How To Hook Up Cables In Your Rack.


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ahoustondj

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 13, 2007
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#1
I decided to add the Instructions here on making a harness for your components in your Rack.

1. The Cables.Length
Determine the shortest correct length possible from the output of one component to the input of the other component.
Here is how.Looking from the back: Lets say the first component is on top and the other component is 3 spaces down (5.25")
Component #1's connection point is 5" from the right wall of the cabinet and component #2's connection point is 4" from the right wall of the cabinet
it will take about :Add the following to get the result
3" coming out from Component #1's connection point to make a right angle turn
+ 5" turn right to wall
+ 5.25" down the wall
+ 4" turn left to component #2
+ 3" to make a right angle turn to Component #2's connection point
= 20.25" or a 2' cable (Custom made or order a 2' or 3' ready made cable)

2. The breakouts:

If you have 2 pairs of connections on the back of a component (Left and Right In & Left and Right Out) that will give you four breakout points.
Therefore the connection to the far left will be naturally longer (From side wall to component point)
You will then have 4 cables making a left turn from the right side wall together.
Start with a heavy duty tie wrap holding all four and add a tie wrap for each 3" around the bundle until you get to the first breakout.
Make a right angle turn with the one cable and plug it in to the first connection from the right.Place a tie wrap just before the bend and one just after the bend to keep the bundle going.
Repeat that step to the second breakout and also until you get to the last connection point.
Some components such as analog crossovers may have six or even more breakouts.
The cable coming from the connectors to the side wall should have no hang because the connection points, tie wrapped bundle and attachment to side wall will give it the strength to remain stable and rigid.

3. Side Wall/Channel: Cables running up/down side wall. You will need cable tie downs for the side wall to act as a holder for all signal cables running up and down the side wall. Remember to add tie wraps every 3' or so to keep the bundle stable. That whole area can be called your Channel up/down.

4. Junctions: There will be places where cables coming from a component on top meet with cables coming from a component on the bottom and both sets making a left turn to the same destination component. That is a junction point.There should be three heavy duty tie wraps at that point.One at the top of the joint, one at the bottom of the joint and one at the start of the left turn.

You may find yourself adding cables to a turn (coming from the wall) going to a component. until you have all cables connected to that component, you can place temporary tie wraps. When you are finished then permanently tie wrap.
Do not over tighten the tie wraps and do not use velcro wraps as those leave a play in the joints.
work from the top component downwards as cables will be hanging along the sidewall until permanently tie wrapped.

5. AC Cords: Run all AC cords to the opposite/left wall the same way you did the signal cables.

6. Markers: Buy label markers and identify your ends before you install or afterwards when everything is working. Examples of how to mark a cable end. EQ/In/Left or Xover/Out/Right

7. Materials: (You can buy these anywhere you want)
Tie Wraps:http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/cableties.php?gclid=CJCSqLrgvaoCFQtU7AodWxZl6A
Tie Clamps:http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/cable-clamps.php
Cable Tie Downs/Mounts (This is better when used with a screw): http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/adhesive-mounts.php
Cable Markers: http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/flag-cable-ties.php

If someone needs immediate help I can explain further by phone, just PM me first for my number.

Bundles should not be floppy.
If cables have excess, reloop and tie wrap on the channel bundle (Not on the end of the connectors)
I will add pics and diagrams to this post so look for updates.
 

ahoustondj

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 13, 2007
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#2
Here are Four Photos I just Did.
Photo #1 & #2 this is an Aphex Compellor with one pair inputs and one pair of outputs, 2 cables going out and two cables going in along the same harness/breakout bundle.



As you can see the Connector cable on the far left juts out because it is an XLR to 1/4 adapter end which makes the end longer



Photo # 3 A Junction

Photo #4 a reloop of a long cable on the harness.Lower part of picture.

In the last twp pics the vertical part would be attached to the rack's side wall.the right angle part will go to the components via breakouts.
 

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#3
Great guidlines.


5. AC Cords: Run all AC cords to the opposite/left wall the same way you did the signal cables.
This is HUGE!

If you don't go to the neatness extreeme suggested, at the very least, keep the AC cords away from signal cords, as much as possible.
 
Nov 23, 2011
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#4
Very nice, do you think XLR's are better than 1/4 inch? My friend says so but I would like to know if that's a fact and his recommendations were for me to buy the XLR's from any pro audio store. Your opinion would make a world of difference in steering me towards the right direction.
 

jokerswild

Chief Bottle Washer
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Feb 11, 2007
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#5
Saikman, the main difference between XLR and 1/4 connectors grounding which helps to prevent transient noise from entering the signal chain... this what is commonly know as "balanced" XLR cables... if 1/4 is your only option generally you'll want TRS balanced 1/4 cables for best shielding...

Here's the kicker... in the realm of short run connections the difference isn't going to amount to a hill of beans... but long runs over several feet there may be a notable difference in the amount of transient cable induced noise when using 1/4 as compared to XLR
 
Nov 23, 2011
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#6
XLR vs 1/4in

Oh I see, thank you for educating me on this subject, I will go with the XLR's since I will my speakers will be around 50ft or more in distance. Thanks a lot!
 

ahoustondj

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 13, 2007
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#8
Very nice, do you think XLR's are better than 1/4 inch? My friend says so but I would like to know if that's a fact and his recommendations were for me to buy the XLR's from any pro audio store. Your opinion would make a world of difference in steering me towards the right direction.
For what are you using those cables? As passive Speaker cables, Signal Cables to powered speakers, Patch cables for your gear?
 
Likes: Dj Nightmare

ahoustondj

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 13, 2007
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#10
Signal Loss Occurs in different ways. Signals cables loss before amplification can occur faster than loss on speaker cables after amplification. However there are factors that can change the equation one way or another, frequencies, type of conductors, level of processed signal (Pre amps), amplification of signal, gauge of wire etc. For regular DJ type systems Signal cables (Before amplification) of up to 30 feet is negligible. For Speaker cables, up to 100' is hardly noticeable.
 

Ausumm

Day Late and a Dollar Short
Oct 21, 2008
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#12
I had all the cables in my rack tied up neat and straight

until I had to replace one in the middle of a gig and couldn't trace it without ripping them all apart.

now I mark the ends of all of my wires with marker or tape
so I know where each one ends up
and I keep my IN's and OUT's straight, as well as my LEFTS and RIGHTS
 

Jon Tuck

RIP Brother. You will be missed.
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Aug 8, 2006
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#14
Sounds like a beginner's s*x manual...
Congrats D you have passed the beginners course proceed to the condom counter to pick up your prize.
 

ahoustondj

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 13, 2007
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#16
Hey Canute
how about we ask folks to send pics of the BACK SIDE of their racks?
(hold your tongues you perverts)
but it's YOUR thread, so it's YOUR call.

I know mine is "a mess I keep meaning to organize"
People can feel free to post pics or make requests about their own harnessing/cabling. I may have started the thread bit it belongs to everyone.
 

ahoustondj

DJ Extraordinaire
Aug 13, 2007
20,235
3,464
115
Texas
#17
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Jon Tuck

RIP Brother. You will be missed.
Staff member
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www.360degreesent.com
#18
I had the same strippers but in my Gypsy DJ experience they have since went missing. They were a very handy tool.
 
#19
I wanted to share this picture with everyone this is how i did my wires, i mad a panel on the front house all my cables so nothing comes directly out of the case anymore. on the left you have power in, next to that is a blank, next to that is a 1/4th input so i can hook a phone or ipod or whatever via a 1/4 to 1/8 cable, next to that is my left speaker out, than my right speaker out, than another blank, than a soon to be dmx out, than a usb in for the mixer. What ya think?
 

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Aug 27, 2007
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#20
For what are you using those cables? As passive Speaker cables, Signal Cables to powered speakers, Patch cables for your gear?
So I have 2 Mackie self powered SRM 450 speakers. My XLR Out's on the back of my DJM 3000 mixer are going bunk. I don't always get a signal on my right side for some reason? I mess with the cables a bit, then it will come on. Grrrrrrr..... I think its a connection problem within the mixer itself from the XLR Outs on the back of my mixer.

So, I'm going to try to run my cables from my RCA Master Out's of my mixer instead of the XLR Outs, to see that fixes the problem.

I will have to buy some RCA to XLR male cables being that my Speakers have XLR males to connect into. Will there be a difference in sound if I buy some RCA to XLR male cables? I'm running each cable about 25 feet to each side.

Also is there a certain brand of cable that will do a good job with something like this? Does Gold connections help?

Let me know what you think, and thanks for your help!
 
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