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1/4" to Neutrik Connection Hack: Questions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bassmanchu, Mar 3, 2014.


  1. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    *see attachments*

    I recently bought two pieces of equipment, listed below (pictures attached).

    Benz Genz Shuttle 6.2
    Eden EX110

    Problem: the Shuttle 6.2 has a speakon out, but the Eden has a 1/4" input (at 8 ohms). I searched online for a speakon-to-1/4" cable, but found all were too expensive, and too loooooong. I don't need 25' of cable to connect these two.

    Solution: What I did instead was take a 6-foot speaker cable with 1/4" ends, cut it in half and attach 2 speakon cable ends to the raw cables. This gives me two three-foot 1/4"-to-speakon cables (picture attached). I was careful to confirm that negative and positive wires were connected correctly (to -1 and +1 ports), and that the connections were tight and secure. They are screw-tension connections, solder-free.

    I've used both cables to connect the amp and cab at low volumes with success.

    My questions for gear heads and tech savvy bassists are below. Keep in mind that I have only a cursory knowledge of amplification and its quirks.

    1) Will I lose connection quality/fidelity by going from speakon out to 1/4" into the cab?

    2) Should I worry about impedance issues, signal loss or any other issues by changing connection types?

    3) Assuming that the connections are secure (they are), is there any danger in using these cables?

    4) Anything I'm missing? Any issues that could cause damage to either amp or cab? Was there a better solution that didn't require gutting the amp?


    Thanks for your help!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    I bought a 10-foot for $25 and thought that was fine...

    1) No.
    2) No.
    3) Maybe. Are you bridging? If so, the backshell (the part you touch) is -not- at ground potential so there is a shock hazard. Yeah - you shouldn't be tinkering with speaker connections with anything powered, but you could still touch the shell and something grounded...

    Maybe a wrap of electrical tape or heatshrink tube to help insulate the backshell. Probably not a big deal if not bridging but I'd do it anyway. Reminds me I need to do that to my cable - although it's now in the spares box since I upgraded to a Speakon<->Speakon cab...
     
  3. Technicality

    Technicality

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Everything ArtechnikA said!

    Also, its worth pointing out that a 1/4 inch jack often shorts the connection when its being plugged in or removed. If your amp doesn't have short circuit protection and you (or more likely someone else) connect or disconnect the speaker while the amp is on and being played you could damage the amp. As far as I'm aware most amps do have short circuit protection, but its worth knowing about the possibility.
     
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    Newport News, VA via NYC
    Disclosures:
    Kohlman Bassworks
    What I did was I bought a standard length 1/4"-speakon cable and rolled up the excess to the desired length and cable tied it.
     
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  6. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    The above is right on! There are really only two issues with this. The first is that 600 watts is about at the limit of what 1/4" connectors will reliably handle and the other as mentioned is that the shell of a connector can have voltage if you are running with a bridged connection.

    But since your connections seem tight there should be no problem. I run 800 watts like this. But eventually an upgrade of the cab to speakon would be the "final solution" which is mostly a mechanical problem since the new connectors woudl just be wired in parallel with the existing 1/4" ones.
     
  7. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    ArtechnikA,

    Thanks for your input! I ended up saving about $10, and getting two cables out of the deal. I wasn't crazy about spending $25 on a cable that was too long for my uses. Also, it was a fun project.

    I'm not bridging. I actually had to look up the term... and still don't really understand it. I'm running one output on my amp into the one (and only) input on my cab. Should be putting out 375W max for this head's rating (and I won't be pushing the volume on this mini rig - just light jazz gigs).

    Just to clarify, if I were bridging this amp (which it's not designed for, I don't believe), I would be using a Y-cable to connect both outputs into one speaker jack? Is that right? Sounds dangerous...

    What I *do* intend to do at some point is add another 8 ohm cab for larger gigs, directly from the head. This is running parallel, right? This isn't still bridging, is it? Since my EX110 doesn't have an output, I can't run them in series.

    Manufacturer's Info reads: "The SHUTTLE® 6.2 provides two Neutrik Speak-On&#8482; connectors (wired 1+/1-). The speaker jacks are paralleled. The minimum speaker load is 4 ohms. Do not ground either the &#8220;+&#8221; or the &#8220;-&#8221; outputs."

    I'm not sure what they mean when they say "ground the outputs".

    On a related note - if I were to do this (run two cabs parallel, both 8 ohm cabs), this would give me a total of 4 ohm load, correct?

    Thanks for your insight!
     
  8. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    I'm not sure about the circuit protection on this amp - will have to check the manual!

    Thanks for the heads up on this, though! I always knew that unplugging the cab while it's on is a bad move, but I didn't know I could short out the amp! I just thought it could blow a speaker.
     
  9. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    By the way, when you say insulate the backshell, you just mean covering the 1/4" connector metal casing in rubber to prevent electrical current flow, right? The Neutrik casing is plastic, so I assume I don't have to worry about it.

    Forgive my ignorance - As you can see from my profile, I'm mainly a classical upright player. Trying to get back into jazz, funk, soul, R&B and electric these days. This little rig will be my jazz amp. :bassist:
     
  10. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    SEPA
    No, that's not quite it... Since both your outputs are the same anyway (paralleled) they're already both connected to one speaker jack...

    I'll take the easy question first - "Don't ground the outputs" means just that - be careful with any exposed connections, of which there should be none when the amp is powered. Except as we've seen - the metal backshell is connected to one of the outputs. If you were to somehow short that to a real ground - mike stand, lighting truss, rack frame - it would be bad.

    I expect there's a better description of bridging in the sticky section than I am about to type in not as much time as it takes for a proper description...

    Basically, it's a technique for connecting 2 otherwise independent amplifier sections in such a way as to increase the available power by doubling the available voltage.

    It's *kind of* like increasing battery voltage by connecting batteries in series. Here's where it's not like that: in that case, you keep "ground" constant and just keep adding voltage at the positive side.

    Remember - all speakers see is voltage _difference_, right?

    So if you reference one half of an amp (call it A) at ground and send the other end to the positive, then reference the other half's (call it B) positive to A's negative, the B's negative now has an equal swing _below_ ground potential.

    So while each amp is producing a relatively manageable voltage, the difference between the two is now twice as big.

    _Some_ amps need special cables and connections when bridging. Some use standard connection but virtually all bridging amps have Speakon connectors because the EU requires that anything over 500W shall have Speakons, not 1/4", and amp makers want to make just one model - nevermind that for the reasons described above, sending more than 500W through a 1/4" connector is dodgy from the get-go.

    For instance, my LH1000 has a bridging mode - it is _only_ available through the Speakon. The 1/4" connectors are available only when using the two sections separately.
     
  11. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes.

    Uprights get amp''d these days too! This is all good knowledge to have...
     
  12. agedhorse

    agedhorse Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Note that your shuttle, as well as most amps using class d power amps use an internally configured bridged mode. There are several reasons for this that bring benefits not possible with conventional linear amps.

    The shell of your 1/4" connector is not at ground potential, it swings above and below ground by roughly 50v at rated power. This is why neither of the connections should be connected to ground. It is also why we have always recommend that the legacy cabinets be converted by a tech to SpeakOn or at the very least heatshrink covered 1/4" connectors be used.

    Another issue that has been brought up is that when connecting or disconnecting the load side of the 1/4" connection, the amp will momentarily see a short as the tip passes through the sleeve which can destroy an unprotected amp. All of our amps are protected from this but it's still not a good habit to get into.

    Hope this helps.
     
  13. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    Right - I'm learning as I go! Hopefully I'll retain some of this information in the future. ;)

    It's not that I've NEVER amped, I've just never used anything but a combo amp. Never had to worry about external connections or impedance matching before.

    I used to freelance jazz around Western NY quite a bit, but I was playing through an AI Contra at the time. Still have it, but I wanted something more suitable for an up-front electric sound.

    This is great! Thank you for chiming in, AgedHorse! I'll definitely use a heat-shrinking sheath, though it sounds like ultimately the right choice is to convert this to Neutrik input.

    So does this mean that I am, in fact, bridging this cab and I really need to watch for electric shock? Will cover the 1/4" casing soon.

    And this reaffirms what others have said above: Rule #1: DO NOT disconnect anything while the amp is on. Ever. Also, don't touch the metal speaker connection. Check.


    I had a chance to take a closer look at my cab just now. It's actually the 4 ohm version. I suppose this means that there is no speaker combination (short of a 16 ohm cab) that would give me enough resistance to combine it with another cab and this head since it's not rated for 2 ohms. Bummer.

    That's really not why I bought it anyway. This is intended as my micro jazz rig. I'll just have to stick with my Ampeg 4x10 for big gigs.
     
  14. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    Not to be pedantic but the difference may save you from some confusion down the line...

    Neutrik is a manufacturer that in fact makes a lot of different kinds of connectors.
    Speakon is the type of locking connector commonly used for reliable high-power speaker cabinet connections.
     
  15. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

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    That's funny - I was told the exact opposite in a conversation the other day. Ha! I'll revert back to what I was using originally: Speakon.
     
  16. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    Go to a site like MusiciansFriend or Sweetwater and search on Neutrik - you'll see many connector types come up - Speakons, XLR, and even 1/4". In fact, their 1/4" connectors are some of the best available.

    Neutrik invented the Speakon and holds the trademark to the term. Other makers make the connector - they just can't use the name...
     
  17. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

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    Didn't mean to imply contradiction. I know you're right about this. Is there a generic term for this type of connection made by other manufacturers?
     
  18. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    Per Wikipedia,
     
  19. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

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    So, to wrap up my questions:

    1) Does the above mean that I am actually bridging?

    2) I should probably ultimately convert the cab to a speakon input port, right?

    BONUS) I can't pair this 4 ohm cab with any other cab and this head because the head's not rated for less than 4 ohms, and I can't daisy chain anything to it (no output), right?

    Thanks for your help everyone! I'm learning a lot.
     
  20. agedhorse

    agedhorse Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    1. Yes, but it's not a choice that can be made by the user. The amp configuration BY DESIGN is bridge tied load only. This is done specifically to take advanteage of back-EMF recovery which improves efficiency. You are not "bridging" the amp, nor can you.

    2. That is what I would suggest.

    BONUS. The amp is rated at 4 ohms minimum load If you already own a 4 ohm cabinet, that's all you can safely run with the amp.
     
  21. bassmanchu

    bassmanchu

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    AgedHorse,

    Thanks for clarifying! This is really helpful!

    In retrospect, I suppose I should have bought the 8 ohm version [edit: since I intended to pair it with another cab for higher-volume gigs], but since I bought it used for a good price, I don't feel too bad. It's a perfect jazz rig for me, and exactly what I'm looking for.
     

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