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Cables for flying PA speakers Reverb/Delay Processors (HW)
Old 30th July 2018
  #1
Cables for flying PA speakers

Hey all.

Getting ready to fly some PA speakers. Got the proper flyable speakers and the proper channel and rigging systems. Just need to source the proper cables. All the ones I'm finding are about 29" long and that's just way too long. I need shorter ones as these are going in a venue with a 13ft ceiling. I'd like to keep the distance from the channel to the top of the speaker under two feet if possible. I know, it's a tight fit, but the customer wants what the customer wants.

For reference, this is the rigging system I'll be using.

Thanks for the help in advance!
Old 30th July 2018
  #2
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
The first question is are the speakers active or passive ?
Second question is this a permanent install?
Old 30th July 2018
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

double wrap them for half length, triple for third length etc. it will only make them stronger
Old 30th July 2018
  #4
You can have custom cables made in almost any big city. Check with theatrical supply houses and give the local stagehand's union hall (IATSE) a call and they probably know all the riggers and stage/rigging suppliers in any given area.

A couple of companies on the WWW Chains and Slings from Rose Brand and iWeiss Theatrical Solutions Suspension Hardware

You don't say where you live/work but most large US cities have companies who can make you what you need. Have you talked to the people at Full Compass about finding shorter cables?

Best of luck!
Old 30th July 2018
  #5
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A few things to keep in mind: modifying rigging systems might void their warranty and certification so be careful what you do, make sure that whatever you do is properly certified and and will pass local and insurance company inspection. Don't forget that the installation itself must pass muster too, how you attach, and where you attach the hardware to the building's structure is also very important.

Please Note: Double wrapping the rope will not make the installation stronger, because that will have no effect on the attachment points and there are situations where wrapping the rope is not allowed...not every suspension hardware are certified for suspending dangerous overhead loads...be careful!

And yes, passive or active is also an important concern...if you have to run AC to the box this will obviously complicate the installation.

Last edited by Samc; 30th July 2018 at 02:45 PM..
Old 30th July 2018
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
A few things to keep in mind: modifying rigging systems might void their warranty and certification so be careful what you do, make sure that whatever you do is properly certified and and will pass local and insurance company inspection. Don't forget that the installation itself must pass muster too, how you attach, and where you attach the hardware to the building's structure is also very important.

Please Note: Double wrapping the rope will not make the installation stronger, because that will have no effect on the attachment points and there are situations where wrapping the rope is not allowed...not every suspension hardware are certified for suspending dangerous overhead loads...be careful!

And yes, passive or active is also an important concern...if you have to run AC to the box this will obviously complicate the installation.
YES!!!! all good points. Probably best top hire a professional rigger - again IATSE would be a good place to start. Make sure his/her certification is up to date and call some of his/her past clients to check on their qualifications. You do not want something as big and heavy as a speaker to come crashing down on someone's head and the ensuing lawsuit. This is NOT the place to economize. FWIW
Old 30th July 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
YES!!!! all good points. Probably best top hire a professional rigger - again IATSE would be a good place to start. Make sure his/her certification is up to date and call some of his/her past clients to check on their qualifications. You do not want something as big and heavy as a speaker to come crashing down on someone's head and the ensuing lawsuit. This is NOT the place to economize. FWIW
+1000 on this.

If you're asking these questions about rigging, you're not qualified to hang the speakers. Getting a licensed installer to install the correct rigging with the right materials (fly rig and attachment points) is inexpensive vs. potential liabilities.

Gearslutz isn't the place to learn how to do rigging or electric hookups (and shouldn't be where people dispense how-to advice on these subjects) - but if you can let us know where you are, people may be able to refer you to a good installer who can do this for you.
Old 30th July 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
+1000 on this.

If you're asking these questions about rigging, you're not qualified to hang the speakers. Getting a licensed installer to install the correct rigging with the right materials (fly rig and attachment points) is inexpensive vs. potential liabilities.

Gearslutz isn't the place to learn how to do rigging or electric hookups (and shouldn't be where people dispense how-to advice on these subjects) - but if you can let us know where you are, people may be able to refer you to a good installer who can do this for you.
These were my exact thoughts when I read the OP the first time, but almost every time Wyllys and I comment about getting a professional to do these types of work there is at least one person who gets bent out of shape as if the advice is stupid.

I also don’t understand why people who are probably not qualified or experienced are always so willing to advance an advice about how to do this kind of thing especially since we never have all the pertinent info and considering the potential for catastrophe if it’s not done properly.
Old 30th July 2018
  #9
Recently I was called to a church to fix a hum and buzz problem in their installed PA system. No problem with the rigging but they did have some problems with the electric service. I am NOT a licensed electrician but I could see immediately what their problems were. Some good Samaritan from the church had put in a bunch of power strips plugged one into the next one and so forth and so on to power their amplifiers and processing gear. He had also cut off the grounding pin on the first one (because the 110VAC outlet was a 2 prong instead of a 3 prong). The outlet was rated for 15 amps and he was probably pulling 1.5 times that load. He then did something very stupid he put a penny in the fuse box behind the fuse to keep the fuse from blowing. What a mess. I told the person I was working for to immediately call a licensed electrician and to have him revamp the electrical feed to the PA outlets and put in the proper 3 wire grounded outlets that is required by law in Ohio public buildings. I also told the person I was working with to have the electrician remove the penny from the fuse box, to stop using the system the way it was currently wired until the changes were made and finally I suggested that it would be a good idea to tell the good Samaritan to keep his hands off the electrical service. About two weeks later I got a call from the church to come back and look over the changes. When I got there I was told that the electrician found a lot of other electric problems in the church including some swapped neutral and hot connection in some of the electrical boxes.

It cost the church over $1000 but was money well spent and the system sounded great with no hum or buzzes. Churches in particular have some "helping hands" who do things without thinking of the consequences or knowing how to install equipment in a safe and professional way. It is a good thing that this did not cause a fire in the wall when the wires heated up or some other catastrophic event.

FWIW
Old 5th August 2018
  #10
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Come on guys, he just asked where to get short cables. He didn't ask how to shorten the cables or how to fly the speakers.

I would recommend using a chain. You can easily adjust it's length without compromising any certifications.
Old 5th August 2018
  #11
In the USA we have very specific codes for how things are flown in public buildings. The codes are designed to protect people who are in the building from falling speakers or other flown objects. I think people here were just trying to point out the possible problems with improperly flown hardware. I personally have seen too many speaker installs done by someone who is not qualified as a rigger and who has the best intentions but is endangering himself and others by improperly flying the speakers. I see you are from Slovenia so maybe there are different codes in play. We all want safety for ourselves and others above everything. FWIW
Old 5th August 2018
  #12
Old 5th August 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
Come on guys, he just asked where to get short cables. He didn't ask how to shorten the cables or how to fly the speakers.

I would recommend using a chain. You can easily adjust it's length without compromising any certifications.
What type of chain with what specifications are you recommending, and specifically how should it be affixed to the load and the structure?

This is serious business and when there’s the possibility of injury or loss of life, all recommendations and advice must be specific and cover all relevant points. This is not the movies, the possibility of someone getting hurt is real.
Old 5th August 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
In the USA we have very specific codes for how things are flown in public buildings. The codes are designed to protect people who are in the building from falling speakers or other flown objects. I think people here were just trying to point out the possible problems with improperly flown hardware. I personally have seen too many speaker installs done by someone who is not qualified as a rigger and who has the best intentions but is endangering himself and others by improperly flying the speakers. I see you are from Slovenia so maybe there are different codes in play. We all want safety for ourselves and others above everything. FWIW
Of course we have the codes and while I agree that we have to be aware of the possible dangers, let's face it; a huge amount of sound systems was, is and will be flown by people who aren't professional riggers. IMO it's better to let people know how to do something safely than to try discouraging them from doing it when they'll most likely do it anyway.

Besides that, I've seen more ground stacks that where a safety threat than flown systems.

The OP wrote this:
Quote:
Got the proper flyable speakers and the proper channel and rigging systems. Just need to source the proper cables.
If you use standardised components and a bit of common sense, it's pretty hard to screw up.

Still, if you aren't sure how to do it safely, don't do it.
And always use a safety cable or at least where a single point failure could cause the flown object to fall.
Old 5th August 2018
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
What type of chain with what specifications are you recommending, and specifically how should it be affixed to the load and the structure?

This is serious business and when there’s the possibility of injury or loss of life, all recommendations and advice must be specific and cover all relevant points. This is not the movies, the possibility of someone getting hurt is real.
Considering that the OP is supposedly using a proper rigging system, affixing the chain shouldn't be a problem. Shackles are usually used, although quick conecting links or carabiners can be also used for lighter loads.
I don't know what kind of speaker is he trying to fly, so I can't spec the chain or the accesories, but even if the speaker weights 100 kg, it's quite simple to keep a safety factor of 10 by using a standard link chain, even if it were a 1-point rigging system.
Calculating the load on each chain is high school physics.
Old 6th August 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
Of course we have the codes and while I agree that we have to be aware of the possible dangers, let's face it; a huge amount of sound systems was, is and will be flown by people who aren't professional riggers. IMO it's better to let people know how to do something safely than to try discouraging them from doing it when they'll most likely do it anyway.
Are you saying that people are going to do it anyway so we should teach them how to hang loads on the internet...what about brain surgery and rocket science?!? Do you know how many years of higher learning is required for someone to become a structural or mechanical engineer?

Quote:
Besides that, I've seen more ground stacks that where a safety threat than flown systems.
Of course this makes it okay to take chances with other people’s safety...

Quote:
If you use standardised components and a bit of common sense, it's pretty hard to screw up.

Still, if you aren't sure how to do it safely, don't do it.
And always use a safety cable or at least where a single point failure could cause the flown object to fall.
The law says different, for good reason.
Old 6th August 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
Considering that the OP is supposedly using a proper rigging system, affixing the chain shouldn't be a problem. Shackles are usually used, although quick conecting links or carabiners can be also used for lighter loads.
I don't know what kind of speaker is he trying to fly, so I can't spec the chain or the accesories, but even if the speaker weights 100 kg, it's quite simple to keep a safety factor of 10 by using a standard link chain, even if it were a 1-point rigging system.
Calculating the load on each chain is high school physics.
How did you become an authority on this subject....are you a structural or mechanical engineer, do you have any experience designing hanging systems and do you have experience hanging loads in public spaces that were inspected (and judged to be safe) by the appropriate authorities?

I’m pretty sure that if you modify the apparatus in question it will loose its certification in the eyes of the law, what you’re suggesting is dangerous BS. If it was so easy there wouldn’t be laws in every progressive country to prevent hacks from creating dangerous situations based on nonsense arguments.
Old 6th August 2018
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
Considering that the OP is supposedly using a proper rigging system, affixing the chain shouldn't be a problem. Shackles are usually used, although quick conecting links or carabiners can be also used for lighter loads.
I don't know what kind of speaker is he trying to fly, so I can't spec the chain or the accesories, but even if the speaker weights 100 kg, it's quite simple to keep a safety factor of 10 by using a standard link chain, even if it were a 1-point rigging system.
Calculating the load on each chain is high school physics.

Some one who maybe injured or their family, if he/she was killed by an improperly flown speaker, will normally seek some kind of monetary remuneration for any injuries or loss of life and will sue the venue and anyone who had anything to do with the install or with the flying of the speakers. If you are one of those people you will also probably have to hire an attorney to defend you. The injured party's lawyer will hire a structural engineer to investigate the incident. If the structural engineer finds that the speaker was improperly flown then they will give that report to the lawyer and he will sue you for gross negligence or something along those lines. Depending on the case and were it is tried the person who flew the speaker + the venue could be sued for hundreds of thousand's of dollars and you could be jailed. Not something that I ever wanted to do. Hire a professional and be done with it. FWIW
Old 6th August 2018
  #19
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I’m always at a loss as to why people in this industry are always so willing to take unnecessary chances with other people’s safety.
Old 6th August 2018
  #20
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The Op didnt say what structure the speaker would be flown from. Ive seen framing work that barely supported the drywall on it.


State engineers designed a new bridge here. They drew the plans, and oversaw the construction. After it was built and open to the public, they saw unusual cracking and closed it for remedial repairs which included pouring support columns under the piers. turns out they badly undesigned the pier structure when they started looking at why the new bridge was cracking.

No one got killed...but they could have.

When you start adding loads to a structure, you better be sure the structure can support them.
Old 6th August 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
State engineers designed a new bridge here. They drew the plans, and oversaw the construction. After it was built and open to the public, they saw unusual cracking and closed it for remedial repairs which included pouring support columns under the piers. turns out they badly undesigned the pier structure when they started looking at why the new bridge was cracking.

No one got killed...but they could have.

When you start adding loads to a structure, you better be sure the structure can support them.
Not even trained/qualified engineers get it right 100% of the time which makes the suggestion that we should be teaching people how to hang loads in critical situations on the forum even more ridiculous because of the potential dangers.

The thought of unqualified, incompetent and inexperienced people presuming to “teaching” other unqualified and incompetent people how to hang heavy loads over people’s heads is the scariest thing anyone has proposed here so far in my opinion.
Old 6th August 2018
  #22
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Post

It is hard to argue with the pragmatical reasoning Sam and Wyllys have advanced pursuant to this subject on this and similar threads. All steel fittings, chains and cables will carry strength and durability differences and the inclusion of an "acceptable grade" of steel in these elements is absolutely essential. It is also true that pro riggers will more than likely know the best acceptable practice of attachment of audio gear to structural elements.
With that said, the primary reason $50. worth of high grade steel elements gets priced in the thousands is the liability exposure incurred when even a totally compliant installation fails. This is another instance of an eng. std. being heavily influenced by lawyers and some ding dong court decisions that supports the ridiculous appliance pricing.
(remember the million dollar pay out McDonalds forked over to a clumsy customer that dumped a cup of "hot" coffee in her lap)
Hugh
Old 6th August 2018
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
It is hard to argue with the pragmatical reasoning Sam and Wyllys have advanced pursuant to this subject on this and similar threads. All steel fittings, chains and cables will carry strength and durability differences and the inclusion of an "acceptable grade" of steel in these elements is absolutely essential. It is also true that pro riggers will more than likely know the best acceptable practice of attachment of audio gear to structural elements.
With that said, the primary reason $50. worth of high grade steel elements gets priced in the thousands is the liability exposure incurred when even a totally compliant installation fails. This is another instance of an eng. std. being heavily influenced by lawyers and some ding dong court decisions that supports the ridiculous appliance pricing.
(remember the million dollar pay out McDonalds forked over to a clumsy customer that dumped a cup of "hot" coffee in her lap)
Hugh
You mean this one Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants - Wikipedia ?

Hanging anything from the ceiling/rafters is iffy to say the least. I have seen photographs of installs where the contractor used 1/4" eye bolts screwed into the rafters or worse used Molly bolts in the drywall. I have seen in person where the contractor just put a chain over the exposed rafters and hung the speakers from something that was not designed for supporting additional loads.

The college I worked for did some extensive renovations to one of their older concert venues. If you looked up one one would see some enormous beams but it was all for show as the beams were simply hiding very large turnbuckles that literally held the building sides together. The college wanted to put in a gantry way and some additional speakers. They hired a structural engineer who eventually approved the project but said they were "skating on thin ice and no more weight could be put on the fake beams". Years later they added a very large speaker column which put them at the limit. Today it is not a gantry way I would feel comfortable working or walking on due to the extra weight. At the same time the college wanted to add two inches of mass to the roof to deaden the space. The structural engineer said "no way" Imagine if this had all been done without consulting a professional and something or someone fell.

Flying loads without the proper knowledge is dangerous and could be fatal. Not a time for "I guess" and "maybe" answers. FWIW
Old 6th August 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
(remember the million dollar pay out McDonalds forked over to a clumsy customer that dumped a cup of "hot" coffee in her lap)
Hugh
Everyone (including me) have had a lot to say about this event and the subsequent repercussions over the years, most of what has been said was and is based on ignorance of the actual events and the pertinent laws which were on the books before the accident occurred. I’m not a lawyer, but I did have a long conversation about the case with a lawyer who was involved and this changed my opinion...nothing like knowing the facts.

Anybody here who doubts the need for stringent laws to protect the safety of the public only need to examine some of the more well known ****-ups that resulted in the serious injury to, or death of innocent bystanders. The accident that crippled Curtis Mayfield and the Madonna stage collapse that killed two people and injured over thirty others, many of them seriously, come to mind but there are many others.

Industrial and public safety was a big part of my ‘other’ life for more than two decades, the specific details of certain procedures and methodology are not always evident or understood by lay persons who don’t understand the engineering and who have never witnessed the tests that were conducted that helped the professionals set standards. I do not have a problem with an engineer figuring out a safe way to use a $10 bolt to prevent a 100lb load from falling on my head and selling it for $200...my safety is worth a lot more to me and I know how time consuming and expensive it can be to have safety equipment tested and certified. I am very worried however about unqualified, internet experts who are giving advice about how to perform dangerous tasks to other unqualified individuals.
Old 6th August 2018
  #25
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security (and potential legal issues) needs to have priority, so ask a structural and a mechanical engineer for advice, have the owner of the building show you plans, find out about max. weight etc. - just all the usual stuff one does before climbing up somewhere with a steel rope!
once that's sorted out, ask a rigger from a pro rental company to tell you how to do it or pay him/her for doing it.
when using all the proper fly and safety gear (and of course only when having the necessary knowledge), flying smaller systems is neither very difficult nor really dangerous: often i'm more concerned what comes out of the speakers than sitting below them...




p.s. cable length is an issue due to weight considerations: cables of speaker systems can make up for around 10% of the weight in my experience (same with costs by the way)
Old 8th August 2018
  #26
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is there a thread anywhere on this forum that isnt an argument?
Old 8th August 2018
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parricide View Post
is there a thread anywhere on this forum that isnt an argument?
Apparently you don’t know the difference between an argument and a discussion...furthermore, how helpful is this post. If you’re not going to be helpful and relevant please take your trolling elsewhere and allow the people who want to learn something to continue to do so.
Old 8th August 2018
  #28
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Sam, the two of us generally read from the same page however in this particular case two very important factors need to be considered. 1. Some states require certified union employees for erection of ancillary audio/video gear deployed in public places. 2. Structural engineers are not responsible for the 20x price markup of flying gear: E & O insurance premiums and more importantly substantial reserve accounts to pay lawyers for potential settlements is the responsible business model.
In my state of North Carolina when a registered structural engineer and the local bldg. inspector sign off on an installation after a final inspection we have satisfied our statutory requirements and liability insurance requirements as well.
Sam, structural engineers are not in the pricing business and while their requirements may very well create unexpected investment in my 50 years of working in this business I have never found there important service approaching 20x mark ups.
Hugh
Old 8th August 2018
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Part of my "day job" is designing intrinsically-safe electronics for use in hazardous areas. The costs associated with even a simple design are immense, partly because of the lab testing and related activity that is required to approve a new device, and partly because of special assembly and testing considerations you wouldn't encounter with general-purpose devices. Anything on which human safety depends is going to be expensive for similar reasons.
Old 8th August 2018
  #30
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what's astonishing is how 'safety' gets interpreted in very different ways in different parts of the world: looking from old europe, i'd say that op's issues don't require any rocket science and with regulations in place here, he could have proceeded to flying his gear long ago.


p.s. in my other life, i'm dealing with safety issues too: for the osce though...
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