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Author Topic: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?  (Read 1909 times)

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Offline ycoop

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Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« on: September 26, 2018, 11:22:01 AM »
Thinking of getting a custom XLR stereo snake made for use on mics set on a max 9’ stand. I have a sense of the difference between techflexed vs non-techflexed from looking at pictures, but have never handled techflexed cables in person. It looks like techflexed cables might be a little more rigid that I would want to fit in my gear bag. I’ve also read reports of them having form memory issues.

Any input?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 12:20:48 PM by ycoop »
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Offline tim in jersey

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2018, 12:15:22 PM »
I prefer not tech-flexed.

I do open and 007 recording. In the case of n-box>3.5 input the techflex puts unnecessary strain on the connectors due to stiffness.

Also I have yet to nick the jacket on XLR cables, and I've been doing pro-AV for 20+ years and never had a cable fail EXCEPT at the connector due to strain.

YMMV...

Offline heathen

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 12:36:53 PM »
I'm in the process of making my first set of cables.  I'm not techflexing them, partially because the whole point of this set is to be thin and light and partially because I didn't want to deal with techflex since I don't really have much experience with it.  What I will probably do is join the two cables every few feet or so with some heat shrink, with plenty of space at the end for each cable to go its own way.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 01:07:21 PM »
IME it's not the techflex sheathing itself which makes the cable bundle less flexible, its that there are multiple cables bundled together within the sheathing.  In other words, if you were to techflex a single cable, it would not be significantly less flexible unless it was really thin to begin with. 

However, most tapers are not using techflex to protect a single cable. Instead, they are using it to bundle two or more separate cables together to create a single run.  In that case you need to weigh the trade-off between having a single less-flexible bundle versus multiple more-flexible cables.

The specific application and strain-relief strategy for the connections are key elements in whether "techflexing" is suitable or not.  Also, keep in mind that there are many different styles of techflex, some is more flexible than others, some expands more than, some has a different feel or "hand" than others, etc.  And keep in mind that it needs to be the appropriate diameter, as its range of expansion and contraction is limited.

I don't particularly like the taped or heat-shrunk every few feet method of bundling because that doesn't bend as cleanly, can easily hang or snag on things, and just doesn't work well for me.  I'd rather use single cables that are simply all tied off together with velcro ties at a couple points along the stand.  But if I am going to bundle, I prefer texflex or the equivalent. 

Example- I use standard techflex to bundle six thin coaxial microphone cables into a single run.  Since the cables are thin and very flexible to begin with, the resulting bundle isn't overly stiff, although it is fatter and stiffer than a single standard XLR mic cable.  Fatter mic cables within the bundle will sometimes cross or twist within the bundle making lumps and non-smooth bends and coils.  I typically carry the bundle coiled in about a foot diameter loop, but it can make a bend in about half that diameter.  This bundling makes the rig far more streamlined and clean, and makes for easier to manage setup, breakdown, and transport.  I would not want to run 6 seperate mic cables from my stand to the bag, have to coil and uncoil each one, any deal with the inevitable if occasional rats-nest.

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Offline ycoop

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2018, 02:13:19 PM »
^ I’m looking at a GAK cables XLR snake. Judging from pictures the XLR cables themselves are pretty thin. Anyone have experience with his snakes want to contribute?
Mics: Avantone CK-1s, CA-14 omnis
Pres: CA9100
Recorders: DR-60d mkII, DR-22wl, DR-07

Offline IMPigpen

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2018, 02:17:32 PM »
I actually techflexed all my XLR cables in pairs not too long again.  Like Gutbucket pointed out, it just makes setup and breakdown a lot easier and the bag cleaner.  I actually used split opening Techflex F6 which allowed me to not have to remove the XLR connectors on one end and snake the cables through.  And since I secured each end with some electrical tape, I can just remove the electrical tape and take the cables out if I need them separate.

It was a simple process too with the little tool they have to feed it in for a few bucks.  I left a foot or so out on the recorder ends and 18 inches on the mic end so no strain on the connectors either.  They curl up pretty small the the techflex doesn't open up.  One pair of mine are Mogami which are on the thicker side and it curls up about the same as when I had them separate.

Here's a link to what I used if you are interested (and I have no affiliation with them!) :)

https://www.techflex.com/general-purpose/flexo-f6
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Offline heathen

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2018, 02:58:16 PM »
^ I’m looking at a GAK cables XLR snake. Judging from pictures the XLR cables themselves are pretty thin. Anyone have experience with his snakes want to contribute?

I have a set of GAK cables.  They're XLR cables techflexed together.  Top notch work...highly recommended.
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2018, 03:13:04 PM »
The GAK cables I have are older, but are made from the "typical-custom-taper-style" mil-spec silver coated copper cables stock, which is thin with a white PTFE jacket.  It's not a snake but a standard 2-channel cable with black techflex and RA XLRs, chopped at one end.That cable stock is thin but relatively rigid given its diameter.  It has more shape memory and kink-potential than standard fatter rubber-jacketed microphone cable, but handles pretty well as long as you coil it right, which I do anyway. I've seen others which are coiled super tight and retain more of a slinky configuration.  It's a well made cable which has served me well for years.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Gutbucket

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While we are talking Techflex-
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2018, 03:13:59 PM »
While we are talking Techflex- Anyone ever use the Flexo Noise Reduction type?

https://www.techflex.com/specialty/flexo-noise-reduction

Description- "NR is used in body wiring harnesses, instrument panel and lighting wiring, cable & hose assemblies, and other limited access applications where noise reduction is desirable." "The special construction suppresses noise from loose harnesses moving against body or dash panels. F6 Quiet also has a soft and flexible feel, reminiscent of an old style cotton loom.."

Comfort and low handling noise are the key aspects for this application.

The intended application is primarily re-sheathing small-diameter coax microphone cable which has failing cable jackets.  These are integrated cables on DPA 4060 microphones that are working fine except the cable jackets are failing and breaking away. They've become stiff and cracked, and the jacket is now flaking off in chunks.  The rigidity of the remaining jacket portions adjacent to the more flexible areas without any jacket creates flex-stress points.  Yet if all of the old jacket were to be stripped away, the spiral-wrapped shielding/ground would be exposed and fray.  I'm thinking to use the thinnest 1/8" diameter version of this texflex as a replacement cable jacket.

Secondarily, I may get some of the same in a slightly larger diameter to bundle the last few feet of feet 4 of these re-jacketed cables together.  I currently use standard Techflex for that now, but the quieter handling, softer feel and possibly more flexible nature of this version should be a better fit for that as well.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 05:56:23 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline heathen

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2018, 12:59:39 PM »
I don't particularly like the taped or heat-shrunk every few feet method of bundling

I put this together last night and immediately regretted it.  Time to order the techflex that can be put on after-the-fact  :facepalm:
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2018, 01:14:52 PM »
You have three choices for that-

1) "standard" type Techflex which expands sufficiently to slip the connectors though it.  That means it will probably be somewhat loose around the cable bundle once snuggled down and gaff-taped or heat-shrunk at the ends.  I do that for bundles I reconfigure semi-regularly.  I think they make some versions which have a wider expansion range than "standard" Techflex.

2) The split versions which sort of wrap around the bundle and part-way around itself with a springiness that holds it closed, but is otherwise without a mechanical closure.

3) The velcro-closure type which has narrow length of hook/loop closure material running along the split.  I suspect this is more more "Cordura" fabric-like.

I've not used either of the split types.  That feature is useful but adds bulk, and I'm not sure how well they coil, lay, stay closed, etc.

The alternate option is to remove the connectors and re-solder them afterward.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 05:55:39 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Perry

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2018, 03:38:47 PM »
Tech flex adds a lot of bulk, especially when you wind your cables for storage. Earlier this year I made a 15' 6-channel snake using very thin AT cable. I covered it with split tech-flex and it looked really clean all set up in my living room. When I tore down the rig I discovered the snake wouldn't fit in my gear bag. I removed the tech flex and wrapped a piece of gaff tape around the bundle every 2'. It tales up a lot less room and makes it easy to pop my AT853's out of the snake for low-pro work.
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Offline Fried Chicken Boy

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2018, 04:09:59 PM »
I removed the tech flex and wrapped a piece of gaff tape around the bundle every 2'. It tales up a lot less room and makes it easy to pop my AT853's out of the snake for low-pro work.

I've done this a few times with cables.  While I agree that it does make for a more bendable cable set and takes up less room than a Techflexed set, I also found that the adhesive on the gaffers tape eventually starts to break down (likely from the bending, coiling, etc, and not being a stationary application) and makes a sticky mess as the tape slides around.  I always wind up removing the tape when this starts to happen and then have to use something like Goo Gone to remove the residue. 

Have also tried doing the same thing with zip ties.  Works well until you have to coil the cables and the little nubs on the ties catch on your hands.  Ouch.  Anyway, YMMV. 

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2018, 05:58:44 PM »
Split-length Techflex is easier to use, especially if the connectors are already installed, but adds significantly more bulk than the non-split type.
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Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline morst

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Re: Custom cables, to techflex or not to techflex?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2018, 10:29:32 PM »
I only first heard of tech flex a few years ago. I can live without it.


Oh my, I need to clean up and coil the two or four cables I stuffed into my bag, before I can record the next show?


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