Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
roscoe5

Cable Snake for 4CM, MIDI, Power, Ext Amp Switching

Recommended Posts

I'm looking to clean up the cabling from my Helix to my amp, currently using a Mesa Mark V but have others I may want to use.

 

I have found several options, but the one that looks most appealing is Lava Cable Power Tube, which seems almost perfect.  There is no price listed though and just says "Made To Order", but has a Lifetime Warranty.

http://www.lavacable.com/index.php?id=150

  • 3x 1/4" mono cables (4CM, 3 to amp input, send, return)
  • 1x  1/4" stereo cable (Helix Ext Amp for switching whatever)
  • 1 MIDI (MIDI back to RJM Amp Gizmo and Mark V, and any other MIDI gear)
  • 1x power (power the Helix)

 

I've also looked at Pedal Snake, but not too keen on the detachable ends.

https://www.pedalsnake.com/

 

Pedal Python seems like a good DIY solution to use your own supplied cables, but would be a bit thicker.

http://www.pedalpython.com/

 

I've used split black plastic corrugated wire loom and my own cables before, but that stuff is a pain.

 

I was wondering if you guys have used Lava Cable or Pedal Snake before or had any other suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They all look like great ideas but the last one looks most practical just because you could change out any single cable pretty easy even though the first one is real nice and life time warranty if you had a problem and had to send it back that could take some time. I think I will look into the last one for my XLR pair and a extension cord, thanks for posting this I hadn't even thought about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm always wary of bundling the power cable alongside signals in case it generates hum and noise.

 

Take a look at this stuff - https://www.techflex.com- it's pretty much the same as Pedal Python but cheaper and you can get it in different diameters to match the number of cables you have. it's about £1/metre here in the UK

 

Mike

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey roscoe5, 

 

I bought the Lava Snake you're looking at with the same configuration, and it's great.  It's a little heavier and thicker than I expected.  I ordered mine with 10' of unbound at the pedalboard end, and I probably should have added an inch or two longer cable at the end just to provide a little slack, as the IEC power plug is straight and it makes for a slightly taught fray of leads at the Helix end of things.  I have 30' at the amp end which I use with my Mark V, and this is ideal to connect everything, includng the stretch around the front to the input and the AC line to a powerstrip behind the amp.   It also coils up nicely in the Helix Bag alongside an expression pedal, but there's not room for much else except a guitar cable.   In AB tests (i.e., unity gain with the effects loop on and off) I can't distinguish between the snake and the helix in the loop or having the loop off. 

 

I've also used the PedalSnake, and I honestly didn't realize how much handling noise and tone-suck I was getting out of that until I upgraded.  It could be that it's 6 or 8 years old and needs a little dioxit spray. 

BTW, there are absolutely  issues with the AC line coupled with the signal lines, single coils or otherwise - that's why guitar cables are shielded.  

 

Hope this helps!

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a Pedal Python and it works great.  I have 30' of cable for the 3 audio cables, a 30' midi cable that switches channels, and a 30' power cable extention cord with another 6' (3 input) that goes to my board.  This is a very long run and I'm sure some people are worried about signal loss and noise from the power cable.  

 

My experience is that if you use decent cables there will not be desernable signal loss.  Also, I am assuming that the outputs on the HELIX are buffered.  I have not seen any proof of this, however.  Also, as long as the power cable is shielded there is no noise transfered to the audio cables.  If you use the cheap extension cords that are flat and feel like two small wires next to each other, you may have issues.

 

I was using the set up before with my POD HD500 and now with the Helix and I am not hearing any extra noise or signal loss.  The great thing about the Helix is that you can actually add 6dB of signal in your send if you think you are getting signal loss.  Also, the Helix itself is much quiter than the POD was.  My amp is a 5150 III 50watt and with the amount of gain I have I need to use a noise gate.  I'm finding with the Helix I don't have to use as harsh of a setting on the gate.

 

Anyway, hope this is helpful.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BDQh3kqtzI3/?taken-by=hollis1003

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm always wary of bundling the power cable alongside signals in case it generates hum and noise.

 

Take a look at this stuff - https://www.techflex.com- it's pretty much the same as Pedal Python but cheaper and you can get it in different diameters to match the number of cables you have. it's about £1/metre here in the UK

 

Mike

yeah I found this in the states http://www.cableorganizer.com/over-expanded-pet/

 

  • Extra expandable braided sleeve can open nearly four times its original size, allowing easy installation over cables with large connector end faces - perfect forautomotive or marine application

its about $37 US for a 100' X 1/2" spool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. Thanks for all of the great replies, links, and pics. I'll get a quote on the Lava Cable solution and go from there. Hoping to stay around $200 or less. Seems like good quality separate cables and the nylon mesh solution (Python, etc) would be around that also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just make my own using the appropriate cables and then zip tie them together and put them in a plastic cable conduit thing like this

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/cable-management/hosa-whd-410-split-loom-cable-organizer

 

Cheap and efficient. And if you get a snake made, and one cable goes down, the whole thing is done for. I considered that as a solution but I've been doing it this way for years. Plus it gives me the flexibility to change it up if I need to. If I decide to run a stereo rig and two heads down the road, I just add a cable and don't have to buy a whole new snake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey roscoe5, 

 

I bought the Lava Snake you're looking at with the same configuration, and it's great.  It's a little heavier and thicker than I expected.  I ordered mine with 10' of unbound at the pedalboard end, and I probably should have added an inch or two longer cable at the end just to provide a little slack, as the IEC power plug is straight and it makes for a slightly taught fray of leads at the Helix end of things.  I have 30' at the amp end which I use with my Mark V, and this is ideal to connect everything, includng the stretch around the front to the input and the AC line to a powerstrip behind the amp.   It also coils up nicely in the Helix Bag alongside an expression pedal, but there's not room for much else except a guitar cable.   In AB tests (i.e., unity gain with the effects loop on and off) I can't distinguish between the snake and the helix in the loop or having the loop off. 

 

I've also used the PedalSnake, and I honestly didn't realize how much handling noise and tone-suck I was getting out of that until I upgraded.  It could be that it's 6 or 8 years old and needs a little dioxit spray. 

BTW, there are absolutely  issues with the AC line coupled with the signal lines, single coils or otherwise - that's why guitar cables are shielded.  

 

Hope this helps!

Dave

Hey Dave, you shouldn't get tone suck or handling noise with PedalSnake.  If yours is old, it may have a broken shield or something.  Or sometimes an old preamp tube can be going microphonic, and this could show up more with PedalSnake than other cables.  Different cables with different impedances will respond differently to this. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put 4 instrument cables and two 9v lines in sheathing for my Firehawk that worked well, a bit bulky though. So I bought a used Horsa 8 way, cut it down to 4m and converted it to a 4 way plus two 9v lines. I'm happy with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made my own from scratch. For live use, I use the Helix in 4CM with my amp, the Helix supplying all FX both in front of the amp and in the loop, and the amp providing the actual tones. I needed a loom, so I figured I'd have a go at doing it myself. 

 

I kind of "inherited" a reel of raw 1/4 cable and a slew of connectors, both straight and right-angle. I cut out three 30' pieces, and bought a 30' length of XLR cable and two TRS connectors, one straight and one right-angle. I also had a very long (around 50'-60') XLR cable that I made previously. I bought a 25' piece of tech-flex and put them all in together after plugging them all into the Helix, so all of the cables at the unit end are made to length with little to no excess for a clean look. I color coded them all after finishing the loom, and put on a strain relief clip on the amp end. 

 

I don't have any good pictures of the loom itself, but I have a few of the cables in the Helix.

pvqygYH.jpg?1

 

nXD67h8.jpg

 

You kind of see it in action here, with a bunch of other stuff plugged into the power strip

aerWEGZ.jpg

 

The only other thing that was added that's not in the top two pictures is a right-angled IEC connector which leads to a power strip mounted on my pedalboard. For a live show, I just unlid the Helix, plug in the power strip, run the loom from my amp to the Helix, make all the connections, and I'm good to go.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI the 1/2" braided sleeve was a little small and I wasn't able to get an electrical cord end through so I just put the 2 XLR's I use to get to my M20D and had plenty left to put 2 1/4" cords in another one for the electronic drums we use. Next time I will get 3/4"..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking to clean up the cabling from my Helix to my amp, currently using a Mesa Mark V but have others I may want to use.

 

I have found several options, but the one that looks most appealing is Lava Cable Power Tube, which seems almost perfect.  There is no price listed though and just says "Made To Order", but has a Lifetime Warranty.

http://www.lavacable.com/index.php?id=150

  • 3x 1/4" mono cables (4CM, 3 to amp input, send, return)
  • 1x  1/4" stereo cable (Helix Ext Amp for switching whatever)
  • 1 MIDI (MIDI back to RJM Amp Gizmo and Mark V, and any other MIDI gear)
  • 1x power (power the Helix)

 

I've also looked at Pedal Snake, but not too keen on the detachable ends.

https://www.pedalsnake.com/

 

Pedal Python seems like a good DIY solution to use your own supplied cables, but would be a bit thicker.

http://www.pedalpython.com/

 

I've used split black plastic corrugated wire loom and my own cables before, but that stuff is a pain.

 

I was wondering if you guys have used Lava Cable or Pedal Snake before or had any other suggestions.

 

I have built a custom snake, braided and sleeved for a 4CM setup that I no longer use. It has 4 separate channels, all labeled. SEND, RETURN, INPUT and one for CHANNEL switching. Its about 20ft. If anyone is interested I can post pictures on Sunday since I left it at church. Its nice and sturdy.....and well made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have built a custom snake, braided and sleeved for a 4CM setup that I no longer use. It has 4 separate channels, all labeled. SEND, RETURN, INPUT and one for CHANNEL switching. Its about 20ft. If anyone is interested I can post pictures on Sunday since I left it at church. Its nice and sturdy.....and well made.

 

Very cool.  Maybe someone here will take you up on it.

 

I've since moved on to 2cm Helix out to tube power amp in (effects return), but plenty here still run 4cm+.  Pics of stuff are appreciated either way :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All - 
One of the best and most efficient cabling systems is the Planet Waves modular snake.  You can buy with ends on then (eight channels) and simply have 1 DB-25 connector on your pedalboard to plug in.  The only thing that's not possible is the AC power.  You could have to run that separately.  I've purchased the 8-channel pigtails and put my own ends on them (XLR, TS, TRS, and MIDI) and then matched the other side for the rack/board/amp.  I've built many of these setups for several of my guitar friends and use these exclusively with my band's sound setup (i.e. - an eight channel snake for the drummer, bass player, etc...).  

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the snake I made in case anyone needs one and doesn't want to go through the trouble of making one. Sleeving the whole thing was a pain I tell ya! Its actually 33ft.

 

v6phvmxamclmtfgoocxo.jpg

 

gcyrcfqbtcudx3tukcml.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is Jody with PedalSnake...somebody just told me about this thread, so I figured I'd weigh in...a bit late...sorry  1.  PedalSnake will not suck tone if our guidelines are followed for using a proper buffered pedal.  All true-bypass is not a good practice for anyone, really, PedalSnake or not.  It is also true that PedalSnake's higher capacitance lines are the quietest connection you can have when driven by a buffered pedal.  2.  All cables are microphonic to some degree (handling noise), but it is usually not enough to notice.  However, if you have any gear putting out DC onto a cable (not good), then PedalSnake can be a bit more microphonic than a traditional cable.  In a way, this is telling you sooner that your gear is not operating properly.  Otherwise, there should be no handling noise from PedalSnake.  3.  There is almost never any problem running power beside audio.  This is a myth, started because it CAN happen with lamp cord carrying high currents.  But with good grounded AC cords carrying small current to pedals and such, no problem.  PedalSnake is especially well shielded in this regard.  4.  PedalSnake is plug n play, so there are detachable ends (Pigtails).  The interface is a sturdy 5pin DIN plug (like MIDI), with very few failures over 10+ years.  Building or investing in any guitar snake that does not modify easily is asking for headaches down the road.  Rigs tend to change often, and when it happens, PedalSnake users are SO thankful they have detachable ends. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All - 

One of the best and most efficient cabling systems is the Planet Waves modular snake.  You can buy with ends on then (eight channels) and simply have 1 DB-25 connector on your pedalboard to plug in.  The only thing that's not possible is the AC power.  You could have to run that separately.  I've purchased the 8-channel pigtails and put my own ends on them (XLR, TS, TRS, and MIDI) and then matched the other side for the rack/board/amp.  I've built many of these setups for several of my guitar friends and use these exclusively with my band's sound setup (i.e. - an eight channel snake for the drummer, bass player, etc...).  

Thanks!

Hi there,

Thanks or weighing in on the snake debate. I was dead-set on getting the Pedalsnake but I may now be looking into the PW modular snake which looks like it would cut down on set up time thanks to the single breakout plug idea. I appreciate that if the DB-25 connector broke down then the whole rig would fail which is a bit of a disadvantage but I want to be able to set up in zero time at shows.

I was curious if you bought the 14/inch or XLR connectors and did you just resolder the connectors? It be looking at having right angled connectors at the Helix end, shame they don't already make a breakout set. It works ok to carry MIDI too?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made my own too, I just bought a length of Van Damme cable and some Neutrik plugs and used heatshrink sleeving every foot or so to keep it all together.

 

4CM, amp switching, and midi all in one.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used pedal snake for years and I absolutely love it! One cable for everything, power, switching, loops and front end. Nice and neat. I have not had issues with the ends coming loose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...