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Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by i_got_a_mohawk, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. Well, dunno if it should be here or in Misc

    Anyway, everyone goes on about speakons being better, why havent they been used, or something similar, on instrument cables, i know it really doesnt matter about the greater power handling, but a locking cable would be nice for instruments (i have a neutrik one, but, its just not the same)

    Just an idea
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    for starters, phone plugs are about the only standard that exists in the bass world. But since nothing else fits anyhting else, it makes sense enough in that respect.

    The other issue is indavertantly pulling the plug is not really a problem with face mount jacks and looping the cord through the strap takes care of the side mount.

    That's my take anyway.
  3. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    What about XLR's? One of my Alembics uses them (5 pin) and I've put them on some of my other basses.

    However, if you just want a locking jack, Neutrik makes a locking TRS jack.

    XLRs arguably make a better and more reliable connection, but the old TRS is a standard and using anything else makes for some possible compatibility problems.
  4. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Warning: trying to overthrow the 1/4" TS phone plug hegemony will result in banning from the universe. Please cease and desist.


    I hate the 1/4" plug as much as anyone, and the Neutrik locking jacks are about as good as they get. Using *better* 1/4" plugs and jacks is one solution, but they are still a pretty lame solution. They have very small contact surfaces and lots of things can go wrong. The Neutrik locking jack solves a bunch of problems such as: no retainer nuts to loosen; better contacts; no inadvertent plug removal.

    IMO, until a the industry decides to change you won't be seeing any real decent alternatives.

    Here is a solution:
    Maybe the new Neutrik Neutrik NLJ2MD-V Speakon-1/4" combo jacks would get it done for ya? You could make up a nice speakon-1/4" instrument cable and use the combo jack on the bass. That way you could still use a 1/4"-1/4" cable in a pinch.

    Redco Product Link
  5. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    1/4" Jacks were designed for audio, and the output from a bass is audio, so at the very least, they are withing thier design specification. Speakers are high current devices, and 1/4" jacks are not generally made for high current application, whereas speakons are, and that is what makes them more suitable for speaker use. Cheap 1/4" jacks can actually fail due to heating and arcing on high power amps, a problem which does not occur on an instrument cable.

    Oh, and in your case, speakons would be a really bad pick for an instrument output, in that they are not sheilded . . . they were not designed for low level signals. Hum and buzz, anyone?

    Myself, I wouldn't mind it if there could be a standard applied to active instruments such that you could use an XLR, and power the pre from the amp head, much like mics get phantom power from FOH. WIth all the modern electronic technology out there, why the h**l are we still putting shi**t little batteries, which fail at the worst possible time, into our instruments? If is gets power from the amp, if the amp fails, well, it's game over anyway, so what's the risk? Or do like Line-6 did with the Variax, and use a pedal-like device inline to power the instrument . . . .

    Just my $.02 . . .

    - Tim
  6. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Yes. What Tim said.

    Batteries suck, and unbalanced TS signal cables suck too.

    A nice new standard could be a 5 pin XLR carrying a balanced audio signal and power to the active preamp in the bass. Alternatively a stereo unbalanced audio signal.

    But you know, a system much like that already exists in the Roland GR electronics package.... the plugs don't feel as tough as good XLRs though.
  7. Speakons are the jacks right? could you not use instrument cable with them?

    I was just wondering really, why 1/4" jacks are about all you get, ive seen a few XLR ones as people have said, and again, i'll say, i have neutrik locking jacks, they still manage to loose connection quite easily, might be the jacks im using are somehow smaller?

    Was really more for discussions sake, theoretical n all, im far too much of a cheap bastard to get speakong jacks and such :p
  8. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    Speakons are NOT sheilded - they are not intended for low level signals - 1/4" connectors are, and as such, they are fully sheilded. Physically, you could get a speakon to work, but it would probably be very noisy on a guitar . . . .

    - Tim
  9. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    I'd be perfectly happy with 3 pin XLR balanced, and powered just like phantom . . . that way, if you needed to go board direct, you would still be powered. The stereo thing is a nice idea, but 5 pin XLR is not the easiest (or cheapest) to find, and in a pinch, damn near impossible. 3 pin XLR would run on MIC cable, and would make the 'ol cable pile that much simpler, and going active/balanced would make pretty much any cable run you needed to use noise free.

    - Tim
  10. The jack is unshielded, using it with instrument cable should be ok, really doubt that you can pick up that much noise with a small area like that, worst came to worst and it was that bad, could just wrap it in copper foil
  11. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Yes, the 3 pin solution make much sense. You'd also get the balanced signal with that.

    However, I don't know if the phantom power from your average desk will give enough power for the onboard electronics? IIRC, usually the board has series resistors which limit the phantom power current - so it won't damage dynamic microphones, probably....
    But I've seen DI boxes that are powered by the phantom power (sounds creepy :) ) so I suppose it'd be possible, providing you have electronics that don't use a lot of current, and can handle the 48 volts supply.

    In fact, when I think about it, that could be an excellent solution! You could use a high-quality rack-mount singe channel mic pre-amp for your bass, and standard XLR microphone cable, all readily available.


    we can dream, can't we?
  12. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    The electronics in the bass should not take much more power than a mic, I would think. Either one is just basically a preamp to take a very low level signal (lower in the mic, I would think) and bring it up to a usable level. Yeah, the bass has tone controls and such, but those don't consume power (or at least shouldn't) . . . . regarding the 48V on phantom, it is a simple matter to regulate that down to what is needed, and I can't say that I recall what the maximum current draw available on a phantom channel is, but it is not too bad, and I think it could be made to work pretty easily.

    Oh, and regarding "damaging dynamic mics" - that is not possible on a true balanced dynamic mic with or without the resistors. Phantom is put down both the signal "+" and "-" leads at the same voltage, and derived from there to shield (ground) at the device. So, on a dynamic mic, the element may float at phantom voltage, but no current will flow. The "traditional" way to take phantom off at a mic or outboard device where the power is taken off via the center tap on the matching transformer, and the upstage circuitry does not directly see it at all. The only place things can get "interesting" regarding phantom power damage is stuff that claims to be balanced, that isn't.

    - Tim
  13. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I used a 3 pin XLR in a little different fashion to carry power and signal. Using the shell connection as ground, I ran a bipolar power supply (+/- 15 volts) plus signal on 3 conductor shielded cable. It worked fine, but I decided that using two "standard" cables was actually less hassle, and I now have the fallback of going passive on 1/4" cable. Any old mike cable can power my bass now. And I can just plug the 1/4 inch cable into any amp without needing a breakout from the power supply.

    4 or 5 pin XLRs are not expensive or difficult to find really, at least around here, but the needed cabling is a bit more challenging to obtain. I like the phantom power idea, I've been contemplating it for years actually. The current limitations of the standard configuration are a bummer for my needs though, but YMMV. It's around 14mA with the standard limiting resistors, if I recall correctly. That's a bit low for the circuits I prefer, but probably adequate for many of the typical battery powered standard ones.