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TT patchbays and other related stuff
Old 23rd November 2012
  #1
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tdot's Avatar
TT patchbays and other related stuff

So I finally did it. I pulled the trigger on an RME MADI FX
Since that was my birthday present, I'm gonna get me a Ferrofish A16 MK2 for Christmas. So until then, I will only have 2 channels in 2 channels out

I guess you can see where my patchbay question is going to come from now.

Right now, I have a Burl B2 ADC, which I'm planning on running into the AES input of the MADI FX - however, the Ferrofish and the Burl and the MADI FX all need to be clocked together ... and I can't say I have had experience with this.
I'm assuming using the Burl B2 as the master clock makes the most sense, as it probably has the most accurate clock, however, the Ferrofish does have 16 ins and outs ... so I'm not sure which would make more sense to use as the master clock?

I've been looking at 96 point bantam -> db25 patchbays, which would be the minimum channels that would make sense for me to buy (16 outputs would fill most of a 48 point!) - why are they so expensive !?!? The lowest price I can find a 96 point to db25 is $500. There are 96 point to Elco patchbays for $200 ... I can't see how much difference Elco is than db25.

Speaking of that, what the hell is Elco ??? And why is it impossible to find Elco cables - you need to build these yourself? Maybe that's why they're so cheap
I've modified my own gear, but I've never built my own cable .... I'm not sure having to wire 96 cables would be worth the $300 in savings over a db25 patchbay?

I can already see either way, the cabling is going to end up quite expensive ... maybe for now I can just run half the I/O directly to/from gear and just use my 48 point TRS patchbay for the time being.

Suggestions?
Old 23rd November 2012
  #2
Gear Nut
 

the back end of the tt patchbay might be a punch block system that requires a special tool and no soldering.

I'd avoid trying to make dsub cables, ground wires are usually bare and need to be sleeved to avoid shorting with each other. Three prong sleeve insertion tools are expeez and I can only find them from hellerman germany.

I don't know how big your setup is but if you can patch through software you'll be making life a great deal easier. You can set up inserts in protools to be physical in/outs on you audio interface… this way you can pull up a hardware compressor just like a plugin. nifty feature.
Old 23rd November 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
First, the device that should be your master clock is NOT the one with the most stable clock. It's the one that will being doing most of your conversion. ALL converters work more accurately on internal clock than external no matter what the external clock is. It's crystal vs. PLL and the crystal will ALWAYS win. Well, you could have a horrible design for the internal clock, but it's difficult to make a better PLL and if the internal clock is total garbage then I can promise you the PLL will not be a freakin' Rolls Royce. So bottom line, whatever is doing the bulk of your conversion should be the master clock and everything else slave.

Second, I would only go TT if you are going to have a lot of patch points. TT is more difficult for a newbie to put in because you either have to punch or solder connections or go DB25 and Elco or whatever. And when you go that rout, making changes when you buy new gear is a major pain. TT cables are pricey. The major advantage of TT over TRS bays is the space saving design and in commercial studios running 24/7 the TT cables tend to hold up slightly better than well made TRS patch cords. I would advise going with a TRS bay so that you don't kill your brain with your first patchbay and so that you have flexibility. TRS will also allow you to temporarily patch in miscelanious gear directly into the front of the bay (like when you buddy brings over the Monstertron5000) without having to whip out the soldering gun to make TRS - TT custom cables.

Third, put ALL your connections in the bay. If you have 16 channels of I/O, then put all 16 ins and all 16 outs. If you've got another box with 4 channel I/O, put that in there too. Put EVERYTHING in there. You don't want to kick yourself in 12 months saying "why the f*ck didn't I put that in there!" because it will be a major pain to do it later. I've got some stuff in my bays that I've never used, but I know I will one day and it was no effort to throw them in when I wired everything and I will thank myself for it when I need them in 2015.
Old 24th November 2012
  #4
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tdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
First, the device that should be your master clock is NOT the one with the most stable clock. It's the one that will being doing most of your conversion. ALL converters work more accurately on internal clock than external no matter what the external clock is. It's crystal vs. PLL and the crystal will ALWAYS win. Well, you could have a horrible design for the internal clock, but it's difficult to make a better PLL and if the internal clock is total garbage then I can promise you the PLL will not be a freakin' Rolls Royce. So bottom line, whatever is doing the bulk of your conversion should be the master clock and everything else slave.

Second, I would only go TT if you are going to have a lot of patch points. TT is more difficult for a newbie to put in because you either have to punch or solder connections or go DB25 and Elco or whatever. And when you go that rout, making changes when you buy new gear is a major pain. TT cables are pricey. The major advantage of TT over TRS bays is the space saving design and in commercial studios running 24/7 the TT cables tend to hold up slightly better than well made TRS patch cords. I would advise going with a TRS bay so that you don't kill your brain with your first patchbay and so that you have flexibility. TRS will also allow you to temporarily patch in miscelanious gear directly into the front of the bay (like when you buddy brings over the Monstertron5000) without having to whip out the soldering gun to make TRS - TT custom cables.

Third, put ALL your connections in the bay. If you have 16 channels of I/O, then put all 16 ins and all 16 outs. If you've got another box with 4 channel I/O, put that in there too. Put EVERYTHING in there. You don't want to kick yourself in 12 months saying "why the f*ck didn't I put that in there!" because it will be a major pain to do it later. I've got some stuff in my bays that I've never used, but I know I will one day and it was no effort to throw them in when I wired everything and I will thank myself for it when I need them in 2015.
thanks for responding again - you answered my first patchbay question about normalling. I already have a 48 point TRS patchbay - but when I get my 16 i/o converter, it's going to take up the majority of space in my patchbay ... unless I buy another 48 point TRS patchbay and rack it under my current (which I could always do ...), it would already be maxed out with the 16 channels + not even half my analog gear. With a 96 point TT patchbay I could fit ALL my i/o + gear into one patchbay, but I guess it doesn't really matter, as long as I'm able to patch ... right now I have around 22 analog input/outputs, in addition to the 16 that would come from the converters. So, 2 48 point TRS patchbays WOULD work, if thats what you suggest. Looking from a price point, I've noticed that DB25 cables aren't too bad - but the DB25 patchbays are really expensive. The Elco patchbays are really cheap, but I have yet to find anywhere you can actually buy an Elco cable ... so I assume I would need to wire them myself. Would be a real PITA ... if you think getting another TRS patchbay for now (which are quite cheap) would make more sense, maybe I'll just do that.

Thanks
Old 24th November 2012
  #5
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tdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by alex! View Post
the back end of the tt patchbay might be a punch block system that requires a special tool and no soldering.

I'd avoid trying to make dsub cables, ground wires are usually bare and need to be sleeved to avoid shorting with each other. Three prong sleeve insertion tools are expeez and I can only find them from hellerman germany.

I don't know how big your setup is but if you can patch through software you'll be making life a great deal easier. You can set up inserts in protools to be physical in/outs on you audio interface… this way you can pull up a hardware compressor just like a plugin. nifty feature.
ACTUALLY, the RME MADI FX does allow patching through software ... you can route an input to an output with minimal latency. That will also be quite interesting to play with. However, I still have more analog gear I/O then I will have converter I/O ... not by much, but this is purely counting send/insert units, and not instruments (I'm not even counting the TR rack and the MPC and any other input devices ...)

Actually, thinking about that, maybe Chris's suggestion does make sense - I won't be able to stick my MPC directly into a TT patchbay unless I get TRS->TT cables ...
Old 24th November 2012
  #6
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tdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
First, the device that should be your master clock is NOT the one with the most stable clock. It's the one that will being doing most of your conversion. ALL converters work more accurately on internal clock than external no matter what the external clock is. It's crystal vs. PLL and the crystal will ALWAYS win. Well, you could have a horrible design for the internal clock, but it's difficult to make a better PLL and if the internal clock is total garbage then I can promise you the PLL will not be a freakin' Rolls Royce. So bottom line, whatever is doing the bulk of your conversion should be the master clock and everything else slave.
Just asking a theoretical question now. Let's say I think the Ferrofish converters are the bomb, and I decide to buy another set. So, one set would clock the other, and the word clock through would go to the other set, and the word clock through would go to the Burl B2, and the word clock through would then go to the RME MADI FX?

Well, to be honest, the thing I'm most lacking understand of is why they didn't do the clocking over MADI - fiber should support speeds thousands of times over what its sending now
Old 24th November 2012
  #7
ELCO can also be known as EDAC. They an be bought at Redco.com in the custom area. Or make your own. They are not that bad to make. nicely setup Patchbays rock!
Old 25th November 2012
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
imixrecords's Avatar
 

The down side to elco is the expensive crimp tool. Once you've got the tool its pretty easy to do. but the TRS suggestion makes the most sense. The old Neve consoles were 1/4.
Old 25th November 2012
  #9
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tdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoLeoLeo View Post
ELCO can also be known as EDAC. They an be bought at Redco.com in the custom area. Or make your own. They are not that bad to make. nicely setup Patchbays rock!


Yeah I looked at it, they want about $200 for a 16 channel cable....
I'm def. not ready to put a $800+ investment into cables ... especially when I don't do this professionally. At least gear I can justify by the numerous hours of enjoyment I can get from it

You know what I was thinking yesterday, I was looking at the Ferrofish converters - specifically
http://media.soundonsound.com/sos/oc...traMkII_02.jpg
And I was thinking ... you know what that looks like to me, that looks like a patchbay ... why don't they just put the jacks on the front and I wouldn't need a second


Anyways thanks guys - I'll just get another TRS patchbay for the time being - and try to score a ****load of TRS cables for a good price
When (if) I manage to completely fill two of them, then I'll consider other options

Actually, right now, I have my I/O and patchbay mounted in the center of my desk, and my gear off to the right. It may make sense for now just to rack the patchbay and I/O up with the gear, since running 1 long ass fiber line is gonna be way cheaper than 32 longer cables vs 32 shorter cables.
Old 20th April 2019
  #10
Here for the gear
 

is there any sound quality difference when using a trs 1/4 inch patch bays vs the bantam tt patch bays? trying to decide if i should convert my 2 samson 1/4 trs for a switchcraft tt patchbay.
Old 20th April 2019
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcouto View Post
is there any sound quality difference when using a trs 1/4 inch patch bays vs the bantam tt patch bays? trying to decide if i should convert my 2 samson 1/4 trs for a switchcraft tt patchbay.
No. The only advantage with TT is the smaller size.
Old 21st April 2019
  #12
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcouto View Post
is there any sound quality difference when using a trs 1/4 inch patch bays vs the bantam tt patch bays? trying to decide if i should convert my 2 samson 1/4 trs for a switchcraft tt patchbay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
No. The only advantage with TT is the smaller size.
I'd have to disagree with Brent here. Sorry Brent.

The TT bays will last the rest of your lifetime. Typical TRS bays? I'd consider them disposable commodities.
Old 21st April 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 
octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I'd have to disagree with Brent here. Sorry Brent.

The TT bays will last the rest of your lifetime. Typical TRS bays? I'd consider them disposable commodities.
Agreed.
Old 21st April 2019
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I'd have to disagree with Brent here. Sorry Brent.

The TT bays will last the rest of your lifetime. Typical TRS bays? I'd consider them disposable commodities.
I hadn't really taken the schlock factor into consideration. In a general sense I'm sure you're right. Mine are Bittrees, ridiculously well-built.

And there aren't any junky, disposable, built-to-a-pricepoint TT bays out there? If there aren't, there certainly should be!

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 21st April 2019 at 04:07 PM..
Old 17th June 2019
  #15
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tdot's Avatar
Oh my, this thread is SO old.

The only piece of gear in this thread I still have is the RME MADI FX, and it still works flawless. Can't believe I've had it for 7 years.

Ended up buying a console, needed more than 16 I/O, sold the Ferrofish A16 (great unit), bought a Ferrofish A32 to replace it (another great unit). Ended up selling the Burl B2 - I had always planned to use it as my 2bus input, but after working with the setup for a few years, I decided I'd never be good enough to mix OTB, and my preferred workflow became producing OTB and mixing ITB. Didn't see the need for 2 channels of absolutely brilliant input at 10 times the price of other perfectly decent inputs.

Obviously with a console and 32 i/o I had to switch to TT. I still actually have a few of my TRS patchbays where my TT patchbays terminate to - just so I can have some TRS racks in my "producer area" to jack instruments and other gear directly in.

I bought all the TT patchbays used, but they're definitely repairable as long as the TT jacks themselves aren't too wore down (which are also replaceable, but also expensive). They're usually actually wired together rather than printed on a cheap PCB, and I think they're far more robust as said before.

Obviously once you reach a certain number of connections (I use most of my 384) TRS becomes impractical/impossible.

I will say though, fully wiring a studio with TT patchbays is NOT for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of time, practice, patience and dedication and you should understand what you're getting yourself into. Unless you're willing to drop $4000+ on custom made E## connectors, you're most likely wiring it manually (to solder terminals and/or building your own cables).

But - if you're really not interesting in learning about building an OTB studio - why not just stay ITB?
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