Tidy cables? how the hell

I bought some of those 1u brush slots to put into the rack slots on the my desk (has 4u on each side on top) so I could run cables through and hopefully tidy it up a fair bit. What a mistake.

My nest of wires behind the desk needs a good sort out. What I thought was going to be a 5 min job of just disconnecting the cables and re-routing them has so far turned into an hour of confusion and I’m still not done.

20+ TRS/XLR cables going to my mixers breakout box.
10+ MIDI cables running to USB MIDI interface and via each other
8 power supply cables for USB hubs, pedal effects and synths.
4x power strips supplying power to synths/monitors/DAC/mixer etc

and this is all just one side of the desk. I still need to do the other side too.

I’ve decided to do a whole rip out when I’m off work on Wednesday and want to get it all connected as perfect as I can.

Can any wiring experts please show me what you’ve done with yours to get rid of the web of cables in your set up?



I used to make my own cables, so I could save money, and fit them perfectly.
Midi, XLR, TRS is not that hard to make.
Biggest problem was always the psv’s everywhere.
But there is always a nice looking cover where you can hide such mess :wink:

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I get my cables for £6 a stereo pair of TRS-XLR. To buy just the XLR connectors would cost double that.
I don’t need to hide the cables as they’re inside or at the rear of the desk. I need to organise them correctly so any loose bits are out of the way. It seems each time I add something new the cables tangle more and more. I need a way to organise and keep them separate or wound and out of the way from tangling with each other, if possible.

I resolved my issue somewhat using this rack thing from ikea that drills into the underside of the table

The remaining wires on the table have been stuffed in the box for a helmet I had knocking around, this one to be exact. It works so well I’m gonna make a similar shape out of wood for a nicer look. Pair this with rewiring everything every month or so when things inevitably get tangled by plugging and unplugging and you’ve got a solution. Sounds like bullshit but I’ll post a picture later, it’s working quite well for keeping it tidy


You could always use a cable snake


I actually use that same IKEA piece under my table. It def. helps tidy things up. I also use lots of velcro straps to group cables together that run parallel with eachother. Good luck!


I don’t know why there isn’t some type of standardized single audio/data/power cable for synths and instruments, and audio interfaces which use that standard. The instrument and the interface would negotiate. Stuff would cost a little more. In another reality, people just like us are using those awesome interfaces :drooling_face:

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Will the lid be hinged?

The box slides out in the middle, it’s how you get the helmet out. Hinged would work too though. Could add a couple of secret compartments for the jazz cabbage. There’s tons of ways I could design this nicely and it would be a really easy diy project

Good call on the compartments, maybe it would be even cooler to give the bottom of the interior box a false bottom.

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Yes yes false bottom is a good call. Gonna end up with one of those over complicated puzzle lock boxes

ok , ordered some 15m of cable snake. Can’t screw anything to the underside of the desk as that’s where the top of a rack synth will be.

I think I need custom XLR F and XLR M to TRS 8 way loom cables made up to fix this. Going to be an expensive experiment, even if I did DIY.

Off topic but funny to see @jb and @wickfut avatars back to back. Yin and Yang if you will.


Could you run a length of trunking along the rear edge of the desk a the top? You can get pvc trunking and cut slots or holes. Depending on the size you could lose some slack in there too. Use your cable snake to get you out of the trunking. Once the lid is on it’s all hidden.

I’m thinking like a 3” x 3” or even some dado trunking if you’ve got the depth.

4”x2” image

Dado image

be aware of the power of velcro zip ties. changed my life



Precise cable lengths, and when that’s not possible hiding underneath or inside things.


I think I will try that IKEA thing out. seems like a cool inexpensive option. thanks

that’s nothing. try plugging all that into a patch bay before then plugging it into a mixer. then you know cable hell.

your cables seem fine on the desktop. just hide that whole mess on the floor somehow. it’s not going away, so just conceal it. if a lot of it is excess cable length, use shorter cables or coil up the excess and use velcro or zip ties. and if the desktop is still too much for you, start using layers. for example, cover those Boss effects with a small shelf and put something on that. boom, cables are invisible.

Yeah. I can imagine a patch bay to be a complete pain. Luckily I purchased a mixer with full internal routing so every input can be assigned to any / multiple outputs etc.

The cables are fine on the desktop because I’d just fitted the 1u brushed slot for the wires and wired up the 2 effects units. The silver box you can see in that image has 32 inputs and 16 outputs. The wires on that picture are just the midi/XLR and power for a x0xb0x and the 2 effects units. It’s going to get a whole lot more busy as more equipment gets connected.

Anyway. Scored 4m of sticky back velcro. Going to hopefully stick the power points to the inside walls of the desk with power down one side and audio/usb/hubs stuck to the opposite.

The 15m of cable trunking arrived so I did a small test around 4x XLRs and it’s a bit naff. Too time consuming to wrap around bulk wires. So bought a 200 cable ties to use instead. Will be easier to alter things in the future to just cut and apply a new ties rather than unwrap meters of cables within a trunk.

I should really start the wiring now but not sure I’ll finish it in a day.

Yes to this

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