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how to best wire up a small equipment rack?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by subliminaleffect, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. i'm looking for advice on how to best wire up a small equipment rack case(8SP SKB to give you an idea of the size) of processors (Eventide, TC Electronics) via analog inputs/outputs.

    i'm wary of the dubious benefits of spending mega-dollars on pre-made Monster and Mogami cables.

    i've bought the Planet Waves Cable Station cable and 1/4" connectors (Guitar Player gave their Pedal Board kit a favorable review) but it's all unbalanced (i know within the rack case the cable lengths will all be short).

    would it be worthwhile to get shielded, two-conductor twisted pair cable and put on Switchcraft/Neutrik TRS balanced connectors?

    any other options? i do have several hundred feet of Mogami shielded, single conductor cable available but think that balanced is the way to go. your thoughts?

  2. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    You'd probably be best off using a TRS patchbay and shielded cable. If all the stuff is balanced, why not use it balanced?

    If you intend not to use a patchbay, and chain the stuff together so the signal has to go through everything, balanced is better. Each cable adds up. (Better if you don't do that, though. Why run stuff through anything unecessarily?)

    It's patchbay, running serially....or fumbling around inside the back constantly to use each piece separately. Patchbays are good things. If you don't have one, consider one.

    If you are capable of constructing cables properly, might as well do it.

    Just my thoughts.

  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Use balanced cables when the outputs are balanced. Especially if you are making your own.

    This application has the lowest priority for high end cables. The runs are short, the signal is strong (line level), the connectors will not be repeatedly plugged and unplugged. There's no reason to buy really cheap cables, but it's the last place to upgrade to premium stuff.
  4. Link555

    Link555 Distinguished Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    Balanced cables can provide better common mode noise rejection and subsequently allow you to use longer cables lengths.
    Check out this site for a bit more info:


    That said if your working environment does not require long cable runs, and does not have interference (RF or EMI), then unbalanced connections will be fine.

    BTW Most equipment takes the balanced input and coverts it to an unbalanced signal path, applies its process (whatever that may be) then coverts the signal back to a balanced connection.
  5. many thanks for the prompt responses.

    sounds like balanced is the way to go for this equpment rack. i'll reserve the Planet Waves solderless cable/connectors system for pedalboards between unbalanced effects boxes.

    i'm trying to keep this equipment rack case semi-portable thus the 8SP restriction which precludes the patchbay.

    also, this equipment case is intended as a dedicated performance box - the actual configuration that i'm hardwiring are the four independent outputs from an Electrix Repeater (loop recorder) each into a dedicated processor and then the stereo outputs of these into a single space stereo line mixer.

    the processors in the case aren't really there as individually insertable outboard. otherwise, the patchbay would be essential.

    i think i'm OK if the processors are unbalanced internally. if i remember correctly from my college electronics classes decades ago, the balanced inputs/outputs are primarily for Common Mode Rejection to keep noise outside of the box.

  6. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Roger that. Well put.
  7. actually, it turns out that the Electrix Repeater has unbalanced outputs to feed the balanced inputs of the processors and then their balanced outputs would only be feeding the unbalanced inputs of a Rolls RM203 stereo line mixer so...

    i guess i'll be wiring up this equipment rack with unbalanced cables - either the Planet Waves 1/4" connectors and cables or the Mogami 2524 cable with Neutrik 1/4" and XLR connectors then.

    funny, can't find whether the Mesa/Boogie TriAxis pre-amp inputs/outputs are balanced or unbalanced. i'm guessing it is going to be the latter too.



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