Your band just bought a brand-new digital mixing board as well as in ear monitor units. You’re setting everything up and getting all configured when you realize you’ve missed on piece of the puzzle: the splitter snake. This piece of audio gear is required for using your own digital monitor board at live gigs because you need a way to split the audio feed from all the microphones on stage to go your monitor board and to go to the front of house mixing board.
When we purchased our splitter snake, we went through two poorly-made snakes before finding one that lasted the test of time. I’m writing this article to save your band time and money when it comes to purchasing a splitter snake and to not make the same mistakes we made upon purchase our first one.
One thing to note: there are many different options available. What your band needs might not be what ours or another’s does. The pricing on these splitter snakes is going to vary drastically, but it is worth it the higher up the price spectrum you go.
What Is a Splitter Snake?
This piece of gear is essentially a regular audio snake outfitted with two XLR fan tails, effectively splitting the audio signal in two paths. One of these XLR fans will be sent to the FOH engineer’s mixing desk and the other XLR fan will go into your monitor board. This allows your band to have your own monitor mixes, adjust your own EQ (seperate of FOH), add reverbs and delays, and have total control of your on-stage in ear monitor mix. We switched to in ear monitors over two years ago. You can read how we did it and what we used here.
Best Splitter Snake For In Ear Monitors – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
There are many factors involved with purchasing a split snake. You need to be mindful of build quality, portability, if the unit is rack-mountable, as well the length of each XLR fan tail. Some snakes from certain companies will need to be made to order.
1. Seismic Audio Splitter Snake
Seismic Audio is a company that prides itself on inexpensive gear. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they provide with this splitter snake. This is the most affordable entry-level split snake. We have gone through two of these splitter snakes and have since switched to another one which we will be seeing later in this review.
- Model # SATSS-24x1530 (Splitter Snake Cable) 24 Channels
- Two Trunks - One Fantail is 15' long and the other is 30'...
- Colored Coded Fantails - Numerically labeled on fantail and...
- Heavy Duty Steel Stage Box with White surfaces at each...
- Rubber Feet on Snake Box. Mesh hangers for strain relief....
You can go ahead and purchase this splitter snake, just be aware of a couple things. This snake will be sitting on the ground on stage. If the stage vibrates at all because of low bass frequencies, it will disrupt the connection points for each XLR cable you have plugged in. This is where this splitter snake is flawed.
The XLR connectors found on the Seismic splitter snake are extremely cheap and barely hold your cable in them. What happens? You begin to lose channels during live shows. Loud cable noise hits front of house, potentially wrecking PA systems. I can tell you from personal experience that these spiltter snakes are no good (sorry guys, still enjoy a lot of your other products!).
If you’re in a tight spot financially and this is the only option, be sure to grab a big piece of foam and bring that with you to your shows. You can set the foam underneath the splitter snake and that should alleviate any issues I just warned of. Aside from that issue, the XLR tails are of a solid quality; we have no issues in this regard.
The last thing to note on this splitter snake is that the XLR fan out tails are 5′ and 15′ respectively. If you need more, you’ll need to pick from the chart below.
|Seismic Audio Splitter Snake||XLR Trunk Length||Rack Mounted||Street Value|
|16 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 15'||No||$199||Check Price|
|16 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 30'||No||$219||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 15'||No||$239||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 30'||No||$279||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 15'||No||$299||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 30'||No||$339||Check Price|
|16 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||5' x 15'||Yes||$179||Check Price|
|16 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 15'||Yes||$199||Check Price|
|16 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||5' x 30'||Yes||$199||Check Price|
|16 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 30'||Yes||$219||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||5' x 15'||Yes||$219||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 15'||Yes||$239||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||5' x 30'||Yes||$239||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 30'||Yes||$279||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||5' x 15'||Yes||$279||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 15'||Yes||$299||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||5' x 30'||Yes||$319||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 30'||Yes||$340||Check Price|
2. CBI Splitter Snake
The picture you see to the right is one of their “Ear Splitter” splitter snakes. The one pictured is only 16 channels, but they have a ton of different options all available to purchase now. We decided to purchase the 32 channel splitter snake with 25′ and 6′ XLR tails. These snakes are rack-mounted, so you’ll need a rack case to go along with it.
When the snake arrived, I installed it into our OSP 16-space shock rack, directly underneath our X32 Rack from Behringer. After spending a few hours wiring the back, labeling the snake, and adding appropriate zip ties, it was time to plug in all the lines.
Immediately, from plugging in just the kick out XLR, I could tell this was a much higher-quality splitter snake. The force required to plug the XLR in is much greater and these connectors are made from metal. Since purchasing our CBI splitter snake, we have had no issues with losing lines, bumping cables, or having someone step on our split. Here’s all the available configurations you can buy from eBay now.
|CBI Ear Splitter Snake||XLR Trunk Length||Rack Mounted||Street Value|
|16 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||3' x 10'||Yes||$519||Check Price|
|16 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||10' x 10'||Yes||$529||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||10' x 10'||Yes||$649||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 30'||Yes||$749||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake w/ ISO Transformers and Lifts||5' x 15'||Yes||$1399||Check Price|
|24 Channel XLR Splitter Snake w/ ISO Transformers and Lifts||15' x 45'||Yes||$1539||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||6' x 25'||Yes||$1069||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 30'||Yes||$1199||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||6' x 50'||Yes||$1249||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake||15' x 50'||Yes||$1299||Check Price|
|32 Channel XLR Splitter Snake w/ ISO Transformers and Lifts||6' x 25'||Yes||$1399||Check Price|
|48 Channel XLR Splitter Snake w/ ISO Transformers and Lifts||10' x 10'||Yes||$1899||Check Price|
|48 Channel XLR Splitter Snake w/ ISO Transformers and Lifts||5' x 20'||Yes||$1999||Check Price|
|56 Channel XLR Splitter Snake w/ ISO Transformers and Lifts||10' x 10'||Yes||$2299||Check Price|
|64 Channel XLR Splitter Snake w/ ISO Transformers and Lifts||10' x 10';||Yes||$2999||Check Price|
3. Whirlwind Audio Concert Systems Splitter Snake
If the CBI splitter snake wasn’t good enough for your setup, it’s time you make the jump all the way up to the best: Whirlwind Audio. For this snake, you’ll need to call and make an order for your exact needs. This company is very specialized and will provide the greatest product you will ever use. Expect to pay quite a fortune for these touring systems, as they are the standard for major arena touring acts.
These splitter snakes are usually kept in their own rack case and are usually more for venues or arena touring acts. You may not need this level of gear currently. My suggestion is go with a splitter snake from CBI. Check that table above to find a splitter snake that meets your configurations.
Conclusion – My Personal Splitter Snake Recommendation
After looking at all the split snakes available without custom order, my best pick would have to be the CBI 32 Channel 6’x25′ split. 32 channels gives you enough flexibility with your input list: stereo keyboards, seperated stereo tracks, plenty of drums, stereo sample pads, vocals, the list goes on. It’s also good to have more channels than you need in case one goes bad on a tour. The CBI not only performs great, it will last a long time; any of the Seismic snakes will be needing repairs much sooner than the CBI snakes.
Is your band currently using your own splitter snake? What one have you settled on? Do you like it? Leave a comment below if you’d like to share. Are you considering buying one? Let me know if you have any questions below and I will get back to you as soon as I can with an answer. I have a fair amount of knowledge on split snakes, in ear monitor setups, and digital monitor boards. Thanks for reading.
Hey there fellow drummer, thanks for reading the post. I’ve got a private Facebook group called Drum Junkies. It’s made up of people just like you and me who are sharing pictures of their drum kits, talking about industry trends, and sharing tips about drumming. I’d love for you to join! Here’s a link to the group; we’ll see you on the inside.
Join the newsletter!
We'll send over our Drummer's Live Show Preparation Checklist for FREE!