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Cable confusion

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Chicken Steve, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve

    Apr 1, 2014
    I'm hoping some of you here can unfuzz me. Our band runs a non powered board, so all our mains and monitors are classD amps. WE usually run XLR cables from the board to them

    all fine and well, until we acquired a pair of subwoofers , like this>>>
    mxJkWezMeXrKlH8Tqnom6Zw. So we're setting it all up , and i said 'oh gee, i don't have that cable !' , to which my mate responded, 'no worries', and plugs an XLR into it

    Well i'm confused, is this the norm? It's ok to use XLR in Speakon jacks?

    ~C(lost yet again)S~
  2. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    Nope. Speakon won’t take an xlr cable. Not even close. But you could have used a “regular” 1/4 in. Speaker cable- which is also NOT a 1/4 in instrument cable. Our next question to you, of course- was said mate your drummer, guitar player or...wait for it...lead singer?
    EatS1stBassist, Dave white and Dieboy like this.
  3. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve

    Apr 1, 2014
    He's an axe player Filmtex, we're both really dumber than a bag 'o hammers with this, But yes i do have speaker (not instrument) cable that i could use. The thing is, the board (or DBX) has a lotta XLR outputs , so would i be looking for some sort of adapter, or use the 1/4" alt outputs ? ~CS~

  4. It sounds like maybe your mixer has a subwoofer output? If so you have the wrong kind of subwoofer. To go straight from board, you need an active subwoofer, i.e. one with its own built-in amplifier. It would connect with an XLR cable. The sub you have is passive, meaning it requires an outboard amplifier.

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  5. Better work on you're sound guy knowledge. If you don't at least get yourself up to a "box of screwdrivers" level you may blow something up.
    bumperbass likes this.
  6. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    If your mate succeeded and it worked, maybe it was not a speakon, but a 1/4" XLR combo jack, like the one shown here?
  7. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    That was my thought.. but the OP's pic sure looks like parallel SPEAKON jacks to me.. AND google image search
    Dieboy likes this.
  8. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    Did it, you know, make sound?

    Because if you plugged a line-level XLR into a speakon you should have got nothing except a broken cable.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  9. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Powered subs with line-level Speakon inputs? That's a new one to me! It certainly opens up another door to possible mis-configuration. I would have expected the need for a power amp in between.
    bassmeknik likes this.
  10. FerK

    FerK Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2011
    If it's powered it will NOT have a speakON, but a 1/4-XLR combo jack, like El Murdoque said.
    pudgychef and aprod like this.
  11. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I remember encountering the 1/4 XLR combo jacks for the first time. They did not look like they could take a 1/4 jack or XLR to my untrained eye.
  12. nbsipics

    nbsipics It's the Bass that makes them Dance Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    1/4 combo is XLR + TR/TRS, but I have never seen a Speakon +TR/TRS combo jack before.

    While the above is true, I also just found this. The world is getting too complicated for me...

    speakON Combo - Neutrik
  13. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve

    Apr 1, 2014
    Thank you for all your replies here guys, so now i guess i get to prove to you all i'm just as bad a photog as a sound man....:cool: Anyways the 1/4" clicks right on in, as well as the XLR

    Yes i'm getting something outta it too......:hyper:

    Attached Files:

  14. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    That's a combo input jack to a powered speaker, and will handle a 1/4 and/or XLR connector.
    It is NOT a SPEAKON like you had in your OP.
    That said.. That should be a LINE level signal going into it, not the output from an amp.
    You can use the output connector (1/4, XLR) to run another XLR to a second active speaker.
    pudgychef and Chicken Steve like this.
  15. The combo connectors are quite convenient with equipment scaling down in size.
    Speakon-1/4" and XLR-1/4" combos each have specific uses.

    It's really not standard to use XLR connectors for speakers.
    Not all XLR cables will handle speaker power levels. Most are made for mic or line level use and don't have the heavier gauge cables needed for speakers. It is sort of like the problem of using 1/4" instrument cables for connecting speakers.

    That being said, some '60s vintage Vox amps did use an XLR connector for speakers hookups. But the wiring scheme was different for Vox connectors and a mic cable wouldn't work. Those amps also maxed out at 100 watts.
  16. It's an active sub. The XLR/quarter combos are line level inputs. The speakons at the bottom (with binding posts underneath) are are for "satelittes" in what is called 2.1 systems in home theater. From the spec's, it looks like the Satellite get 150 watts. What's not clear is if there's a crossover. You don't want the woofer in the tops sharing the same frequencies as what goes to the subs.
  17. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve

    Apr 1, 2014
    Thanks , and yes all our gears is powered speakers served from a non powered mixer.....~CS~
  18. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve

    Apr 1, 2014
    That sounds important Mugre. So how do i remedy this? Do i leap from the subs up to the tops? Do i separate it all at the board? ~CS~
  19. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Your sub CAN drive a pair of satellites, but it does not have to.

    As I gather it, you had a board from where you ran the cables to the poweramp(s) and from there to the speakers.
    Now you added a sub. This one will run happily with a fullrange signal from the board and no speakers attached.

    But in order to get the whole thing running louder you should highpass the signal that runs to your old speakers.
    Now that you've got yourselves a 'woofer, the old speakers don't have to do the bass frequencies.
    Sometimes a board can do just that, if there is an output for the sub and a crossover where you can set the frequencies.
    More common is to have a crossover in 19" format like this: dbx 223xs
    The board's output runs into the crossover, where you set the frequencies that go to the sub and the tops.
    If the tops get the highpassed signal, they don't have to pump as hard to get their job done and can go louder.
  20. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve

    Apr 1, 2014
    Yes , all speaks,woofs & monitors are powered

    'highpass' is a new term for me el murdoque , but boy does that seem to fit the scenario well. I don't believe the board will separate out frequencies, so this might just be the goodie i'm looking for , stick 'er right in the rack under the board! thx

    In our case , smaller venues it's just stage volume and vocals thru mains, larger would be the woofs with keys and bass run through the whole shebang .

    We're still evolving our sound , in this entity i let slip i'm an electrician by day and was immediately elected 'sound dude' The two doctrines aren't very well associated , and i'm finding it rather a challenge that requires me to ask around and experiment a lot........man am i ever chicken!

    Thx for all the input


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