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What patch bay to get? Modular Synthesizers
Old 26th March 2018
  #1
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Jaybird's Avatar
What patch bay to get?

normalized or half?

I have two racks of garage sell 90's and 80's junk.
I want to patch these up or loop or link...

All that into my studio 88 modular or my mini moog.
I am very un experienced other then the fact that I just scored 20 3 foot Mogami TRS patch cables for $50

I have a mackie mixer 1604 (the old one) and a new digital firewire mixer that has two inserts (That dont actually work that great)
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Old 27th March 2018
  #2
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tdot's Avatar
Well, first off, normal or half normalized really depends on your requirements. You should read up on the differences.

For example, my 96 point patchbays are fully switchable, and I decided to keep the monitor output/sub input/monitor input completely full normalled for reasons of not sending any signals once Ive plugged anything into that patch. Either I'm turning that connection off or not.

It is entirely dependent on what you want that connection to do.

For the majority of cases you want half normalized (inst to console, for example). If you decide to have a patchbay of efx units that have no other connection but themself (feedback loop) you'd want that bay non-normalled.
Old 27th March 2018
  #3
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You can fill 96 points fast.

For that setup, i would go redco. $500
Redco R196-D25PG DB25 96pt TT Patchbay | Redco Audio

The step up from that is: $800
Audio Accessories WDBP-9615-SH | Redco Audio

Plan on purchasing cable and soldering or a 2 to 3K budget for cables to do it right.

Network sound/Mamba brand is good for XLR breakouts and they have a cost effective DB25 to DB 25 cable.

Everything half normal unless you run mic phantom through it, then full normal.

Wire in a way so that everything is working with no patch cables used.
Old 27th March 2018
  #4
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i find d-sub 25 on the back to be VERY helpfull
Old 27th March 2018
  #5
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Jaybird's Avatar
I dont have Dsub gear right now. I am not a professional more of a collector key masher.
Something used and dirty for $100?
I dont have much XLR gear either other then my speakers.

Something nasty from a garage sell. Or ebay?

My local store did not even sell patchbays so no way to learn other then get "Something" and start patching,.
Old 28th March 2018
  #6
yep
Gear Head
 

Haha, the cost and/or effort of building a proper patchbay will make you re-consider how much outboard gear you want to own, no joke! I have stuff sitting in the "ebay it someday" pile, simply because it's not worth adding the patchbay points.

Some basics:
  • 1/4" TRS-to-TRS bays are one of things that you sometimes need just as a way to get started, but it's pretty much guaranteed that you will outgrow them, and when you do, they will have little to no resale value, and neither will all the 1/4" patch cables you bought to go with them. The reason they are cheap is because the guitar-type jacks on them are cheap, and cheap and flimsy is not a characteristic that you want in patchbay connections.
  • 1/4" Bantam/military/whatever is fine, but it takes up a lot of space, and it's rare, and it's no cheaper than TT, and there is a chronic risk of patch cable mis-match, so hardly anyone uses it.
  • The professional standard is TT/Bantam. They fit a lot of patch-points per bay and are very space-efficient, the connectors are the right shape for longevity, and so far, nobody makes cheap/flimsy TT cables or connectors, AFAIK.

So, in the normal world of professional audio, patchbay means TT/Bantam, typically 96 points per bay, but some people are into 3rd rows or 64-point oddities. I mean, if you are going on tour and immediately need 48 points of patching for under $100, sure, go ahead and get a 1/4 TRS bay and a bunch of cheap plastic patch cords, but know that the un-glamourous side of your audio career, should you choose to accept it, will sooner or later involve the maddeningly expensive and unexciting world of TT Bantam, which is not nearly as fun as PT Barnum. But TT Bantam is what we will be discussing from here on. If you need help figuring out a 1/4" TRS patchbay, then you are beyond help, I'm sorry.

Once you are ready to step up to the world of professional patchbays, there are some decisions to make that will have extremely nontrivial effects on your present and future and time and finances. There are no right or wrong answers, it's more like a time-vs-money seesaw, where both sides start way too high, and only go up.
  • Solder-point bays are the purist, professional standard. They are the cheapest, the most versatile, the surest and most-reliable connections by far (assuming competent soldering). The normalled connections have no crimps, no oxidization points, no springs, no mechanical connectors at all, they are solid metal straight through. Adding, removing, testing, changing, troubleshooting, and re-arranging connections and configurations is a simple matter of basic multi-meter and soldering-iron electronics. Prepare to get burns on your fingers, and to get very good at soldering by the time you are done fixing all your soldering mistakes from the first time through.
  • If solder-point bays are the manual transmission of patchbays, DB25 D-Sub is the automatic. Much easier, more convenient, more expensive, less reliable, and arguably lower-quality for professional applications, D-Subs trade the configurability of solder-point bays for the convenience of prefab cable assemblies, and the addition of a lot more potential failure points in terms of crimps and metal-to-metal contacts, etc. DB25 bays are more expensive both for the bay itself, and also for the breakout cables. But they are way faster and more-convenient than the purist approach. This is 100% the way to go if you are doing corporate sound on someone else's account.
  • EDAC/ELCO patchbays are like DB25 patchbays, except weird. Finding the right breakout cables with the right pinouts is basically impossible, which will leave you making your own, at which point you may as well just get soldering. Leave them to people who have Neve/ELCO desks and the like. Same with 3-pin ELCO connectors. You basically have to make all your own cables anyway, except with less reliability and more parts than soldering. Soldering is not that scary.
  • For those who are still scared of soldering, but who can't afford DB25, punchdown patchbays offer a quick-and-easy solderless substitute. Now, I'm not saying that punchdown bays are the worst of both worlds, but they are. It's more expensive than solder-point, with worse connections than DB25. Assembly is quicker than soldering, to be sure, but in engineering terms, punchdown connections are basically not recommended for critical applications, and they are not designed for stranded wire. Used punchdown bays especially are to be avoided.

So there you have it, solder-point bays if you are a purist or if you have more time than money, DB25 if your boss is paying for it (unless you're weird and decide to go ELCO), and punchdown bays if you like to live on the edge.

But what about normalling? Great Question! Also, what about phantom power and ribbon mics and stuff? Does any of that matter? Another Great Question!

Hopefully I will endeavor to answer those questions at some later time, because this post is long enough already!
Old 28th March 2018
  #7
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Jaybird's Avatar
Thanks yep. I read your post 2x.

Still however I have no idea how to use TT I have only gear with TRS and phono cords.
If I could get by with even just my Big sky and timeline and eventually the modulation box from Strymon.
So three high quality effects and get those on my moog or my modular with out all the fuss.
I like compressor on my TR-909 but the 909 is mated to the mackie mixer full time.

There is a mackie 32/8 with PSU for $500 in town, its however large enough to get in the way of EVERYTHING has meter bridge.
I would however have no idea how to use that,

I have 28 individual channels going into cubase with ADAT.It might be more cost effective to just purchase individual rack items for each project.
Example, I already have 3 rack delays, 2 compressors, just spread them around. A totally backward way to do this.

embarrassed to even post this,
Old 28th March 2018
  #8
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12tone's Avatar
 

$120, works pefectly

Samson — S-patch plus
Old 29th March 2018
  #9
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tdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
$120, works pefectly

Samson — S-patch plus
I totally agree.

You can find some TRS patchbays even cheaper (the Switchcraft and ART patchbays I have were $80 new).

I used cheaper TRS patchbays for many years until I managed to fill up 4 of them, and had an actual need to move to TT.

Even then, I totally refused to pay anything near $500. I simply found some 96 point E90 TT bays on eBay for <$100 - but I wouldn't recommend doing that unless you're ready to do some troubleshooting AND build your own cables (getting E90 cables fabricated for you is quite expensive). One set of the 1RU patchbays I got had no issues, but the other set of 2RU patchbays had some issues I had to go through and repair.

I'd say stick with TRS patchbays until you have a need for something more and are willing to make a large investment in time and money on it.
Old 18th June 2018
  #10
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Jaybird's Avatar
If I have two inserts on my digital mixer can I link that into my patchbay?
Old 23rd June 2018
  #11
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tdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaybird View Post
If I have two inserts on my digital mixer can I link that into my patchbay?
Yes



Most likely you'd want a patchbay with a half-normalled configuration.

If you run the insert send to the top and the insert return to the bottom, by default, it will create a loop with itself, operating normally.

Being half-normalled, you will be able to connect the insert send to other equipment without affecting the actual channel - only plugging a signal into the return will cause the insert to receive a new signal.

The only thing to watch for of course, is if your insert is unbalanced (like most, unless your console has fully balanced and switchable inserts), a long run makes it easier to get noise across the line, which will always be present as the signal will always be travelling through the patchbay.
Old 29th June 2018
  #12
Gear Head
If you are going to go TT Bantam, make sure check out Mister Patchbay's website. I have found some awesome deals there.
Old 3rd July 2018
  #13
Lives for gear
Here is the most basic concept that makes it worth getting a patch bay.

If you locate each devise on the bay right, then you don't use any patch cables in the default use. The Top row feeds the bottom row. By default in a "half normal" way.

Half normal. The top feeds the bottom. If you plug a cable into the top half, that becomes a split of the signal. If you plug into the bottom, the feed from the top is removed and the new cable is the only feed into the bottom unit.

Here are the tricky bits.

All good patchbays are balanced. Each connection needs to be connected to the patch bay just like it was being wired to a balanced connection.

I would not suggest feeding phantom power through a TT patch bay unless you get a patch bay that is point to point wired. That would be the Audio Accecories version that costs more than Redco.

Redco is the only $500 patch I can suggest that will not raise the noise floor much.

The patch bay and cables are not cheap. But they are cheaper than additional converter's that can operate the same way but inside the computer.
Old 6th July 2018
  #14
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
I would not suggest feeding phantom power through a TT patch bay ...
From first-hand, bitter experience, I would not suggest feeding phantom power through ANY patch bay.

I had heard warnings against that practice for years, but I assumed it was just urban legend or old wives tales. Then I actually tried it for myself and discovered the show-stopping problem. If there is ANY kind of oxidation, dirt or even handling schmoo on the sleeve, the ground connection will cause horrible noise from intermittent connections. Even cleaning the plugs and jacks weekly did little to reduce the problem.

The sleeve ground connection is plenty good enough for a shield connection, but when you send any current through it (especially phantom DC current) it turns horribly noisy.

NOT RECOMMENDED
Old 14th July 2018
  #15
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tdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
From first-hand, bitter experience, I would not suggest feeding phantom power through ANY patch bay.

I had heard warnings against that practice for years, but I assumed it was just urban legend or old wives tales. Then I actually tried it for myself and discovered the show-stopping problem. If there is ANY kind of oxidation, dirt or even handling schmoo on the sleeve, the ground connection will cause horrible noise from intermittent connections. Even cleaning the plugs and jacks weekly did little to reduce the problem.

The sleeve ground connection is plenty good enough for a shield connection, but when you send any current through it (especially phantom DC current) it turns horribly noisy.

NOT RECOMMENDED
Yeah I've read a lot of for and against on this topic - but realistically, in a home studio, how many mics can you possibly need at once?

If you have a commercial studio with a giant live recording room and etc etc, maybe it makes sense. For me, I just have a 1RU 8 XLR patchbay - the 2 great river mic inputs and 4 mic of the mic inputs from the console are wired to there. Just jack the mics into that - simple. Since I don't think I've ever used more than 2 mics at once (with one exception when I tracked a drum kit, with a portable interface, since my previous bedroom studio wouldn't even reach a room that could fit drums), it works fine for me. Just avoid the trouble. If the very rare occasion came up I needed more mics, I'd just run XLR cables ... I'm going to be running XLR cables from the mics to somewhere anyway? (I only own 4 mics, too).
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