Soldering & Cable Making at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 3rd, 2011, 02:45 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 463
Soldering & Cable Making

Over recent times on forums and the young Audio Assistants I work with on TV Outside Broadcasts its becoming evident that people have not learnt the "art" of soldering. Now not directly and audio skill knowing how to solder and fault find basic cables is of GREAT benefit.
Knowing and having the ability to fault find and make your own cables will save you many $$$ over the years.
Brian P. Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2011, 03:59 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
Over recent times on forums and the young Audio Assistants I work with on TV Outside Broadcasts its becoming evident that people have not learnt the "art" of soldering. Now not directly and audio skill knowing how to solder and fault find basic cables is of GREAT benefit.
Knowing and having the ability to fault find and make your own cables will save you many $$$ over the years.
True ... is there a question there somewhere?
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2011, 04:37 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 463
I thought that this was a "discussion" forum......and not just for questions that require answers?
Brian P. Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2011, 06:06 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,359
I agree with Brian. When I first got started working with audio, I'm not sure if it was even possible to buy a pre-made XLR cable, for example. Sure, we could have bought one from the local sound shop, but they would have had it made in-house by one of their bench techs. We cut our teeth making XLR cables, wiring patch panels, and the like.

Back then, everything was done by hardware. If you wanted to add compression to a signal, you patched in (or hard wired in) a compressor, which was several rack units high.

Nowadays we're in the age of software. All the functions of old, plus many that we never even dreamed of, are done by software, usually not even inside a dedicated "box" but rather on a PC. So the tyros coming up today don't learn to solder, they merely learn how to use the mouse and keyboard. If they want an XLR cable, they just mail-order one that ultimately was assembled by third-world monkeys. And it's likely that a 25-foot XLR cable today costs less than a locally-built one did 50 years ago!

Parenthetically, we have this same issue in the amateur radio community. 50 years (or more) ago, "hams" bought blank metal chassis, drilled and punched their own holes, mounted their own transformers and tube sockets, hand-wound their own wire coils on phenolic coil forms, and hand-wired their own resistors and capacitors. They built the gear (often after designing it themselves), understood it, and knew how to use it. Nowadays, most hams buy a ready-built transceiver (sometimes for $10k or $15k) and struggle to learn all the functions which are implemented in software. In fact some ham radios are merely boxes with no knobs or dials, which are operated entirely by USB control from a PC.

Fifty years ago, the electronics course in the local high school taught skills such as soldering, and explained how to check a cable with an ohmmeter. Today every student has a PC workstation sitting on the old workbench, and learns the theory of electronics in progressive lesson modules, but doesn't learn how to use hand tools. This is "progress."

The world today is wonderful, with powerful software to perform unimaginable tasks... until a cable breaks, bringing everything to a halt because the "audio pro" or radio operator doesn't know how to cope with this huge crisis. A few years ago I was doing some contract work at a well-known museum in upstate New York. While I was there, the "director of multi-media" asked me to help trouble-shoot a problem, because he did not know how to ascertain (using a DMM) whether or not the wall outlet powering a projector was "live" or not! I had to explain to him that he should use the "200 VAC" range on the meter, and not to plug the meter lead into the "20 Amp" jack on the meter. It's a sad world today.

In the ham radio community, we often hold workshops just to teach simple skills, like soldering, to new members. But, then again, a lot of "hams" get together because they want to learn, and there is a great deal of cameraderie in the "ham" community to encourage them. As more and more people are running solo "recording studios" using only the PC in their basement, rather than working in bigger, real, studios, where an informal "apprenticeship" structure exists, I don't know of a context parallel to the ham radio world, where new sound men can learn the basics.

I think there's a good opportunity for local technical/vocational schools. But many of the "basement studio engineers" I've encountered come from a musical background, rather than technical, and look down their nose at the need for technical knowledge. As long as they consider themselves as "artistes" there is little hope that they'll ever learn to solder, or understand how to build a 20dB pad to solve an emergency.

Those who truly do want to learn will take the initiative to find a way. The books are there; the schools are there. The people with none of these basic skills will go on to become "director of something" hired by upper management who knows even less than they do.
Greg Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2011, 10:51 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Posts: 1,521
A Scottish solder (sorry bad pun)

I learned to solder my own cables in my teens - mostly 1/4 and 1/8 jacks, 5 pin DINs and RCA phonos. Back then it wasn't so easy (or cheap) to get to range of ready made cables we have now.

However, as my hands get less steady and my eyesight less acute, I must admit that I have bought a few myself recently. Of course, there are some quite fiddly connectors which have been developed since the 60s which do not end themselves easily to home assembly - I'm thinking of S-video, Firewire and some of the other computer cables. Long live XLR and standard jacks!
Colin McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2011, 10:34 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1,158
only TA-5's are a PITA to work on. after that not such a big deal. I've wired a few 96input bantom patch bays too, punch down ends to XLR / TRS / RCA's on the other end
__________________
Steve Oakley DP Audio Mixer Editor Colorist
http://stevenoakley.com
Steve Oakley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2011, 10:42 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Columbus USA
Posts: 282
When I was in college 30+ years ago studying electrical engineering, I had to go see the advisor of the schools ham radio club for a signature. While we were talking, he tossed me a perf board and commented, "We need to teach grad students how to solder." On the back side were lumps of cold solder joints of various sizes and shapes at the intersection of component leads and buss wires.
Ed Roo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2011, 03:12 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,359
That's no surprise.

Back in the early '80s I was taking some graduate EE courses, and the class was broken up into teams to design and build final projects. One of the guys on our team didn't know how to strip 24ga wire to make jumpers for the "proto-board" breadboarding system. I actually had to show him how to use a wire stripper! And this was a grad student who with a double major: EE and nuclear engineering. After graduation he was going back to his home country to work on nuclear reactors! It's lucky that country hasn't been blown off the map.

The BS and graduate level EE courses teach everything in terms of "black boxes" and calculus, with no practical experience whatsoever. Only at the Associate degree level is there any chance of any hands-on learning.
Greg Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,259
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
...The BS and graduate level EE courses teach everything in terms of "black boxes" and calculus, with no practical experience whatsoever. Only at the Associate degree level is there any chance of any hands-on learning.
That's very interesting - I'd have to largely agree.

However, although I teach (very part-time) in a community college "professional and technical" program, I didn't go to one, myself.

Learned to solder from my dad, who proceeded to buy me a series of Heathkit projects (these were parts kits with very good instructions to build all sorts of small and not-so-small devices). Lotsa' fun. Great products, those Heathkits.

In reviewing my experiences, consideration of community college or junior college never entered into my choices. But, when I got to university, there was no hands-on (in Communication). Instead, I got on-the-job training at a public television station to develop my skills. OJT was, I think, more common then.

Most of the CC students I see today are paying their own way, many with student loans. These students know the value of higher education better than most - they're paying for it! For those in our Multimedia program, it's a technical education that's most accessible.

We teach software, camera, lighting, sound. Soldering doesn't come into it... Students find that in the electronics technician programs. More's the pity, but, we have a *very* full curriculum for our certificate programs.
__________________
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 22nd, 2011, 01:58 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 956
Re: Brian and "Discussion" forum

So, Brian .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
I thought that this was a "discussion" forum......and not just for questions that require answers?
..... why would you want discussions?

;-)
John Nantz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2011, 07:27 PM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Miramar, FL
Posts: 7
Re: Soldering & Cable Making

Where do you guys get quality flexable cable and connectors? I want to make up a breakaway cable. Mainly need a source for the cable and the quick release connector.
Kevin Lee Yuen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2011, 07:49 PM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1,158
Re: Soldering & Cable Making

if you are talking XLR 7 they can be had from numerous places. The real push pull nuetrik 10 pin ( I think thats it ) is much harder to come by, but they are out there. also note that the outer shell and insides are interchangable so you can have a male outer with either male or female pins in the center... FWIW the connector's are typically about $15-$20 ea. . snake cable can also be had with the correct combo from several online sources. when its all said and done, its close to $100 in parts. you can buy new for around $200, or used ones in the $100-$125 range. IMO its a very tricky connector to solder up and not worth the effort to try when a pre made is cheap enough.
__________________
Steve Oakley DP Audio Mixer Editor Colorist
http://stevenoakley.com
Steve Oakley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2011, 08:14 PM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,259
Re: Soldering & Cable Making

Redco Audio, redco.com is great. I'm not dissing any forum sponsors - I don't think we have any that go to raw cable and connectors?

They market their own multipair, which I've used their 2-pair and 4-pair balanced (TGS-2 and TGS-4). I've been very happy with it.

Redco also sells raw Gepco and Mogami. and a fairly full assortment of Neutrik connectors. Really a great source.

Sometimes I've shopped connectors price at Markertek.
__________________
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2011, 08:10 AM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 1,844
Re: Soldering & Cable Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
if you are talking XLR 7 they can be had from numerous places. The real push pull nuetrik 10 pin ( I think thats it ) is much harder to come by, but they are out there. also note that the outer shell and insides are interchangable so you can have a male outer with either male or female pins in the center... FWIW the connector's are typically about $15-$20 ea. . snake cable can also be had with the correct combo from several online sources. when its all said and done, its close to $100 in parts. you can buy new for around $200, or used ones in the $100-$125 range. IMO its a very tricky connector to solder up and not worth the effort to try when a pre made is cheap enough.
I agree with Steveo, I have many years of experience of making and repairing audio cables, but when it comes to multi pair snake cable connections, I'd buy pre-made, especially the Neutrik 10 pin. (The tiny 10 pic Hyrose is a nightmare too, if any of your mixers or wireless gear use that)
That said, Markertek specializes in "Hard to Find" items and most likely has any pro A & V connector you need.
Rick Reineke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,290
Re: Soldering & Cable Making

I'm the world's worst solderer. Anyone know a good online tutorial vid? I need help and wouldn't know a good vid from a bad.
Brian Luce is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:24 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network