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D-Sub Connectors for Budget Live Sound Box?
Old 27th April 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

D-Sub Connectors for Budget Live Sound Box?

Hi everyone,

I'm currently building a cabinet to hold most of my band's gear so the wiring etc. is more portable than our current setup. I am currently trying to figure out what I'm going to do for the main interface panel. Most of the guys only need three channels (vocal mic, amp mic, monitor). To simplify connections, I was thinking of making a 3 channel snake with a 9 pin D-Sub connector, so all they have to do is plug their one cable into the cabinet and it's all routed properly behind the scenes. A couple of questions:

1) Is there a better connector to use for this purpose? Or should I just use discrete XLR connectors on the panel? Any problems with audio quality coming through one of the D-Sub connectors that's not one of the 25-pin ones used professionally?

2) Are there other issues with D-sub connectors that I should be aware about such as limited connect/disconnect cycles, durability, etc, that would disqualify them from a live sound standpoint?

Thanks!
Old 27th April 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

d-sub connectors are not really designed for endless un-/pluggin and you're lost should any cable go missing - i'd rather use 5-pin xlr's: gets you two i/o's and most venues running any dmx could help you out...
Old 27th April 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 

D sub connectors are not super sturdy, nor designed for frequent insertion and removal. So long as they're making appropriate contact you don't have to worry much about audio quality (that's true for most connectors, really); but if the connection is intermittent there are, of course, no end of problems.

XLR connectors actually come with up to seven pins, which would be about right for what you need: one shield, and a pair for each balanced connection. The seven pin versions are not as readily available or inexpensive as the three pin (or five pin) ones, of course, but good electronics suppliers (Digikey etc) carry them. There are also a plethora of different bayonet style connectors available that ought to work pretty well. 3x 3 pin XLR or TRS or some combination of them would also be reasonable; if you used one XLRM, one XLRF, and one TRS there would be no easy way to get the cables mixed up and everything is more or less standard connectors (though not necessarily standard usage).

Another option would be to use RJ45 jacks and ethernet patch cables, which work well enough for balanced audio (but I would not recommend for unbalanced signals). You'd need a little breakout box for the musician end. Carrying spare patch cables would be a very good idea as they aren't the most sturdy things in the world. There are shielded ethernet cables available, but standard unshielded ones are often okay in practice for reasonable distances.
Old 27th April 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Thanks all for the quick responses - appreciate the info! I'll look into the higher pin count XLRs. There shouldn't be any problem with the shields being tied together as long as all the signals are properly balanced right?
Old 28th April 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 

There should be no problem at all with tying the shields together; they're all tied together at the mixer anyhow (or at least that's the way it nearly always is). It probably would be theoretically best to connect only one shield on the mixer side of things to avoid a ground loop, but even there the likelihood of trouble is extremely low in my estimation.

(If you ever connect a stereo widget to a stereo thingamabob with a pair of balanced connections you nearly always have the same basic thing with the shields being tied together at both ends.)
Old 29th April 2019
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Great, thanks! Appreciate someone with knowledge commenting as there's a lot of superstition out there where audio is concerned...
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