cable wrapping and technique

An audio systems last feet of interconnect; arguably one of the most crucial pieces of the system yet it’s often one of the areas most vulnerable to accidental damage. Concerned? You should be! It’s not that the damaged cable can’t be replaced, as that’s a fairly easy task. However, while this damaged equipment can be replaced or conceivably repaired, the question still remains why was it damaged in the first place? Well, my educated guess is poor cable wrapping technique, not by you but by uninformed assistants or volunteers, which over time has played a significant role.

In speaking with a colleague, I was prompted to peruse a few audio message boards and forums to look at “tutorials” about cable wrapping, which provided a great deal of insight into the problem. Thankfully, there are several very helpful and well produced instructional videos on the subject which are available online, many even on YouTube. At least one of them was created by a cable manufacturer. Unfortunately, while good and correct information is available, it does take initial knowledge on the part of the viewer to know which tutorials are useful and which ones will do more harm than good; a rather unfortunate situation for young or beginning engineers searching for information.

One of many correct tutorials on cable wrapping (aka: the over-under technique):

video by PlanetWaves

While many videos are well intentioned, only some demonstrate the correct over-under cable wrapping technique.  What’s my point in all this? Well, personally, I know I’m likely to spend extra time at a gig coiling all my cables by myself properly if i can avoid having to uncoil, unkink, and recoil them again later due to well intentioned yet ill trained assistants or volunteers who were wrapping my cables around their elbows. My guess is that you’re of a similar mind.

So? Please, encourage and train proper over-under cable wrapping technique. Whether it’s mentoring younger engineers not yet in the know, showing a struggling volunteer you happen upon a better way, or pointing out the proper online resources to those just wanting to learn, you’ll be saving all engineers a major headache down the road.

Have an opinion on cable coiling? Found a tremendously terrible or simply amazing tutorial about this or another notable topic and just want to share? Please let me know in the comments!

thumbnail by mahalie

Kyle P. Snyder

Kyle P. Snyder is an educator, engineer, and consultant dedicated to the advancement of audio education for engineers at every stage of development. He is a faculty member within Ohio University’s School of Media Arts & Studies where he routinely teaches courses in music production, recording, mixing and mastering, critical listening, sound design for film and video, and live event production.