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Cabling 12 Synths - Mogami and Neutrik Direct Injection Boxes
Old 6th October 2016
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Cabling 12 Synths - Mogami and Neutrik

Hello Gearslutz,

I've got a mix of 12 synths and drum machines that I need to cable up. As I understand they are all unbalanced outputs.

I was thinking of purchasing a reel of Mogami W2524 and Neutrik NP2X-B connectors.

I'd like all my synth and drum machine outputs to terminate into a patchbay firstly (was thinking of a TT style) then to a rane or similar line mixer, then to a DI box then to my audio interface. I want to be able to play multiple synths at the same time hence the mixer, I was thinking a 8 channel is enough.

1. Regarding the connection from synths to patchbay, would I use unbalance 1/4" to balanced TT? Can someone provide some guidance? The reason I'm thinking TT is that many have commented that they are the best!

2. Would I then connect from patchbay to mixer; balance to unbalanced ends?

I'm a little confused how to connect everything in a logical way when dealing with unblanced synths and mixer and balanced TT patchbays and DI's.

Any help on an ideal config would be super.

Cheers
Old 6th October 2016
  #2
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

The TS connectors would be appropriate for unbalanced outputs from your synths and drum machines. The black and gold Neutrik variety look cool, but you could certainly get equivalent performance without the "Louis Vuitton" flash. I use http://www.redco.com/Rean-Neutrik-NYS224.html with heat-shrink tubing over the outside. You can select from a variety of colors to color-code the connections. Or white tubing so you can write on it with a permanent marker, etc.

I would recommend using balanced cabling at all points. Because it offers some additional amount of shielding and noise rejection, even from an unbalanced source. And it also keeps your options open to converting to balanced connections when the opportunity arises. I would use something like http://www.redco.com/Mogami-W2552.html or http://www.redco.com/Mogami-W2582.html

Note that for "semi-fixed" wiring (as from synths in a rack long with the patch-bay) we use "install-grade" cable which is less expensive, smaller, and easier to terminate. The "good stuff" (nice flexible cable) is used for "external" wiring as for patch cables or mic cables, etc. I use http://www.redco.com/West-Penn-291.html (10 cents/foot)

It is not clear what you mean by "terminate into a patchbay firstly". Do you mean connect to the BACK of a patch bay so that all the outputs are visible on the patch bay? Or do you mean cables from each of the sources (synths) and plugging into the FRONT of the patch bay?

I don't know what " TT ... are the best!" means? The only practical difference between conventional 1/4 inch patch bays and TT is the size. TT is an advantage where you have space constraints and you need to pack more connections into some small space. But otherwise, they are functionally (and performance) equivalent. And on the downside, they are typically more expensive and significantly more difficult to terminate, especially for those with little or no experience. I would avoid TT unless absolutely necessary. Unless those other commentators had some particular REASON they think "they are the best". Subjective emotional sentiments don't cut it with me. Show me the data.

Patchbays are typically set up with sources (the outputs from your synths) along the TOP row, and destinations (the inputs to your mixer) on the bottom row. Patchbays can be configured to be "normalled" which means that the output on the top is automatically connected to the input on the bottom unless you interrupt the path with a patch cord.

I would use balanced cabling from the back of the patch-bay to unbalanced TS plugs to the sources unbalanced outputs (synths). And then I would use the same balanced cable to TRS or TS plugs into the inputs to the mixer. TRS if the mixer has balanced inputs, and TS if the mixer has unbalanced inputs.

Again, I would use balanced wiring everywhere just to keep everything consistent. Using unbalanced cable means that you have to rip it out and throw it away if you get a piece of gear with balanced connections.

Absent any unusual conditions which you didn't reveal, there appears to be no reason to use a "DI box" between the output of your mixer and the input to your interface.

My favorite vendor for bulk cable and connectors is Redco Audio - Audio/Video Supplies and Accessories, Custom Cables and Panels, and more
Highly recommended. I gain no benefit from this recommendation.
Wide selection of good-quality products at sensible prices.
And they will make custom cables with your choice of connectors and wire also at sensible prices.
Old 6th October 2016
  #3
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For a unbalanced output to a unbalanced input, use a coax with a heavy braided shield.
Belden 1505F & 1695A and Canare LV-77S come to mind.

****************************************
For a unbalanced output to a balanced input use a Shielded Twisted Pair or shielded twisted quad.
Old 6th October 2016
  #4
Lives for gear
 

If your heart is set on using a star-quad for an unbalanced interconnect then attach:
a] one conductor to the tip at both ends.
b] the other three conductors and the shield to the sleeve at both ends.
Old 7th October 2016
  #5
Old 7th October 2016
  #6
Gear Nut
Actually, sorry I misread your post. From the chart in that article you want 14 for synth to patchbay and 11 from patchbay to unbalanced mixer.
Old 7th October 2016
  #7
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I'm thinking that if it's:
TS output >> TRS patch-bay >> TS input
Then a coax wired:
Tip :: coax center conductor
Ring :: no connection
Sleeve :: shield
Old 7th October 2016
  #8
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Repeating: Wiring with unbalanced cable is short-sighted and wasteful. It means that you are compelled to remove and discard your cabling (which was obsolete when you installed it) and replace it with proper shielded pair when you get balanced gear. And chances are excellent that whatever line-level mixer you select will probably have balanced input. There are NO compelling reasons to use unbalanced wiring for a project as you describe.

Wiring any TRS plug with the ring floating is just begging for trouble. At least connect the ring to ground if you must use a TRS plug with an unbalanced cable.
Old 7th October 2016
  #9
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Then use TS plugs on the unbalanced coax cables.
Old 7th October 2016
  #10
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The important consideration about an unbalanced to unbalanced interconnect system is the cable. The cable should be a coax with a heavy braided shield and the longer the interconnect the more important this is. The best cables have a shield equivalent to about a 14AWG wire. There can be more the a 20 dB difference in background noise in a cable like this and some boutique cables.
************************
So the question remains as to how best to get this coax thru a TRS patch-bay.
Old 7th October 2016
  #11
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
************************
So the question remains as to how best to get this coax thru a TRS patch-bay.
The Rane article I linked to explains how you want to wire the jacks. I just did this to get a bunch of unbalanced gear into my patch bay including synths. It's working swimmingly.
Old 7th October 2016
  #12
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Agree with Richard (as usual!) on using balanced wiring and the cable selection

Save the coax for RG58/59 applications.
Old 7th October 2016
  #13
Gear Nut
Coax?

Regular-ass balanced audio cable wired like this:

Attached diagram numbered 14 from synth to patch bay
Attached diagram numbered 11 from patch bay to unbalanced mixer

Bob's your uncle
Attached Thumbnails
Cabling 12 Synths - Mogami and Neutrik-img_0124.jpg   Cabling 12 Synths - Mogami and Neutrik-img_0123.jpg  
Old 7th October 2016
  #14
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NarxistDan View Post
Coax?
Yeah, I don't get it either.
RG59 (or any RF style coax) is wildly impractical to terminate to audio connectors. Unless you are talking about crimp (or compression) style RCA plugs.

The need for large-gauge equivalent shielding is also incomprehensible. Even the best braided shield is no match for simple (and inexpensive and easy to terminate) 100% foil shield as is found on all "install-grade" wire (as suggested). And, of course there is microscopic current flowing, so there is no IR loss. This is the 21st century. We aren't stuck with antique technology.
Old 13th October 2016
  #15
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Hi All,

Thanks so much for all the suggestions for connecting using various cables and connectors.

I've attached a diagram of how I think I should proceed. If possible please take a look and let me know if this signal flow makes sense.Together with the cable and connectors specified.

I'm concerned that perhaps I should be moving the DI after the synth. What's best practice.

Also, can you make a better suggestion for patchbay and mixer make and model?

Thanks for all the advice, very much appreciated.
Old 13th October 2016
  #16
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

The Behringer RX1602 mixer has perfectly good line-level, balanced, TRS outputs.
The Steinberg UR22 interface has perfectly good line-level, balanced, TRS inputs.

We don't understand why you think you need that Radial JDI Stereo Direct Input Box???
Old 14th October 2016
  #17
Gear Nut
Also, there is no "standard" TS to TRS cable. Your diagram doesn't include how you actually plan to make those connections.
Old 14th October 2016
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NarxistDan View Post
Coax?
Bob's your uncle
Coax and only coax for any and all unbalanced interconnects and of course RCA connectors. The longer the interconnect the more important it is.
The exception!
An unbalanced output stage to a balanced input stage. Then use Shielded Twisted Pair.
Old 14th October 2016
  #19
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
Coax and only coax for any and all unbalanced interconnects and of course RCA connectors. The longer the interconnect the more important it is.
The exception!
An unbalanced output stage to a balanced input stage. Then use Shielded Twisted Pair.
If that's working for you then

But you're not gonna talk me into soldering 1/4" jacks onto coax to connect pro audio gear, and I'd advise the OP to ignore that advice. To connect a DJ mixer to a home stereo? Sure. But I can't think of a time I've seen coax used to carry audio in a recording studio other than S/PDIF or a scratch DJ rig. I'd wager less than 1% of synth users are doing it the way you're describing.
Old 14th October 2016
  #20
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for the further input.

The reason I am using the Radial JDI box, is that I read on the forum here, that a synth should be connected to a DI box, Pre-Amp then Audio Interface.

If the synth is unbalanced TS connection and the other end is balanced TRS, how should I wire up the cable?

Sorry for my ignorance... just confused.,.

Cheers
Old 14th October 2016
  #21
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

A direct box exists to solve the problem of interfacing different kinds of signals.
You do NOT have different kinds of signals. You have exactly the same kinds.
You simply do not need a direct box unless proved otherwise.
I have been working in audio for over 50 years and have never used one.
Old 14th October 2016
  #22
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonnevis View Post
The reason I am using the Radial JDI box, is that I read on the forum here, that a synth should be connected to a DI box, Pre-Amp then Audio Interface.
This is good advice for subjectively improving the sound of your synth but it doesn't really apply to your circumstances and certainly not the way you're planning to use it. Down the line if you want to spend the money on a high end input chain you can get a classy mic preamp and use it the way you're describing, but Richard is 100% correct - running a mixer through a clean DI into a cheap preamp is not a good plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonnevis View Post
If the synth is unbalanced TS connection and the other end is balanced TRS, how should I wire up the cable?

Sorry for my ignorance... just confused.,.

Cheers
I have answered this question several times in this thread. See the Rane article or the diagrams from it that I posted.
Old 16th October 2016
  #23
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thanks Everyone for all the reply's and guidance. I think I am now on the right track to get this all connected.

Appreciate you help.

Regards,

Jason
Old 12th February 2018
  #24
Here for the gear
 

DIY 1/8" patch cables

I have a roll of mogami neglex quad cable, grey, the thin one. I know it's overkill, but what's the best way wire up TS jacks to this cable? I understand that this is a bit odd, but I just don't want to buy more cable. Which pairs are twisted. color wise? colors are, red blue black clear.

If i were to just combine all 4 leads for TIP, would that cause an issue? Would I be better off using one of the twisted pair and not using the other twisted pair?
Old 14th March 2018
  #25
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Hi people. Could you tell me how you don't mess up so many cables? I need help because I have 10 synths and 4 drum machines and a few microphones which I need to move around all the time. A friend from Melbourne tell me that he used Dymo Rhino 5200 labelling machine for labelling cables on live gigs, but did you try this or something similar on your setup? I really need your help.

Thank you!
Old 14th March 2018
  #26
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

I recently got a second "Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer" which I really like. It is very flexible for making different kinds of labels. Currently US$80 from Amazon.

Amazon.com: Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer with Rubber Bumpers, Multi-Line Print, 6 to 40 Point Font: Industrial & Scientific

Brady makes a special kind of label that uses nylon cloth an a very good adhesive which makes it stick better to cables and other flexible surfaces.

Amazon.com: Brady High Adhesion Cloth Label Tape (M21-500-499-TB) - Black On White Nylon - Compatible with BMP21-PLUS, ID PAL, and LABPAL Printers - 16' Length, 0.5" Width: Industrial & Scientific

Perhaps Dymo makes something similar? I don't know what brands are popular there (assuming you are in AU?)

Welcome to GearSlutz. Suggest that you add your location to your profile so that people will know where you are.
This is a very international community and many details depend on where you are on the planet.
Old 23rd March 2018
  #27
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tdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Brady makes a special kind of label that uses nylon cloth an a very good adhesive which makes it stick better to cables and other flexible surfaces.
You should probably pay special attention to this one.

My installation is very fixed, but many of the snakes I ran needed to be labeled so I knew which is which as tight spaces makes for a 'one way' install. I have a cheap Dymo label maker I got from Walmart for like $20 and decided to try it this time - all the labels simply fell off all the cables. The only real solution to keep them on (using 'standard' labels) is to make sure you've printed a label long enough to attach with itself, rather than just making contact with the cable itself. Luckily, I no longer needed the labels after the snakes were correctly installed...

Alternatively, what I use to do that works perfectly well, is just cut a piece of paper, write the label on it, and get some clear tape and wrap it around the paper and the cable. Some cables I've been pulling out of boxes still have these labels from 6 years ago attached... it works perfectly fine if you're only labeling 20-30 cables.
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