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Author Topic: Solderless XLR  (Read 9594 times)

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Offline TNJazz

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2009, 11:40:50 PM »
Using exotic silver cable with screw on connectors is like running a Porsche with those temporary spare donut tires.

Well said.   ;D

Proof?  Fact or opinion?

Certainly my opinion, and the opinion of every professional engineer I've ever asked.

Sometimes perception outweighs "fact".  Bottom line is that not using soldered connections gives off a "less than professional" vibe.  Not saying it's right or wrong, just saying it is what it is.

I personally have had a number of crimped connections fail in the past.  I have not had nearly as many issues with soldered connections.  If you do a lot of plugging and unplugging, I don't think you want to be doing it with non-soldered connections.  Would I use a crimped connector in a permanent install?  Maybe.  I'd be much more receptive to using one if it wasn't constantly being moved around, plugged, unplugged, etc.
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Offline boojum

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2009, 11:59:54 PM »
Dirk -

I understand what you are saying and I know it has basis in fact as you are a successful professional "sound guy."  The Neutrik solderless have the strain taken by the cable itself, before it gets to the connections.  The connections in their solderless connectors are physically isolated from the tugs on the wire as the cable itself is pressed very hard by the connection.

I should try hanging weights on some of my solderless connectors to see just how much weight they can suspend.  I agree that pro's roll their eyes at the mention of solderless.  The fellow I worked with was pretty skeptical, too. 

Mine are working so far with the exception of some which were in the back of my truck in the bed and on the floor of the truck cab and underfoot for several months.  I have to open them to see whether the failure is at the connectors or not.  Until I have found out what has caused the failure in these cable I will not even hazard a guess. 

I will let you know when I find out.

Cheers


BTW - a pretty interesting article.  It is not what one would expect on a comparison between soldered and solderless connections.  I remember Bell talking about it in articles in Scientific American back in the late 50's.  Not scientific articles, informercial type ads, the kind that SA publishes.


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Offline Chuck

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2009, 03:00:05 PM »
The telephone industry standard are solderless connections. They hold up pretty well in that application. Remember, the first most important aspect of any connection is the physical connection between the wire and the connector.

If you have good contact between the connector and the wire then solder over it, that connection is hard to beat. But, a cold solder joint or a joint made using the solder as a conductor (not good contact between the connector and the wire) is probably worse that a solderless connection.

If I remember right, Canare has some information on their site about how in certain applications ("true" 75 ohm cable/connectors) they like crimped connections over soldered connections. I looked but couldn't find it again.
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Offline boojum

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2009, 06:43:32 PM »
I am glad this is getting kicked around a bit.  I figure that the Bell folks know something about connections.  And Neutrik would not risk their good reputation by coming out with a product that did not work.  These folks test their gear rigorously before they put it on the counter to sell.  And while I cannot find a reference to the solderless connectors on their website (??!!), Markertek who carries them, my source, has no disclaimers or warning about them  Markertek is a pretty big outfit and supplies lots of pro operations, so I kind of doubt they would risk carrying them if there were problems.

That said, I can certainly understand skepticism, especially from folks in the business who may have been burned by solderless in the past.  I do have to pop open the failed cables and check them.  I was checking their continuity before going to a session.  I always check cables.  I was quite surprised to find that some had failed.  Again, if it is the fault of the solderless connections I will let you know.  How about I let you know either way??

Cheers
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Offline boojum

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2009, 12:30:41 AM »
My own cables which I thought had failed have not.  I may have tested the hot to return connectors instead of hot to hot.  No matter.  I tested them all tonight and got a "beep" on each contact so they are all OK. 

I am satisfied that the Neutrik solderless connectors work and work as well as soldered.  So is AT&T.

 8)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 12:34:58 AM by boojum »
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Offline TNJazz

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2009, 08:26:08 AM »

I am satisfied that the Neutrik solderless connectors work and work as well as soldered.  So is AT&T.

 8)

I'm pretty sure AT&T isn't going to endorse the reliability of Neutrik solderless connectors... ::)

Since telco is a totally different beast than audio cable, you cannot draw a convincing enough parallel for me, sorry.  I don't plug and unplug my phone 3-4 times a day, so how is that related?

For repeated plugging and unplugging, most professional (and amateur) users do not trust solderless connectors and that's just a flat-out fact.  I've had a number of snake channels fail over the years and in all cases but one they were the crimp/solderless variety.

They work for you though, so congratulations.  Perhaps others here on the board will try them as a result.
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Offline boojum

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2009, 07:24:23 PM »
The phone connection analogy is incorrect.  The solderless connection that the phone company makes is in the frame room.  Hundreds of thousands of them; millions. 

My argument rests on the fact that these connectors, Neutrik, are working just fine for me.  The manner of the assembly places all the tension on the cable itself and not the wire connections.  I doubt very much that Neutrik would put a product out there which was not 100%.  If there were any problem with it Neutrik would have noted that.  Their reputation is too good, the best, to risk on a faulty product.  That is why I tried them in the first place.  I have a soldering iron and can use it, too.  I just soldered up some mini-XLR's; fun!  I've built two stereo amps, a couple of tuners, and a pre-amp.  I am still using the amp, pre-amp and tuner 25 years later so I guess I can solder OK.  ;o)

I just thought I'd try something new.  If these connectors do fail along the line I will let you know.  No sense anyone else having the problem if it is avoidable.  But until it is a problem I am not going to report it as such.   


Cheers

PS - I do not have any special crimping tool for these connectors.  I put them together using a wire stripper.  I pushed the wires into the piece there for them using my pen knife's nail file.  So much for hi-tech!    LOL  I suppose I could have used my teeth as the wire-stripper.  It has worked in the past.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 07:29:52 PM by boojum »
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Offline goodcooker

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2009, 01:20:34 AM »
  So much for hi-tech!   

I agree with Dirk. If you want good connections solder them. If you can't do it yourself, pay someone else to do it. These solder free connectors use a pin to push into the wire and will conduct electricity from one end of the wire to the other but think about it from a physical realistic standpoint.....the tooth pushes through the jacket...contacting maybe 8 of the 19 strands in a 22awg cable....this eventually contacts the rest of the strands downstream due to proximity.....at the other end the same thing happens.

In a soldered connection all of the strands of the conductor contact each other equally on both ends.

Which one is better....you tell me. Do you want hi-tech or the one that does the job the best.

The Bell Labs/AT&T comparison is ludicrous. Phone lines and microphone channels are two differnet beasts. BNC connectors are almost exclusively crimp jobs requiring specialized tools.....so are many other connectors....XLR connectors have always been solder jobs....and still are, in the professional world, with the exception of lighting rigs and other non critical points of failure. If you only have two or four channels to worry about why risk it?

Boojum, you use high quality equipment, microphones and recorder are all top notch correct?

Do you want a weak link in your chain?

I'm not saying the things are useless but I am saying they are not as good as soldered connections. I've worked on a crew and we didn't trust them for audio signals.

"I doubt very much that Neutrik would put a product out there which was not 100%.  If there were any problem with it Neutrik would have noted that.  Their reputation is too good, the best, to risk on a faulty product "

As far as your claim that Neutrik would not put out an inferior product and damage their good standing....I've had +/- 10% failure rate from Neutrik products in my cable business. There is a tolerance for manufacturing procedures and Neutrik is like anyone else...they do the best they can and it is NOT 100% success. They are in the business of selling connectors and if they think they see a market they will pursue it. I still use Neutrik exclusively FWIW.

Again I'm not personally attacking you or Neutrik....I just dont want anyone to take a shortcut  at a critical place in their recording chain when someone could DIY a solution for the investment of a soldering iron and a few bucks worth of silver solder. To quote you.................YMMV

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Offline boojum

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2009, 01:44:56 AM »
I can only offer my experience with these solderless connectors.  What can you offer?  Not experience with them, for sure.  If they fail I will let you know.  Until then, I'll keep on using them.  One test is worth a thousand opinions.
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Offline TNJazz

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2009, 07:41:03 PM »
The phone connection analogy is incorrect.  The solderless connection that the phone company makes is in the frame room.  Hundreds of thousands of them; millions. 

So...you're saying the phone company plugs and unplugs these millions of connections in the frame room every day?

If so, your comparison *might* be valid to the frequency of plugging and unplugging audio cables repeatedly.  Otherwise, you're advocating cutting corners in an area that can be prone to a rather high failure rate.

Personally I think solderless/crimp is fine for fixed installation wire (as do most).  I would NEVER use it in the field unless I had no other choice though.  I'd even try to track down a soldering iron at a show to fix a broken cable if I had to, before I resorted to a solderless connector.

To address Jon's mention of Speakon connectors:  I have no direct experience with them but I have a good friend who's an audio engineer at Clair Brothers and he's told me on more than one occasion that those connectors are absolutely the most atrocious and failure-prone connectors anyone has ever invented (with the possible exception of DL connectors) and he hates them with a passion.  Perhaps there's a reason for this?  I really don't know for sure though, and as I said I have no direct experience with Speakons.

Look, if the solderless work for you then hooray!  We'll have a parade every time you come home with a successful recording.  Just don't get all up in arms when people who work in the business tell you it's not acceptable to most. 

I'll ask my friends what they think the next time I talk to them and I'll be sure to post the results.  Luckily there is no profanity filter on this board.   :D
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Offline Lil Kim Jong-Il

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2009, 08:27:22 PM »
I'm still confused - what does that wire wrapping article have to do with crimp connections?  They aren't the same.  A properly wrapped post will have 25-40 mechanical joints against solid core wire, unlike the multi-strand cable crimps that we would use.   That article was written before any of the modern solder formulations were in use so it's isn't as valid as it once was. 

That said, all of our cars have crimped connections in the wiring harness and they work pretty well given the temperature extremes and abuse an automobile takes. 

So as far as our needs are concerned I think it's pretty much a wash.


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Offline boojum

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2009, 12:50:37 AM »
Let me make myself clear:  Neutrik solderless work for me, period.  No one else is using them or has used them to say they are not good.  I am the only guy here with experience with Neutrik solderless connectors.  Other solderless connectors may be junk.  That is like saying that all the cars you know of and that your friends know of or have driven are junk.  But my car is working just fine.  So by my experience cars are fine, at least the one I have.

You have said that all the solderless connectors you know of are junk and all your friends agree.  I am not disputing this.  I am saying that Neutrik works for me.  And the principle it is based on, a friction or compression connection works fine for the phone company.  The connect-disconnect analogy is bogus.  It has no bearing at all.  It has no bearing because the compression/friction connection in the Neutrik connector is made or broken as often as the connection in the frame room: once, when it is made.  It is the same pins in the XLR's that make and break the connection as in the soldered connectors.

I am not asking anyone to use them.  I am saying they work for me and have for ~2 years.  Has anyone here had a Neutrik solderless connector fail on them????  Again, one test is worth a thousand opinions.  When these Neutrik solderless connectors fail you will all be the first to know.  I promise.  I even posted back a while that I thought they had failed, but they had not.  I retested them yesterday and they, each and every one, each and every pin and socket, are fine.  I think I will go through them when I get time and check what the resistance is in them.  I'll let you know.    8)

In the meanwhile you need not have a parade every time they work for me, just accept it as fact.  Is that really so much to ask?  Really?

Cheers
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Offline rokpunk

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2009, 08:29:04 AM »
yank hard on the cable with soldered connections, and then try it with the solderless xlrs.
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again, your showing your cluelessness.


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Offline boojum

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2009, 01:27:48 PM »
yank hard on the cable with soldered connections, and then try it with the solderless xlrs.

And your point is if I want to abuse my gear I am better off abusing soldered connections?  I do not abuse my gear.  What you do is your business.  I think it would do you all well to look at the Neutrik solderlss connector before you advance too many opinions on it.  It would be helpful to be well informed on this product before you offer too many opinions on it, don't you think.

Let me ask:, how many here have used Neutrik solderless connectors or even opened one up?
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Offline Javier Cinakowski

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Re: Solderless XLR
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2009, 02:46:42 PM »
If I had to hang from a cliff using XLR cable I would prefer a crimped connection.  I can't imagine solder would hold to much weight....
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