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Patchbay Do i need a high quality one?
Old 14th September 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Patchbay Do i need a high quality one?

Hi,

I currently have a patchbay that cost £100. Im starting to take things more serious and am upgrading my MOTU 24 I/O to an SSL AX.

However, im guessing this chain is no diff to any other and it can only be as strong as my weakest link. I currently have a budget patchbay ( NEUTRIK NYS-SPP-L1 - Thomann UK Cyberstore)

Im guessing im going to have to upgrade this considerably to get the benefit of the SSL AX. Any suggestions what to? I must stress to the millionaire money is no object members money IS an object here. So im looking for best value for money that won't bottle neck the SSL AX.

Any advice / suggestions greatly received.
Old 14th September 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Pies's Avatar
patchbays shouldn't affect the sound of the gear you are plugging into them in any way regardless off price, they are just connection points.
Old 14th September 2011
  #3
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frans's Avatar
Small signals (microphone) need good contacts, with bigger signals (line) you can get away with less than ideal circumstances. Neutrik connectors are not bad, just take care the contacts in there are kept clean.
Do you got a cable tester? Best gadget you ever got. After you are through with all your cables, plug two into your patchbay and then check all points there.
Old 14th September 2011
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Pies's Avatar
Quote:
Small signals (microphone) need good contacts
If you were running mics through a patch bay then you would want a XLR bay or a switchcraft patchbay otherwise you risk shorting the phantom power in your desk or pres. When you plug and unplug a patch cable into a jack patchbay the tip and ring are in contact with each other for a slight second
Old 14th September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Hi guys,

Thanks for the replies. Sorry I should have been more specific. No mics. Just line.

Without sounding snoby (I am not rich enough to even try haha) can a £50 Netrik patchbay really feed an SSL AX without screwing the sound a little.

I know this is the original Q you all kindly answered but I am used to this verture costing a small fortune. I dont think I have ever heard anyone say, yup, £50 will do.

Think your going to have to tell me again.
Old 14th September 2011
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Pies's Avatar
Patchbays are just connection points they do not affect the sound in anyway,
Neutrik contacts are more than adequate for what you need a will not affect the sound.

The only thing that could possibly affect the sound as Frans pointed out is if the contacts are rusty and dirty which is only going to possibly be a problem on an old unit. I have had my patchbays for 5 years and they are all still as clean as a whistle
Old 14th September 2011
  #7
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Aisle 6's Avatar
Patch bays are not created equal. I found a lot of cheaper 1/4" jack style bays were fine for a period, but slowly deteriorated over time. You may not notice until one day you check the hard bypassed signal compared to the patch bays signal and find that all your tone has gone due to the increased resistance of dirty contacts. Cheaper bays are sealed and difficult to clean correctly, if at all.

If longevity and solid signal is important to you, then get a quality long frame or bantam or XLR bay.
Old 14th September 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
I don't think you will have a problem with that as long as it stays clean inside.

There are two tools used to keep bays clean. one is an injector, which is a hollowed out connector that you can squirt Cramoline or any contact cleaner into. It has holes around the tip that distribute the cleaner into the connector socket.

The other is a burnisher, which is a plug ever so slightly larger than usual with an abrasive surface. After cleaning you insert the burnisher and give it a few twists, remove, wipe down, and go to the next.

Do this every 4 to six months.
Old 14th September 2011
  #9
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Major - for me personally, it's either a TT or good quality patchbay (Switchcraft, ADC, etc.) or none at all. I've chased down too many ghosts in studio's over the years to go any less. The TRS patchbays all seem to get problematic after awhile. I'd be OK without a patchbay too - depending on setup and workflow. My personal $.02.
Old 14th September 2011
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
rogerdodger's Avatar
 

No.
Old 14th September 2011
  #11
Gear Guru
 
rickrock305's Avatar
 

I'd say a patchbay's quality certainly matters. Every signal in your studio is going to pass through there, not some place I'd cheap out on.
Old 14th September 2011
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

with patchbays i found sound quality is usually not the problem, but build quality is. And therefore over time your sounds start to suffer because of intermittent connections. theres nothing as irritating as a patchbay where you have to wiggle, turn and twist a connector after you found out it messed up a good take. its not a sexy piece of gear but its worth your investment. if you buy one where you have to solder the wiring yourself you get can good quality for reasonable prices. you got really cool db25 terminated ones for example. I dont think they offer better audio quality, just convenience.
Get a renowned brand and buy their midrange and you should be cool.
Old 14th September 2011
  #13
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ddageek's Avatar
 

They do matter, Switchcraft, Bitree , Moss& Mitcell ,ADC are worth there weight in gold! Over time the flimsy jacks on your sub $200 bays fail ( broken frames are great cheap vent panels)
With proper grounding a decent TRS or TT can be used for mic level with phantom ( see they are worth more) .

Mr Patchbay is a great source for quality used bays!
Old 15th September 2011
  #14
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Aisle 6's Avatar
I have the old long frame style. The socket walls are 1/16th" solid brass barrel, removable leaves and switches. Built like a tank...literally. They are the bomb.
Old 15th September 2011
  #15
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ddageek's Avatar
 

Yep look at how the jacks in the cheap ones are built, now look at the simple rugged ones in a real bay !
Old 15th September 2011
  #16
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaye b View Post
with patchbays i found sound quality is usually not the problem, but build quality is. And therefore over time your sounds start to suffer because of intermittent connections. theres nothing as irritating as a patchbay where you have to wiggle, turn and twist a connector after you found out it messed up a good take. its not a sexy piece of gear but its worth your investment. if you buy one where you have to solder the wiring yourself you get can good quality for reasonable prices. you got really cool db25 terminated ones for example. I dont think they offer better audio quality, just convenience.
Get a renowned brand and buy their midrange and you should be cool.
That.
A lot of posters have said patchbays don't affect the sound. And that's true.
Until they start to get crackly and intermittent.
Then they'll drive you nuts.
Old 15th September 2011
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

well, you know, you just need to upgrade the op amps to nice high speed burr-brown ones, recap it with fancy wima film caps, and replace the transformers with better jensen ones....

oh wait... patchbays don't have any of that. there really isn't _anything_ in there (or shouldn't be) except jacks and wires. there are no fancy designs, no 'analog mojo' to add $2k to the price (and if it did advertise 'analog mojo', you'd do well to smash it and move on), no expensive parts (unless you count the jacks). so there's really no reason one should be stratospherically expensive. it's not unlikely you'll spend more on the cables to hook it up than the patchbay itself.

which, btw, the difference between low-end and high-end patchbays is comparable to the differences in cables.. say, low-end hosa vs. whirlwind vs. high-end mogami. there is probably small difference in sound (less so between mogami vs. whirlwind than either vs. hosa) but more it's just reliability.

now, this is where a higher-end patchbay might make sense... your typical 1/4" patchbay requires two cables per i/o pair, = wire + 4 jacks. If you get something punchdown, then it's just wire + 2 jacks. If you're making a lot of cables (or buying a lot of cables?) getting rid of those extra jacks just might be enough to make the extra cost of a more expensive patchbay worth it... those neutrik jacks are $2-3 each, iirc, x 24 channels/pairs, + all the i/o for the outboard... it adds up quick.
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