I have read about these (normalling and half normalling) I am not an expert too. The whole idea of normalling is how they are connected inside, and what the jacks will do if you plug them. My idea with the xlr is simplicity, so you just make a route from mic to micpreamp, to eq, to comp, and convertor, like a chain. If you dont want eq for example you plug the output of the mic preamp at the inout of the comp, etc. My thinking is very basic and it works, it just takes the double space on the rack, the thing i was worried was the signal loss, but by using good quality components it will work fine. No matter what a patchbay is an extra mile for the signal instead of going to converters, so TT of XLR patchbay are the same in terms of ''signal loss''.