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Over Under vs Regular twist Modular Synthesizers
Old 30th December 2016
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Don't know...how many cables can you fit into any trunk?
More, generally, when coiled over under, then when placed on a reel. The reels do tend to prevent tangling though.
Old 30th December 2016
  #32
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Observations from a Recently Converted Nubie on Over/Under Coiling

Until recently I Over/Over coiled my cables. Several attempts by others to teach me how to Over/Under coil them were unsuccessful. Until I spent some time in my living room getting this down.

Here’s my findings:
1) If a cable has been coiled Over/Over many times before it’s a bit of fight to all of sudden start coiling it Over/Under. It has waves in it (I think due to the twists) that impede the Over/Under coil process. Mine had this problem and I laid them out straight and I went through the cables hand-over-hand a couple times taking out as many twists as possible. Attempts to Over/Under coil them without first going through this flattening/straightening process was unsuccessful (resulting in ugly 'cable bows').

2) It’s also difficult to Over/Under coil a cable where the un-coiled part is sitting in a ball or pile at your feet because it appears the process of Over/Under coiling requires the uncoiled part of the cable to rotate and it cannot rotate if it’s in a pile at the your feet. If you lay out the cable in a straight line and you Over/Under coil the cable starting at one end the uncoiled portion (lying flat) can now rotate as needed.

3) Before learning the items on this list my Over/Under coil attempts would start fine but then a few coils in I would find the cable resisting the coil (it twisting back up against my coil) – at this point you need to “twist it” about 90 degrees (1/4 turn) (this is when the un-coiled part of the cable must rotate) to make it behave. Note: It feels like you are twisting the cable but you are actually untwisting it. This was the key for me.

4) Although obviously the “Over/Under” terminology is the industry standard name for this and one must recognize this term – However, I found the “Over/Under” terminology itself misleading in the learning process and a hindrance to me learning how to do this. To me it’s a standard coil process with a quarter turn.
Old 30th December 2016
  #33
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I find that using drop snakes neatens the stage, reduces setup/strike time and makes cabling less of an issue. It's a lot easier to deal with a couple dozen 6'-10' cables than 20'-25' cables. The shorter the cable, the less chance of twists and knots.

I over/under my drop snakes and any other cables over 10' in length. Otherwise a simple coil "sewn up" by looping the free end through 3 times holds the coil together.
Old 30th December 2016
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougS View Post
Here’s my findings:
1) If a cable has been coiled Over/Over many times before it’s a bit of fight to all of sudden start coiling it Over/Under. It has waves in it (I think due to the twists) that impede the Over/Under coil process. Mine had this problem and I laid them out straight and I went through the cables hand-over-hand a couple times taking out as many twists as possible. Attempts to Over/Under coil them without first going through this flattening/straightening process was unsuccessful (resulting in ugly 'cable bows').
This is not true of all cables, it depends on the material of the jacket and how the shield is made.

Plastic jackets tend to be tough but also tend to have the memory problems you describe while rubber jackets won't generally have memory problems.

You may also have this problem if you roll too tightly and mess up the braided shield.

Last edited by Samc; 30th December 2016 at 08:01 PM..
Old 31st December 2016
  #35
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No one has mentioned the best application for over/under yet: coiling a cable that has one end still plugged in.

Plug a cable into a snake or patch panel and coil it over/over. Now try it over/under. The over/under is much easier.

By the way, I have coiled cables over/over for the last 15 years, up until this year when I converted to over/underism. I didn't want to admit it, but it seems to be a better method, especially for stiffer cables.
Old 1st January 2017
  #36
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All the production companies up here under under. A cable properly cared for and wrapped under under lasts as long as over under. Does not twist, does not crimp nor tangle any more than an under over wrap. I do 200 shows a year and wrap cables 5 times a week or more. The benefits stated by over unders are not fact. A cable not under duress, as in not plugged in and sitting in a box cannot get more stress nor twisting if the size of the wrap is correct. If too small, yes, but this is true for over under as well. The gentleman who uses stage snakes gets it. This is the way to go and I have recently added a few to my arsenal. It saves time and I can use much smaller XLR cables. Cleaner stage, quicker strike. Thanks for all the posts. You over unders have NOT convinced me in any way that this is a better method for any reason. The bottom line being this - take care, do it right, make the cables turns the right size, put a 1/4 turn in, not all cables are the same, and do it the way that works best for you! If you like over under do it. I like over over and will stick with it till I retire.........But over under - don't touch my cables! Happy New Year!
Old 1st January 2017
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikekay View Post
All the production companies up here under under. A cable properly cared for and wrapped under under lasts as long as over under. Does not twist, does not crimp nor tangle any more than an under over wrap. I do 200 shows a year and wrap cables 5 times a week or more. The benefits stated by over unders are not fact. A cable not under duress, as in not plugged in and sitting in a box cannot get more stress nor twisting if the size of the wrap is correct. If too small, yes, but this is true for over under as well. The gentleman who uses stage snakes gets it. This is the way to go and I have recently added a few to my arsenal. It saves time and I can use much smaller XLR cables. Cleaner stage, quicker strike. Thanks for all the posts. You over unders have NOT convinced me in any way that this is a better method for any reason. The bottom line being this - take care, do it right, make the cables turns the right size, put a 1/4 turn in, not all cables are the same, and do it the way that works best for you! If you like over under do it. I like over over and will stick with it till I retire.........But over under - don't touch my cables! Happy New Year!
I didn't think I could be convinced either, but I was wrong. Something I do all the time, that over/under has made much quicker and easier:

Stage is set, front line mics are plugged in and on stands, but the excess cable at the base of the stand is messy. If you over/over it to get it to sit in a neat coil on the floor while both ends are plugged in, it's going to twist up and be messy. Over/under will prevent this, and you don't have to flip the coil around to neutralize the excess twisting (since both ends are plugged in, and not free to rotate against the 1/4 twists from over/overing). Try it.
Old 1st January 2017
  #38
S21
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Over/over is ok as long as your unwrapping technique matches your wrapping technique.

This conversation is really all about uncoiling your cables, but everyone seems to focus on the coiling.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #39
Coil up a 250' 16 channel snake over/over and see how well that goes for you. Yes, for short, individual cables it's not AS big an issue, but the principle is the same; you're twisting the wires inside into a spiral. If you can't get your head (or hands) around over/under, then buy reels or look for another job, it's not complicated. If you do get a knot in it (as I certainly sometimes do, it's unavoidable every now and then even if you're a seasoned tech), simply pass the whole business back through the offending loop and you're fine.

Also, to your earlier point, it's not that hard to teach. I learned it in less than a day and I don't know anyone who took longer than perhaps a weekend at the very worst to figure it out, and of course with practice it becomes second nature.

Or buy more wireless stuff. But I imagine if you ask absolutely anyone who does this professionally on a large scale, the debate is closed. Over/under is the best way to preserve the life of cables, and make them so they uncoil in a neat, predictable way, which of course makes it far easier to tape down, for the times that needs to be done, and it's also so if you are part of a large team, it makes sure everyone does it the same so you don't spend valuable time during a busy load-in/load-out messing around with a tangled mess of cables. If you run your own gig, and you're the only one dealing with cables, by all means do what works for you, but realize that a) you're wrong and b) practically everyone else, including 99% of people who do it for a living, are doing it the right way, so if you're working with them, you should learn how to do it properly.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #40
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Over Under

FWIW:
Cable wrapping is a big thing when I am hiring a hand to assist with setup and (but most importantly) break down.


I use these for my mic cables:
150-Ft. Orange Cord Storage Reel With Stand: Model# K-100 | True Value

I use two reels for 25/30's and one reel for 50 foot cables. I usually fit 7 to 8 25/30's per reel wrapped loosely. Done and easy.

Speaker/power cables are wrapped over/under. Never an issue.

A couple of times (during the warmer part of the year) I take all of my cables and lay them out straight in my back yard in the hot sun.
This makes the cables "relax".

My cables lay flat because I treat the as per above.
Old 5th January 2017
  #41
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I always start with the XLR-M end so that's the end I hold when I throw the cable out. If you're unsure, hold both ends and throw it out. It will make a big U, but it won't have any knots.
Old 5th January 2017
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
FWIW:
Cable wrapping is a big thing when I am hiring a hand to assist with setup and (but most importantly) break down.


I use these for my mic cables:
150-Ft. Orange Cord Storage Reel With Stand: Model# K-100 | True Value

I use two reels for 25/30's and one reel for 50 foot cables. I usually fit 7 to 8 25/30's per reel wrapped loosely. Done and easy.

Speaker/power cables are wrapped over/under. Never an issue.

A couple of times (during the warmer part of the year) I take all of my cables and lay them out straight in my back yard in the hot sun.
This makes the cables "relax".

My cables lay flat because I treat the as per above.
I may try this reel with the stand because I haven't found any good way to store or transport the plain reels. The plain reels are too tall for my storage boxes and are a bit awkward.

I also see them listed at some stores as cord organizers instead of cord reels.
Old 5th January 2017
  #43
S21
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The reels probably help with keeping things untangled, but if you put cable on by "rolling" it and take it off by pulling off the side, you will end up with a twisted mess.

Visa-versa too. If you wrap onto the reel from one side and then unroll the reel you will end up with twists. You can kind off get around this by wrapping a few turns (say 5) onto one side of the reel from one side of the drum and then the same number of wraps from the other side of the reel, alternating until you are done. This will give a reel that can be unrolled (but not ine that can be pulled off one side!)
Old 5th January 2017
  #44
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I think we all agree cords need to be dealt with carefully to avoid wasting time untangling a mess and damaging cables.

Another thing about plain electric cord reels is mine don't stack or nest well. If I stack them, one usually slides off in the floor. So I went out a bought a couple like mike m posted with the built in bases to try.

Or its back to hand winding and storing in a milk crate.

EDIT- now that i look more carefully, the reels I bought with the base have a much smaller diameter reel than my plain reels. Too much bending of the cables to my liking, and they will be going back to the store.

Last edited by 2manyrocks; 5th January 2017 at 11:23 PM..
Old 5th January 2017
  #45
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I find it odd that the purpose of twisting and neatly coiling cables is to look after them, yet one of the main arguments for over under appears to be the ability to throw the cable across the stage. Is it only me that finds this counter intuitive? I don't think I ever throw cables across the stage, or have I lost something in translation?
Old 6th January 2017
  #46
What damage or stress do you think is likely by tossing a cable across a stage?

Another comment on the size of the reel... unless your cables are using solid core conductors, this shouldn't be a problem. Stranded conductors have a pretty small bend radius.
Old 6th January 2017
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
I don't know how many reels are going to sell at $15 each to hold one XLR cable each when a $10 electric cord reel will hold multiple XLR cables.
Was waiting for someone to mention this. In my home studio I deal mainly with small patch cables, 15' or less, and I tend to over-under those. On live gigs if I have to wrangle more than a half-dozen cables at a time, or deal with hundred-footers, I'll link them end to end and put them on a reel. The more cables, the more it makes sense, both for speed and also to dedicate reels to specific sizes. Need three twenties for a stage setup? Just go to the reel with the blue-taped handle and start pulling until you've found the third joined connector.

I like this style; not expensive, not overly complex, no frame to get cables jammed in or wrapped around, and it does the job. This particular one will hold 7 or 8 twenties, 2 or 3 fifties or even a couple hundreds if you're careful with the wrapping to use all the available reel space. Only thing is you need to hold or hang the reel while you coil or uncoil.

Now, speaker cables, that's a bit harder; neither 1/4" nor Speakon links end to end. One velcro tie on each cable allows you to wrap around the ends of adjacent cables, you just have to be a little more careful reeling them in to avoid goosenecking the connectors.
Old 6th January 2017
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil0 View Post
I find it odd that the purpose of twisting and neatly coiling cables is to look after them, yet one of the main arguments for over under appears to be the ability to throw the cable across the stage. Is it only me that finds this counter intuitive? I don't think I ever throw cables across the stage, or have I lost something in translation?
Yeah! Throwing cables out is a great way of transferring all the crud from the stage onto the jacket, abrading it, slicing it up on that slightly proud nail in the floor and trashing the connector/floor.

Over/under just gives you an uncoiled cable that you can lay out straight. Hook up one end and lay it as you walk.
Old 6th January 2017
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko View Post
On live gigs if I have to wrangle more than a half-dozen cables at a time, or deal with hundred-footers, I'll link them end to end and put them on a reel. The more cables, the more it makes sense, both for speed and also to dedicate reels to specific sizes. Need three twenties for a stage setup? Just go to the reel with the blue-taped handle and start pulling until you've found the third joined connector.
This is the most efficient way of managing a lot of cables...especially long and heavy cables cables. Hand rolling a 250' multi-core snake or more that 100 length of mic cables for example is inefficient and a total waste of time.

Quote:
I like this style; not expensive, not overly complex, no frame to get cables jammed in or wrapped around, and it does the job. This particular one will hold 7 or 8 twenties, 2 or 3 fifties or even a couple hundreds if you're careful with the wrapping to use all the available reel space. Only thing is you need to hold or hang the reel while you coil or uncoil.
When a production house need to buy loudspeakers and amplifiers they don't go to Best Buy and pick up the cheapest pieces they can, they go to a professional specialist and get the the right gear for their situation. If you're a pro who spent tens of thousands to buy good cables and connectors why would you put them on $5 reels from Home Depot that were designed for the few occasions you need the long extension cord? Why not buy purpose built pro reels and utility cases to properly store and transport your cables?
Old 6th January 2017
  #50
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I see your point after buying this and then realizing it would wind my cables tighter than I prefer.

150 ft. 16/3 Cord Storage Reel with Stand-HD-100PDQ - The Home Depot
Old 6th January 2017
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
When a production house need to buy loudspeakers and amplifiers they don't go to Best Buy and pick up the cheapest pieces they can, they go to a professional specialist and get the the right gear for their situation. If you're a pro who spent tens of thousands to buy good cables and connectors why would you put them on $5 reels from Home Depot that were designed for the few occasions you need the long extension cord? Why not buy purpose built pro reels and utility cases to properly store and transport your cables?
If I'm a production house with that sort of budget, then I absolutely agree. Although I'll say that I've seen that Home Depot reel (which has a nice inner diameter and can be stacked nicely in trunks) and clones of it come out of a lot of touring company trunks at nearby facilities, for relatively small cables in the 100' or less range. The big reels seem to be saved for heavier multicore, or longer cables, or more delicate cables like video coax which needs a large bend radius and (being solid core) reacts poorly to flexing.

My maybe-$1000 of mic cables get over-undered and put in a tote bin. I've got velcro cable ties on the male ends, and I can fit a lot more of them in neat coils in a bin than I could if I put them all on reels. My STP and UTP 100 meter cables for stage boxes are on pro reels with stands (the reels cost more than the cables).
Old 6th January 2017
  #52
S21
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Some of the purpose built pro reels are "reely expensive". Kind of "too expensive for the military" expensive.

Also, speakon cables join together just fine with speakon joiners.
Old 6th January 2017
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
Some of the purpose built pro reels are "reely expensive". Kind of "too expensive for the military" expensive.
Apparently not everybody feels that way or they wouldn't buy them....some console systems are expensive, just like some loudspeaker systems are outrageously expensive. Good racks and storage cases are expensive, good microphones.....

Quote:
Also, speakon cables join together just fine with speakon joiners.
Yes.
Old 6th January 2017
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
My maybe-$1000 of mic cables get over-undered and put in a tote bin. I've got velcro cable ties on the male ends, and I can fit a lot more of them in neat coils in a bin than I could if I put them all on reels.
Obviously, cable reels are not the best solution for every situation, but I don't understand why this is an argument worth mentioning...If I decide to use a reel, or reels, why would I try to fit it into a cable bin? I would get an appropriate case for the reels...same thing for the transport, I get the gear I need and want for the gig and then get the appropriate transportation to carry everything, not the other way around.
Old 7th January 2017
  #55
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I usually use snakes and have a minimal amount of cables. However, when i wrap up my cabless i use over/over with a quarter twist. Many of my cables are old and work fine, lay flat, no knots, no kinks, etc. i never throw cables, so I've no need to over under them. I uncoil as i go.

As somebody mentioned earlier, coiling either way is fine as long as it matches the uncoiling.

Last think i do, regardless if using a snake or individual cables, is to gaff gun down anything that is in the public's walking path.

Tom
Old 7th January 2017
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
Also, speakon cables join together just fine with speakon joiners.
If you want to haul Speakon couplers around just to reel em up, be my guest. Then when you lose one you have to resort to something similar to what I said anyway. They are only about $5 apiece, and they'd keep the ends clean, but velcro wraps are far cheaper, and would give you the option to wrap the single cable if you wanted.
Old 7th January 2017
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Boots View Post
I over/under long and/or thick cables. For short XLRs and such I don't find it to be worthwhile, but for the others mentioned there's no contest - much easier to work with and lies much more straight when unrolled.
My thoughts exactly. But I also have a highly sophisticated flow chart to resolve exactly how you should wrap any cable you pick up:

1) Do you own the cable?
- if yes, do whatever you want
- if no, find out what the owner wants

Anyone who cares will make sure that info is made available to you without any argument whatsoever. Don't like the answer? Buy your own.
Old 7th January 2017
  #58
S21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko View Post
If you want to haul Speakon couplers around just to reel em up, be my guest. Then when you lose one you have to resort to something similar to what I said anyway. They are only about $5 apiece, and they'd keep the ends clean, but velcro wraps are far cheaper, and would give you the option to wrap the single cable if you wanted.
I don't roll speakon cable on a drum (I lap coil them, like a climbing rope) but I do have enough joiners to never run out.
Old 8th January 2017
  #59
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Basic physics

I'm an over/under enthusiast. I use it for everything—USB cables, cell phone chargers, headphone cables—not just mic cables.

The best way I've come up with to explain the why and how is this:

A cable is a three-dimensional object, of course. When you wrap a cable, the outer circumference is stretched to be longer than the inner circumference. This is obvious when looking at it—the outer circle is slightly bigger than the inner circle.

So, when you wrap the cable the same way, is in over/over, you stretch the same side of the cable constantly to make it longer.

Over/under alternates which side of the cable is stretched and therefore mitigates the "cable memory" effect that results from being stretched.

Even if the jacket of the cable has enough elasticity to not stay stretched (which I think extremely rare over 18 years), I think it's good practice to equalize the stress on the cable since it's so easy to do.

I don't know any scientific studies that have been done yet my own experience is overwhelmingly that cables wrapped over/under do not kink up as much.


Also, tying cables is equally deleterious to the cause and superfluous when Velcro cable ties are so inexpensive:

https://www.amazon.com/VELCRO-Brand-...cro+cable+ties
Old 9th January 2017
  #60
S21
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It's not "stretching" one side that causes problems. The issue is twists.
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