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Running monitors through snake?


I was talking to someone the other day and they mentioned using their Snake to run monitors. From what I understand (which is a pittance) there needs to be returns(?) on the snake. Can someone explain?
October 5, 2003 @07:30pm

Some manufacturers make snakes with speaker level returns in them, 14 gauge wire at the best. If you're going to run monitor or main sends back from FOH, it is best to simply send line level through a balanced return (XLR or TRS 1/4") to your amps on stage. This keeps the signal path cleaner and the speaker cable length shorter.
October 6, 2003 @03:07am

Do I need to run sends back to FOH for any particular reason?
October 6, 2003 @03:56am

Where is your mixing board at a show?
If you're out in the house, where are your amps, in racks with you, or up near the stage? A snake is used to send all your mic levels sends to your board and your balanced line level returns back to the stage for monitors, mains and subs.
October 6, 2003 @12:50pm

I have to have the board and amps on stage with me as I am guitarist and soundman. Sometimes I am lucky enough to have someone run sound and I can move the amps etc off stage. That is when I was thinking of using snake for mon returns.
October 6, 2003 @07:27pm

When you're lucky enough to have someone run sound from the house, keep the amps on, or near the stage to keep the speaker cable run as short as possible. Then you'll need a snake with say 24 XLR/Mic sends and 4-8 XLR/TRS line returns.
October 6, 2003 @09:55pm

But I think after hearing this it sounds like it would not necessarily be a good deal to do this whole mon/snake thing. I thought it would just make things easier but it sounds like a pain. What do you think?
October 8, 2003 @12:36am

That's how I do it. Keeps the speaker cables shorter. Since I run 10G for everything, 100' of 10G is pretty darn heavy!
Just think, one source to plug in your mics on stage, your cables to your amps, and all neatly tucked inside of one pre-manufactured snake cable.
I guess it's all in your thought process.
October 8, 2003 @03:17am

Ok I got confused there. I thought you were saying the other way is better but you like using the snake for monitors. So if I do not have returns on my snake I need to trade that off and buy the other. I need to think this through and see it on my setup so I am gonna try it and if you don't mind maybe come back with some questions. Hey I really appreciate this I am learning a ton. Thanks.
October 8, 2003 @05:34am

If if comes down to it and you have spare channels on your snake, you can use turnarounds (or gender-benders... whatever terminoligy you prefer) to get it into the snake tails and out of the box. OR you can take the guerrilla route and replace the connectors on the tail and box of a few channels!
January 29, 2004 @07:43pm

Ok Let me find these gender benders your speaking of and it will probably come together for me. I am assuming It's some sort of adapter to turn xlr in's into xlr outs then you could connect a xlr to 1/4" cable (because that's the only ins I have to my monitors). Of course then if my thinking is right I need an xlr female to banana clip connection. This can't be right. Too many connections too many chances to lose signal. What am I not getting here? Man I hate it when I am dunce.
January 30, 2004 @05:57am

It seems to me that the problem is you do not understand the difference between line level and speaker level.
Speaker cables (which some folks actually build into snakes, for reasons unknown to most of the thinking world) are designed to handle tons of electricity. They look the same on the outside, (except sometimes are way thicker, in the case of what Cory does) but they are not neccessarily so. This is further complicated by the fact that for most semipro stuff, these cables also use 1/4" jacks. Like a guitar.
Right? But they are NOT the same as guitar cables.
This is the cable you stick in between your power amplifier, and your speaker.
These cables excel at handling a ton of voltage, but will waste electricity like theres no tommorrow for two reasons.
1) Long cable runs, and
2) Thin cable.
If you'll think about it, sticking a speaker cable into a snake is going to create both problems. The cable will neccesarily be really long, (because that's the point) and thin, to fit it into the snake with all the other thin cable.
The other thing that Cory is reccommending (as would most folks), is to simply use a mic jack to return the signal to the stage, nice and clean. Then, connect it to your power amps, about 4 feet from your speakers. (Of course you got this part.) This will sound cleaner, etc.
And you know how with mic jacks you've got the jack with pins, (male) and the ones without pins(Female, just like people. That was a major revelation for me, folks. 'You mean, they call it male, because they're MALE?!?') ? One is always in, one is always out. Just think of your mics. They always have a male jack connected to them.
So anyway, most snakes have about a bazillion (16-32) female jacks on the stage box, and only 4-8 male ones. The male ones are designed for your monitors, and your mains.
Everything else is to send your guitars, vocals, etc. to the mixer.
I probably just explained a ton of stuff you already understood.
But what else would I have done with my morning?
January 30, 2004 @03:42pm

I do know the diff between line and speaker cables. But no harm done- it never hurts to make sure.Yeah I am wondering now, though, after reading AudioBond's reply if I can convert my snake (which has no male xlr's) to run power to my monitors without putting together too many connections causing more opportunity for problems. I have many extra channels.
January 31, 2004 @04:55am

Hello again,
I would NOT run speaker level signal down a snake unless the snake was designed for it (even then, it's kinda sketchy in my opinion...). The cable is WAY to thin (usually on the order of 18 awg) and you run the risk of crosstalk and interference on your regular snake channels.
If you were to use gender-benders (XLR male to male or female to female connectors) or XLR to 1/4" adapters, depending on your console outputs, you can take your console outputs, turn them around (with gender benders) and plug them into spare channels of your snake fanout (usually use the highest # empty channles... just to make it simple). At the stage box, use more gender-benders (or XLR to 1/4" adapters, whichever is appropriate for your gear...) to take those channels (lets say 39 and 40) and plug them into the amplifier inputs that power your monitors. Then wire up some wedges to your amps and your good to go.
Generally speaking, I agree with you about too many connections... more room for trouble, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do! If you try this setup and it works out ok for ya, you can always bust out the old soldering iron (or find someone who is good with one if you aren't) and permanantly replace some of the connectors on the snake to eliminate/minimize the need for adapters. Something to consider at least...
If this doesn't make sense, it's probably the way I typed it... just let me know and I'll try to clarify.
January 31, 2004 @07:43pm

Ah HA! The problem was in my visualization. See I keep my amps in a case that acts as a stand for my mixing board- Sometimes I am the only one running sound so I have to run sound whilst (I love that word) playing guitar. Now I see the prob -I was not picturing any kind of a stretch from my console to my amps, just my amps to my speakers. Now, I have heard that your amps should be close to the stage. I run mine at one of my places about 20' from the stage, but that's about Max. I use real thick speaker cables. Should I change that and put my amps on stage at all times?
January 31, 2004 @08:42pm