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Insane Genius
1,251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought Id make this public as someone just brought this to my attention, and its so utterly misleading and WRONG that I think it needs to be exposed

"I was stopping by Cheaplights.com and saw this blub put at the bottom of their listing of 'DMX cables' and thought of the bru-ha-ha we had with them last year. Thought it was funny and thought you'd like to see it: 137: Cables (DMX & Analog)

Let's talk about DMX cables... I recently received and email from a blog monitor that said... "There are MICROPHONE cables and there are DMX cables and one can NOT be used for the other". That's a very strong statement. Very "Black and White". Unfortunately, it's also very untrue. That statement would be like saying that Chevy's are for taking your kids to school and Ferrari's are for racing and one can not be used for the other. I have seen many people race Chevy's successfully and I have also seen a few Ferrari's in the school pick up lanes. I don't know exactly why people make those black and white statements about DMX cables. Perhaps they merely lack real world experience in the field. If they had real world experience, they would know that there were companies like NSI making digitally controlled lighting boards and dimmer packs with signals carried thru 3 pin XLR cables long before the term DMX was ever heard of here in America. (NSI calls their proprietary signal MICROPLEX and they still use it today). What do you think those digital signals were carried thru back before the late 90's when DMX was introduced to the commercial market here in America? MICROPHONE CABLES. That's all we had back then, that's what was used and that's what worked for years. Perhaps some cables marked "DMX Cable" might perform better than some cables marked "MICROPHONE Cable", but it can also be proven that some mid to high grade MIC cables work better than some DMX cables and if you and your audience can't tell the difference, who cares? What does matter is which pins the wires are connected to on the 3 pin XLR plug. At High Energy Lighting (CheapLights.com), we currently buy "MIC" cables and "DMX" cables from over 22 different suppliers. Regardless of how they are marked, we test samples from each different "MIC" and "DMX" cable model to make sure they work in a DMX chain before we ever offer them to our customers. Here's an interesting fact... In the ten to fifteen years that we have been selling cables for transmitting digital signals for light processors, we have never had any cables returned by customers saying they didn't work as a DMX cable, unless the cable actually had a physical defect, such as a wire not connected to the plug or a cut in the wire. That's a great statement to be able to make! Here's a few more interesting facts... 1. "DMX" was created in 1986, but not widely used or known. At that time, the popular method for transmitting signal to dimmer packs was zero to ten volts. 2. "DMX" was revised in a major way and started gaining recognition in 1990. (But not in America). 3. The first DMX lighting controllers were displayed at the American LDI Lighting convention in 1999 by LitePuter. 4. "DMX" was introduced as the "Standard" digital signal for the World Wide lighting industry in 2000."

My reply

Good grief your Statement about DMX cables and microphone cables is so WRONG, and just about devoid of any accuracy

DMX may be a product of the 80s and 90s, but its actually based on the RS485 protocol that was developed in 1962, and before there were 'DMX' cables there were RS485 cables, and in fact a great many industrial and lighting multiplexed signals are based upon RS485.

Thats all a DMX cable is, an RS485 cable with the appropriate connectors

BTW guys, NSI Microplex was an analogue multiplex system NOT digital MPX uses 0.25ms analogue pulses where DMX use 0.003ms digital pulses, this means that for a noise signal to affect MX it would have to be sustained 83 times longer than noise for a DMX signal, thus it has a greater noise immunity... however MPX refreshes 512 channels 4 times per second where DMX can refresh 512 channels 40 times per second!.... in conclusion the yes an analogue cable is suitable for MPX as its designed to handle analogue signals and doesnt need the same kind of noise protection you need with an RS485/DMX cable.

Your Ferrari/Cadalac illustration is just laughable, yeah you can race Cadalacs, you can also race bicycles and roller-skates, but don't expect to win against a Ferrari!!!

You may as well claim that electrical flex is the same as CAT 5 cable..... yes you could possibly run your network over electrical flex cable, but you wouldn't want to, and I am willing to bet it wouldn't work too well either, likewise you can run electricity over CAT 5.... but you wouldn't want to do it too often

So yeah... you 'can' use a mic cable as a DMX cable, but in my CONSIDERABLE REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE of a great many DMX (and other RS485 protocols) installations, you can bet your ass that if you have a problem then its a bad cable... and in the case of DMX its nearly always a stray mic cable!

So suck it up guys, stop peddling Mic cables and I will stop informing my customers that they should stay clear of cheaplights.com as you genuinely don't know what you are talking about.
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