Cable snake alternative

One of the most divisive recent innovations has been the DB25 cable snake for drum modules.

When we first encountered the connector on a Roland module, we questioned its wisdom. After all, it limited the positioning of drums because the cables were different lengths and allocated to particular drums and cymbals. Of course, you can get around that with readily available cable extenders.

But the real concern was about what would happen if one cable got damaged. With traditional cabling, if you break one, it’s easily and cheaply replaced. But if you break one of the 10 strands in the multicable, that’s it! You’re stuffed.

These concerns have not stopped the DB25 tidal wave, and almost all of the “non-pro” brains now use these connectors – everything from lower-end Roland to ATV, Efnote, ddrum and Simmons.

So, it didn’t take long before DIYers started messing around with DB25 connectors to try and address the perceived shortcomings.

Now, the pro e-drum makers are getting involved, primarily in the UK. The maker of Drone triggers occasionally lists a DB25 connector box on eBay. But that’s hit and miss, and if you don’t look at the right time, you’ll miss out.

Enter, a UK-based company specialising in the production of high-quality ‘custom’ cabling for musicians, studios, stage, cinema and broadcast.

The company has two Rudiment DB25 connectors permanently listed on its site and available as regular stock – a more compact breakout loom version and a breakout box model.

digitalDrummer was supplied with the bigger breakout box version for review.

What’s in the box

Before ordering, buyers get to choose between a Roland and an Alesis version. Regardless of the version, the physical box is the same – a compact 12 cm x 10 cm x 6 cm plastic box with 10 clearly labelled jacks on the top with a sturdy 1.2 m cable terminating in a DB25 connector.

The jacks are all stereo to accommodate the connections to the dual-zone triggers of the modules. They are well labelled and laid out logically.

The Rudiment build quality seems top-notch, and the cable and DB25 connector are heavy-duty components which should last as long as the modules they are supporting.

In action

The first step is connecting the DB25 to the back or bottom of your module – just as you would the stock connector. There are two thumb screws to lock the connector in place.

Then, you need to connect your pads, cymbals and pedals to the box using regular stereo instrument cables.

Of course, this probably means buying new cables since you’ll no doubt be replacing an existing loom.

The box is pretty much universal and accommodates all standard TRS cables, even L-jacks. It did take some careful jack arrangement to plug in 10 GEWA cables, but those are significantly chunkier than most stock options, so users should be okay with almost any cable.

One thing to keep in mind is that although all DB25s may look the same, the pin allocation is not universal – hence the separate Rudiment offerings for Alesis and Roland.

According to the company, the Roland box should work flawlessly with TD-9, TD-11, TD-15, TD-17, TD-25 and TD-27. I tested a TD-27 and it was spot on – everything lined up perfectly!

The breakout box also worked perfectly with an ATV aD5 – not surprising given the common heritage of ATV and Roland.

I tried the box with a Simmons SD1200 and, unsurprisingly, the jack allocation didn’t match the module. But with a bit of trial and error, I managed to get everything plugged into an appropriate jack, after which the box worked fine.

Bottom line

The Rudiment DB25 breakout box is a useful addition for modules with a DB25 connector. It replaces the stock cable snake with a solution that provides far more flexibility, allowing you to connect drums and cymbals more easily than fixed-length cables for predetermined rack positions.

The Rudiment products look very well made, durable and road-ready for gigging drummers – certainly more robust than the stock cable snakes supplied with most modules.

There are a couple of caveats – you need to choose the right box for your module and there is a cost involved. In the case of the breakout box, the price tag is £105.50 (free shipping in the UK, but there is a shipping charge for other countries). There is a cheaper option – the £87 breakout loom, which is more compact, but does exactly the same job and will probably suit most drummers better than the chunky box. And then there’s the cost of the 10 TRS cables you’ll need to connect the triggers when you dispense with your stock cable snake.

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