Ideally, a band on tour should wake up to a late brunch, hit the hotel health spa, shower and head over to the hall where everything is plugged in and ready for an extended sound check / jam session.
If this scenario is unfamiliar to you, then more efficient methods of connecting your equipment at the last second may be exactly what you need. It certainly can’t hurt.
Real World 101
When a band on the road is not the mega headliner or is working with different sound systems every night, having a consistent rig that sets up, tears down and works with a minimum of effort can make the difference between a great show and another bummer gig.
The best way to make this happen is to be as self contained as possible.
With the right assortment of cabling, multipin disconnects and direct boxes; the backline, drum kit and keyboard rigs can all be pre-wired.
If the band has a multi-accessorized guitar player or two, that’s another prime target for pre-wiring.
If the fully pre-wired stage rig falls victim to the accountant’s veto, many small time saving projects can be undertaken as the budget allows.
Micing The Throne
Drum kit mic wiring is usually the most time consuming processes during any set change. If the kit is on a rolling riser, a small snake box with a multipin disconnect is the fastest way to plug in the drum mics.
The mics can be set in place and plugged into the snake head and then connected to the PA with a simple twist of the multipin (such as a Whirlwind WI or W2). Short of a multipin, even a simple bundled harness with all the mic cables taped together at the right lengths is a good time saver.
Standard drop snake
It must be said that for snakes in any active stage environment, it’s worth the extra money for those heavy metal “proven military technology” multipin connectors.
Although plastic connectors are often used because of the lower initial cost, they just don’t hold up on the road and have a keen Murphy habit to get damaged just when you don’t have time to be repairing a multipin connector on stage.
If good multipins aren’t currently budgeted, a practical and cost-effective alternative can be an off-the-shelf drop snake.
A six connector stage box feeding back to a fanout at the larger stage box or console itself will provide clean wiring to the drum riser for rapid hookup at show time.
As with keyboard rigs, guitar and bass amplifiers can often be pre-wired with direct boxes built into the rack, so the only cables needing to be plugged in are the power and the one going to the instrument.