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Patchbays: does your Mic need 10 cables to reach the A/D?
Old 8th May 2006
  #1
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jindrich's Avatar
 

Patchbays: does your Mic need 10 cables to reach the A/D?

Ok, that would be in the worst case scenario, when you'd plug a comp and an eq before going to the converters (not that odd anyway), but i'm really starting to worry about. Look:

(Note: the "O" are the patchbay's sockets, and the "------" are the cables)


Mic------MicPre------IO------OI------Comp------IO------OI------Eq------IO------OI------A/D


Count them, 10 cables in total!
How many soldering points are there? I'm amazed even the lightest trace of the original signal can make it to the A/D.
Even when not using comps or Eqs, you still need 4 cables:

Mic------MicPre------IO------OI-------A/D


Of course this could vary depending on how your patch is set up, normalized, half-normalized, etc, but always when the particular mic pre doesn't coincide with the A/D input needed, normalizing doesn't work and you're going to need plugs between the patchbay sockets, thus making the maximal cable count up to ten.

And all of this is in a PTools desk-less enviroment, I can't imagine how bad that must be with a real console, insert points etc, plus the world tour a SSL takes the signal thru inside the desk.
Then i think about people like Mark Levinson who uses very short esoteric cables from mic to pre and then to A/D, with all elements placed IN the studio, right beside the performers.


I'm really worried about degrading the signal, is there any way to avoid this? what's your take on this? how's your studio set up?
Should we forget about patchbays and move our asses everytime to the back of the racks to make the signal purer?
Old 8th May 2006
  #2
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dave-G's Avatar
Don't forget that in some traditional studios you'd actually have the mic cable going to a stage box on the floor which is really just an extension-cord to the XLR panels on the wall in the tracking room, which represent the end of 150 feet of cable running through a trough under the floor to the CR and the patchbay there. You might even meet a MASS connector or two along the way.



My take is that mic-level signals are one of the few things where this is even worth bitching about.

IMO, the panels in the tracking room are enough of a patchbay, and in studios I've built in the past, I just had them wired directly to mic pre inputs -- only the preamp outputs came up on the patchbay. Then, if you want to hit the Averill-Neves, you patch into 17-18 on the panel, etc etc.

Or, if you want to cart the preamps into the tracking room, you can use those same tielines for the line-level signals.

There is a price for ergonomics, but IMO, for line-level stuff, with sane runs of decent cable in a good installation, the losses are negligible (if that), and patchbays are good for workflow.

-dave
Old 8th May 2006
  #3
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jindrich's Avatar
 

hey dave,
yeah, i forgot about the snakes.

Then i think about all those audiophiles who pay €1,000/meter for their wiring. Those who can *tell* the sonic difference a small cloth under the left rear leg of a CD transporter mechanism makes. I'd like to take them to any studio, a good one like AIR in UK for instance, and show them how many Kms/Miles a signal makes from the Mic to the final CD.

anyway, my concern is not only just on the many cables, but on the multiple soldering points as well.

I cant see this other than as a multiple pipe installation having small bleeds at every joint. Even at line-level.
Old 8th May 2006
  #4
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synthoid's Avatar
 

I think this is one of the few advantages of a a project studio over a big studio. That is, in a big studio you need a lot of flexibility in patching and have longer cable runs, so it's hard to get around this problem (or impractical anyhow). But a project studio can minimize the signal chains because they're set up for one purpose. I use a short cable from mic to preamp and another short one into my converters. It's not much but it's something!

-synthoid
Old 8th May 2006
  #5
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AdamJay's Avatar
 

yea, add to that the mic boxes i use, and the fact that i run mics through a patchbay before they hit the preamp. I've got quite a few solder points.

such is the price you pay for flexibility and ergonometry.
its never concerned me too much though. There are far worse corners to cut that would have a much more noticably adverse effect on the sound, such as ****e cabling, ****e conversion, etc.
Old 8th May 2006
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich
I'm really worried about degrading the signal, is there any way to avoid this? what's your take on this? how's your studio set up?
Should we forget about patchbays and move our asses everytime to the back of the racks to make the signal purer?
Your choice on how to route your studio to support your work habits but...

balanced cable runs (right?) will be fine (with almost now audible difference on the order of 500 feet or less). (Unless you live next to a radio station or power plant )

Really, it is nothing to worry about.

If you need to, test thru your chain with the comp and eq passive/bypassed.
Then test direct from pre to AD.

Adjust volume if necessary and listen. Then make your decision.


Good luck,
David
Old 8th May 2006
  #7
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jindrich's Avatar
 

OT:
adam,
I sent you a PM 2 days ago. did you read it?
--------


Yeah, i havent tested yet, there are always other more interesting things to do (reading this boards )
I just entertained this though yesterday as i'm a -sane- audiophile myself, but it was some of those other *crazy* ones who pointed it out.
"Maybe he¡s right" - I thought.
Old 8th May 2006
  #8
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Gregg Sartiano's Avatar
 

Roy Thomas Baker talks about setting up the pres in the live room to "push" line level instead of "pulling" mic level through the cable into the control room.

He also uses the same terminology with reference to "pushing" the guitar sound by setting up the amp head in the control room and having the speaker cable be the longest cable run.

(this is from the Mix article on the new Darkness record)
Old 8th May 2006
  #9
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Sartiano
Roy Thomas Baker talks about setting up the pres in the live room to "push" line level instead of "pulling" mic level through the cable into the control room.
I don't see why this doesn't make sense.

I'm sure many great classic records were made thru miles and miles of mic cables, why not try to get it better, when possible.

When it impacts the creative process, that's when it's time to snuff it.
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