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Having spent a salty, windy, and damp day at a raging Pacific Beach this weekend, I realized that I really had no decent way to protect my XLR connectors from sand; I had to hike with all my gear to the beach so I didn't have all the bits connected by the time I hit the dunes. I spent a lot of time carefully holding cables off the sand or knocking sand out of the female cable ends.

Anyone use XLR connector plugs/jacks/caps on their cables, and do they generally get the job done? I'd love to use 'em especially on cables where you can't just mate the female end to the matching male end, like stereo XLR's that terminate in a five-pin connector. Also, any other tips or suggestions for similar protection would be great!

What's worked for you?

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6 Answers

I've never run into this problem, but I guess you could just buy bare connectors from an electronics store - would work fine as a "Cap". You could buy cheap ones for under $3 a piece.

Just did a quick search. You may be able to find some for cheaper if you search a bit.

Female XLR connectors for $2.25 from Jameco

Male XLR connectors for $2.95 from Jameco Male 5p XLR connector for $4.95 from Mouser



They also make rubber caps you could buy for a lot cheaper, just less secure:

XLR Caps

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ingenious! nicely played… –  Jay Jennings Oct 5 '10 at 8:29
    
Hah, great idea about the bare connectors, Colin! Stellar. It was those little yellow jobbies that I was most curious about. Price is right for the quantity, at least. Thanks for the insight! –  NoiseJockey Oct 5 '10 at 14:49
    
Well, I guess Colin has capped it. hehe. –  Utopia Oct 5 '10 at 23:24
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How about a sandwich bag and some gaff tape / bongo tie / rubber band? Kinda like the condom trick for keeping mics dry in water. Keeps the tape off the mic cable, has the potential to protect multiple ends at once, reusable, and cheap.

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I've never used one personally, but Neutrik do make xlr dust caps.

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Ah, hadn't seen those black rubber ones. Thanks, Colin! –  NoiseJockey Oct 5 '10 at 14:51
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What about medical finger cots (they're like rolled up versions of just the fingers of latex gloves)? They'd be like a semi-reusable solution and are definitely waterproof.

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That is a super idea - nice and cheap at the drug store. Good idea! –  NoiseJockey Oct 5 '10 at 22:50
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I haven't tried the caps, but I guess a quick hack would be a bit of gaffer tape on the tips?

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Yeah - was hoping for something reusable, but that's as good a plan as any, I suppose! –  NoiseJockey Oct 5 '10 at 5:09
    
+1! I like tape, but Gaffer Tape can also leave a sticky mess! –  Utopia Oct 5 '10 at 5:23
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Also, if you wrap it around a mic cable, sometimes to get it off takes some strength and cursing. –  Utopia Oct 5 '10 at 5:24
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@Ryan I just meant on the metalic part, just the tip flat on... Would never put tape to put on and off on the cable itself, hehe. –  Andrew Spitz Oct 6 '10 at 6:30
    
@Andrew Yeah I figured that's what you meant! :-) –  Utopia Oct 17 '10 at 6:24
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I've never really worried about this problem, but I could see in a harsh environment how it could be an issue. I like the idea of having some spare connectors in my bag to cap off the recorder inputs and cable ends. I keep a little can of Caig DeoxIT and canned air - both of those would be excellent to have in a salty/sandy environment. Also consider getting some of the Neutrik XX-HD connectors - even when connected, some connectors have enough gap to let dust and water in. Corrosion can spread up your cable and ruin it or, even worse, you could get corrosion inside of your recorder. Neutrik also makes the HD chassis connectors - wonder if it's worth voiding the warranty to put something heavier duty in than what comes stock.

Excellent question, and great answers so far!

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Great suggestions, @VCProd. Yeah, I never even considered this until I was actually knocking out sand granules from my stereo cable... :-( –  NoiseJockey Oct 5 '10 at 22:51
    
@NoiseJockey - at least you know for next time! Dream recorder for the outdoors - Aaton Cantar X2...sealed everything - you can record in the snow, desert, etc. I want one, but my wife says no $14k on a recorder :) –  VCProd Oct 6 '10 at 15:44
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