Loom, Loom, Loom…
The single most important thing to make your “in and out” fast and accurate is to assemble proper looms for all of your cables.
By strategically planning what needs to go where, and how the cables will be routed, a scheme to wire your entire stage can be devised on one or two looms.
Using your cable inventory, plan well before arrival and put it on paper. With good supervision, two or three stagehands can have the job done in short order.
Looms should include multi-cable for input sub-snakes, AC drops for power, and stage monitor speaker cables, along with any other special cordage you may need.
All of these are bundled together to minimize the number of “pulls” to install or strike the wiring for the stage.
Figure 2: Excel spreadsheet specifying wiring scheme for outboard processing with Yamaha console (click to enlarge)
Allow any stagger required to maintain orderly connections to your equipment racks but be aware, sometimes it is easier to use extensions in lieu of having to coil a loom with widely varying end lengths. Use the e-tape to color-code all of the connections and the many wraps that hold the whole thing together.
Different branches of the loom carry different colors, with one color being the overall scheme for the loom. Be sure to include special marks for things like center stage and riser locations. In this manner, you can quickly and easily lay out and identify cables on the stage.
Another key for a successful scheme is to have plenty of length from the offstage terminations to the first onstage connection.
I allow 50 feet for the first one because I’m likely to end up on a large stage at a festival somewhere and need to have the length to locate the monitor rig in an appropriate position.