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Snake question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CaptainHueso, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. Not sure exactly where to post this so I'll try here. My band is starting to finally accumulate some serious gear, and our PA has grown a bit in the past month. Since we are now micing everything on stage and doing bass/acoustic guitar DI, there are becoming an unnecessary amount of cables and clutter on the stage, so we've decided to get a snake, that way our soundman can set his booth up away from the stage and mix us while hearing out in the audience.

    I know they're quite expensive, but are there alot of differences among them? We definately need a few 1/4" jacks too, but the XLR's are most important and we will need at least 10 of those right now which will probably turn into more. Looking at no shorter than 100'.

    Any reccomendations on what brands are good, or what brands to stay away from. Do these things crap out easily? You guys know, the usual info that we all need to know about something we're considering purchasing for both live and recording.
  2. Justice


    May 24, 2002
    Houston TX.
    THis will probably get moved to another forum, but until then...

    Snakes, check out http://www.audiopile.net Mark and Liz are great people, will answer all your questions and have some great pro audio products at good prices.

    That said.

    Basic snakes have 2 sets of wires in them, the "sends" (takes input from the stage to the mixer) and the "returns" (sends the signal fromt he mixer to the amps, speakers...)

    The sends are always going to be XLR, it will be rare to have any 1/4" sends (I have never seen a snake with them) If you have anything that you think you need a 1/4" send on, you will be better off using a DI box that will convert the signal over to use an XLR. (Di boxes are inexpensive and it's always a good idea to have some)

    The "returns" could be 1/4", XLR, or both depending on the snake. The more signal you need to send back to the stage (PA mains, monitors) the more returns you will need. Most snakes come with 4 returns (you can use 2 for mains (L&R) and 2 for monitors. For each seperate monitor mix you will need a seperate return back to the stage. It all depends on how much you want to do.

    For a basic reccomendation I would suggest a 16x8 (16 sends, 8 returns) but doub;e check to make sure that the returns on the snake you purchase match the mixer you will be using. For example, all of Audiopiles EWI snakes have XLR returns, meaning that your mixer must have XLR outs for the mains and auxs (if you run monitors from the same mixer) or you will need 1/4" to XLR transformers for some of the conenctions.

    On my older rig, the aux outs were 1/4" but went to a rack EQ so I connected my mixer tot he EQ with 1/4" patch cables and then used the XLR outs on the EQ to feed the returns on the snake.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'll start hunting some down.
  4. bigbajo60


    Nov 7, 2003
    Laredo, Texas
    As for the part of your post that states you'll need a snake with some 1/4 inch lines as well (I imagine we're talking keyboard feeds, line out jacks and the like)... your best bet is to get direct boxes to convert those 1/4 lines into XLR's that can then be patched into the stage box. Signals converted in this way travel farther down the 100+ foot snake line with much less degradation.
  5. The more expensive snakes tend to be more durable and/or have better connectors. Whirlwind is a leader.

    I waited patiently on eBay until I came across a Whirlwind Medusa Standard snake in 100'. It is a 16x4, for a total of 20 XLR connections. This was my preference because it allows me to use standard mic cables for both sends and returns.

    My console is a Mackie SR24.4 VLZ Pro, and I built a few TRS to XLR custom cables for Aux-Out that are TRS on the console. The 3 Aux-Out are for the subs and two monitor mixes. If I need more returns, I use one of the XLR channels. The only difference is the connector.
  6. Vicar Philip

    Vicar Philip

    Sep 15, 2004
    I just bought a Horizon Stage Series from humbucker music for $291 total. It's a 100' 16X4, and uses CL-2 rated multi-pair cable. The CL-2 designation means it's designed to run behind walls and less likely to get damaged, although it's still a good idea to keep it as far away from feet as possible. If I'd had more cash I probably would have bought one on a spool. Much more portable and easier to wrap up after a long, sweaty gig.