The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
I just can't understand patchbays Audio Interfaces
Old 13th May 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
I just can't understand patchbays

Hi all,

I have a Presonus Firestudio Project audio interface, but just recently i've ran out of In's (It has 8 ins on the front), so i thought it would be time to invest in a patchbay.

I just can't work out how it works though.

Maybe i don't need a patch bay? I just need more in's.

My equipment is 2 synths, a compressor, a drum machine, a mic, an effects unit.

Any help and suggestions would really be appreciated,

Thanks
Old 13th May 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

To be honest I'd say you may as well expand your inputs permanently by adding a cheap-but-useable 8-input ADAT unit and light-piping to your Firestudio.

Patchbay $50; ADA8000 $150.
Old 13th May 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Yes i was thinking that might be what i was needing. Because like i say, i i want is more inputs, and i don't know if a patch bay is exactly what i need.

May i ask what is 'light pipping'?
Old 13th May 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 

If you want more simultaneous inputs, a patchbay won't give you that. A patchbay is just an easy-peasy way to be able to connect up lots of different things to the inputs that you do have. So, for example, you connect all your synths and outboard sound modules and other assorted bits of gear to the patchbay and then you have connections from the patchbay to the inputs on your mixer or audio interface. By default, you have the patchbay configured so that boxes A, B, C and D are connected to your inputs most of the time. However, sometimes you want boxes E, F, G, and H connected to your inputs. So you plug some patch cables into the right places on the patchbay and they have the effect of breaking the A, B, C, D, connections and establishing new E, F, G, H, connections to your audio inputs. It's just like unplugging and replugging cables at the back of your interface or other hardware, you just don't have to go crawling around the back of your gear to do it.

Sorry, probably not a very good explanation there (and you can get much more complex than that with patchbays if you want), but the main point is that it won't actually give you extra inputs. If that's what you really want, you'll either need to get another interface that offers more inputs, or find some way to add additional inputs to your existing one (e.g. by adding external pres/converter boxes that you connect to your existing interface over digital connections such as ADAT if it has them and you're not already using them). Alternatively, if you're already using all the analog and digital inputs on your interface and you still want to connect more things simultaneously, the only real option is to start using some kind of external sub-mixer to connect several devices to one (or a pair) of your existing analog inputs at the same time.

(And regarding "light-piping" - that's an ADAT optical connection as mentioned above. Can be used to connect multi-channel external pres/converters to an interface.)
Old 13th May 2012
  #5
Here for the gear
 

A patchbay is just a method to interface all of your equipment with the same connection (usually either TT or TRS 1/4"). So for example if you have 20 compressors and 20 mic preamps you can mix and match which compressors you use with the preamps quickly and easily. Basically it all comes down to being a way to avoid of going behind your racks and individually plugging things in which is not what you need. You need more mic preamps and another a/d converter. Preferably find something that does both and then make sure that clocking from one to the other is good. Most lilely you'll need to set the clock source to optical. If you're getting a lot of clicks and pops then buy a word clock cable and set the presonus to be the master.

Sent from my LS670 using Gearslutz App
Old 13th May 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Ah right now i'm understanding a bit more, thanks guys.

So, i'm going to get a box that has more in's, but how do i connect this new box to my Presonus fire studio project? On the back of it it has an SPDIF in/out, maybe via that?

the other thing i'm baffled about is how does Logic see these new in's?

thanks for the help guys, starting to get it a bit better now.
Old 13th May 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Also, can anyone suggest good In/out boxes, such as the Behringer ADA8000?

Thanks guys
Old 13th May 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elasticc View Post
Ah right now i'm understanding a bit more, thanks guys.

So, i'm going to get a box that has more in's, but how do i connect this new box to my Presonus fire studio project? On the back of it it has an SPDIF in/out, maybe via that?

the other thing i'm baffled about is how does Logic see these new in's?

thanks for the help guys, starting to get it a bit better now.
If the only digital connection that is available on your interface is SPDIF, then you'll only be able to add two channels. SPDIF can only carry a stereo signal.

In terms of Logic, the new inputs should just appear as additional inputs alongside your existing interface inputs. Although I don't know or use Logic myself so I don't where that would be or how you configure it.
Old 13th May 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Ah, then i have a problem! How am i going to connect a new audio in's/outs box to my existing interface? there is no optical in/out on the back of the fire studio project, just a load of outs, send/return and spdif.

Thanks
Old 13th May 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
shanabit's Avatar
 

Yep, you have 2 more channels to use via SPDIF and thats it, SO, anything you connect to that will have to have an SPDIF out as well
Old 13th May 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Hmmmm, i have a spare firwire 800 port on the back of my fire studio project, i wonder if its possible to buy another interface, say that Behringer A8000 and hook it up via firewire?
Old 13th May 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 
shanabit's Avatar
 

check page 37 in your PDF manual, that may help
Old 13th May 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 

In that case, you're either looking at a new interface, or you'll need to go down the sub-mixer route. I use a couple of rack-mounted stereo line mixers to mix all the outputs from my keyboards, etc. down to two stereo pairs that I then send to two pairs of channels on my interface. The advantage of this is that I could (if I wanted) have up to sixteen stereo sources feeding into my inputs, while only using four actual channels on my interface. The big disadvantages are:

1. I've therefore got additional active devices in my signal path between the source and the interface, so that is going to have some effect on the signal. Even if you find and buy some super-duper, ultra-clean line mixer, it will still have some effect on your signal/tone, albeit subtle.

2. If I apply any processing to the input channels in my DAW, it will be applied to all of the sources coming from a given line mixer. If I want to record two different sources and apply different in-the-box processing to them at the same time and send them to different, independent channels in my DAW, I can only do that if they happen to be connected via different mixers. If they're both coming in via the same one, they're basically mated for life, so to speak.

So whether this kind of thing would work for you depends on your personal workflow and how clean and short you want to keep your signal path. In my case, it's just a home/project studio for messing about with my own stuff, so I can live with any imperfections or little foibles in the way I have to work. I could have achieved the same (or similar) results using a patchbay, but found the sub-mixer route more convenient.

Having said that, I'm probably going to add a patchbay or two at some point, since I now want to be able to route things to two separate audio interfaces. In this case, a patchbay makes a lot of sense since I will tend to use either one or the other for more extended periods of time, so I'll just patch up whichever one I want for any given session.

(Just seen your post about having a second FW port - that will be worth investigating. You may be able to daisy-chain another interface to there, although it will probably have to be another Presonus unit for the drivers to handle things properly. As shanabit said, check your manual...)
Old 13th May 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Hmmm interesting, i'm thinking of buying another Presonus fire studio project and daisy chaining the 2 units together. At least i know that can be done.

That would give me enough in's and out's.
Old 13th May 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 
shanabit's Avatar
 

Yep, or like me, I use an Ashly LX308B and have 5 synths plus my Fractal going into it.
I come out of it stereo into my I/O box, this way Im only eating up 2 channels on the I/O at any one time. My Ashly has zero effect on the sound BTW. This leaves me 6 channels on my I/O. I have 2 reverb units in stereo connected to another 4 inputs, that leaves me 2 inputs for mics which is all I need. THis kept me from having to add another I/O.
Another benefit is I can play all my synths and fractal without having to turn on the computer or my I/O, works great IMO

I also know that ANYTHING synth wise or my Fractal is ALWAYS coming into the I/O box on channels 7/8. I record what I want and move on.
The line mixer allows me to make a composite keyboard sound as well from all the synths at the same time then record that, I LOVE IT!!!
Old 13th May 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Shanabit - Genius! I love that idea, i just checked out the Ashly mixer you have, i think i might go that way too now.
What is the sound like, any problems or any interference or anything bad to report about the ashly?
I take it you just run the main outputs of the ashly to a pair of in's on your interface?

Brilliant, its all becoming clear now lol!
Old 13th May 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
 
shanabit's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elasticc View Post
1. What is the sound like, any problems or any interference or anything bad to report about the ashly?


2. I take it you just run the main outputs of the ashly to a pair of in's on your interface?
1. No issues with my Ashly here at all, sound is real good from it IMO or Id just ditch it and get another MR816X like I have to go in via ADAT. No interference at all. Each channel is STEREO or MONO BTW and has panning and mute on each one

2. Yep, easy peasy. I set all my channels on it at 5 on the volume as well as the main output. I engage the PAD on those 2 channels on my I/O. Clean
I come out of it balanced BTW from the main outs


*Inputs 1/2 on it can take a microphone as well. It has submaster ins and outs on the back as well
Old 13th May 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Excellent. I think this is the way i'm going to go. I'll either plump for the Ashly or something similar as long as it's good quality.

It's basically using it as a patch bay isn't it (of course with the patching done on the back instead of the front lol). That's what it appears like to me anyway.
Old 13th May 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 
shanabit's Avatar
 

Kinda, like a submixer, normally what us keyboard guys do for live anyways then send a stereo feed to FOH. IF you need more Mic Pres you may want to just grab another Presonus unit like you have and daisy chain them via the FW port

http://www.ashly.com/product/lx-308b-2.htm
Old 13th May 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
No i'm good for Mic in's, i only need 1 pair and that's taken care of on the fire studio.

Thanks for your help man, and the other peeps above, really starting to get a grasp of it all better now.

I was doing great until i ended up with so much hardware lol! Love it!
Old 13th May 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 
shanabit's Avatar
 

Old 13th May 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
elasticc's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thanks, i like the look of the Behringer one, i can't find the Ashly for sale here in the uk at all, so i'm on the lookout for others.
Old 13th May 2012
  #23
[Late to the game, but I'll leave this post.]
Quote:
Originally Posted by elasticc View Post
Hi all,

I have a Presonus Firestudio Project audio interface, but just recently i've ran out of In's (It has 8 ins on the front), so i thought it would be time to invest in a patchbay.

I just can't work out how it works though.

Maybe i don't need a patch bay? I just need more in's.

My equipment is 2 synths, a compressor, a drum machine, a mic, an effects unit.

Any help and suggestions would really be appreciated,

Thanks
A patch bay is simply a convenience for hooking things up. In most studios where hardware plays a big role, the profusion of back-of-unit i/o ports is a huge hassle if you're patching and unpatching things frequently. Rather than banging around behind the board and gear racks all the time in the middle of sessions, most larger studios use a dedicated patch bay where i/o from different pieces of gear is collected in one area. You then use short 'patch' cables to go from the jacks on the patch bay that represent the output of one piece of gear to the jacks that go to the input of another.

I'd say it's like an old fashioned PBX telephone switchboard, but the only people who would know what I was talking about are other old timers.
Old 13th May 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elasticc View Post
Thanks, i like the look of the Behringer one, i can't find the Ashly for sale here in the uk at all, so i'm on the lookout for others.
I use the Behringer one (RX1602?) and an Alesis MultiMix 8 Line. They both work well and I've had no problems with either of them. I'd have an Ashly or a Rane if I was absolutely paranoid about the signal path, but I don't fancy dropping that much money on line mixers and I've had no bother at all with the cheaper options. They work fine and are plenty clean enough for anything I want them to do.

Tascam make one as well, but I can't recall the model number.
Old 13th May 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 
fastlanestoner's Avatar
 

You don't need a patchbay, just a better work flow. Patchbays are best reserved for studios with tons of gear/patch points or gear that shouldn't be subject to frequent insert/removal of the jacks
Old 13th May 2012
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlanestoner View Post
You don't need a patchbay, just a better work flow. Patchbays are best reserved for studios with tons of gear/patch points or gear that shouldn't be subject to frequent insert/removal of the jacks
Right. It's a balancing act. You don't want to stress and wear connectors (particularly on some modern gear where connectors are actually mounted directly onto circuit boards and connecting/reconnecting can stress and eventually break mechancial connections, sometimes leaving a jack 'dangling' by a flat strip of copper pulling lose from the circuit board.)

But extra wire and extra connectors/connections means more to oxidize, more to go wrong, so you don't necessarily want to move to a patch bay if you don't need to.
Old 13th May 2012
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Another thought,

Given that you are using Logic, you are using a Mac.

Therefore, aqn alternative to getting another A/D device like the AD 8000 and lightpiping it to your firestudio (which seems not to be an option as you have no ADAT on the firestudio) is to simply get another soundcard and create an aggregate device in audio midi setup.

It's easy and it works and if you truly need 16 simultaneous individual inputs this will save you from having to scrap the firestudio.
Old 13th May 2012
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Looneytune's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlanestoner View Post
You don't need a patchbay, just a better work flow. Patchbays are best reserved for studios with tons of gear/patch points or gear that shouldn't be subject to frequent insert/removal of the jacks
Tons of gear.
I wouldn't say this entirely correct.
I ran a patch bay for years and I wouldnt say I had tons of gear.

I think it can be a great thing for any studio to have, big or small.
Sure they take a while to figure out, I know I still don't truly understand my previous patch bay.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
hociman / So much gear, so little time
9
ezrecords / So much gear, so little time
0
sideshowluke / So much gear, so little time
0
soundawg / So much gear, so little time
6
outta here / So much gear, so little time
19

Forum Jump
Forum Jump