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Church Sound and Video Advice > Audio Tips > Connecting Speakers Through A Snake

Can I connect speakers to the amplifier through a snake?

Stage monitors are an important part of your church sound system setup. If they are not connected properly the results can be disastrous.

If your power amplifier is located at the front of the room with the speakers, and you feed your mixer output through the snake to the amplifier, this is fine.  If however you are sending the amplifier speaker output through the snake to the speakers, this is not good.

The snake is made for low power, line or microphone level signals, not powered speaker signals.

Reasons For Not Sending the Amplifier Output Through the Snake:

  1. The size of wire gauge used for a snake is too small for powering speakers.  There will be a considerable power loss through the cable.  This means that you will get less sound out of your speakers because you are "dumping" it in the wire.

  2. The impedance of the wire is wrong.  Speaker cable is unshielded but the snake wire is shielded.  Shielded cable has more capacitance and inductance and therefore will distort the frequency response of the sound.

  3. Because the amplifier output is a much higher voltage and current than microphone signals, there is cross talk from the amplifier signal back into the microphone lines.  This produces a form of feedback from the amplifier speaker output back into the mixer inputs through the microphone lines which can cause phase shifting of the signals.  Your ears may not notice this unless you listen very carefully, but your amplifier won't like it (see point 4 below).

  4. Due to the close proximity of the high powered output and sensitive mic level inputs, an ultrasonic inter-modulation usually occurs.  This produces a high frequency oscillation (too high for your ears to hear) which can actually damage your amplifier.  We have repaired amplifiers which have blown for no apparent reason, and discovered that this was the cause.



Snakes are made for low level signals and should therefore only be used for this.  You can run line level from the mixer to the amplifier input through the snake, but not speaker level. So always remember to run proper speaker cables from your amplifier to the speakers.



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