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InstaSnake from ETS


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POTS - Plain Old Telephone Service uses UTP (unshielded twisted pairs) as Senator points out - and is pretty robust to EMI/RF interferences as is proven by the many years it has existed, in fact even now... The cables definitely go all over the place and patch bays, etc. In fact, it's more robust than any RF/wireless based telepone service. 4 years ago during the great flooding of Bombay, the only phone that worked was the land line. The cell phones were the first ones to go dead - obviously - the cell towers needed power (though they are on UPS - but limited duration) and electricity was the first to go - fear of major short-circuiting led the power department to shut down full areas in the city. In fact, we had to bring in genny vans to our apartments (the same as used in film/tv shoots) to power up the water pumps to get some water into the overhead tanks on the buildings...

-vin

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just curious about you ETS users.  Yes, these units will not pass phantom power unless you use shielded Cat 5e.  But ETS has a design for an InstaSnake that would carry phantom power even with UTP, unshielded twisted pairs.  However, these units would be a lot more expensive.  Worth it???  Just curious.

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  • 10 months later...

I have also used my InstaSnake setup for all the Insert Car/Towing work we have done. I have not had any problems as long as I follow the same rules for rigging the CAT-5 (shielded) cable that we have always used when running conventional XLR microphone cable: stay clear of all electrical cables, particularly HMI feeder cables (and they are everywhere as you all know) and don't let the CAT-5 cable get buried under any of this nasty stuff. Secure all connections and make an effort to keep the cable out of harms way (getting crushed while entering the vehicle, etc.). I did discover that the Neutrik CAT-5 couplers that I use (very sturdy, metal construction, used to provide a break at the trailer hitch) should be taped so that you don't have metal (the coupler) to metal (the camera car chassis, speed rail, etc.) contact --- this can cause some interference depending on all the electrical wiring of the camera car vehicle itself.

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I did discover that the Neutrik CAT-5 couplers that I use (very sturdy, metal construction, used to provide a break at the trailer hitch) should be taped so that you don't have metal (the coupler) to metal (the camera car chassis, speed rail, etc.) contact --- this can cause some interference depending on all the electrical wiring of the camera car vehicle itself.

Great bit of info Jeff I am going to order this set up soon and I would have completely overlooked that.

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Jeff thanks,

I also use those Neutrik barrel connectors and didn't realize that could be an issue, I'll look out for that.

I put Neutrik ends I bought from Redco onto the ends of the shielded cable I bought, and I never have an issue with the connector coming loose. You can add those connectors on AFTER they are crimped, which is huge IMHO.

http://www.redco.com/shopexd.asp?id=1599

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  • 8 years later...
On 5/14/2010 at 10:05 AM, Jeff Wexler said:

 

Wolf Seeburg has arranged to have Bill Whitlock (chief engineer at Jensen transformers) run the InstaSnake through complete testing for everything from frquency response, low level and high level distortion, saturation, etc. When we get his report I am very sure it will be the definitive answer to most all of our questions.

 

 

-  Jeff Wexler

 

Hi Jeff, 

 

well, the Instasnake just came  on my radar, and being skeptical about the sound quality of this kind of tech, I started googling and ended up on this thread. Wondering if Whitlock ever got back to you on distortion/saturation etc. Along with production mixing I do classical recording, so curious if this is a viable solution for music as well. 10 years later, curious of your thoughts and impressions regarding this. Thank you! Thomas

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Well, when I first got the InstaSnake I wrongly assumed there were transformers in the box (like video baluns  ---  balanced-un-balanced) which is why I was concerned about frequency response and distortion, etc. It turns out that the InstaSnake is just a wiring scheme  ---  converting 3 pin XLR signals to travel down CAT 5/6 cable. There are no transformers or anything else  ---  it's just copper! The only remaining concern with the use of the InstaSnake is the degree to which CAT 5/6 wiring deals with RF immunity, induced hum characteristics, etc. In all my years using it, it was never a problem and seemed to perform as well as your typical star-quad cable. I don't know why this is with all those twisted leads going into the CAT 5 connector, but it did work.

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5 hours ago, thomasvanderbrook said:

Wow, this seems so much faster and smarter than pulling mic cables all over the place! Someone in the classical recording forum said he made his own using high end components/connectors. For dialogue and sound this is a no brainer!; perhaps a critical listen before going all in on musical material. 

 

I'm fairly sure there is no penalty for use of InstaSnake or something like it for any sort of recording, dialog or music, whatever. What I was trying to say in my earlier post is the it is just wiring. I suppose someone could make the case for the impedance of the wiring scheme could be different, or the overall guage  of CAT 5 cable (the same sort of arguments that people make in the esoteric HiFi magazines about oxygen free cable, low resistance materials, etc.). I used my several InstaSnakes (I even built one that was an 8-way) mostly for car work where I was hardwiring several plant mics and my CarTalk unit (allows Director to speak to the actors through a mic to a speaker in the car) when using process trailer. Also used my 8-way for some concert stuff where I need multiple feeds from house system mixer. Always worked well.

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In case you want to try some cat5 options out @thomasvanderbrook, I have a bunch of pairs from Instasnake very reasonable having just retired. They're all cat5 --> 4 x XLR3's. Shoot me a PM. There's also a bunch of great quality cat5/6 cable wanting a new home.

https://www.markertek.com/product/ets-sds901/ets-sds901-instasnake-4-mxlr-3-foot-pigtail-to-rj45-jack-all-pins?ne_ppc_id=1806871132&gclid=Cj0KCQiA7aPyBRChARIsAJfWCgKCWLWnQthkfXwsTsDSxPqadLhxlGguvjUYUyry-owXVWRVraNqiCwaAss-EALw_wcB

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Oh cool! Let me see - I started quite a thread in the classical forum. A lot of people are using them - the issue turns out not to be sonics, my first thought, but rather for phantom power - if the shield goes faulty then you're out of luck. I'm assessing options right now and will get in touch if I lean this way, thank you for the kind offer. There is a certain wow factor for me for sure. This whole thing came about because I'm trying to clean up my kit/cables for maximum ease and speed setting up and breaking down and looking into options. 

 

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  • 3 months later...
On 2/16/2020 at 4:48 PM, Jan McL said:

In case you want to try some cat5 options out @thomasvanderbrook, I have a bunch of pairs from Instasnake very reasonable having just retired. They're all cat5 --> 4 x XLR3's. Shoot me a PM. There's also a bunch of great quality cat5/6 cable wanting a new home.

https://www.markertek.com/product/ets-sds901/ets-sds901-instasnake-4-mxlr-3-foot-pigtail-to-rj45-jack-all-pins?ne_ppc_id=1806871132&gclid=Cj0KCQiA7aPyBRChARIsAJfWCgKCWLWnQthkfXwsTsDSxPqadLhxlGguvjUYUyry-owXVWRVraNqiCwaAss-EALw_wcB

Do you still have some cables? I just bought some Cat Tails version.

John in OKC

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