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Don't Step on the Cords! Condenser Microphones
Old 10th March 2018
  #1
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Tommy-boy's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Don't Step on the Cords!

So I'm in the midst of recording a jazz fest at a local school. Not a fancy high end gig, but fun none the less. I have one snake from stage and it's thoroughly taped down (with the gaff gun, which is great).

Several people walk by, look down and see the taped down cord, then proceed to step right smack on it. Why?!

Grrrrr......

-Tom
Old 10th March 2018
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Peoples is ornery
Old 10th March 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy View Post
So I'm in the midst of recording a jazz fest at a local school. Not a fancy high end gig, but fun none the less. I have one snake from stage and it's thoroughly taped down (with the gaff gun, which is great).

Several people walk by, look down and see the taped down cord, then proceed to step right smack on it. Why?!

Grrrrr......

-Tom
Is there a problem with them stepping on it, if it's taped down....do you hear the cores withing shuffling against one another as they are compressed and slightly rolled over one another ? A quality multicore should resist that completely.

My theory is that people feel more entitled to step on a well gaffed down cable....as if it's now become 'part of the floor'

I have no problem with this. If you truly want them to make an active step over the cable, try a layer of tiger/wasp/bee yellow and black striped duct tape over the top of the gaffa...which signifies warning. Or else use a cable channel type of bridge over the top...in which case you've just create a trip hazard where none needs to be !
Old 10th March 2018
  #4
It's a chord. It's on the floor. People are gonna step in it. Best to accept the inevitable. Good chords can take it.
Old 10th March 2018
  #5
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Thread Starter
Yes, you are right. It's inevitable. It's a good cord and it's well taped down. I have to live with it.

Just seems odd to me as I usually try not to step on stuff.

Tom
Old 10th March 2018
  #6
Gear Nut
 
Moke's Avatar
 

I carry two items that help a lot in this; strips of Caution tape in 3 and 6 foot lengths in a sandwich ziplock bag. And a heavy duty rubber backed carpet hall runner that is something like 3'x5'.
The hall runner has slightly elevated spikes on the underside, which helps with skinny cables, and the thick rubber/carpet helps with the basic quadstar diameter cables as well.

Its a bit tacky, but, it does elicit a positive response from patrons, and players. It keeps all heiners covered.

In this pic - I've got DPA4060 extensions, CM3 center mic, and Senn MKE2002 Binaural cables below the runner, back to my position.
Attached Thumbnails
Don't Step on the Cords!-dscn4416.jpg  
Old 10th March 2018
  #7
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Carpet mats are a great boon to quick and efficient cover-up of cables (and I borrow them as often as I can from the entries of the many venues I work at ) but they are bulky and just one more thing to pack and carry to a gig.

3" gaff tape is my best friend and even as the cables are well secured, and someone wants to trod upon them, my cables are first rate and said trodding doesn't effect the quality of the recorded sound one iota, and being well secured to the floor, the cables don't effect the "troddee" one iota either. Have at, trodders.

Now, feeble souls grabbing at stands in the aisles is another whole ball of wax. That actually, scares the poop out of me, even as I am generous with the use of dirt-bags. Don't break my mics and don't sue me are my hopeful mantra.

D.
Old 10th March 2018
  #8
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Old 10th March 2018
  #9
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If one worries about the cables being stepped on he uses the wrong cables.

That said I'd worry about locations with hard floor where forklifts, telehandlers, aerial work platforms, etc. are used. In such cases special protection profiles should be used.
Old 10th March 2018
  #10
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I use rubber cable bridges and also 3" Gaffer with no adhesive in the middle
Both very useful with the great unwashed who will trip/ fall/ grasp at any slight hurdle
My Canare Star Quad Stereo is very reliable but sometimes when the 6 pin XLRs are walked on they splat
So junctions go into the bridge and I always make cable runs as short as poss
There is no stopping a mobility scooter though in full flight crashing through audience and cables unperturbed
Roger
Old 10th March 2018
  #11
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This makes one hell of a good argument for remote wi-fi control: this is an easy task for my concerts since I prefer to have the controls for my Digigrid/LV1 system on stage with me and use the I-Pad for tweaking FOH balance. I have a Whirlwind 24 channel snake that has been used twice that I will be glad to sell when a reasonable buyer shows up.
Hugh
Old 10th March 2018
  #12
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
I did a gig at a local church for a regional orchestra.

There was a very overweight person (+350 lbs) who was the producer of the event. All my cables were gaffer taped down. He "delighted" in walking on all of them and did so continually. These were all single ProCo XLR microphone cables and every time he walked on them, I got crackles in my recording setup. Thankfully he sat down once the concert started.

At another concert there was a young person who was, I found out later, mentally challenged. This was a high school orchestra concert and we had our microphone cables taped to the floor of the auditorium. This young person sat on the aisle and started pushing his foot on the cable over and over to the point where he abraded the cable so much he wore away the outer covering of the cable and it started making noise in the recording. There was not much I could do except apologize to the conductor after the show.

We did a show in a church where there was a "no cables on the floor" policy. We had to use the church's built in snake. It proved to be defective and we lost two of the three channels we were using for recording the show. I talked to their AV volunteer person after the show and he said that there had been problems with the snake from the beginning and that the church's AV head person said it was because the cable was damaged when the contractor pulled it through the conduit. The staff knew which channels to avoid but we were not given that information. Asked why the "no cables on the floor policy" existed they explained that it was both an insurance concern and the pastor told the AV crew that he did not want to see any cables on the floor as the looked like snakes and he did not want to see them.

I love to do remotes but there are some problems that seem to crop up more than they should...walking on cables seems to be "the thing" to do especially young children who seem to be drawn to them.
Old 10th March 2018
  #13
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This is another reason why sound devices should have made the 10m with an ethernet port and the capability to be controlled over wifi. The soundcraft ui24 would be useful in many of the school and church recording situations just because it can be wifi controlled.
Old 10th March 2018
  #14
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Thread Starter
I had to chuckle a bit last night. I started this thread early on in the jazz fest. Well, my snake got a bit more of a workout later in the jazz fest.

Typically, with these jazz fests, as more bands arrive to compete, the audience crowd gets larger - until it peaks at the end for the awards ceremony. Apparently, the auditorium was near capacity and there weren't any large blocks of open seats. So, after their set, one of the student bands decided to sit together, up front on the floor. You guessed it, they sat right on top of my snake. The band stretched from where I was, right up too the mic stand. Fortunately nobody bumped the mic stand as I had one more set to record.

So I smiled, knowing that I used a good snake and it was very well taped down. All good feedback here to accept the inevitable.

-Tom

P.S. - I'm so glad I bought a gaff gun a while back. That thing makes taping down cables a breeze.
Old 10th March 2018
  #15
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Moke's Avatar
 

One thing I find of real use, on carpeted floors, is what you see running up the right side of the aisle, and out to the deeper mic stand in the image in this post: Don't Step on the Cords!
It is a yellow strip of ballisitic nylon, maybe 6" wide, with velcro sewed onto either side. It is an extremely quick, simple means of securing cable on carpet.
Old 11th March 2018
  #16
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emrr's Avatar
It amazes me how many people don't look down at their walking path at all. We had a venue (stupidly) insist on using Yellow Jacket cable troughs at the entrances to a convention center room, and pretty much everyone tripped over it coming in the room. It's, well it, it's big, it's brightly colored....and no one looked down to see it.....yes, it shouldn't have been there in the first place, but isn't that why we look at where we're going?
Old 11th March 2018
  #17
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I used to use bright red gaffa to tape down cables in places where people had to step over them, and realized that looking down at the colorful distraction made them more off-balance and spazzier. Now I use black rubber doormats like these. Way safer.
Old 11th March 2018
  #18
I had better results than I had (somewhat cynically) expected a few months ago with the pictured strategy. Thanks to everyone for sharing their more pragmatic and elegant solutions!
Attached Thumbnails
Don't Step on the Cords!-24845785_1597060200340870_2596252716195905536_n.jpg  
Old 11th March 2018
  #19
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My theory is that stepping on cables is evolutionary programmed: in a wood you will always step on branches and roots crossing your path in order to minize the chance of tripping over them. So this is what people will do instinctively with similar things in the modern world.

I hate to tape down my cables (glue remains can make them go sticky and very dirty and good tape is very costly) so I prefer to use cable protectors such as mentioned by fred2bern. People can step on them to their heart's desire and the cables will be really well protected. They are however quite bulky, so the amount you can bring is limited.

In areas where people are not supposed to walk anyway (but will...) I have a few other solutions: I put foam tube insulators around my cables, that are designed to insulate heating pipes. These are very light and cost very little, so you can bring a whole bunch with you easily. They can be used again and again. Since they are higher than most taped down cables, people will be less inclined to step on them as they don't know what to expect: will they roll, will they be soft or solid? So not only do they protect cables quite effectively, they even keep feet away from them. In that same vein I have another secret weapon: simple sheets of printing paper. When loosely covering your cables with these nobody will even go close with their feet anymore, as their lizzard brain will tell them a poisonous snake may hide under that amorphous cover. I have found this measure to be very effective.
Old 28th March 2018
  #20
Hi Tom, I share your pain, after standing on top of my cables during intermission, trying to discourage people from walking in the front of the auditorium. I bought something akin to the link below for the power cord; maybe it would work for the snake as well. I bought two five foot sections, and I taped the sections down.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/UT-Wire-...FRAYAQod2boCug
Old 28th March 2018
  #21
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Rodents love to chew on live wires. People love to stomp on stuff that's on the floor. I reiterate. Peoples is ornery.
Old 28th March 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Early21 View Post
Hi Tom, I share your pain, after standing on top of my cables during intermission, trying to discourage people from walking in the front of the auditorium. I bought something akin to the link below for the power cord; maybe it would work for the snake as well. I bought two five foot sections, and I taped the sections down.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/UT-Wire-...FRAYAQod2boCug
A church I record in uses these (link below) ....much wider channel underneath, and no wrangling cables through a tiny slot in the cover, plus the interlocking feature is good for multiple lengths. Yellow sure draws attention to itself, but they make them in black also... Heavy enough not to need taping down, particularly so when multiple sections are interlocked together:

Barrier Group Drop-Over Cable Protector CP1BODY

https://www.areasafe.com.au/images/d...able-Guard.jpg
Old 28th March 2018
  #23
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Generally I "spike" runs ("spot"-tape/"make-it-stay") every 6-20'/2-7m with "real" gaffers tape, and then cover the runs at aisles and/or walkways with rubber-backed floor mats. Gaff won't usually leave a residue over 24-48 hours in-place UNLESS it's in direct sun, or has a lot of foot traffic directly on it (which is why I spike the runs and cover footpaths with carpets). Then, it's a mess. Some of my floor mats are going on 15 years old, and, with a quick vacuum every now and again, still look pretty good.

HB
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