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Flock Audio: Introducing The PATCH System (Announcement)
Old 28th November 2017
  #1
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Hardware Flock Audio: Introducing The PATCH System (Announcement)

Hey Everyone I just wanted to post about a new piece...actually the first of our Pro Audio Technology line from Flock Audio Inc. | Flock Technologies.

I’m proud to announce the first piece of pro audio technology…The Flock Audio PATCH System. The PATCH system is 100% digitally controlled 64 point (expandable) analog patch bay routing system completely controlled by a software application on your computer.

A combination of a sleek 1U Hardware unit and a Mac/Windows Compatible software application, the Flock Audio PATCH is a powerhouse of features whether your tracking, mixing or mastering. The system comes equipped with a lot of features and functions.

Please visit: www.flocktechnologies.com to get more details and run down of the PATCH System and sign up for the mailing list to get more details as well as the pre-order announcement.

You can also watch our debut video announcement here:



Thanks! Take care everyone!
- Darren Nakonechny (CEO/Founder) Flock Audio Inc.
Old 28th November 2017
  #2
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Thumbs up

Super impressed! This looks exactly like what i imagine a perfect ecosystem and best of both worlds to look like. Pumped for this to come out.

Mad Props!
Old 28th November 2017
  #3
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Awesome! Congrats!
Old 30th November 2017
  #4
Looks like a product the market actually needs! Nice work

I really hope these units are affordable. I'd love to replace my TT patchbays but I've got 3x 96-point bays so I'd need a bunch of these things to equal the equivalent of one existing patchbay. That said, the existing ones are 2U, clumsy, and annoying to modify. I still haven't figured out how to use a patchbay label template.
Old 30th November 2017
  #5
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Flock Audio Patch System

Hey guys,

Check this out !


Flock Audio Inc introduces the PATCH System - Find out more.. |
Old 1st December 2017
  #6
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wow! right on time! is it going to be available in EU? want to buy this asap!
Old 1st December 2017
  #7
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ARIEL's Avatar
Wow this is brilliant, this is incredible with the 48V phantom power so you can patch in your condensor mics, plus the route anywhere is great. Looking fwd to seeing more about this and an in use demo video.
Old 3rd December 2017
  #8
Old 4th December 2017
  #9
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What’s the preorder price? Looks great!
Old 4th December 2017
  #10
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Would love to know the pre order price as well
Old 5th December 2017
  #11
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Thanks everyone for your positive responses! The system's availability and pricing hasn't been announced yet as we are working with dealers worldwide to make the PATCH system's easily and readily available once release happens. Please ensure you sign up to the mailing list at www.flocktechnologies.com (bottom of the page!) to get the first production run announcement, pricing, and availability! For those of you attending NAMM we don't have a booth there unfortunately due to a late announcement unless we can find some space with another friendly manufacturer but otherwise we will be attending NAMM and kicking around the showroom floor. Thanks again and looking forward to getting the PATCH into your studios!
Old 5th December 2017
  #12
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I see you can control multiple units, but it looks like you can only patch within the actual unit itself. how would you patch say unit 4 to unit 1 ?
Old 6th December 2017
  #13
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Any phase reversal on this one? Would be a great feature!
Old 6th December 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Taylor View Post
Any phase reversal on this one? Would be a great feature!
Most preamps have that feature and all DAWS can do that in software, so that would be an unnecessary expense dont you think ?
Old 7th December 2017
  #15
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Hi Guys, With respect to a couple questions posed here...

#1 . Linking Units together uses both a combination of USB Control and DB-25 connections from unit to unit. However, flexibility allows a user to integrate multiple systems together however they see fit. There will be a full video demonstration on linking units together in our support library once we're a little bit closer to launch. PATCH can currently support upwards to 8 PATCH systems together.

#2 . Regarding Phase... we could literally pack as many features we want into PATCH but we have to know where to draw the line for affordability and practicality of the system. The purpose is to allow you to make complex routings in seconds while other feature sets add to what a conventional Patchbay lacks. Hope this helps!
Old 7th December 2017
  #16
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How is the cross-talk & noise floor vs. Audio Accessories.

I currently have 184 point tt's that is overflowing. So what's the cost for 5x64 system?

How can a patch bay overflow? By only having preamp output (not mic inputs) and I have EQ's wired as patch cables.
Old 8th December 2017
  #17
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Korady's Avatar
As a young engineer starting to build up my personal setup as a hybrid system, this looks perfect. Can't wait to find out more
Old 22nd December 2017
  #18
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Great idea .... finally a chance to get rid of the tt diansours. I’m really curious about the pricing.
Old 5th January 2018
  #19
MGA
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Didn't SSL do something similar a few years back but discontinued the product? I think it's a great idea and I'm surprised more companies haven't jumped on this!
Old 5th January 2018
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGA View Post
Didn't SSL do something similar a few years back but discontinued the product? I think it's a great idea and I'm surprised more companies haven't jumped on this!
It was freaking expensive for the channel count though.
Hope this one is cheaper.
Old 5th January 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlockAudio View Post
Hi Guys, With respect to a couple questions posed here...

#1 . Linking Units together uses both a combination of USB Control and DB-25 connections from unit to unit. However, flexibility allows a user to integrate multiple systems together however they see fit. There will be a full video demonstration on linking units together in our support library once we're a little bit closer to launch. PATCH can currently support upwards to 8 PATCH systems together.

#2 . Regarding Phase... we could literally pack as many features we want into PATCH but we have to know where to draw the line for affordability and practicality of the system. The purpose is to allow you to make complex routings in seconds while other feature sets add to what a conventional Patchbay lacks. Hope this helps!
The fatal flaw with this device is the bottleneck when trying to use two or more of these. If one of these is big enough to handle ALL of your connections, then fine. For many people, one unit won't be enough though. That's when you run into the issue of a bottlenecked matrix.

With a traditional PB, any output can be plugged into any input of ANY PB, whether you have one PB or 10 PB. That's an important distinction. Two Flocks, with 32 ins and 32 outs a piece aren't capable of providing the full combination matrix of connections that two traditional PBs with 32 i/o would be able to provide.

Two Flocks would be able to provide a total of (32x32 + 32x32) 1024 + 1024 combinations. TWO 64 point traditional PBs provide (64x64) 4096 combinations. ONE 96 point traditional PB provides (48x48) 2304 combinations. TWO 96 point traditional PBs provide (96x96) 9216 combinations. The comparitive disparity would just get exponentially worse when comparing three Flocks to three traditional PBs and four Flocks to four traditional PBs and so on and so forth....

So when you say it's "expandable", that's kind of a misnomer. It's still a cool idea, but I imagine it's a bit limiting for many people because of the bottle neck created when trying to use more than one of these.

Last edited by Quint; 6th January 2018 at 05:03 PM..
Old 5th January 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quint View Post
The fatal flaw with this device is the bottleneck when trying to use two or more of these. If one of these is big enough to handle ALL of your connections, then fine. For many people, one unit won't be enough though. That's when you run into the issue of a bottlenecked matrix.

With a traditional PB, any output can be plugged into any input of ANY PB, whether you have one PB or 10 PB. That's an important distinction. Two Flocks, with 32 ins and 32 outs a piece aren't capable of providing the full combination matrix of connections that two traditional PBs with 32 i/o would be able to provide. Two Flocks would be able to provide a total of (32x32 + 32x32) 2048 combinations. The comparitive disparity would just get exponentially worse when comparing three Flocks to three traditional PBs and four Flocks to four traditional PBs and so on and so forth....

So when you say it's "expandable", that's kind of a misnomer. It's still a cool idea, but I imagine it's a bit limiting for many people because of the bottle neck created when trying to use more than one of these.
Hi Quint,

Thanks for your assessment of the PATCH. Although yes you are correct with respect to the linking or "chaining" of the units utilizing the existing analog I/O you have to bare in mind why it was designed in this manner... Here are few points to help you better understand PATCH...

#1 . Analog Signals - PATCH was specifically designed to never alter, color or digitize any Analog Signal being routed through it. The main goal of this unit asides from its Digital Controller (PATCH APP) was to ensure any Analog Signal coming in or out of this unit would remain the same. In order to maintain this "Analog" path, we had to make decisions to not digitalize any signal. So sometimes the question comes up...why can't you make it USB or TB Chainable to each other? Well that would mean we would need to take the source from A/D/A again...not really 100% analog anymore. Plus in-doing so...this would ramp up the cost exponentially needing to have a mastering grade converter set in the chassis...not to mention it would be increased in size and not remain the 1U design it is.

#2 . Market Review - Not every product meets every consumer's needs...its literally impossible to do so. For instance, if we at Flock Audio were to cram this thing full of every requested part, feature etc. that was mentioned to us...who could afford it and would it still really serve its main purpose as a routing system?

In order to keep PATCH on the affordable side without sacrificing quality we had to maintain its design as is otherwise in order to put its own dedicated "Analog Passes" on each unit, we would've needed to add in 4 more dedicated I/O stages to each unit....can you imagine the user who doesn't need those additional I/O stages? It becomes unaffordable to them and same deal as increases in chassis/enclosure size.

To say it's not "expandable" is incorrect. It is indeed expandable.... its expandable to the point where the user can chain these together however they see fit...as many or as little passes between each unit. Every user needs to review their studio setup and systematically figure out the best connections to meet their needs. PATCH is far more than just a Patch Bay replacement... its important to keep this in mind as well.

#3 . Large Outboard and Console Studio Usage - PATCH is only the beginning...the starting point of this technology. However bare in mind...bigger units = bigger investments from the consumer. This is a newer technology and we need to make sure it meets and exceeds the needs of a sizable studio demographic and then scale it from there based on that success for further advancements.

So "fatal flaw" is really not a flaw at all... there's only so many ways an analog signal can travel from unit to unit while still maintaining analog format.

Thanks again for writing us, we hope you'll check out a PATCH when their available and see the incredible innovation behind their design and quality. Have a great weekend.
Old 6th January 2018
  #23
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Quint's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlockAudio View Post
Hi Quint,

Thanks for your assessment of the PATCH. Although yes you are correct with respect to the linking or "chaining" of the units utilizing the existing analog I/O you have to bare in mind why it was designed in this manner... Here are few points to help you better understand PATCH...

#1 . Analog Signals - PATCH was specifically designed to never alter, color or digitize any Analog Signal being routed through it. The main goal of this unit asides from its Digital Controller (PATCH APP) was to ensure any Analog Signal coming in or out of this unit would remain the same. In order to maintain this "Analog" path, we had to make decisions to not digitalize any signal. So sometimes the question comes up...why can't you make it USB or TB Chainable to each other? Well that would mean we would need to take the source from A/D/A again...not really 100% analog anymore. Plus in-doing so...this would ramp up the cost exponentially needing to have a mastering grade converter set in the chassis...not to mention it would be increased in size and not remain the 1U design it is.

#2 . Market Review - Not every product meets every consumer's needs...its literally impossible to do so. For instance, if we at Flock Audio were to cram this thing full of every requested part, feature etc. that was mentioned to us...who could afford it and would it still really serve its main purpose as a routing system?

In order to keep PATCH on the affordable side without sacrificing quality we had to maintain its design as is otherwise in order to put its own dedicated "Analog Passes" on each unit, we would've needed to add in 4 more dedicated I/O stages to each unit....can you imagine the user who doesn't need those additional I/O stages? It becomes unaffordable to them and same deal as increases in chassis/enclosure size.

To say it's not "expandable" is incorrect. It is indeed expandable.... its expandable to the point where the user can chain these together however they see fit...as many or as little passes between each unit. Every user needs to review their studio setup and systematically figure out the best connections to meet their needs. PATCH is far more than just a Patch Bay replacement... its important to keep this in mind as well.

#3 . Large Outboard and Console Studio Usage - PATCH is only the beginning...the starting point of this technology. However bare in mind...bigger units = bigger investments from the consumer. This is a newer technology and we need to make sure it meets and exceeds the needs of a sizable studio demographic and then scale it from there based on that success for further advancements.

So "fatal flaw" is really not a flaw at all... there's only so many ways an analog signal can travel from unit to unit while still maintaining analog format.

Thanks again for writing us, we hope you'll check out a PATCH when their available and see the incredible innovation behind their design and quality. Have a great weekend.
I like flexibility. Flock is mathematically and physically incapable of providing that. I'm not sure how else to couch it? Your product descriptions keep beating around the bush. Just get down to brass tacks about functionality. Otherwise stop being a marketeer....

Last edited by Quint; 6th January 2018 at 04:51 PM..
Old 6th January 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quint View Post
I like flexibility. Flock is mathematically incapable of providing that. I'm not sure how else to couch it?
Well, enjoy manually patching. What else can we say? Thanks again enjoy your weekend.
Old 6th January 2018
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlockAudio View Post
Well, enjoy manually patching. What else can we say? Thanks again enjoy your weekend.
You can "say" or talk about the way that two or more of these units interconnect instead of continuing to be vague about that. You know that's a question that many people are going to ask. Why continue to describe things in vague terms rather than just spell out how two or more of these units interconnect? People tend to not like being told that an obvious limitation is instead somehow a feature.

We're talking about a patchbay. Functionality is at the top of the list when it comes to patchbays. Let's hear about that. You say that it's expandable and that people can chain these together. Let's hear about that with specifics. Let's hear about how someone patches 24 preamps connected to one Flock unit to 24 channels of conversion connected to a second Flock unit. And what if someone has compressors and eqs which are connected to a third Flock and wants to patch those in between the preamps and converters connected to the other two Flocks?

Last edited by Quint; 6th January 2018 at 06:57 PM..
Old 6th January 2018
  #26
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So if I understand correctly, patching is only self-contained within the 64 points of one PATCH unit and does not cross over to other units?
Old 6th January 2018
  #27
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Originally Posted by Petermix View Post
So if I understand correctly, patching is only self-contained within the 64 points of one PATCH unit and does not cross over to other units?
I imagine you could physically connect 32 channels of I/o on one Flock to 32 channels of i/o on another Flock using Dsubs. That should allow patching between two units. The problem is that now you've cannibalized half of your I/o and are back where you started with a total of 64 I/o, 32 on one unit and 32 on another. Oh, and you spent twice the money.

You would need a LOT more connections on the back to interconnect multiple units and allow true patching between ALL of your gear.

Where I could see the Flock being useful would be for running your mics into the Flock's inputs and the Flock's outputs to your preamps. That would allow for some pretty quick patching and auditioning of mic/preamp combos. You would still be limited to a max of 32 mic channels though. You wouldn't be able to patch a mic on Flock A to a preamp on Flock B, at least not without sacrificing I/o to make the inter-unit connection, which is where the bottle neck comes into play. You're forced to compromise between connections to actual gear and connections between Flock units. More gear means less flexibility and vice versa, which runs counter to the very concept of a patchbay in the first place.

Last edited by Quint; 7th January 2018 at 05:35 PM..
Old 6th January 2018
  #28
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Well, there goes that... Guess I'll enjoy manually patching a while longer until something workable comes along.

BTW, thank you for figuring that one out @ Quint , would've been pissed to find out on the back end...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quint View Post
I imagine you could physically connect 32 channels of I/o on one Flock to 32 channels of i/o on another Flock using Dsubs. That should allow patching between two units. The problem is that now you've cannibalized half of your I/o and are back where you started with a total of 64 I/o, 32 on one unit and 32 on another. Oh, and you spent twice the money.

You would need a LOT more connections on the back to interconnect multiple units and allow true patching between ALL of your gear.

Where I could see the Flock being useful would be for running your mics into the Flock's inputs and the Flock's outputs to your preamps. That would allow for some pretty quick patching and auditioning of mic/preamp combos. You would still be limited to a max of 32 mic channels though. You wouldn't be able to patch a mic on Flock A to a preamp on Flock B.
Old 6th January 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quint View Post
I imagine you could physically connect 32 channels of I/o on one Flock to 32 channels of i/o on another Flock using Dsubs. That should allow patching between two units. The problem is that now you've cannibalized half of your I/o and are back where you started with a total of 64 I/o, 32 on one unit and 32 on another. Oh, and you spent twice the money.

You would need a LOT more connections on the back to interconnect multiple units and allow true patching between ALL of your gear.

Where I could see the Flock being useful would be for running your mics into the Flock's inputs and the Flock's outputs to your preamps. That would allow for some pretty quick patching and auditioning of mic/preamp combos. You would still be limited to a max of 32 mic channels though. You wouldn't be able to patch a mic on Flock A to a preamp on Flock B.

Quint this is incorrect again, you absolutely can Patch a Mic from 1 Unit to a Preamp on any of the other 8 Units that are connected and even return back to that unit if you wanted too.

You are unfortunately making assumptions based on speculation without any evidence or proof of its abilities. We appreciate the interest in the system but also don't want to lead other users to think PATCH is incapable of doing these routings so please don't assume and direct those assumptions to other users.

As stated numerous times all of these items will be addressed via our online support pages with videos and support contacts before PATCH is even available to the market. Thanks.
Old 6th January 2018
  #30
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So I WAS able to diagram out a system that allowed for using Flock's as an actual interconnected system in the same way that you can use traditional patchbays. It could handle any tracking or mixing scenario I could come up with, itb, hybrid or fully otb. That's the good part.

Now here's the bad. I was able to do this using a bunch of these units essentially as switch gates, and it took the stated maximum of 8 units to make it work. Of the 64 Dsubs in an 8 Flock scenario, only 10 were actually connected to any gear. The remaining 54 Dsubs were just connected to a dsub on another Flock.

This also comes with the caveat that you NEVER need to do anything in groups greater than 16. So if you track more than 16 channels at once, need to sum more than 16 channels otb or own more than 32 channels of comps, eqs, fx, etc., You're screwed.

Also, because of having to go through so many more patches than usual just to do common tasks like running a mic to a preamp to an eq to a converter, the routing is ridiculously complex and would be a nightmare to keep track of due to patching three or more Flocks together just to finally connect one actual piece of gear to another.

Let's also not forget that this would be a seriously expensive system for such a paltry degree of capability. A pretty bad flexibility to cost ratio and requires way more patching than you would ever need to do with traditional patchbays, which kind of defeats the purpose of the Flocks in the first place.

Now if they made 2u versions of these with 128 I/o, that might be a different story. A lot of those units that I had to use as nothing more than switch gates wouldn't be necessary because of the ability to connect more gear to one unit and have a much larger internal matrix within that one unit. Two 128 I/o units might actually be pretty flexible. I wonder if it's too difficult or costly to make something which can handle an internal matrix that big?
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