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Patchbays - TT vs. 1/4 inch
Old 20th January 2007
  #1
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Jeremy H's Avatar
 

Patchbays - TT vs. 1/4 inch

Is there any advantage to using TT/Bantam patchbays other than the fact that they have more patch points and therefore you require less units taking up space in your rack?

I'm changing over from my "project" studio to a newly designed and built professional room...floating floors......rpg diffusors......designed by professional studio designer...blah..blah...blah.... And when the subject of pachbays came up, my contractor looked horrified that I would consider still using my 1/4 inch blanced patch bays.......Saying that all high end studio use TT/Bantam bays....

Aside from the gear which I already have hardwired to the rear of the patchbay, I find it so convenient to use 1/4 inch bays in terms of plugging anything at anytime at the front of patchbay......Seems akward to give this up just because TT patchbays are "standard" in high end studios...

What's the real diference besides the size of the connectors?
Old 20th January 2007
  #2
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On the one side

Jacks are cheaper and far more robust. If you only use Neutrik plugs, then connections are more secure (though you will always have problems with the cheaper bands!) The leads are tougher and you can pull them a six-pack at a time. They are far less fddly than TT and getting a secure connection is more certain.

On the other side

TT is usually better built. They are always normalled, whereas many jack-fields are not. They take up a whole lot less space, so you can throw everything up there and still have room for beer, lava-lamps and remotes, etc. They are the pro standard and many engineers will come with their own PT rigs and and other bits and pieces and have their own looms ready to plug into your TT bay.

You have to decide! We have jack-fields and so far only one customer has complained (but he complains bitterly). We combine jacks with full D-Sub plugs which IMO is better than both, so visiting PT rigs just get a D-Sub in and that solves all problems.

I think TT has had its day, it was after all a compromise way to get all the ins and outs on a desk onto a bay and still leave space for the Lexicon remote and a coffee. If all machine stuff goes via D-Sub, then there is tons of room for chunky jacks.
Old 20th January 2007
  #3
pan
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pan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy H View Post
What's the real diference besides the size of the connectors?
The price for the patch-chords.
Old 20th January 2007
  #4
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Jeremy H's Avatar
 

See, now here's the thing......That D-sub idea is actually very cool....But I definitely will not have anybody bringing in a Pro Tools rig cause
(a) in Jamaica anyone with a pro Tools rig has it installed permanently and doesn't travel around with it...it's a very big MUSIC community but a very small PRO TOOLS OWNERS community....well HD at least, cause 90% of the kids can only afford digi002's
b) I'm not running the studio as a commercial entity...no studio time rental, only projects which I do myself...
(c) I have a PTHD 4 system in the studio already.....

Honestly speaking, if anybody brings anything it will be a hard drive/CD/DVD session files.....or maybe their own drum machine/keyboard/guitar etc.

Which is why I love the fact that I can just grab some 1/4inch jacks and plug em in...

As far as space goes, I'm running a D Command console with a bunch of preamps on the front end of the HD interfaces and few hardware compressors....Everything else is all plug ins anyway, so there's not much patching going on

I guess I wanted to know if SONICALLY it made a difference.like the difference between an 1/8" jack...RCA jack....unbalanced 1/4'......balanced XLR etc.

It seems that the whole TT jack thing just gives you more work to normalize and solder connections. I have some Neutrik TRS patch bays, balanced, that can be converted from half normalled to normalled by flipping the modules inside the housing back to front/front to back........easy...

So why the frowns from the "pros".......?
Old 20th January 2007
  #5
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There is almost zero sonic difference between 1/4" and a TT.

Consoles were almost exclusively 1/4" until the physical size of the bays grew too large because the average console's channel count grew. It just became inpractical and quite expensive to have so many 1/4" bays.

1/4" bays with real "Military Style" jacks and plugs require the correct plugs on the patch cables to make a good contact, so using regular 1/4" jacks (Switchcraft 297 or the Nuetrik "equivelent") DOES NOT MAKE A GOOD CONNECTION. It also bends the jack contacts over time.

If you want to use a bay that uses non-mil style 1/4" jacks then they ARE more convenient.

Personally, I only use TT bays because they are so prevelent and I have lots of them around from surplus.
In fact, I ma adding into mine this weekend!
Old 20th January 2007
  #6
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I have 5 96 point TTs. TRS bays would kill me space wise. I would need 10.
Old 20th January 2007
  #7
I have 14 52 pt military bays installed into a producers desk. Frankly I got alot of them used and dirt cheap. Since they're all in this desk space isn't a big deal. They have been VERY reliable
Old 7th February 2007
  #8
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chezero's Avatar
 

There is a HUGE difference in both the quality of the signal passing through, and how long the patchbay will last.

Manufacturers don't charge hundreds of dollars more for TT and Military Spec 1/4' Longframe patchbays for no reason. They are designed to last a long time and make far better contact at the patchpoints and on the rear terminations, whether they are solder points, punchdowns, dsubs, edacs, etc. etc. The quality of the material is much higher, so it costs much more. It's no mystery that you get what you pay for. The reason you can buy a 1/4' patchbay for $49.00 compared to hundreds more for a TT or Military Spec 1/4' Longframe is not just because people feel like charging that much.

If you are spending all this money on building your room, don't skimp on cable, connectors, and patchbays. They are critical components, no different than any of the other gear in your studio. They do make a big difference.
Old 7th February 2007
  #9
DRC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
There is almost zero sonic difference between 1/4" and a TT.
So an XLR patchbay would be overkill? I always wondered they made a better connection because the points are all seperated vs. ring/tip/sleeve? Cant say I have ever took the time to notice a difference. I know some mastering houses use to use them for the AES connections, but I think for analog chain processing too. Then again they were only patching in maybe 6 or 7 outboard pieces as opposed to 20 or 30.
Old 7th February 2007
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

You also don't get nearly the options with a 1/4" TRS bay. TT bays are available with different backside connections: solder lugs, wire wrap, multi pin (Molex, EDAC & DSub)and punch down. I have also never seen a 1/4" TRS bay with either dip switch or screw turn normalling, nor an umbilical. Most 1/4" TRS bays are feedthru.

FYI, there are also longframe, which look like a 1/4" TT.
Old 7th February 2007
  #11
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drBill's Avatar
The amount of labor and wire will far outweigh the cost of the bays themselves, although they may seem expensive at the front end. I'd suggest TT bays because they are more standardised, but in your area, they may not be. You can fit a lot of patch points in a smaller area with TT bays. They are in 95% of all pro studios here in the states.
Old 8th February 2007
  #12
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chezero's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRC View Post
So an XLR patchbay would be overkill?
Not overkill at all. Very practical. If you only have a few patches, you can buy a 1x16 or 2x16 blank panel and load it with xlr connectors in a custom configuratiuon. Buy some cable and wire it yourself. Much cheaper and superior quality.
Old 8th February 2007
  #13
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vince @ speck's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy H View Post
Is there any advantage to using TT/Bantam patchbays other than the fact that they have more patch points and therefore you require less units taking up space in your rack?

I'm changing over from my "project" studio to a newly designed and built professional room...floating floors......rpg diffusors......designed by professional studio designer...blah..blah...blah.... And when the subject of pachbays came up, my contractor looked horrified that I would consider still using my 1/4 inch blanced patch bays.......Saying that all high end studio use TT/Bantam bays....

Aside from the gear which I already have hardwired to the rear of the patchbay, I find it so convenient to use 1/4 inch bays in terms of plugging anything at anytime at the front of patchbay......Seems akward to give this up just because TT patchbays are "standard" in high end studios...

What's the real diference besides the size of the connectors?
If you got a magnifying glass and compared the amount of contact area... that is, the actual amount of surface area where the PB jack terminals touch the PB plug, I don’t think there is much difference between the 1/4" long frame, 1/4" guitar type, or the TT.

The TT can give you 96 jacks in a 1U space. That’s a distinct advantage over its 1/4" counterpart. The construction of a Switchcraft, ADC, or M&M TT jack is superior to even the best 1/4" guitar jack (as found on most budget 1/4" patchbays), but the bottom line is that a 96 point PB cost a lot of $, and respective wiring cost a lot of $. If your 1/4" is working, not acting flaky, and is convenient for "your" studio, then don't toss it just because your contractor is a patchbay snob. You can always upgrade to a TT patchbay in the future when funds are available.
Old 8th February 2007
  #14
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What good TT patchbay would you recommend for a home studio with a few good equipment ? . I don't want to do compromise on sound. But I'm not sure I want to do solders. thx
Old 8th February 2007
  #15
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chezero's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefrançais View Post
What good TT patchbay would you recommend for a home studio with a few good equipment ?
The Smallest TT Patchbay that I am aware of is the Switchcraft StudioPatch 6425. It has 64 TT patchpoints as opposed to the more common 96 (still more than enough for a lot of people). It is wired to DB25 (25 Pin DSUB).

You will always pay more for a prewired patchbay because of the material and labor that goes into building it. Your cheapest TT option is usually a patchbay with solder lugs on the rear. But, then you have to buy cable/connectors and do the labor yourself, which can be a huge project. Just depends on how much time you want to spend.
Old 8th February 2007
  #16
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If space is not an issue and you do not buy the cheapest 1/4" then there is nothing what-so-ever in the discussion except one thing that has not been mentioned.

If you have a TT, how do you plug stuff into your patchbay directly?

Supposing you want to check if an aux-send really is sending, how do you plug in a set of phones? How do you plug in a synth? How do you use the envelope generator as an insert? How do you plug your CD player or walkman or MP3 player into your patchbay?

Yes, with TT, you have to have yet another set of adapters so that you can go from TT to XLR, TT to cinch, TT to 1/4", TT to mini-jack, TT to DIN, TT to D-Sub and so on.

Or of course, you just give up on the idea of being able to patch into your patchbay altogether.

Just a thought!
Old 8th February 2007
  #17
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7 Hz's Avatar
You use stage boxes and break out boxes to do that. It is simple to wire a box with some jack sockets or whatever, to give you a break out box. Good for plugging in extra stuff as well.

I just made one of these for myself.

You get one of these (Canford Universal Box)



then fill it with sockets - I used Neutrik Combo sockets



I wired this up with 8 metres of 4 way multicore. I paralleled 3 of the sockets, and the other three are individuals. The parallels are for headphone sends, but of course can be used as other things with repatching. The XLR / jack combo sockets mean I only need jack to phono leads and I am basically covered for 99% of connections.

AFAIK the idea of patchbays is not to let everything be plugged directly into them, but to allow all connections in the studio to be brought to a point and be able to pe patched without worrying about connections. Stageboxes should be used for plugging in mics, extra gear etc. Of course, it is also possible to have a 'guest' loom with a pair of phonos, pair of jacks etc for folk to plug into.

AFAIK, the best quality connections are the bantam and the B gauge jack. the B gauge is bigger so easier to wire up, but takes up loads more space. The bantams are great because they are so compact. Both of these types of patchbay will allow basically any type of wiring you can think of (normaling combinations etc), whereas the 'consumer' jacks will only allow vertical normaling.

it is also worth mentioning that a hand wired patchbay provides the least number of contacts in a signal path (in a normaled patchbay, there is just one extra contact), whereas a jack patchbay that accepts jacks on the rear adds three.
Old 8th February 2007
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
If space is not an issue and you do not buy the cheapest 1/4" then there is nothing what-so-ever in the discussion except one thing that has not been mentioned.

If you have a TT, how do you plug stuff into your patchbay directly?

Supposing you want to check if an aux-send really is sending, how do you plug in a set of phones? How do you plug in a synth? How do you use the envelope generator as an insert? How do you plug your CD player or walkman or MP3 player into your patchbay?

Yes, with TT, you have to have yet another set of adapters so that you can go from TT to XLR, TT to cinch, TT to 1/4", TT to mini-jack, TT to DIN, TT to D-Sub and so on.

Or of course, you just give up on the idea of being able to patch into your patchbay altogether.

Just a thought!
The top row of my patchbay has a row of connectors that lead to a stagebox thing with XLR connectors that sits underneath my rack. I'm planning on eventually switching some of the XLRs for the Neutrik combo 1/4"/XLR jacks to make other connections easier. From that top row, anything external can be plugged into the system. I make my own cables, simple 1/4" to XLR cables for synths, etc. hasn't been a problem. My CD player is hardwired in to its own jacks and I have yet to use my iPod since my computer plays itunes through the main outs on my 002. I could easily wire up some type of 1/8" stereo to two XLR plugs if needed. For headphones, I have the patchbay rigged to feed a headphone amp. I use my multimeter or my cricket to check my connections instead of headphones. I fear it would be too risky hearing-damage wise.

Planning and building my patchbay taught me a ton about wiring, signal flow, etc. and now I don't need to run the the store everytime I need some adaptor. I keep a set of spare everything so that I can make anything right on the spot.

Also, I quit smoking right before I wired up 3 96 point TT bays. The focus required kept my mind off of the cigarettes almost everynight for about 2 months. I firmly believe it really helped me quit.
Old 8th February 2007
  #19
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foldback's Avatar
The TRS patchbays have worked for me, my rig is constantly changing and the TRS have provided a quick and easy way to reconfigure, I love the flexibility. I did extensive testing of my patching and cabling using an Audio Precision test set. If you keep your plugs and the patchbays themselves clean they're not going to degrade the audio passing through them. I would much rather have some crispy new TRS patchbays than a bunch of surplus units. I also like matched metals on the patch cord plugs and the patchbay jacks, if your jacks are brass, use brass plugs, if your jacks are nickle use nickle plugs. This prevents bimetalic corrosion. As a final thing, I use Deoxit to clean my plugs and jacks and I treat them with ProGold. I have no problem with the TRS patching system.
Old 8th February 2007
  #20
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I have found some (4) 144pt ADC TT patches for $50 a piece and I plan on adding about 4 more when the new studio is being built. I love the third row I have (top row full and half normalled at the same time - no need to space out mults in the bay).

Mr Patchbay has cheap ($100) TT bays. More connections, less space needed. Cables are expensive though. Buy Neutrik TT's in bulk and whip out the soldering iron.



Herwig
Old 8th September 2012
  #21
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initself's Avatar
For those worried about being able to patch into a TT patchbay, can't you wire some of the inputs/outputs into a 1/4" patchbay and patch directly into that (if 1/4" connectors are what you are after)?
Old 8th September 2012
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

You are referring to B-Guage TRS, am I correct? If not, the only 1/4 jack TRS ones I know off are the Behringer and samsom types which the sockets eventually deteriorate.

Is there a proper TRS 1/4 jack patchbay available that are heavy duty like the TT patchbays??
Old 8th September 2012
  #23
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by initself View Post
For those worried about being able to patch into a TT patchbay, can't you wire some of the inputs/outputs into a 1/4" patchbay and patch directly into that (if 1/4" connectors are what you are after)?
of course. or you can do XLR to TT cables or TRS to TT cables.
Old 17th September 2012
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chezero View Post
Not overkill at all. Very practical. If you only have a few patches, you can buy a 1x16 or 2x16 blank panel and load it with xlr connectors in a custom configuratiuon. Buy some cable and wire it yourself. Much cheaper and superior quality.
Hello Chezero,
Thanks for the idea, because i also belong to that category of few patches, sounds good simple and efficient, meaning clearer signal i guess...
For now i have 5 processors and may expand in the near future to 2-3 more, so do you think i should do the same with the xlr panels?
I searched Neutrik and the most efficient panel has 12 spaces for xlr, where can i find a 16 channel one?
Appreciate your opinion
Old 17th September 2012
  #25
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Oh and am thinking for a patch bay too, maybe in the future, i dont know. I checked on the net, the estimated life patching cycles for a longthrow jack plugs is more than 20000, the TT's are 10000 or 5000 cycles i dont remember now.. and for the panel xlr fuse (d-shape) is 1000 cycles, so maybe its a cheap solution and i guess better signal transmission but one has to replace the plugs 10x or 20x more oftern than a high end patch bay, so this makes me think more about which now... On the other hand the simplicity of my homestudio setup and the limitations by my mixer is leading to the xlr panel. I have an Allen Heath ZEDR 16 ch. with non balanced inserts and no direct outs, plugs on top of mixer not back, comps work with xlr connectors fed thu the mixer inserts..etc very simple.
So what do you think Chezero? by the way is your name has to do with Che?
Old 29th January 2017
  #26
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Mark Williams's Avatar
 

I am selling a dozen adapters, TT to military balanced phone plugs, that I used to carry with me when I traveled as a freelance mixer. If you have a population of TT cables as I did (or if your clients have them), you can easily adapt them to mil phone plugs. Patchbays - TT vs. 1/4 inchAdapt (12) TT to Mil Phone Plugs for classic Neve 8078, API 1/4” Patch Bays!!! | eBay
Old 30th January 2017
  #27
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Ten years on and still the debate continues!
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