Digital and Analog Snakes

Audio Snake Rental

Also known as a “multi-core cable,” a snake cable is a group of various audio cables that are housed within one common outer casing. The main advantage to snake cables is that they make it easier to manage when it comes to larger setups with lots of different channels. Imagine how much simpler it would be to just have to deal with one large cable instead of multiple smaller ones.

In professional studios and live gigs that can often have hundreds of inputs, it’s not uncommon to have snakes with as many as 48 channels.

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25 ft Analog Snake

Snake for short runs.
50' snake rental

50 Ft. 8 x 4 Snake

XLR & TRS Ins & Outs

Types of Snake Connectors

You’ll find one of 3 different connectors on either end of the snake, including:

1. Breakouts
These split the snake into single connectors. Despite the fact that they have all sorts of different applications, they are most commonly used to consolidate all the ins and outs from the mic preamp in home studios. They can then either lead out to the room floor to other hardware in your rack.
2. Junction Boxes
These have many inputs for individual connections. These are particularly effective in professional studios with multiple rooms where they are often set up as a built-in wall outlet. If the snake is meant to relocate the inputs of the preamp to a more ideal location, a junction box is the connection you will find at the opposite end.
3. D-sub Connectors
These mix every channel into one connector. Dsub connecters are used instead of XLR/TRS connectors because you can connect a lot more ins/outs to one device.

How Do Dsubs Work?
Sub - short for D-subminature - is a group of connectors that are known for their “D” shape. While many different versions of Dsub exist, the most common is the DB-25. They are sometimes used with digital TDIF signals. DB-25’s are most commonly used in studios to consolidate 8 analog signals into one connection.
DB-25 connectors consist of 25 pins. Balanced analog signals use three wires each: hot (+), cold (-), and ground, for a total of 8 audio channels (3 x 8 = 24). The 25th pin is not used.
Snake Alternatives

Even though they are not technically snake cables, two commonly used digital cables include:
ADAT - These send 8 channels of digital audio at 48kHz.
Ethernet (Cat5e) - These can connect even more channels compared to ADAT.

Both of these types of cables can achieve the same goal of consolidating many channels into one. They can also be extended for very long distances, and offer power to the receiving device.

Getting Started With Snake Cables
When you are just getting started, consider using one of the following simple, smaller snake cables:
Hosa Little Bro 8
Seismic Audio 12
Seismic Audio 16
Once you need something a little more advanced, you might want to consider custom snake manufacturers. The kind of snakes that you can add are seemingly unlimited. When it comes time to have a snake designed for specific purposes, you may want to go with manufacturers such as Pro Co Sound or Whirlwind USA.