Cable care?

does anyone have any advice on how to deal with short cable storage/packing? i’m talking about 3.5mm lines and RCA, etc.

i have so many of these for my small little portable setups. i always kind of coil them but i haven’t found any solution which seems particularly clever or good for the cables. anyone have any (expert) experience with this sort of thing?

i was packing up the show the other day and remembered this problem yet again, and took a quick shot right before i stuffed the mess into my gig bag:

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no solution from me but you are not alone in seeking one
that bundle looks like a fraction of what is scattered around me as i type

in the past i have “organized” the cables by type in various backpacks and canvas bags: normal audio and cv (1/4 and 1/8 connectors), bananas, phono midi and usb, last but not least…power cables and wall warts.

No solution from me, sorry, only sympathy.

A fellow south-welsh performer Alone, ( has a big mixing desk flight case that he has repurposed and leaves his live set up all plugged in and cabled up all the time, velcro’d in like a pedalboard. When it’s time for a show, he just lifts the lid. I can’t imagine he has much cable wear. His set-up is a thing of terrifying beauty - a load of tiny noise-makers (Meeblip, shruthi, Gameboy, NES, MPC500, etc etc) all connected via midi with not a laptop in sight. Amazingly it all seems to work, but I’d be so nervous it’d just crap out on me! I love his gigs.


But seriously, there is no good solution.

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First off use tie line or velcro to tie the ends off. That will keep your coils separate so they don’t get tangled in transit. Alternatively when you are done coiling put the velcro or tie line in the middle around the whole coil. Effectively making an 8. This will keep each budle separate too. Most tours do like Simeon said and have a case where everything stays plugged in. Or each piece of equipment has its own case and the small cables that go to it also ride in that case. In this industry convenience just means spending more $ to a point.

The only other thing is to make small cable looms. Lets say you have 3 cables going from Gear A to Gear B, then you tape those together with electrical tape like a makeshift cable snake. You then coil all 3 together when you store it.

That’s all I’ve learned. Not sure I am an expert, but I do spend almost every day at a major venue coiling cables…

To contrast, most crews throw all small cables in a bag without ever coiling them and fish them out at the start of each show. They usually have like 10 times that amount. So it could be worse.