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Fiber optic snakes...friend or foe? DAW Software
Old 11th October 2002
Here for the gear

Question Fiber optic snakes...friend or foe?

First things first...I want to say that I have been searching for a BBS like this for years...(guess I wasn't lookin hard enough!) But I certainly am glad I found it! Great stuff!

Now, I am preparing for a large live tracking gig later this month and the truck that I am using has a "Telecast 96 channel fiber snake". The question I ahve for the group is: Has anyone had any experience with this? On paper the thing sure seems cool, but "better the devil you know"!

I am recording to 48Tracks of Pro Tools and DA 98's, so the whole idea of getting line level to the truck free of RF and other nastiness is pretty appealing.

Thanks in advance for any, and all remarks!

I look forward to many visits!


Old 12th October 2002
So presumably all the mic pre's are near the mic's & musicians. Just converted 'line level' audio gets sent down the pipe?

Does seem cool.

How do you maintain word clock stability on such a scale I wonder....

Great question!

Old 13th October 2002
Here for the gear


Thank you for the reply!

Good question. I will look into that. The good part of this is i am recording "analogue" on this date. (Truck's audio is analogue) So, it won't be an issue for me (at least i don't think it will) But "what if" it loses itself??? More on this later.

and yes, all of the mic pre's are at the monitor it sure seems like it will be great.

I will write when i know more!


Old 13th October 2002
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
Many TV trucks and ENG facilities have Telecast fiber snakes. And they seem to love them. Or at least the people I spoke to about it. Most of the work they do is not music related so, take it for what it's worth. I agree with you, on paper it sure seems like it can work.

Economically speaking, I think digital is still years away from being the "biggest bang for the buck" next to an analog rig. And what about maintaining word clock stability on such a grand scale as 96 channel of live music? Plus, that's just one direction. If you need returns lines that's another unit. Remember, the system only goes in one direction.

For me, I'm not too sure it's worth it right now. And how do the A/D's & D/A's sound for music recording? Maybe there great, I don't know first hand. What does the folks with the truck say about it? If they do a lot music, they must be happy with the system.

With proper grounding and wiring design, analog cable runs will live for many years to come. Line Level analog from the stage when you need to go longer then 250 feet works great. I've ran over 750 feet of copper without any problems at all, so you surely can run shorter line level analog runs with similar results.

If your copper snake runs are in perfect shape, I mean, stage box, connectors, cable, etc., you will never have the potential problems that may happen with a digital snake. Imagine having to redo a live orchestra recording because you had clocking errors or something to that effect? It's happened to the best of them. If you got money to burn and plenty of balls, go with the digital snake. Someday, it will be the future for sure. The question is: Are we ready for that future, today?

What would make it more attractive to me, would be keeping it in the digital domain straight to your PT or DA8*, or digital console, etc. Now that's something to consider. Going analog to digital and back to analog to then have to go to digital to the PT sounds a little strange to me. Why bother? All digital or all analog system would work better in the long run. Why do I need all that conversion anyway? You're only as good as your A/D, D/A in this situation.

One more thing, the whole idea of getting signal to the truck free of RF and other nastiness is very appealing to me too. I just think you can achieve it with proper design and approach.

Thanks for dropping by Postboy. Looking forward to your future posts...
Old 13th October 2002
Here for the gear

Thanks Steve!

great points all! I will let you know how it all comes out in the wash! But, I really needed the brain trust here to get my synapses fireing!

but ya have to admit...that 1/4in cable sure looks alot more attractive at 7:30 in the morning!


Old 13th October 2002
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
Remember one thing...

If you get a cut or break in a copper snake, there's a good chance you only lost an outer channel or so... It's got to be a complete chop to lost it all.

If you get a cut or break in the fiber, you lost it all my friend.

Yes, I know the fiber is can be very durable, but you never know.

Good luck!

I want to hear how everything went. Please report back to us on the "Tell us about your last location recording..." thread.
Old 14th October 2002
Here for the gear

good point...luckily I can hang this gig through the dock (up and over the Zamboni!) But your absolutely right! It does conjure up some scarrrrrry nightmares!

Thanks Steve! This forum is killer!
Old 30th October 2002
Gear Nut

possible alternative on the horizon

RME's ADI-648 should be shipping soon. They were planning to implement a feature I requested which would allow the coax and fiber ports to run in a protection mode (allowing failure of either if both are used.) At under $2k per end for 64 channels this could make for a killer remote package.
Old 5th November 2002
Gear Nut

Thumbs up ADI-648

Just confirmed that production units should start shipping in about two weeks and that yes, the redundant link mode is implemented!
Old 5th November 2002
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
Thanks for the information. That box looks very interesting since they included the redundant link. The bang for buck factor is nice too. I still need to hear what this sounds like.

Are they demonstrating these units in the NYC area, any time soon? At that price I wouldn't mind checking it out for an all digital rig.

Keep us posted!
Old 5th November 2002
Gear Nut


Check with their US distributor, Xvision Audio to see if you can arrange some sort of eval.

It's a purely digital device--shouldn't sound like much at all unless they seriously botched it up. You will of course need a bunch of A/D converters and preamps to make it a complete solution but IMO that flexibility is what makes it interesting.
Old 7th November 2002
Here for the gear

Hi Bruce, Steve and all.

Chris Mickle in Denver here with the PSR remote truck. Nice to find you guys. I'll be checking in here often.

Bruce, as Steve points out, the digital transmission line is only as good as a) the mic pres at the stage; b) the AD/DA units and process between a & b; c) if optical, the quality of the glass and integrety of the line; d) the robustness of the protection to the line itself (armor jackets, etc.); and of course e) the integrety of the system clocking.

If all of the above are first rate, then just make sure the truck has a high level of performance insurance for your gig, and go for it. Make certain the setup crew doesn't pull too hard on the optical line around corners and such (!!), it could ruin your day. I know how wonderfull 1000 ft of 1/4" digital snake sounds - I've been running 1-1 1/2" copper for too many years in too much weather to not yearn for it. But optical, unless stiffly jacketed which reduces it's sex appeal, is nowhere near as reliable as copper. In the digital realm, Madi would be my choice of interface, and the RME product is a hands-down winner in this regard - especially for the money.

Also to consider, you will most likely be stuck with a turnkey hardware situation/sound at the front end. It will be more difficult to chose your mic pres for this and that and you've really got to keep the mic pres hot to get every bit out of the conversion process.....and that usually means some kind of built-in limiting or AGC.

I also have to second Steve's mention of multiple AD/DA processes. IMHO, it only makes great sense sonically to keep the digital stream digital until the final mix/master/post decisions are made by the producer.

It's all been very appealing for several years now, but the front end of my truck is still analog for all the various reasons. You might just give Randy at Effenel a call - they've got the budget and the gear for all the latest digital transmission experiences.

One more little thing - if needed, I like being able to fix just one or more snake channels with a soldering iron in an emergency...

All the best,
Chris Mickle
Professional Sound & Recording - Denver
Old 7th November 2002
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar

Welcome aboard the Remote Possibilities Forum.

Thank you for your contribution. Well said.

Maybe you can tell us more about your setup and some of the gigs you've done.

As you may already know, there's a few threads that might be interesting enough to post....

"show & tell thread"
"what's your fav way to record"
"top 5 hairiest moments"
"tell us about your last location recording"

Thanks again.
Old 7th November 2002
Here for the gear

Hi back, Steve!

This is a really cool newsgroup and I wish it had been around many years ago. My thanks to my collegue Kurt (recordista) for turning me on to this place.

I've been doing remote work for more than 20yrs and have certainly had my share of ups and downs. And I'm very happy to contribute here some of what I've learned when I can. However, it *doesn't* mean they were the right things learned in every case...!! :-)

On another matter, perhaps you could free up some space in your mailbox - I'd like to PM you about another matter.

Best regards,
Chris Mickle
Old 7th November 2002
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar

Strange, but my PM inbox has one message in there. I guess you cannot save PM's on this board. I moved all my read PM's to another file called "saved PM's". I guess that's why the inbox is full.

Well, I deleted all the PM's so, send me a PM.
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