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Sound multicore connectors


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I 'm looking to buy/make an XLR stage box:


Specs someting like:

20 x Female XLR (panel mount) returns

4 x Male XLR (panel mount) sends

(Would possibly make two OR a double unit, thus 40 returns and 4 sends!)

All XLRs are split to both 2 x 72 pin connectors.

One 72 pin feeds FOH desk, the other a monitor desk.


I already have a reel of 24 way cable, which I hope to make into a number of lengths, then depending on FOH and monitor desk positions I can use appropriate length cables. (this was free! :) )


Having cost this up (RS), I roughly get:

20 x XLR Female panel mount @ £2.55 = £51.00

4 x XLR Male panel mount @ £1.75 = £7.00

40 x XLR Male (inline) @ £1.85 = £74.00

8 x XLR Femle (inline) @ £2.25 = £18.00

2 x 72pin connector (panel mount) @ £19.32 = £38.64

2 x 72pin connector (inline) @ £33.13 = £66.26

Total £254.90 + some sort of box/rack

:) Ignoring other 72 pin connectors for the moment ! ;)


So the questions are... (in no partiuclar order)

1. Is there a pre-built unit on the market similar to this for about £200-350?

1b. Where would I look for info on purchasing one?


2. Are there parts of a pre-built unit - eg a 24 way XLR patch panel unit. Or 72 pin to XLR breakout. etc?


3. Is there a industry standard 72 pin connector that I should be using? Currently looking at RS part no. 493-496

3b. What is conventional pin out of said connector?


4. Is there a better way to do this, ie split signals to FOH and Monitor mixes?


Thanks in advance



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I've looked at the connectors you detailed - They look very similar to Hartings, but I can't find any direct compatibility between them.


Hartings are pretty well the toughest audio industry connector - EDACs which feature on some studio kit don't seem to stand up that well to touring. The Epics look pretty similar to the hartings and as long as you use metal clad connectors, you should be fine.


My systems are interchangable. I use 24 way multi - and the stage box has 24 male, 24 female and a harting multiway - all in parallel. Works really well for what I do - and having both sexes available on the XLRs enables easy running in both directions without using gender benders.


I hadn't seen these connectors before, but I'd certainly consisder them for future projects as the price isn't as bad as hartings.

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I think I understand... :)


You have 24 M XLR and 24 F XLR in stage box, with 24 ways thru multi (72pin Harting)?


So channel 1 is linked to both M XLR and F XLR and [1] on the multi - but what happends at the other end of the multi?


Did you make these yourself?


How do you link to a monitor desk - or don't you?


What is the name of the Harting conector?

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The way it works is that there is a harting male on the end of the multi - I've got identical stage boxes, so I can put one on each end, or plug into the spider in the dog box at the back of the mixer - this lives there all the time and is what I normally use. At the stage end, I've got a 6m 24ch loom made up to go to the monitor mixer. So on stage, the mics plug into the females, the paralleled males go to monitors, and the harting goes to foh.


64, 72 and 108 pin versions of the Harting are popular. The shells are metal and thick. They attach with proper clamps. You buy the cover, the plastic insert and the pins. Oddly, the pins cost far more than you'd think - so they are pretty expensive connectors. Harting do loads of insert types. Some good for audio, others take mains - they even do a combined audio and video version.


I generally make all my special cables - if you've not done them before, the only critical thing is putting the pins on the cables - I'd really recommend crimping them - you can hire the tool. Soldering is a pain, as the visible cores are quite short, and soldering seventy odd pins without melting something is pretty difficult! You also need to make sure you stick the right one into the right hole. Sounds easy, but take my word for it - it isn't. If you melt just one core, you have to start again - and at the price the pins come in at, this can be very, very expensive.


one thing if you intend doing a lot of touring - buy a cap to cover the pins when they are not plugged in - sounds a silly thing, but they are damn useful things!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Could be a stupid question, but:


We are currently using multi XLR connections and are thinking of stepping up so:


1. What are the rectangular sound multi pin connectors called? (and where can you get them)


2. If these connectors are used, how do you differentiate between mic and line level. (is it just a simple as change the connection on the back of the mixer).







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Well, there are several types of connector, but probably the most common is known as an EDAC. They're pretty common and can be obtained from most good suppliers, but for a start you can try RS Components. Just do a search on "EDAC" and you'll find a collection of sizes and parts. I won't try a link because I've come a cropper before on RS online search URLS which often don't copy and paste!


As for separating line and mic levels, well that's not really a function of the multipin connector. It's all down to how you wire things up. Just think of the EDAC as a quick-release connector in the middle of your snake.



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I also like SOCA connectors and they're even billed as audio connectors in the RS catalogue. HOWEVER...


...the fact that our colleagues in lighting have adopted them for their own uses makes me very nervous about using them. Perhaps I'm just paranoid (but being paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you!) but I consciously try to avoid using any connectors where there is a possibility of a dangerous mis-connection.


Even a miniscule chance of cross-connecting audio and 240 volts is enough to disqualify them for me.


As for EDACs, although I don't like the way the pins look, I've never actually had a problem with bending them. However, I do tend to make sure I do that connection myself rather than leaving it to others.



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There are 2 types of soca, one 20something pin for mains, and one 30something pin for low voltage.


The low voltage one was often used for large scale analogue lighting control, but is now largely redundant in this use. Therefore I would consider it safe to use for line/mic multicore use.

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Depends on:


a) how much you want to spend

b) whether you want to rent from a local hire firm to supplement your kit (in which case use the same connectors and pinouts!).


EDAC and Harting are good, relatively low cost options. The Harting is more robust, has a cable clamp that actually grips and some fairly serious contact pins.


Beyond these, there are a variety of military style circular connectors. VDC promote the VDM connector, and it is quite a nice multipin, but it will require the donation of some small body parts to buy it. Have a look at their website - they list a few different units....



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I use, and would recommend 1047's (web page)


they are really rugged, and the pins have a large contact area. you can also get basket weave strain relief’s that will protect the end of the cable (the last 6" that always is under pressure when its being pulled about) which are worth the slight expense as it saves the re-termination that can be needed after a while.


A couple of Pa companies that I know use them, for large scale touring, and they do really well, and being circular they pull through traps and pipes more easily than a harting.


Hope that helps,



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