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Connecting cabinets together using trunk lines?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules  
Author Connecting cabinets together using trunk lines?
Rex Coil 7
I've got the "Main Audio" cabinet, that will house 5U modules only, used for producing the audio signals (VCOs, VCFs, VCAs, audio signal mixers). All 1/4" patch cables. The modules in this cab have back-panel normalized connections running to terminal strips. If you're a follower of my synth project you're aware of how this is set up.

I've got the "Modulation cabinet" that will be housing Euro modules only, used for modulating the 5U stuff (Env Gens, LFOs, MIDI-CV converters for 1v/oct, and various mixers and wutsits to mix modulation signals). All 3.5mm patch cables. Nothing normalized in this cabinet. Followers of my project synth are aware of this proposed set up.



THE ROCKET SCIENCE:


First, just to get it said, the 15v and 12v power distribution systems' (bus bars, both cabs) zero volt rails will be connected together using heavy welding cable. The cabs will be ~roughly~ two feet apart, and the zero-volt interconnect cable will be ~roughly~ four feet long. Box checked, movin' on ....

Rather than using a shit ton of 1/4" to 3.5mm conversion cables, or handfuls of little adapters, I'm going to use a few trunk lines to connect the two cabinets together.

The Main Cab (all 5U) will have all of the back panel normalized wires connected to terminal strips, those terminal strips will connect to some sort of multi-connector mounted on the side of the Main 5U Cab.

The Mod Cab (all Euro) will have a few blank panels with ten or twelve 3.5mm input jacks per panel, those jacks will be soldered to some sort of multi-connector mounted on the side of the Modulation Cab. Each 3.5mm jack on the blank panels will be numbered. A sheet of paper will have numbered jacks mapped to destinations in the Main 5U Cab.

The multi-connectors of each cabinet will be connected together with a multi-conductor cable (a trunk line).

EXAMPLE OF USE GIVEN: So let's say 3.5mm Jack #1 is connected to FM input of the VCF in the Main 5U cab via the interconnecting trunk line (so sayeth the hand written map). If I want to patch an LFO to the FM input of the VCF, I patch the LFO output to Jack#1 on the trunk line panel.

Y'got a handle on this set up?



SUGGESTIONS ON TYPES OF MULTI-CONNECTORS AND MULTI-CONDUCTOR CABLES NEEDED PLEASE.


I've been sortof ~set~ on using something like a DB25 system. Each DB25 cable has twelve conductors in it (if I understand them properly). DB25 cables are pre-manufactured, easily purchased, and available in different lengths with different connector configurations (right angle, left angle, and so on). The other twelve conductors are all "shields" wrapped around each conductor (again, if I have my collective shit together here).

I can haz Front Panel Express make nice panels, each panel with three (four?) DB25 connectors on them. Or perhaps two panels per cabinet, each panel housing two DB25 connectors .... two panels with two connectors provides more working space when soldering up wires to the backs of the connectors. Just ... whatever ... y'know?



IS THIS NOTION WORTH A DAMN?

I'm needz sum heps on this'n folkages. help

If nothing else, perhaps validation of the idea.

Thankies! El Rexola.

cookie?!?
JohnLRice
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

SUGGESTIONS ON TYPES OF MULTI-CONNECTORS AND MULTI-CONDUCTOR CABLES NEEDED PLEASE.


I've been sortof ~set~ on using something like a DB25 system. Each DB25 cable has twelve conductors in it (if I understand them properly). DB25 cables are pre-manufactured, easily purchased, and available in different lengths with different connector configurations (right angle, left angle, and so on). The other twelve conductors are all "shields" wrapped around each conductor (again, if I have my collective shit together here).

I can haz Front Panel Express make nice panels, each panel with three (four?) DB25 connectors on them. Or perhaps two panels per cabinet, each panel housing two DB25 connectors .... two panels with two connectors provides more working space when soldering up wires to the backs of the connectors. Just ... whatever ... y'know?
With a DB25 you can do 12 balanced connections or 24 mono connections or a combination of both? Just depends on how you wire it up. Of course it depends on the existing wiring if you are buying ready made cables. These days you can sometimes find deals on NOS cables that were made for early digital multi track decks but there were at least two main standards, Tascam and Yamaha, so be careful to stay with one or the other. hihi

Have you ever used Redco? https://www.redco.com/ In the past I've bought raw parts and even paid them to wire the patch bays for my studio and they did a great job. They've long had a custom cable builder app on their site which made ordering custom cables easy but I now see they are doing panels as well and have a tool to make it easy, like a limited Front Panel Express thing BUT you can drag and drop just about every audio connector you might want onto the panels so it seems easier then using FPE for certain things? I played with it for a second and drug some connectors you might consider onto a panel, a DB25, a Amphenol circular, and a EDAC rectangular. My favorite are the circular metal Amphenol connectors, very "military" and would go well with your design style SlayerBadger! we're not worthy but they are the most expensive type to use I think.



I noticed this GearSlutz thread on DB25 connectors/cables you might be interested in:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/1204983-difference-quality-db 25-cables.html
whatmeworry
I've been thinking about doing the same thing to connect a main rack with smaller portable boxes I'm building now to avoid a long room spanning patch cable headache.

I see that Horizon, Belden, Gepco, and etc snake cables in every length and conductor count imaginable, are dime a dozen on ebay. Ive been thinking about picking one up and re-terminating it to D-sub, Harting or whatever connector type seems appropriate. Bonus is I'll have a pile of 1/4 TRS plugs left over to use elsewhere. I'm thinking maybe a 16-24c cable with connector on both ends. Or, connector on only one end with a small stage box on the other might actually be more handy.

My only hesitation is that these cables are almost universally balanced. While I'm sure they will pass an unbalanced signal, I wonder if I am asking for problems. I'm worried about channel cross talk or ground loop issues if wired this way on a 12 foot or so long run.

Anyone have any insight or experience in this regard?
kcd06
I made a trunk line/breakout box for my setup after creating a small problem where things are somewhat farther apart than desirable moving across the full width of my system. I used an ooooold DB25 cable from Ryan Aeronautical (Cold War tax dollars still at work) that has a lot of braided insulation and rubber that is succumbing to old age, and the boxes themselves are just the blue plastic 110V electrical boxes you get from Home Despot for about $0.75 per. Put eight 1/4 and 1/8 sockets side by side at both ends to make life easier when talking between formats.
whatmeworry
Good call on mixing 1/8 and 1/4 plugs. If I do go the stage box route, a grid of 1/4 plugs will be on the top panel. Flip it over to the other side, and boom 3.5 plugs, all ducks in a row.

Mostly an aesthetics thing, while still maintaining flexibility.

And for maximum fanciness, maybe add attenuators right there on the inputs.

But then it's turning into a whole other project, and who knows if that is even a good idea in the first place.
Rex Coil 7
JohnLRice wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

SUGGESTIONS ON TYPES OF MULTI-CONNECTORS AND MULTI-CONDUCTOR CABLES NEEDED PLEASE.


I've been sortof ~set~ on using something like a DB25 system. Each DB25 cable has twelve conductors in it (if I understand them properly). DB25 cables are pre-manufactured, easily purchased, and available in different lengths with different connector configurations (right angle, left angle, and so on). The other twelve conductors are all "shields" wrapped around each conductor (again, if I have my collective shit together here).

I can haz Front Panel Express make nice panels, each panel with three (four?) DB25 connectors on them. Or perhaps two panels per cabinet, each panel housing two DB25 connectors .... two panels with two connectors provides more working space when soldering up wires to the backs of the connectors. Just ... whatever ... y'know?
With a DB25 you can do 12 balanced connections or 24 mono connections or a combination of both? Just depends on how you wire it up. Of course it depends on the existing wiring if you are buying ready made cables. These days you can sometimes find deals on NOS cables that were made for early digital multi track decks but there were at least two main standards, Tascam and Yamaha, so be careful to stay with one or the other. hihi

Have you ever used Redco? https://www.redco.com/ In the past I've bought raw parts and even paid them to wire the patch bays for my studio and they did a great job. They've long had a custom cable builder app on their site which made ordering custom cables easy but I now see they are doing panels as well and have a tool to make it easy, like a limited Front Panel Express thing BUT you can drag and drop just about every audio connector you might want onto the panels so it seems easier then using FPE for certain things? I played with it for a second and drug some connectors you might consider onto a panel, a DB25, a Amphenol circular, and a EDAC rectangular. My favorite are the circular metal Amphenol connectors, very "military" and would go well with your design style SlayerBadger! we're not worthy but they are the most expensive type to use I think.



I noticed this GearSlutz thread on DB25 connectors/cables you might be interested in:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/1204983-difference-quality-db 25-cables.html
Hey Hey Hey .... that looks GRRRRREAT!!! Imunna give it a look see ....

Thankies John!! we're not worthy







A rough idea of how it will be done up.










(below) Relative placement of the 5U Main Cabinet and the Euro Modulation Cabinet.




unrecordings
I've got two sets of trunk lines - 8x and 8x on a 1U front panel terminating in EDACs. I love EDAC because they're a lot easier to wire than DB25 and the pins are removable (and I had a load of spare EDAC bits)
robotmakers
These are good ideas. A few years back I put some Moog modules along with a few Moon switching and distribution modules into two portable cabinets (built by EMWhite). I used two DB25 cables to send CV and gate signals, respectively, from cabinet to the other. It being a Moog-centric build, I used Cinch-Jones connectors to transfer power, and to also allow powering vintage Moog accessories (like ribbon controller or sample & hold). Here's a fun 90 second video I put together way back when to document the final assembly.

Cheers,
Roger

cornutt
I've used the Amphenol connectors in many aerospace applications. They're good, but they are spendy. I suspect that your studio is not a high vibration environment (unless you turn the monitors up really loud), so unless you plan to disconnect and reconnect frequently, they are overkill IMO.

There is such a thing as a 13-pin DIN connector, and they are pretty cheap. Also, I see that you can get pre-fabricated cables, although all the ones I see appear to be longer lengths than what you want.
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