Common sense and experience sharing of stage lighting and sound wiring

When we are doing stage lighting and sound engineering, we often encounter cable wiring problems in the installation steps. Just like house decoration, the wiring work is not done well, which will not only affect the normal work needs, but also during the sound inspection and performance. Tracking and troubleshooting of faulty cables will also become very difficult. What’s more, it may cause the artists and staff involved in the performance to trip over the cables, which is very dangerous for the stage and backstage personnel.


This article will introduce you some common sense of stage lighting and sound field wiring, which is applicable to every stage. Before we start the stage wiring knowledge, let us first understand some professional terms:


Back of the stage: The part of the stage far from the audience.

The first half of the stage: the part of the stage that is close to the audience in the middle of the stage.

The left side of the stage: When you are standing on the stage and facing the audience, the part of the stage on your left.

The right side of the stage: When you are standing on the stage and facing the audience, the part of the stage on your right.


power cable

Heavy-duty power cables like three-phase feed cables/three-phase power cables should always be routed outside the stage. If possible, do not coil the extra power cords. Instead, they should be placed under the stage evenly in a figure eight shape. Please be careful to keep them away from the aisle.


When connecting a lighter gauge cable between the main power transmitter and the amplifier rack, please use the appropriate length of the cable as much as possible to avoid working in the area where the monitor engineer, guitar technician and other stage staff work Leave too much excess (wound in a coil) cable. Keep a piece of cable under the amplifier rack and behind the amplifier rack, these common blind areas, but the length should be short.


Try to keep all the power cables connected to the amplifier in the same path to avoid cable entanglement when connecting the load. Make sure that the power cables look neat and orderly. If the cables are messy, they should be rerouted.


When connecting cables to the power drop of the stage, it is better to use at least two power supply lines, one for the front of the stage and the other for the back of the stage. When arranging the power cables in front of the stage, try to arrange them on the elevated platform of the drum, and if possible, arrange them along the monitor equipment cables and signal cables.

The cables at the front of the stage are mainly responsible for powering the guitar speakers and bass speakers (backstage speakers). The power supply at the back of the stage should be behind the monitoring equipment, and the wiring of the monitoring equipment and signal cables should be followed as much as possible when laying out the cables. This power cable usually needs to power the guitarist’s tuner and effects pedal, as well as the keyboard.


Similarly, try to avoid using too long cables. When permitted, try to stuff all excess cables under the elevated platform on the stage, or place it outside the stage. In this way, when you need to move the power drop, you can easily find additional cables. It should be noted that you should never run the cables through the performance area (that is, the space between the drum kit and the monitoring equipment) when wiring.


Similar common sense also applies to laying out speaker cables. When using stage monitoring equipment, please reserve a section of the cable at the end of the speaker (keep it slack), otherwise once the performer asks to move the monitoring equipment, you will have to remove all the tapes and reroute the cables.






Signal cable


The wiring system (“multis”, “snakes”, etc.) from the stage to the audience area should be protected with rubber mats or cable ramps, and even a prohibited area can be set up in the center of the audience area. Ideally, these lines should be arranged in the air, but in real life almost no one arranges them like this, because doing so will bring a lot of other troubles.


Many performance venues are equipped with cable ducts, which can be used to quickly route cable systems and other control cables to the audience area. The use of modern Ethernet and optical fiber, and its related solutions also greatly simplify the staff’s management of this part of the cable.


On the stage, the key to repairing signal cables quickly, neatly and accurately is to use a sub-snake box and make some simple planning. If you have a stage plan in your hand, please determine the location of the main area for wiring.


A drum kit usually needs to use at least eight channels, some channels are also configured for nearby bass equipment and two channels for vocals, so what you are facing is to arrange at least at a close distance 12 cables. Please do not run 12 long cables back and forth on the main stage box. Instead, place a 12-way sub-stage box in front of the drum kit and connect these 12 short cables to the microphone and the required DI box. on.


Other areas that may need to be used on the stage box are the keyboard area and the front vocal area with acoustic guitar. Please mark on the stage box. The marked content includes the main input number and the purpose of this channel (center vocal, snare drum, kick drum, etc.).



Let me talk about a general rule that applies to cable layout: follow the lines of other cables, try to keep the length of the cable as short as possible, and never pass through the main route of the performance area and the stage. After turning, coil all excess cables neatly under the microphone holder. Try to keep the too long cable close to the sound source, so that it will be easier to move the microphone.


Start by laying out the microphone cables from the main stage box or sub-snake box. There are two reasons for this:

(1) It can ensure that the excess part of the cable is always kept at the microphone end

(2) If you are working with a team, this can prevent someone from accidentally inserting the wrong microphone into the wrong channel.


Also remember to carry some cables with you on stage as a spare, just in case. Please do not close the cable box and store it in a hard-to-access place.


By following the above common sense of wiring, you can have more time to adjust the stage sound and lighting system; and it will be easier to troubleshoot and solve problems later, and the service life of the cable will be longer.

Post time: Dec-17-2020

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