Digital Snakes-Stage Boxes
In the last 12 years, everything has become digital, smaller, and more productive. The old analog snake it is slowing fading out into the pass. Digital snakes or stage boxes are replacing analog snakes. There are many factors why going digital could be the right way to go. Digital snakes not only extend your digital mixer inputs to the stage, but they allows the user to take fully advantage of digital mixers. The terms digital snakes, stage box, and I/O box refers to the same product. We are going to call them digital snakes
Smaller and more comfortable to install and transport
The most obvious advantage of digital snakes is size and weight. Digital snakes are lighter and smaller than its predecessor. You can carry a 32 channel digital snake with one hand. For example, the Behringer S32 is a 32 inputs 16 outputs digital snake and weighs 14.6 lb.
Run Longer Cables With Less Effort
Digital snakes use an Ethernet cable, commonly know as Cat5 cable to connect to the digital mixer. You can effortlessly run a 100 meters ( 328ft) of the cable by yourself. By the way, the maximum cable length using cat5 cable is 328ft. Try to lift 328ft of analog snake cable. You can't.
In-ear Monitor Systems? No Problem
Digital snakes allow us to give an in-ear monitor to every musician on the stage. No more floor monitors taking space on stage. Today every company is making personal monitor mixers to use with their digital snakes. For example:
- Behringer uses the P16M Personal Monitor Mixer
- Midas uses the DP48 Personal monitor mixer
- Allen & Heath uses the ME-500 and the ME-1
- Presonus uses the EarMix 16 Personal Monitor Mixer
Digital snakes are available in different number of channels No, every gig is the same. Sometimes you need all 32 channels for a big band. Sometimes you need only 12 channels. The most popular sizes are the 16 inputs 8 outputs, and 32 inputs 16 outputs. If you need more than 32 inputs, some mixers like the Allen & Heath SQ7 can run 48 channels with two AR2412 digital snakes.
Stage Boxes Are Rack-mountable.
All 32 channel digital snakes are rack-mountable. They come with the ear racks built-in ready to mount on a rack. 16 channel digital snakes are smaller like the Allen & Heath AB168. In this case manufacturers offer an Optional rack mount kit. Having your digital snake in a rack is convenient and keeps the stage cleaner for better performance. Not to even mention fast setup and tear down.
Ecosystem Of Products
All brands make the digital snakes for a specific digital mixer made by the same brand or by a sister company. Behringer makes de S32 digital snake work seamlessly with the X32 digital console. Midas is a sister company of Behringer and the Midas S32 digital snake is compatible with the X32 console. Manufacturers develop their own connectors and software to specifically work with their products.