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Author Topic: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...  (Read 860 times)

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Offline kingdong

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Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« on: January 08, 2017, 02:29:09 AM »
I need/want to make some 5 pin XLR extension cables for a Sennheiser 418s.  I'm planning on using Neutrik connectors (probably NC5MX and NC5FX, but open to other suggestions) but am having trouble deciding what cable to use.  I have recently made my some 3 pin XLR cables using Mogami 2534 and guidance from posts here on TS, but in looking on the Mogami and Canare websites I am not finding an equivalent version of the quad/star quad cable for the 5 pin XLR.  Does anybody have suggestions? 

Offline ~Jon Stoppable

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Re: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 07:05:19 PM »
I don't know of an eight conductor cable suitable as a mic cable that is wired in pairs of quads (you can get quad pairs, like Cat 5, but that's not the same thing).  I suggest using a stereo mic cable like Mogami W3106 together with the Neutrik XX connectors because there is a fat boot you can get for those.  Or just use quad cable as four conductor and be happy with it.  In theory the quad should be as good as the stereo cable at reducing crosstalk (if you are concerned about that), so long as the amp has good CMRR.

Offline kingdong

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Re: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 08:24:00 PM »
Thanks Jon!  I didn't know about that availability of the fat boot; that's a great tip. 
Followup question, what is your opinion on connecting the connector shell to the cable shield/ground wire?  I don't have an electronics background, but from my reading on the interweb it seems that there are a lot of various opinions on whether to connect neither, one, or both connector shells.  The argument for one only seems to be that this can protect your equipment when connecting to other people equipment which may be wired incorrectly.  I can buy this argument, but for taping where I will be connecting my mics to my recorder this does not really seem to apply.  I guess I am leaning towards connecting both, but would love to hear what you (or others) have to say on the subject.

Offline ~Jon Stoppable

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Re: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2017, 10:37:04 PM »
Yeah, much of that is related to people using XLRs for line-level connections between gear on different circuits.  I certainly hope that damage to gear is not at issue, but there is some crazy sloppy stuff out there, especially older stuff.  But usually people are just worried about interference from ground loop current--which should never happen in balanced gear, but again that's a design issue.

For mics it's much simpler; the mic's chassis will be bonded to its pin 1, period.  The main issue there is how good that bond is.  This is why the Neutrik EMCs can help, the bond in their female connector can be better at RF than the mic's internal bond.  So you can do whatever you want in the female connector, you can't make it worse I don't think, and you might make it better.

On the male end, again, pin 1 *should* be bonded to the chassis at the female pin 1 input to the device.  If not, you can do so in the male connector if you like.  It is becoming more common for modern gear to be properly wired, so I suspect it doesn't make much difference.  It's easy enough to test on gear with a metal chassis:  connect a shell to the input and see if there is continuity between the shell and the chassis.  But on a plastic-body recorder, who knows really?  Even a plastic-body XLR connector can have a grounding tab for the shell to mate with, but you can't measure that directly if the case itself is plastic--it can be internally shielded instead.

My preference is to bond all of my cable shells, but I am working entirely with gear I built or modified as necessary.

Offline voltronic

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Re: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 09:20:26 PM »
On the male end, again, pin 1 *should* be bonded to the chassis at the female pin 1 input to the device.  If not, you can do so in the male connector if you like.  It is becoming more common for modern gear to be properly wired, so I suspect it doesn't make much difference.  It's easy enough to test on gear with a metal chassis:  connect a shell to the input and see if there is continuity between the shell and the chassis.  But on a plastic-body recorder, who knows really?  Even a plastic-body XLR connector can have a grounding tab for the shell to mate with, but you can't measure that directly if the case itself is plastic--it can be internally shielded instead.


Of the plastic-body recorders I've used, the RF intrusion has led me to believe that they don't have good internal shielding, if any at all.  Transformers for stadium lights threw some nasty RF into a couple of my recordings this past marching band season, and in the past I've had issues indoors with cell phone interference when I forgot to switch to airplane mode despite fully balanced runs throughout with cables made by our fine cable makers here.  Or, could such RF intrusion occur if there is shielding but it is not bonded to pin 1?  For one of the lighting transformer incidents, I was wishing for an audio bag lined with a Faraday cage!
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Offline kingdong

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Re: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2017, 10:05:18 PM »
I was wishing for an audio bag lined with a Faraday cage!

I think the preppers have you covered…
http://www.awesomesurvivalgear.com/faraday-emp-duffel-bag/

Offline ~Jon Stoppable

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Re: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 11:01:32 PM »
Or, could such RF intrusion occur if there is shielding but it is not bonded to pin 1?  For one of the lighting transformer incidents, I was wishing for an audio bag lined with a Faraday cage!

Yeah it can, especially if the balanced signal lines aren't carefully matched in path and length.  What happens is the "pin 1" trace inside the device acts as an antenna that radiates the interference back in an audio circuit somewhere inside the device that is either unbalanced or not well balanced.  If the pin 1 is bonded directly to a metal chassis, that's a superlow-impedance connection that causes the noise current to be expressed as an extremely low voltage (read signal).

Here's a good read--I am somewhat guilty of the #2 configuration in my products (lacking a good alternative), so I try to keep that lead short and fat, and it hits a ground plane, not a trace.  So far I've had no RF complaints and even a few compliments  :-\

http://www.rane.com/note165.html

The Neutrik EMC connector is a good solution for less than perfect mic shield bonds, but it can't always help at the receiver end if there is no ground to shell connection at all.

I personally don't get with audio guys don't want a pin 1 bond at AF.  If both bits of kit are pin 1 bonded and safety ground bonded to chassis, and the connection is balanced, exactly how does the noise signal on the shield get into the audio and not rejected?  The answer is because one of the bits of kit isn't properly wired.

Offline voltronic

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Re: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2017, 06:47:43 AM »
I was wishing for an audio bag lined with a Faraday cage!

I think the preppers have you covered…
http://www.awesomesurvivalgear.com/faraday-emp-duffel-bag/

Wow, I never would have thought it actually exists!
DPA 4061 | Line Audio CM3 | Naiant X-Q
Naiant PFAs | Shure FP24
Tascam DR-70D JWMod | Sony PCM-M10

Tascam DR-70D FAQ
Team Line Audio
Quote
I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way.    ///    If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.
- Gustav Mahler

Offline kingdong

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Re: Looking for 5 pin XLR cable making advice...
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 07:35:13 AM »
I was wishing for an audio bag lined with a Faraday cage!

I think the preppers have you covered…
http://www.awesomesurvivalgear.com/faraday-emp-duffel-bag/

Wow, I never would have thought it actually exists!

I was actually a little surprised by the duffel bag, but there are actually a fair number of options for more sleeve type bags for hard drives, tablets, and laptops.  They seem to be for forensic retrieval and chain of custody insurance so that 'the bad guys' cannot alter the contents of a wifi/bluetooth enabled device while it is in possession of the authorities.

 

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