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Keeping P.A. Cables Organized

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by michaelkoss, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. My band is building out our PA system and I am amazed at the number of cables we have to maintain. Right now, we have everything thrown into two large Rubbermaid-type boxes. When I'm looking for a specific cable, it's a pain to find it.

    How do you keep your PA organized for easier transport and setup?
  2. MrDOS

    MrDOS Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Tub 1: mic cables
    Tub 2: speakon speaker cables
    Tub 3: 1/4" and adapter cables

    Wrapping each cable neatly after each gig makes setup a the next one a snap!
  3. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    I use the Rubbermaid solution, as well. I just bought a bunch of velcro straps and I use them on all the mic and patch cables. I bought the type that stay attached to the cables. Works well for me.

    Too many tubs. It's just more to carry in and store during the gig. I get mic cables, patch snakes, patch cables, speaker cables and a fan snake in one tub.
  4. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Colored electrical tape on or right behind the plugs
  5. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    For large PA rigs with tons of mic cables, a rolling garden hose reel works wonders. I've seen many pro sound guys use these. Just connect cables end to end as you roll em up and unwind as you need them. Otherwise, $5 will get you 50 Velcro wraps on eBay.
  6. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Second that, even for smaller PA's. I use those orange plastic extension cord reels to the same effect. Reels are a great way to store mic cables. When we're done playing we move out all the other gear and leave the mic cables for last. Two guys standing at the snake head, one guy reeling and the other guy feeding him cables and keeping a little tension on them, can roll up a couple dozen mic cables in a couple of minutes.
  7. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Most of the cables stay in whichever rack they originate from. Plus I have masking tape on each end of each cable labeling where it belongs. No tubs. One case with spares in it.
  8. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    This is what I do, each cable has 2-3 colors on it, the first color closest to the plugs is the length. White for 20ft, Orange for 25ft, Yellow for 30ft, Red for 50ft, then the second and third colors separate them in each length. They all get also get my initials and the actual length in paint marker on the ends, then Velcro, finally they go in a 29" rolling suitcase.
  9. I hadn't thought of that. It's a wonderful idea!
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Good. Now get yourself several colors of ¾-inch heat-shrink tubing and put different colors on each length for quick identification. Then buy a roll of ½-inch Velcro webbing and cut it into 6-inch lengths to wrap the cables. This may seem a bit anal, but my cables always work and I always know what I'm grabbing. I keep all the mic cables and power cables in a small rolling suitcase.

    The picture below shows: 25-foot - red, 15-foot - blue, 10-foot - yellow, 5-foot - green. I have 50-footers that are also yellow. You can put your initials on the tubing with a Sharpie.

  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Naw. It gets gooey and comes off. See above.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's a good idea to have one of these, too.

  13. Cody_Gibs1


    Mar 15, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I was in a band that placed individual cables into individual ziplock bags.
  14. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Pretty much been covered here, but my experience:
    I used to run sound and have a large PA - did the rolling hose reel thing. Worked great, although IMHO it puts a pretty severe bend on the cables where they go into the XLR plugs. I never had many failures though.
    The colored heat shrink is a good idea - agree that tape gets gooey and makes a mess after a while.
    I have a smaller PA now and am using the attached velcro straps. One thing I have noticed though - I put the straps down on the female end that plugs into the mixer (would look stupid hanging off of the mic, right?) - all the damn straps stick to each other and make it a pain to separate them at the end of the gig. I might go back to a hose reel.
  15. I've been searching for 10 minutes trying to find a good supplier of 3/4" heat-shrink tubing in different colors. Apparently, my Google-foo is lacking today. Where can I find the tubing?
  16. One more question: will a hair dryer be sufficient or do I need to buy a special heater?
  17. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
  18. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    A band I used to work for long ago bolted closet rod brackets to the inside of a black storage trunk, the kind that looks like a precursor to the wood rackmounts with the metal latches and such. I think they call them collegiate or something. They used a 1/8 lauan sandwich on either side of the trunk wall for additional strength because the trunk walls weren't tough enough on their own. Roll cables, install onto closet rod, fit closet rod into trunk, close+latch lid, QED.
  19. gareth dunster

    gareth dunster

    Dec 8, 2009
    I use the garden hose reels for xlrs. One reel for each length. Keeps the cables in very good shape and takes up minimal space. Also running them out is a breeze. Anyone got any easy way of using reels with guitar leads?