Gary has a lovely RAMSA 56 input analogue mixing console. The WRSX1, here it is:
So one day, not too long ago, we were talking and Gary remarked that he wished he had easier access to a few extra channels on the desk. It’s a large desk that’s almost right up against the wall and seeing as the last 16 channels are currently used for nothing at all, I decided to build him a little 8 way bay that would take balanced XLR’s, balanced jacks and unbalanced jacks. That way, if someone turns up with a keyboard they can just go straight into a couple of channels. He could throw a couple of extra mics up for acoustics or multiple vocals or just D.I. a bass for some roughs.
I already had a bay that had some male XLR’s riveted in:
First thing to do was to drill out the rivets, and directly after, I cut and stripped 24 jumper cables I’d need for the connectors (more on this later):
With that done, and whilst I was waiting for my dual XLR/Jack sockets to be delivered, I started to prep the other end of the multicore. Here is the uncut, raw end that will end up being connected to the bay:
I measured and marked it out for the first rough cut against the length of the bay and waited another day for the XLR’s to arrive:
When the Neutrik NCJ6 F1-S connectors arrived I realised they were designed to have self tapping screws holding them in. I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to use M3 bolts, so I had to drill out the holes of the connectors by about 0.5mm so that my bolts would fit.
Once they were all drilled out I bolted them into the bay. It was quite a tight fit for the bottom, right-hand bolt but I regard that as a good thing. The sockets were now in place:
Now I could start to cut the tails to length. First, to the length of the bay, as per my first marking, and then each tail to length before being prepped:
To solder the cables I had to remove the lacing bar. The connectors protruded way further through the holes than regular chassis mount XLR’s so I decided that it would be easier to bolt the bar back in and strain relief the cables after I’d done all the soldering. You’ll see why…
So now I was ready to solder.
First of all, I prepped the multi-core tails. I use a strain relief technique that was shown to me by Tim Daniels (thanks Tim). First, I strip the cable back the length of a Neutrik male XLR body. Then I fold the 2 cores back and let the earth protrude as normal. Then I slip a Hellerman sleeve (H30 x 20mm) over the 2 cores. The 2 cores can bend back and solder onto the connector whilst the Hellerman sleeve provides extra strain relief. Like this:
Once all 8 cables were prepped, I cut and soldered the jumper cables. I realised, after the connectors arrived, that the initial jumper cables were too thick. So I had to cut and strip 24 more. The reason why I need 24 jumper cables is because the XLR’s have solder connections for both XLR’s (1,2 and 3) and TRS jack (Tip, Ring and sleeve). To use the socket as a dual socket you need to jumper the TRS connectors to the XLR connectors. Once cut, stripped and tinned, the jumper cables could all be soldered into place, then I sleeve them with H20 Hellerman sleeves:
Next, I solder the tails into the XLR sockets whilst jumping and sleeving the TRS connections. It’s a bit fiddly, but it looks like this when it’s done:
Once I’d got them all soldered I could put the lacing bar back on and strain relief all the cables:
And that’s it done!! Easy.
There’s one thing to be careful of here. The WRSX-1 desk does not have separate Mic and Line level inputs. The channel detects what’s coming in (line or mic level) and the gain pot attenuates itself. This is cool except for one thing, 48v phantom power. Gary will need to make sure to only have the phantom power on if there is a balanced condenser (or dynamic as balanced dynamics will ignore phantom power) mic plugged into the channel. Sending phantom to the output of a keyboard would damage the keyboard. With this desk there is no way around this and it warns the user in the manual.
Gary now has an extra 8 inputs to his wonderful desk.