Unusual adapters

January 1, 2010

Tech Tips, Jan 2010

When you're working in the field at a remote or sporting event, a compromise must be made between travelling light and bringing enough equipment to get the job done. Everyone has his own bag of tricks to pull from to solve an on-site crisis. For me, it's a bag of adapters. While it's mostly audio connectors, I have some RF, telco and a few other items so I can convert to and from almost anything.


Some of my adapters are custom made, such as an RJ-11 to XLR male and RJ-11 to XLR female. I'm rarely short of mic cables, so I have used these adapters quite often to extend a POTS line as needed. Another useful variation could be an RJ-45 break out box so a single Ethernet cable could be pressed into multipurpose use.

I have also made some adapters that worked perfectly for my need but are never left lying around. On one occasion I made a set of on-site speaker cable adapters to use an electrical extension cord. These obviously did not meet any electrical codes, but for the one time I needed them, having a pair of speaker-to-ac-outlet adapters allowed me to use regular extension cords to quickly place a speaker where it was needed. Once the remote was finished, I disassembled the adapter to prevent any misuse.

Another alternative to adapters is to collect a batch of solderless connectors. It's easy to find these in XLR, TRS, DB, RJ-XX and many other types. These are handy for a last-minute repairs or to make an unusual adapter.

What's in your bag of tricks to save a remote broadcast?

Tell us at

We need your tips!

Ideas submitted to Tech Tips may be suitable to earn SBE recertification credits.

Do you have a tech tip?

Send it to us at

Receive regular news and technology updates. Sign up for our free newsletter here.