Proel EBN Stagebox Multicore Review
Analog stagebox systems are an still an excellent choice for getting your signals to and from the stage and to and from your front-of-house mixing console. Sure, analog multicore cable is bigger and heavier than CAT5, but the box will be lighter than a typical digital stagebox, and, of course there are applications were weight is not a huge factor such as in permanently installed sound systems.
They’re also cheaper. I think analog stage snakes will be a more affordable option than a digital system for quite some time yet. There are no D/A and A/D converters or electronics.
The other great thing about analog stagebox multicore systems is redundancy. In other words analog goes wrong ‘one channel at a time’. So buy a stage snake with a few extra channels and if you get a problem with a channel, just use another. A digital stagebox develops a problem with it’s power supply and your whole show could be in trouble. More expensive digital systems such as Dante have redundancy systems but at a price way in excess of a cheap stagebox multicore.
Because you’ve got a digital mixing console doesn’t mean you have to have to have a digital stagebox system. Some digital mixers do have additional inputs that can only be accessed via digital interfaces but, most digital mixers still have a host of analog inputs and outputs you can can use with your standard analog stagebox system.
Incidentally, we’ve got a series of great blog posts over on our technical site about the role of a stagebox/multicore system alongside explanations of D.I. boxes and balancing, so if you’ve got questions like ‘what is a stagebox’?, ‘what does a stage snake do’? or ‘what is a D.I. box for’?, then click here and take a look. It opens in a new window/tab, so this page will stay open.
So with this in mind, lets take a look at a range of affordable stagebox multicores from Proel. The Proel EBN Series could be described as a mid priced range. Not the cheapest, but very affordable and with some great features. So let’s take a look.
We’ll be specifically looking at the Proel EBN1604, but there is a whole range of products in the series with different configurations and lengths. We’ll run through all the products in the range at the bottom of the page. you can also find the complete range on our product pages or from the complete Proel Stage Equipment Catalogue.
First thing noticeable about the the EBN1604 is how small the packaging is and this really reflects how compact and lightweight the cable system is. You may be forgiven for thinking that you’ve been sent the wrong item, but the 46 x 46 x 12 cm package does indeed contain a 20 channel 25 metre stage multicore. The whole package weighs in at a mere 9.6kgs.
Upon opening the packaging the first thing you may notice is how compact the actual stagebox is. The compact dimensions of the stagebox are achieved by mounting the chassis XLR connectors onto a printed circuit board rather than just soldering directly to the connectors. This allows the box to be thinner or lower profile than a traditional system and it also adds strength and rigidity to the box and connectors.
The other thing you may notice about the connectors on the stagebox is the Neutrik logo moulded into each one, so you know you’re getting high quality connectors here. A Neutrik stagebox at this price is previously unheard of.
At the ‘tail end’ we have some of Proel’s own brand metal XLR connectors. Although not Neutrik they do seem pretty heavy duty, chunky and long-lasting. Each connector is numbered for easy channel identification without having to refer to the number on the cable. A protective bag/cover is supplied for the ‘tail end’ connectors.
The other noticeable feature of the tail end is that the return channel cables are colour coded in red, so it’s quick and easy to see and separate the return channels from the other (input) channels which are in standard black.
The EBN Series multicores employ Proel’s CMF Series of multicore cables. Unlike the cable used in a cheap multicore, the CMF Series is a much more high-tech, flexible and compact component. I would say it’s only about two thirds the diameter of the cable found in cheaper products and this really makes it lighter, and easier to transport. The EBN1604 weighs in at only 8.6 kgs, which is much more manageable than cheaper products. It’s soft, flexible PVC jacket means it’s very easy to uncoil and coil back up at the end of the evening. A large re-usable velcro cable tie is supplied to aid in storage and transportation.
The EBN Range:
The EBN Series stage snakes are available in a number of configurations and cable lengths. From small 8 channel multicores for simple AV systems, studio rooms, or for as use as a drum or key sub-multicore, to 40 channel 50 metre systems for more sophisticated systems in large venue spaces.
Click the links for more information on the individual products and/or to buy. #
EBN8LU10. 8 channel, 10 metre, no returns.
EBN8. 8 channel 15 metre, no returns.
EBN804LU10. 12 channel, 8 inputs/4 returns. 10 metre.
EBN804. 12 channel, 8 inputs/4 returns. 25 metre.
EBN1204. 16 channel. 12 inputs/4 returns. 25 metre.
EBN1604. 20 channel. 16 inputs/4 returns. 25 metre.
EBN2408. 32 channel. 24 inputs/8 returns. 25 metre.
EBN2408LU50. 32 channel. 24 inputs/8 returns. 50 metre
EBN3208. 40 channel. 32 inputs/8 returns. 30 metre.
EBN3208LU50. 40 channel. 32 inputs/8 returns. 50 metre.