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Digital stage-box vs analogue snake - what is the difference?

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Digital stage-box vs analogue snake - what is the difference?

Table of Contents

The main difference between a digital stage box and an analogue snake is how they transmit audio signals. Here's a breakdown of each:

Analog Snake: An analogue snake, also known as an analogue multicore or analogue audio snake, is a physical cable with multiple channels used to carry analogue audio signals from a stage or performance area to a mixing console or audio interface. It consists of individual balanced audio cables bundled together in a single jacket or enclosure. Each channel of the snake carries an analogue audio signal, typically using XLR connectors.

Key characteristics of an analogue snake include:

  1. Analog Signal: Analog snakes transmit audio signals in their original analogue form. The electrical voltage of the audio waveform varies continuously, representing the audio signal's amplitude and frequency.
  1. Simple Connectivity: Analog snakes connect directly between the stage or performance area and the mixing console. Each channel of the snake needs to be physically patched or connected to the corresponding input or output on the console. This direct connection requires manual routing and management of cables.

Digital Stage box: A digital stage box, on the other hand, is a device that converts analogue audio signals into a digital format and transmits them over a digital audio protocol or network. Instead of individual analogue cables, a digital stage box uses a single digital connection to carry multiple audio channels between the stage and the mixing console.

Key characteristics of a digital stage box include:

  1. Digital Signal: A digital stage box converts the analogue audio signals into a digital format, typically using converters built into the stage box. The audio signals are transmitted as digital data packets over a digital audio protocol, such as Dante, AES50, or AVB. This allows for the preservation of audio quality and enables additional features like remote control and signal processing.
  1. Remote Connectivity: With a digital stage box, the physical connection between the stage and the mixing console is established using a digital audio protocol or network. This eliminates the need for long analogue cable runs and provides more flexibility in terms of distance and routing. The stage box can be placed near the stage, while the mixing console remains at a convenient location, connected via a network switch or direct digital connection.
  1. Enhanced Features: Digital stage boxes often offer additional features beyond audio signal transmission. They can include built-in preamps, remote control capabilities, integrated signal processing, and the ability to send control data alongside audio signals. These features provide advanced functionality and streamline the setup and operation of audio systems.

Summary

Analog snakes transmit audio signals in their original analogue form over individual balanced cables, while digital stage boxes convert analogue audio signals into digital data and transmit them over a digital audio protocol or network. Digital stage boxes offer remote connectivity, advanced features, and more flexibility compared to analogue snakes. They are instrumental in larger setups where long cable runs and enhanced functionality are required.

Digital Stage Box Source

Analogue Snake Source

Are digital snakes only a single CAT 5e/6/7 cable?

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