Old School Engineer Practices a Lost Art

Veteran sound mixer and FOH engineer Tom Muccio has been building his own audio multicore cables, commonly known as "snakes," since the 60s. Currently, he operates his own "Old School Sound" location sound reinforcement company, as well as handling tech support and sales at TAI Audio in Orlando, FL.

"I learned about Sommer Cable years ago from sales rep Martin Ucik, who is now the head of the American division of the German company," Muccio recalls. "I like the flexibility of it, number one, and also the fact that all the pairs are numbered -- it makes it very easy to organize. It's easy to handle, easy to solder, and I can coil up a hundred feet with my snake and put it into a Pelican case." 

Tom Muccio is pictured in his Winter Haven, Florida workshop with his Sommer Cable snake. Photo by Susan Muccio.

Tom Muccio is pictured in his Winter Haven, Florida workshop with his Sommer Cable snake. Photo by Susan Muccio.

As a fledgling recording engineer in NYC, Muccio began his career working with such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, The Four Seasons, and Jeff Beck with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He also had a stint with W.S.M. Opryland in Nashville, and was chief engineer for Columbia Pictures Radio Division in Wheeling, WV, where he mixed and recorded "Jamboree U.S.A." The two-hour live shows featured performances by Top Ten country stars every Saturday night and was broadcast in the US and Canada. Then he hand-edited the show recordings and produced a one-hour show that re-aired in over 500 markets through Mutual Broadcasting within two weeks of the live broadcast. 

Muccio actually fabricates the aluminum housing for his snakes. "I guess this is a dying art," he explains. "I learned aluminum fabrication back in the day when I was with Sound Center Studios in New York where I helped build consoles and other gear. I use old reclaimed street signs, because they provide the best and cleanest aluminum. It's relatively easy to bend, and of course, I punched out all the XLR holes myself and pop-riveted the supports on the inside. I tapped them so I can take the box apart. Everything fits together like a clam shell."

The wire pairs of the SC-Mistral MCF have a pre-twisted drain wire and another shielding made of AL/PT compound foil. For added protection against corrosion and oxidation both the conductors and the drain wire have been tinned. The cable is very flexible and tread-resistant owing to the use of a rugged rubberlike jacket material.

Muccio uses Sommer Cable's popular Multipair SC-Mistral MCF, which the company has been making for 10 years. "The cable is top notch," Muccio explains. "It's totally quiet and I haven't had any hums or buzzes or anything of that nature."

https://usashop.sommercable.com/en/Cables/Bulk-Cables-Audio/Multipair-SC-Mistral-MCF-100-0101-16-S-PVC.html

1-foot samples are available upon request.

ABOUT SOMMER CABLE

Sommer Cable Germany is a foremost development and manufacturing company of innovative and unique cable, connector and electronic products for the Studio, A/V Installation, Live Sound, Broadcast, Video, Music, IT and HiFi markets, with business partners in over 50 countries. In 2015, Sommer Cable America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sommer Cable Germany, was established in Santa Rosa, CA by CEO Martin Ucik. The new company supplies the North American markets with Sommer's wide range of innovative and high quality products. 707.200.4020 http://sommercable.com/en

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