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FASLINK 2 Wiring

8ch

New Member
In my studio in California I have kept my AxeFxII (and XL+) in a rack very remote from the studio along with other components. I have replaced the II with a AxeFXIII.
The MFC was previously connected to the AxeFXII with a long run of ethernet cable (Cat 5 or 6) prewired in the wall. I would like to use that same run of cable for the Axe FXIII when the FC6/12 becomes available.

I am aware and currently own the Faslink adapters, XA-1 and XA-2. But the Fastlink2 is a "new" protocol. Are adapters going to become available so I can utilize my current run of CAT5 (or 6)? Or alternatively is the schematic available for Fastlink2 wiring to install my own cable connectors to properly run through the existing CAT5? I realize that this need would generally be unnecessary for most but, as I said, I am already prewired from the rack that hold the AxeFX (Incidentally its at least 50 feet away in rack cabinet in another room)

For anybody curious, there is a Mac in the rack connected by USB to the AxeFX and running Axe Edit and other FAS software. I control that Mac running Axe Edit remotely by a Mac next to me in the studio by utilizing Mac OS proprietary "Screen Share". Screen Share is mindless and nimble. It works like a dream with virtually no latency. I have had virtually no problems in years except for an occasional freeze. And even at that I reboot using Screen Share.

Sorry to be so longwinded.

Thanks,
H
 

iaresee

Moderator
Moderator
Are adapters going to become available so I can utilize my current run of CAT5 (or 6)?
Unlikely.

Or alternatively is the schematic available for Fastlink2 wiring to install my own cable connectors to properly run through the existing CAT5? I realize that this need would generally be unnecessary for most but, as I said, I am already prewired from the rack that hold the AxeFX (Incidentally its at least 50 feet away in rack cabinet in another room)
You should switch to using a long run of XLR IMHO. You could re-use three wires on the CAT5 run and then wire up custom CAT5 > XLR adapters, but that seems like the wrong way to go about it. FASLink2 is XLR-XLR.
 

8ch

New Member
That's the entire point of my question!
Of course that is what I would do if I were building the studio today. But the studio was PREWIRED long before Fastlink was conceived to control the Fractal Audio hardware. It was "ethernet" for years to the MFC. The setup currently is very tidy and hidden. I wanted to avoid having to do cable wall snaking.
 

iaresee

Moderator
Moderator
That's the entire point of my question!
Of course that is what I would do if I were building the studio today. But the studio was PREWIRED long before Fastlink was conceived to control the Fractal Audio hardware. It was "ethernet" for years to the MFC. The setup currently is very tidy and hidden. I wanted to avoid having to do cable wall snaking.
Do you not have the ability to do long runs of XLR to route audio signals through the studio? That's usually a common thing in studios, so it's why i suggested the switch. Most studios are routing mics and monitor signals from the console room and/or closet to the live room(s) via XLR network. Guess you don't have that?

I'm not sure how viable a CAT5 <> XLR custom adapter would be. You can certainly wire three wires from the CAT5 side to an XLR jack and try it out. The ground plane on the XLR is tricky --- CAT5 doesn't have a common ground. You could maybe use a 4th wire in the CAT5 line for that?

You're in super custom uncharted territory here.
 

8ch

New Member
Hey I really do appreciate your help. Truth is, it is more about 'beautiful' than about 'functional'. I wouldn't have done it that way but I have a wife!!!! I do love the room. But it really looks more like a home theater. It's loaded with guitars but other than a than the MFC on the floor and a some mics you don't see a wire. Even the floor monitors....all hidden. If it had been my choice there'd be wires, equipment, drum kits and chaos all over the place.

I was just trying to go simple and easy with what is already there. Personally, I would think Cat5 is fine. That's essentially what my MFC to AxeFx run has always been. The only significant voltage is the 12DC at fairly low amperage that the MFC at the ethercon connector from the AxeFx. But, I could be wrong. I usually am.
H
 

8ch

New Member
Thanks Captain. Yup, CAT cable changed our world especially before the ubiquitousness of WIFI. House automation companies, like Crestron, wouldn't exist today without it.
And Unix-guy...of course "FASlink"....I didn't mean to take away anything from one of my favorite companies.
Back to say question. Will XA-1 or 2 work....? kinda think not. And what's the cable wiring scheme for the FASlink2 cable protocol?
 

yeky83

Experienced
They won't. Entirely new protocol.
Do the XA-1 or -2 do translation work? Are they active devices? Is the Axe-Fx II's Ethernet protocol is actually different from the FASLINK protocol?
I'd assumed the XA were passive boxes that just hardwires two different connectors... :p No?
 

iaresee

Moderator
Moderator
Do the XA-1 or -2 do translation work? Are they active devices? Is the Axe-Fx II's Ethernet protocol is actually different from the FASLINK protocol?
I'd assumed the XA were passive boxes that just hardwires two different connectors... :p No?
They're active devices. They serialize and deserialize the signal. The CAT5 connection was literally MIDI but using CAT5 wiring. You can surmise this by looking at the wire counts: bi-directional MIDI requires 5 wires and an XLR connection has only 3 wires (plus the ground plane). That's your first clue that they're active boxes.

FASLink is not MIDI at the physical transport layer, though FAS uses it to pass MIDI data between its devices.
 

yeky83

Experienced
They're active devices. They serialize and deserialize the signal. The CAT5 connection was literally MIDI but using CAT5 wiring. You can surmise this by looking at the wire counts: bi-directional MIDI requires 5 wires and an XLR connection has only 3 wires (plus the ground plane). That's your first clue that they're active boxes.

FASLink is not MIDI at the physical transport layer, though FAS uses it to pass MIDI data between its devices.
Cool! I'm aware of the wire counts, just didn't know if it used all the wires. Thanks for the info :)
 

JazzSunn

Member
I do love the room. But it really looks more like a home theater. It's loaded with guitars but other than a than the MFC on the floor and a some mics you don't see a wire. Even the floor monitors....all hidden.
Sounds tight. Let's see some pics!
 

8ch

New Member
I am doing a follow up on my opening post question from 10/2018.
Here is what I learned and what was done. XLR audio cable has been successfully run over CAT5 (independent of whether "e", or CAT6 etc) for years. Speaking first in general, CAT5, when wired correctly is incredibly resistant to interference even when unshielded because of the fact that it is 4 runs of twisted pair wiring. Twisted pair is inherently effective at resisting interference as anybody knows who grew up with land line phones. The color coding of the twisting pairs follow this convention: solid wires are twisted with striped wires of the same color.
As a point of fact interference may or may not even be relevant in handling the bidirectional information in the FASLINK2 protocol to operate the FC controllers with the Axe Fx III. But this was my concern as I couldn't get any direct information on the protocol. As a separate issue I was worried about the gauge of wire being too low in CAT5 to successfully carry phantom power.

But I already had numerous runs of CAT5 cleanly hidden in the walls from my studio/audio room to a remote tower in another room that contained my AxeFx. So I tried it. Here is the wiring guideline. Just be certain (to take advantage of the natural interference resistance of twisted paining to use the solid to the positive pole (PIN 2) of the XLR and the SAME color's stripped counterpart to the negative pole (PIN3) (or vice versa, of course...doesn't matter). Then use any OTHER color to the ground/shield pole, PIN1. I made two pairs of cable run adapters. On the FC end it was XLR female to RJ45 male to plug in ethernet port on wall plate. In the other room I made a reciprocal cable RJ45 to XLR male to go from wall plate ethernet port to AXE FX III in rack.

It worked like a dream. The FC12 is hitch free. BTW, this is a very long run....perhaps 50 feet, I do not know really because its layout was done at construction years ago.

I suggest if anybody finds themselves in a similar situation (albeit unlikely and odd) might want to improve on mine by doubling up on the wiring to get "more" gauge and thus better wattage handling potential. And why not? There are other available wires (4 pairs of 8). But to do so I strongly advise to adhere to the twisting pairing stipulation. Pick 2 solid colors to the positive, and then the same colors striped counterpart to the negative. Do similarly for shield/PIN1 and double up any other 2 colors to the shield (that could be both sides of any available remaining color twisted pair .../.solid with stripe)

I just wanted everybody to know its working perfectly. In hindsight, it is obvious that it should have worked. But again, I didn't know whether the protocol was susceptible to interference or had higher gauge requirement.

Attached is an image of one adapter. I simply cut a short ethernet cable in half and spliced it (following the wiring convention) to a cut short XLR mic cable and repeated with the other ends to construct the other adapter.
 

Attachments

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I am doing a follow up on my opening post question from 10/2018.
Here is what I learned and what was done. XLR audio cable has been successfully run over CAT5 (independent of whether "e", or CAT6 etc) for years. Speaking first in general, CAT5, when wired correctly is incredibly resistant to interference even when unshielded because of the fact that it is 4 runs of twisted pair wiring. Twisted pair is inherently effective at resisting interference as anybody knows who grew up with land line phones. The color coding of the twisting pairs follow this convention: solid wires are twisted with striped wires of the same color.
As a point of fact interference may or may not even be relevant in handling the bidirectional information in the FASLINK2 protocol to operate the FC controllers with the Axe Fx III. But this was my concern as I couldn't get any direct information on the protocol. As a separate issue I was worried about the gauge of wire being too low in CAT5 to successfully carry phantom power.

But I already had numerous runs of CAT5 cleanly hidden in the walls from my studio/audio room to a remote tower in another room that contained my AxeFx. So I tried it. Here is the wiring guideline. Just be certain (to take advantage of the natural interference resistance of twisted paining to use the solid to the positive pole (PIN 2) of the XLR and the SAME color's stripped counterpart to the negative pole (PIN3) (or vice versa, of course...doesn't matter). Then use any OTHER color to the ground/shield pole, PIN1. I made two pairs of cable run adapters. On the FC end it was XLR female to RJ45 male to plug in ethernet port on wall plate. In the other room I made a reciprocal cable RJ45 to XLR male to go from wall plate ethernet port to AXE FX III in rack.

It worked like a dream. The FC12 is hitch free. BTW, this is a very long run....perhaps 50 feet, I do not know really because its layout was done at construction years ago.

I suggest if anybody finds themselves in a similar situation (albeit unlikely and odd) might want to improve on mine by doubling up on the wiring to get "more" gauge and thus better wattage handling potential. And why not? There are other available wires (4 pairs of 8). But to do so I strongly advise to adhere to the twisting pairing stipulation. Pick 2 solid colors to the positive, and then the same colors striped counterpart to the negative. Do similarly for shield/PIN1 and double up any other 2 colors to the shield (that could be both sides of any available remaining color twisted pair .../.solid with stripe)

I just wanted everybody to know its working perfectly. In hindsight, it is obvious that it should have worked. But again, I didn't know whether the protocol was susceptible to interference or had higher gauge requirement.

Attached is an image of one adapter. I simply cut a short ethernet cable in half and spliced it (following the wiring convention) to a cut short XLR mic cable and repeated with the other ends to construct the other adapter.
Twisted pair only rejects interference when using balanced signals. FASLINK is not a balanced protocol. But it is robust because it uses high signaling levels. You can use any wire for FASLINK but ideally it should be shielded and a heavy enough gauge to carry up to 1A without significant voltage drop.

If "I" were adapting FASLINK to CAT5 I would use each pair as a conductor. I.e. blue and blue/white tied together as one conductor, green and green/white tied together as another conducter. Then the drain wire (and maybe another conductor pair to ensure low resistance) connected to the XLR shield.

FASLINK uses two conductors plus shield (standard mic cable). One conductor is power. The other conductor is data. The shield is the common return for the two conductors.

We've tested FASLINK over 100m of cable. As long as the conductors are heavy enough so the voltage doesn't drop too much you can run it very long distances.
 

randyvanmartini

Power User
I am doing a follow up on my opening post question from 10/2018.
Here is what I learned and what was done. XLR audio cable has been successfully run over CAT5 (independent of whether "e", or CAT6 etc) for years. Speaking first in general, CAT5, when wired correctly is incredibly resistant to interference even when unshielded because of the fact that it is 4 runs of twisted pair wiring. Twisted pair is inherently effective at resisting interference as anybody knows who grew up with land line phones. The color coding of the twisting pairs follow this convention: solid wires are twisted with striped wires of the same color.
As a point of fact interference may or may not even be relevant in handling the bidirectional information in the FASLINK2 protocol to operate the FC controllers with the Axe Fx III. But this was my concern as I couldn't get any direct information on the protocol. As a separate issue I was worried about the gauge of wire being too low in CAT5 to successfully carry phantom power.

But I already had numerous runs of CAT5 cleanly hidden in the walls from my studio/audio room to a remote tower in another room that contained my AxeFx. So I tried it. Here is the wiring guideline. Just be certain (to take advantage of the natural interference resistance of twisted paining to use the solid to the positive pole (PIN 2) of the XLR and the SAME color's stripped counterpart to the negative pole (PIN3) (or vice versa, of course...doesn't matter). Then use any OTHER color to the ground/shield pole, PIN1. I made two pairs of cable run adapters. On the FC end it was XLR female to RJ45 male to plug in ethernet port on wall plate. In the other room I made a reciprocal cable RJ45 to XLR male to go from wall plate ethernet port to AXE FX III in rack.

It worked like a dream. The FC12 is hitch free. BTW, this is a very long run....perhaps 50 feet, I do not know really because its layout was done at construction years ago.

I suggest if anybody finds themselves in a similar situation (albeit unlikely and odd) might want to improve on mine by doubling up on the wiring to get "more" gauge and thus better wattage handling potential. And why not? There are other available wires (4 pairs of 8). But to do so I strongly advise to adhere to the twisting pairing stipulation. Pick 2 solid colors to the positive, and then the same colors striped counterpart to the negative. Do similarly for shield/PIN1 and double up any other 2 colors to the shield (that could be both sides of any available remaining color twisted pair .../.solid with stripe)

I just wanted everybody to know its working perfectly. In hindsight, it is obvious that it should have worked. But again, I didn't know whether the protocol was susceptible to interference or had higher gauge requirement.

Attached is an image of one adapter. I simply cut a short ethernet cable in half and spliced it (following the wiring convention) to a cut short XLR mic cable and repeated with the other ends to construct the other adapter.
Nice job!
 

8ch

New Member
Thx.
And thx Fractal. I played it safe and played it with consideration of it being a balanced audio signal because I couldn't get an answer initially to whether this was important. It sounds like any type of straight thru conductor would work with the main emphasis being on gauge heavy enough for the amperage.
Very helpful!
Everything is working fine now including phantom but I will probably rewire the adapter as you recommended to maximize gauge.
 

JoKeR III

Experienced
That's the entire point of my question!
Of course that is what I would do if I were building the studio today. But the studio was PREWIRED long before Fastlink was conceived to control the Fractal Audio hardware. It was "ethernet" for years to the MFC. The setup currently is very tidy and hidden. I wanted to avoid having to do cable wall snaking.
Cut the end of the CAT 5 cable, securely tape the end of an unterminated XLR cable to it and pull through the wall. Solder the XLR connector once you've pulled the cable through.
 

8ch

New Member
Always a thought, of course. But this was all wired in pre-construction and there were lots of runs of CAT5 and other cabling. But most of it was bundled and/or tied or clipped before walls were closed.
Point is: it works now.
 
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