current.
Old 27th October 2020
  #9
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ronmac's Avatar
CAT 7 cable is a bit more expensive, but worth it, IMO. Each pair is individually shielded and each wire has a larger cross section than either CAT 5 or CAT 6.
Old 27th October 2020
  #10
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Isn’t typical mic phantom current demand 3-5mA per mic, up to around 10-12mA for particularly current hungry models like the older CAD mics ? My main concern is the long term integrity of the minuscule mating surfaces of the ethercon connector...one which typically doesn’t see many repeat connect/disconnect cycles in a static office or home computer setting...but is put under stress in a remote recording situation when the cat cable is unplugged at each tear down and bump out. I’d be checking the reliability of how many cycles the connection is tested for...whereas for xlr’s it’s typically 10s of thousands
Old 27th October 2020 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Isn’t typical mic phantom current demand 3-5mA per mic, up to around 10-12mA for particularly current hungry models like the older CAD mics ? My main concern is the long term integrity of the minuscule mating surfaces of the ethercon connector....
Yes, the P48 spec says 10mA max. I have three CAD M179's that are at 8mA phantom current, certainly among the hungrier mics in this respect.

For sure, the robustness of XLR is why it make sense for touring and multiple connect-disconnect cycles, also known as 'mating cycles'. Of course they don't include specs for boot-stomping and thrown-in-the-truck cycles.

Interestingly the USB-C connector spec says it's supposed to manage up to 10,000 mating cycles. For the lowly RJ45 connector, I found a cut sheet that specifies 2500 mating cycles for a rather robust version of this connector. Finally, I found a cut sheet for a Neutrik XLR that simply states "more than 1000" mating cycles.

Perhaps more interestingly, the webpage describing a mini-XLR from Switchcraft states ~5000 mating cycles for the 3-thru-5 pin version, and 2000 mating cycles for the 6-thru-8 pin version.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/8377/...ions-finalized
https://www.mouser.cn/pdfdocs/RJ45connectors.pdf
https://www.mouser.com/catalog/suppl...eutrik_XLR.pdf
http://www.switchcraft.com/Product.aspx?ID=8626
Old 28th October 2020 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
CAT 7 cable is a bit more expensive, but worth it, IMO. Each pair is individually shielded and each wire has a larger cross section than either CAT 5 or CAT 6.
Absolutely! Cat7 is the best for an installed setup carrying analog audio signals, and for those HDMI-over-twisted-pair gizmos. I briefly considered buying some to make custom lengths with Ethercon shells, but all that foil and braid just made me decide against even trying.

If there's some Cat7 with small/thin boots around the shielded RJ45, it's probably possible to use those Ethercon retrofit kits. Maybe some judicious use of a utility razor would be part of the solution. I've seen Cat7 offered with up to 22AWG conductors, if that matters.
Old 28th October 2020
  #13
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Thanks for this. I'm about modernizing my analog snakes, and one thought I've had is that a set of smaller channel-count snakes might serve me better than another big (24+) setup. I think I'd end up with shorter runs to the boxes on stage and lighter cable coils, a more flexible and modular set up. I'm thinking of a mix of 8 channel DB25 and 4 channel Cat6 boxes and cables, thus.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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a helpful article on constructing a CAT6 to analog cable, but with an interesting twist, using a rugged 10 pin Hirose connector rather than ethercon:

https://wavreport.com/2020/10/29/bui...FkZ2BPDDejB24Y

Looking at this in the cold light of day, I'm wondering if it's worth all the effort and expense ? At the end of the assembly, you do get a cable that usable for both video and audio...but for someone wanting it purely as an analog snake substitute, you're gaining a slight weight/bulk advantage but getting a stiffer, less compliant cable (are the foil screens largely to blame ?)...plus more connector and adapter hardware than a basic multicore snake.
I'm not sure the pros and cons of building it add up ?

Last edited by studer58; 4 weeks ago at 04:56 AM..
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