How to Use a Stage Snake

By Zach Dexter ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Snake stage box
  • PA mixer
  • Power amp
  • 2 TRS cables
  • Microphone(s)
A stage snake connects a remote mixer to on-stage inputs and outputs.

When you're mixing live sound, it helps to be positioned in the audience area so you know how everyone in the house is hearing the mix. On the other hand, performers and technicians on the stage need direct access to the XLR connectors on the mixer, and the power amp needs to have direct access to the output of the mixer while remaining close to the speakers. A stage snake makes all this possible, connecting the instruments, speakers, and monitors on the stage directly to the mixer, even though the mixer might be several yards away.

Plug the two XLR connectors at one end of the snake into channel strips on the PA mixer.

Plug the two unbalanced TRS connectors into the “Send 1” and “Send 2” TRS jacks on the PA mixer.

Connect the “Left Out” and “Right Out” TRS jacks on the snake box with the “Left In” and “Right In” TRS jacks on the power amp, using two TRS cables.

Connect any microphones or other XLR-connected equipment to the XLR jacks on the snake box.

Speak or perform into the microphone(s).

Control the mix from the PA mixer, which is located in the audience area to ensure accurate monitoring. The mixer’s main inputs are coming straight from the XLR connections on the stage, via the snake, all the way to the PA mixer.

Listen to the mix coming from the speakers and adjust the levels on the mixer to optimize the audience’s listening experience. The mixer’s outputs are sent down the unbalanced TRS cables all the way to the snake box. From there, the power amp takes the signal and blasts it through the PA speakers.

Tip

Connecting a TRS instrument such as a guitar requires either a DI box or, preferably, a guitar amp with an XLR microphone.

About the Author

Since 2010 Zach Dexter has been writing professionally on a number of topics for various websites, with emphasis on audio production and computers. He also blogs at Zaccus. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College Chicago, where he studied music and audio production.