Can you imagine? You’re about to perform on stage and suddenly your signal drops out because the cable broke. Fortunately, every gigging musician’s worst nightmare can be easily avoided. Here’s five tips for preventing cable breakage.
#1 – Coil Your Cables Correctly
I can’t stress enough how important this is. If you still wrap your cables around your elbow, I suggest you kick that risky habit today. Watch and learn how the pros at the London School of Sound do it in the video below, and remember, never tie any knots in your cables. Use proper cable binders instead.
#2 – Take Care of Your Plugs
Loose plugs are the most common cause of cable breakage, which makes sense seeing as the plugs are the most sensitive part. As such, it’s important to make sure that your cable is never forced into a 90-degree angle when you’re plugging in. Make sure all your cables only have a smooth bend in them by clearing enough room around the inputs and outputs you’re using. Also, bear in mind that using adapter plugs only increases the strain on the cable and plugs. When you can, always opt for the right cable instead of converting one plug to another with an adapter.
#3 – Organise Your Flight Case
Following up on the first two tips, be sure to cleanly organise your cables when you’re packing your flight case. Leave ample room for the plugs and make sure that multiple cables can’t tangle up into one big nest of spaghetti that you’re forced to pull apart when you actually need to use one. Pulling on cables is simply always a bad idea.
#4 – Lay Down Your Cables Safely
Another common cause of cable breakage is someone stepping on, or worse, driving over one of your cables. A lot of times, this can be avoided by thoughtfully laying out your cables. This means running your microphone cables near the edge of the stage instead of across the stage where people might step on or trip over them. If needed, you can always use cable bridges and other cable protectors to protect your cables and create risk-free passage for people or even cars.
#5 – Straighten Out Your Cables
Kinked cables can be straightened out by hanging them out, much like hanging laundry to dry. In theatres, the cables are sometimes hung from trusses and then hoisted metres into the air. At home, you could use the washing line or maybe hand them from a hook if you have a high ceiling. Gravity and the cables’ own weight will do the rest.
Know any more tips that can make cables last longer? Share them below!