Sound desk

Stage box

A stage box is a rugged metal housing used in the audio engineering and entertainment fields to connect microphones and other sound equipment to the multicore cable. It functions as an extension of the equipment cables, allowing for the sound desk to be situated further away from the stage, and also as a single location for cables to be plugged in.


The stage box typically houses between 16 and 24 female XLR connectors (or "cannon connectors"), however the actual input configuration depends on the number of channels contained in the multicore cable. All of the microphones and musical instruments connect to the stage box and then the multicore cable runs to the sound desk or audio mixer. There are often a small number (4-8) of Male XLR Connectors on the stage box which are called returns. Occasionally these are 6.3 mm Jack sockets, but the use of Jack plugs or sockets on a multicore is strongly discouraged. The returns allow for the sending of line level audio from the sound desk to the stage for Foldback and FOH.

Multicore Cable

The multicore cable is a thick group of cables, roughly the same diameter as a British 2 pence coin, surrounded by a rubber jacket. One end of the cable will have many connectors, for use at the sound desk, whilst the other will link to the stage box. The multicore cable determines the number of connections available on the stage box. The manufacturer may indicate the number of channels available on a multicore cable by using a notation such as 12/4. This would have 12 inputs and 4 returns, all on separate channels.


The most common use for a stage box and multicore cable is in live sound reproduction, especially where an audience is present. The discreet multicore cable and stage box can be used to effectively manage the cables from the microphones, and allows for one single cable to be trailed from the sound desk to the stage.

Drop Boxes

Smaller stage boxes (typically with 2 or 4 connectors) with short length multicore cables are called drop boxes. These are typically used to carry microphone signals from one side of the stage to the other, or as an extension cable for a few channels on a larger stage box.

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