How do you deal with all the damn CORDS?

Ok folks,

So my rig has been gradually expanding over the past year. I now own the following:

Octatrack mkII
Digitakt
Analog Four mkII
Microkorg
Roland JU-06 Boutique
Arturia Keystep
Line 6 Multi FX pedal
a MIDI / USB interface
Mackie 12-channel mixer
1x4 MIDI cable hub

I’ve been doing my best to keep things neat and organized, but I have power, audio and MIDI cables running between all of this gear and the power outlets. It’s getting harder and harder to deal with all the damn cables and keep them organized / out of the way.

This is a universal problem for any of us who have more than 1-2 pieces of gear. What are some of the strategies / techniques you all employ to manage everything?

Group them together with tire ups.

That’s all I know, I prefer my spaghetti tbh

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I’m glad that all the new gear going forward use the same power supply. Used to be a pain in the ass figuring out which one was for which, but now, I can keep three power supplies plugged in and neatly tied up, but have one free if I want to easily take one of the pieces of gear over to the couch.

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Interesting. I like that it’s cheap. I’ve done similar stuff with my entertainment center - got some cord “sleeves” that velcro shut.

This may help with my power supplies but It’s going to be more challenging for my MIDI and audio cables, as they are routed every-which way into different pieces of gear.

I move/change my set-up so often (take something to the kitchen/toilet/balcony) and really enjoy the fact of not caring for the spaghetti.
The minute you start tying things together you limit your options, spontaneity and creative freedom.

It’s a bit like worrying about the dishes when it’s the meal that you should be concentrating on.

Get a lab coat, pretend you’re a scientist!

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Its always challenging.

Best way is to measure all distances thorroughly and to get as neat cable lenghts as possible. I find this reduces clutter immensely. However, this can also lead you to a sad situation if you ever need to change your layout, you might end up with a bunch of cables in (now) unusable lenghts.

Some people also swear by using a DYMO machine for labeling their cables, or buying color-coded cables.

Lastly, do not ever underestimate the power of velcro cable ties! You can buy a pack of 100 velcro cable ties from ebay for peanuts, and your OCD will always have something to do after that :diddly:

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I use colored cable ties to separate what goes to what, then black ones to group all the groups together. And I keep them just loose enough to slip the small ends through when I want to move around. I dislike having the the cables still half rolled, but I prefer that much more than my cats constantly getting stuck in cable spaghetti.

There are many ways to do it (and not a single BEST way). Ever seen a professional electric wiring? It’s the same here.

First and most important rule:

  1. Separate power and signal cables

After that it’s all about organization. Labeling of both ends of each cable. Bundle them when they share the same way. Hide them whenever possible. Ever seen office desks with cables support? Stuff like this can also be easily improvised with a small budget.

It may be a little bit off topic, but some people do this even with their eurorack systems. Really. Just lookup videos of Steevio on YouTube :wink:

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embrace the spaghetti

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Patchbays, velcro ties, labelling, supports under surfaces to keep them from draping (I use eye hooks and cable ties) and using correct lengths where possible. Keep mains cables from running parallel with audio and midi cables.

Also consider wall/stage boxes/multicore to take large numbers of cables across a room,

But, yes it is a battle that can never really be won :rofl:

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i think of it more like, cleaning. every once and awhile. normally when i get annoyed by it. i clean up my mess… i know it will get messy again. cause thats what happens with me. i don’t always want to vacuum, or clean the apt. but. its just one of those things.

Velcro cable ties changed my life

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When i had a lot more gear, i drilled a few large holes in my desk and ran the cable loom underneath.

I’m obsessive compulsive as well with cables, this probably won’t work for most, but the majority of my gear is on a dining room table. Since dining tables are deep you can fit gear behind, but you want it raised a bit. So what I did was use the dining room table expanders, I have 2 of them. I put the on the table, all cables go underneath & gear goes on top. Example (if the pic works):

Oh & I leave most of my portable gear unplugged, with cables handy so I can just plug them in as needed, I always have some sort of little set up on my coffee table. & require everything to be tidy…I spend a few minutes a day making sure my gear is straight & cables don’t look too messy…it relieves stress…sigh…I know…

I sample my guitar chords and works great for tracks. Hopefully when I am making more cash then I can get myself an Octatrack and sample guitar and bass into that for live shows.