How do you manage all your cables? (live band)

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jesso
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How do you manage all your cables? (live band)

Post by jesso » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:56 am

My band had our 1st gig the other night, and there was serious pressure to get set up quickly. We have a medium sized P.A, 3 singers, 2 guitars/amps, A bass/amp, a laptop running live with an interface/ few other bits, and a small lighting setup.
We managed to set up all the equipment quickly, that is untill we opened the box with the huge mess of cables! It probly took longer to untangle all the cables then to do anything else, and we hadnt even put them in messily!
I know some of you guys out there must have ingenious ways of organising yourself for live performances. Is it just a case of wrapping them into circles and then using some kind of velcro to secure em? Hmmm... maybe i should try that. What works for you? :wink:

Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:24 pm

Hi there.

Well, there are loads of ways of organising this. First of all, it sounds like you need to learn how to roll your cables and tie them up. It is quite an artform!
http://youtube.com/watch?v=JUz266TU9JE
(you will want to do over-under-wrapping)
Secondly, labelling them might be a good idea.(the very long cable that you need for the singer that goes in to the crowd? Where's that?) Thirdly you really should rehearse setup and break-down of your system. It's tedious, but you can generally cut setup times quite dramatically.

Also, consider keeping cables with the instruments/mics, so that there isn't a jumble of cables, and each person responsible for setting up the individual gear can also hook up the cable.

Lastly, doing a sort of sub-assembly of cables for the laptop/mixer rig is a great idea. Have you considered racking it up, or putting it in some sort of custom case?
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sqook
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Post by sqook » Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:07 pm

A much better (and cheaper) method -- go to wal-mart and buy a big bag of children's shoelaces... use color coordination (1 pair = 1 color for each end), and wrap common cables in bunches.

donnydonny
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Post by donnydonny » Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:03 pm

You could use a combination of color co-ordination and labeling, and I would suggest maybe separating all the cables everyone needs,, and keep them with their respective instruments. I've seen a lot of local bands break down and toss all their stuff into own bag. I'd assume it makes it easier to know who needs what cables.
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underhill
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Post by underhill » Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:39 pm

I use a shoe bag, meant to hang on a door. It has 24 clear plastic pockets for shoes, or cables. After a show the cables get put back in the numbered pockets and it rolls up and fits into a small duffle bag. I am putting together a backup bag as well.

jesso
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Post by jesso » Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:05 pm

thanks guys, Great advice!
That cable wrapping is a bit of a black art though... cant get my head around it...
Really like the shoe bag idea. Genius!

glu
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Post by glu » Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:30 pm

learn to wrap the cables.. they naturally loop themselves up, once you get the basic idea, its not hard. When I had a band, we had guitar, bass, keyboard, drum machine midi'ed diskdrive, amps and monitors, stands, slide projector, tapestry, (even a pig's head at one show) We had this all up and going (including scsi loadtime to triton for samples..) in 15 minutes.

organize your cables bro! It's not hard, and it will save lot o' time.. tie them up, hell, even bread twisties is better than a tangled clusterfuck cableball //// Otherwise, you look like a n00b onstage, which is not good if the owner is watching... good impressions will get you more headline acts at the club too. plus, if you can set up quicker, you may be able to start the show off with an interesting intro track.... builds suspense, and lets the club know THE act is on!

jesso
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Post by jesso » Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:39 pm

15 minutes is impressive... gives me somthing to aim for! I get cables naturally loop themselves up, and i watched that utube video, but i dont get the under / over thing.... I think i need to be shown 1st hand.
Thanks!

rbmonosylabik
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Post by rbmonosylabik » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:13 pm

The way I do the over/under wrap is something like this:

1 - Extend your arm and put your palm facing away from your face. Put one of the cable ends between your thumb and index with the plug facing away from your face and the cable going towards you. Do this with your left hand if right handed, right if left handed.

2 - Imagine you're holding a ping pong racquet in the hand pulling the cable back.

3 - Make a normal out loop. Do this with the motion you'd do when lobbing the ping pong ball from in front of your body. Try making the loops the same size.

4 - Now, for the under loop. Pull some more cable back. Now imagine doing a forehand stroke with the racquet. If you're right handed, this means extending your arm to the right to hit the ball.

Do the ball hitting motion, making sure your arm goes under the cable coming out of the opposite hand like shown in the pic:

Image

Put the cable between your thumb and index of the hand holding the cable and join the loops. The remaining cable should come out between the 1st and 2nd loop.

5 - Repeat alternating between over and under loop.
Image

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Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:14 pm

Nice explanation... quick question thoughh.... how did you take that picture?

;)
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rbmonosylabik
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Post by rbmonosylabik » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:38 pm

Machinate wrote:Nice explanation... quick question thoughh.... how did you take that picture?

;)
Set cell phone camera to Temporizer. Held it between my upper teeth and my chest bone/sweatshirt. Hit "Start", scrambled for the cable and example wrapped it while doing a mental countdown of 10 seconds.

Easy :roll:
Image

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jesso
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Post by jesso » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:45 pm

Aha! Thats better!
Thanks for the explination, mucho appreciation. :D

GaryTracks
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Post by GaryTracks » Sun Jan 07, 2007 4:48 am

i always keep my power cables and computer cords in one bag and my instrument and midi cables in another. plug all my power first , then the cables.

but now i'm rack mounted and excited how clean and fast it will be to cram everything into the rack and seal her up!
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Atomikat
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Post by Atomikat » Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:21 am

I use velcro in different colors...for most of the cables, and my midi cables are color coded with each instrument : The red one goes with the ESX1 (red), the blue one with the EMX1 (it's blue),etc,etc...this way I always know what cable is plugged into what instrument. :D

MrYellow
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Post by MrYellow » Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:02 am

Do a lot of roadie work....... 15mins is too much for most venues for bands.

A lot of venues around here have 3-4 or even 5 bands between 8:30 and
12. Everyone wants to play their 45min sets.

For 4 bands @ 45mins, that's 3 hours of music in 3.5-4 hours.
4 bands would have 3 setup breaks.... To total less then 30mins/1hour.

If your band takes 15mins to setup and others follow suit, pretty soon one
of the bands is playing only 4 songs or something before having to drive a
few hundred kms home. Not a great way to make friends.

Be ready, be sober, help the band before as best you can without messing
up their system and losing their gear. Setup what you can before they
finish, have your drinks/water ready, then all you need to do is throw it all
up.

Practice and make it 10mins or less.

-Ben

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