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DIY tips for cable management

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Robb Fesig, Dec 4, 2016.


  1. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    Any good tips for storing/transporting/sorting/using all the various XLR and 1/4" cables we all rely on? I'm starting to amass quite a collection, and my OCD is telling me I need to do a better job organizing everything...

    Pics would be appreciated but not necessary.
     
  2. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Velcro wraps.

    Learn how to wind a cable properly.
     
  3. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    Yep, they're all wrapped with Velcro and they're wound properly. I'm looking for what you do with them after that's done. Right now I just have some bags everything gets thrown in. It works, but it certainly doesn't help to sort the 6' XLRs from the 50' XLRs...
     
  4. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    You could color code them with different colors of electrical tape and keep them in plastic bins.
     
  5. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
  6. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri
    I've seen a guy slip his cables into what looked like toilet paper rolls all stacked nice and neat in a little briefcase type thing.

    I thought it was simultaneously cool and disturbingly weird.
     
    G RICH 5, navijaz, Spectrum and 2 others like this.
  7. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I would NOT recommend electrical tape.. as it gets sticky over time and use.
    You could color code with shrink wraps on one end of the cables as an alternative.
    But, I get different colored velcro (lowes, home depot) for each length you carry. Easy to see which cable is what length.

    I throw all mine (really: place gently, with longer cables on the bottom) into a bag, or box so they lay as flat as possible.
    I wind them all up [over/under] first, and put in a pile on the floor. After that, packing away is REAL easy..
    I use black velcro wraps/ties for 10', grey for 15, and red for 20'+
    No mistaking them in the pile..
     
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I have had guys tell me this is a horrible idea, but they can never tell me WHY.

    Get a regular orange drop cord reel from your local Home Depot or Lowe's. Make one a 25' cable reel, another a 6' cable reel and another a 50' cable reel. Start rolling up a 25' cable on its reel. When you get to the end of it, plug another 25' cable into the end of it and keep cranking. It doesn't twist the cable like cranking it over your elbow does. And when you need a 25' cable, start pulling on that reel until you get to the end of it.

    Done. Three reels that go into to any Rubbermaid tub.
    Looks like this.
    pACE3-982586t181.jpg
     
  9. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Bulky and tend to kink the cables at the "bottom".
     
  10. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Any decent electronics store will have velcro ties in several colors to code everything with. If you want to bundle the differently coded cables together you can get 25' lengths of double sided velcro to make long enough ties to do that or just do what a lot of stagehand/roadie types do and use #4 (1/8") sash cord.
    Because it's a mechanical elbow wrapping device.
     
    s0c9 likes this.
  11. Yup! I do this with our cables at work, tubs and all!
    We used cables on these at least weekly for years, never had a problem.
     
    Robb Fesig and fourstringgirl like this.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    No it is not. To crank one around your arm you have to twist the cable. If you hold the reel in the direction of the cable it goes straight on and straight off. It never twists.
     
    PauFerro, mjmeche, mikeyjm2 and 4 others like this.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    What do you mean by "bottom"?
     
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    We do it at our church. We actually set up and strike the stage every week. Been doing it for years (we rent a building). No worn out cables yet. And our church buys cheap cables.
     
    Robb Fesig likes this.
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    The one you'd have to pull all the cables off the reel to get at. For a house system I guess it's ok but I'd prefer to have access to all my cables individually.

    As for the "elbow wrapping" crack I made reels are ok if the person operating it understands the cable has to go on clean and even....if not you may as well be elbow wrapping. It's one of those things that to a professional stagehand who knows how to wrap cables well seems like an unnecessary gizmo. But if it works for you it may work for the OP too. And if it works it's good.
     
    Robb Fesig and two fingers like this.
  16. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Old Garage-Bander and Jeff Bonny like this.
  17. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Exactly. This is pretty much it. I can't tell you how much time I've seen some dudes waste on stage getting their cables untangled. It blows my mind. Id go insane. I learned a long time ago, wind then properly, Velcro wrap them, put then in a bag. Done. So next time I'm ready to use them, it takes seconds to a min to get it all hooked up and ready. Really nothing to it.
     
  18. friendlybass

    friendlybass

    Jul 19, 2012
    Colorado
    I just have 2 velcro wraps on each cable and toss em in my gig backpack. it's just for my speaker cables and xlr's though I buy coily cables for my instrument cables so that I never have to deal with them tangling or looking lame.
     
  19. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    This. I find the "bottom" cables tend to develop a memory of their tightly wound position, especially thicker gauge cables. Plus, when your having to haul gear in a limited space, the reels add bulk and weight. Besides, I find proper wrapping technique faster. Finally, unless only one guy is winding all the cables, the idea of keeping the sizes on the same reel adds confusion at 2am.

    You asked why some advise against them....this is why.
     
    Jeff Bonny likes this.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 17, 2021

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