MIDI patchbays are pretty much a thing of the past and I really wish the were not.
Finding a good one, with great patching software that is useable on a modern operating system, is difficult.
We must differentiate between MIDI interfaces and MIDI Patchbays.
A patchbay allows any MIDI in to route to any MIDI Out. An interface usually allows MIDI In/OUT messages to route to and from a computer based DAW to your hardware outboard synths, etc..no patching usually
Midi interfaces are of course, still around. Midisport 2x2 and 4x4 series are a good example.
Patchbays are another story.
Since music is so computer-centric it seems the manufacturers have pretty much sent rack MIDI patchbays out to pasture.
Too bad, the convenience of a patchbay cannot be understated in a studio that is running soley external sequencers, drum machines and synths and is not computer DAW based.
I have two Patchbays, which I still need but get around by just routing from MIDI out to IN to THRU on all my hardware and using one keyboard controller to my sequencer.
I really like my old Kawai MAV-8
-died. It was a great patchbay in its day. Doubt I could find another one. KAWAI MAV-8 MIDI Patchbay
I also own the MIDIman Midisport 8 x 8 which is now owned by M-Audio. The patching software is useless on Mac OS X so it does me no good, either. It lists drivers for OSX but this does not mean the patchbay configuration routing (Remote patching software) will work on modern OS's. As a matter of fact, I installed the driver from M-Audio and the Remote software did not even show on my computer. Ce'st la vie. Oh well. Read the manual, you can see how antiquated this thing is.
Although they don't come up for sale very often a Digital Music Corp MX8 is a very good midi patch bay. I've had one for years and it never failed me.
I can also vouch for the Kawai MAV8. It is very simple, just a few sliders that select which input goes to which output. No processing, so nothing that can go wrong.
I also just bought a Edirol UM880, mainly because I need more midi I/O but I'll probably also be using it as a patchbay. Haven't gotten around to hooking it up yet but considering the excellent rap it usually gets I have high expectations.
I'm black balling jlc. they don't really support there discontinued items.
so if you have a problem with them, your screwed and they could care less. they got bigger customers to sell too who spend bigger dollars.
on the other hand there cs-10/2 was a great idea. if it was supported and brought up to speed with touch sensitivity and motor faders they could really compete. make a cs-10/3. more importantly, just supported at all. works ok in cubase.
but alas, they could care less really. so, i will spend no more money with them. i'd rather wait around and buy a kawai
Just in case you don't know... both MOTU and Sound Quest's universal synth editor/librarian programs are compatible with all versions of the JL Cooper MSB midi patchbay, if you ever manage to snag one.
That said, they are primarily designed to operate "standalone" and from what i can tell from the manual I just downloaded, it's as straight forward as they could possibly make front panel editing for a device that apparently does everything except make coffee and clean dishes, especially the MSB Plus Rev 2 (check out the manual: JLCooper Product Manuals )
They were apparently the industry standard for such devices. I just bought the MSB Plus Rev 2 off eBay and anxiously await its arrival. I'll let you know whether it lives up to its reputation...