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Inserts on mixing boards
Old 28th November 2014
  #1
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Inserts on mixing boards

I understand the concept of patching over an effect to an insert channel of my board, but the part that confuses me is if you've got a permanent Y cable hooked up from your mixer to your patchbay, but you have no FX patched over in the bay. Wouldn't that kill the signal since it's sending it down the Y cable, but there is no return path since you haven't plugged anything into the return jack on the bay?
Old 28th November 2014
  #2
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it would be and open circuit if there is no return.
Old 28th November 2014
  #3
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So how do people usually deal with having to plug and unplug stuff from the mixer all the time?
Old 28th November 2014
  #4
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Granny Gremlin's Avatar
 

I rarely use inserts. It's auxes or inline for my outboard (on mix, you don't need the preamps, so just patch the gear in before it hit's the mixer's line in - I tend not to track through the console but external preamps direct to AD putting something in between if I need it, but if I did track through the console I'd just put the outboard in series after the channel/direct, group, or whatever outs from the console, before the AD).
Old 28th November 2014
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSLand View Post
So how do people usually deal with having to plug and unplug stuff from the mixer all the time?
Just like you said . When I'm in tracking mode, I pull the insert cables. They go back in as things start getting mixed. I don't have a patch bay, so it's a matter of getting behind the console - labeling the cables really helps.
Old 28th November 2014
  #6
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSLand View Post
So how do people usually deal with having to plug and unplug stuff from the mixer all the time?
patchbay with proper normaling
Old 28th November 2014
  #7
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Granny Gremlin's Avatar
 

Yeah, that would work too, but skipping the inserts I can stay balanced all the way and not have to futz with it if there's an finicky peice I'm trying to patch in.
Old 28th November 2014
  #8
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I see three options:
1) The console has insert switches (then it does not matter the status of the cables)
2) The console does not have insert switches, so the inserts are going to a normalled patchbay
3) The console does not have insert switches, so the insert cables are not plugged into the console until needed
Old 29th November 2014
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HSLand View Post
So how do people usually deal with having to plug and unplug stuff from the mixer all the time?
I use a patch bay. On my Euphonix desk I can have 3 inserts per channel and 1 on the stereo out. I generally use them for compressors and Eq. I can set them up and engage them from settings on the desk.
Old 29th November 2014
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HSLand View Post
I understand the concept of patching over an effect to an insert channel of my board, but the part that confuses me is if you've got a permanent Y cable hooked up from your mixer to your patchbay, but you have no FX patched over in the bay. Wouldn't that kill the signal since it's sending it down the Y cable, but there is no return path since you haven't plugged anything into the return jack on the bay?
Because it is intended to be hooked up to a patchbay, out (send) over in (return).

Normalled, so you only break the circuit when you patch, or half-normalled, so you can break the circuit or mult the channel.

Otherwise the signal flows.

As we learned in patchbay 101.

Boom
Old 29th November 2014
  #11
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nosleepPDX View Post
Normalled, so you only break the circuit when you patch, or half-normalled, so you can break the circuit or mult the channel.
"Half-normalled" meaning the send side of the insert doesn't break when you stick a plug in the jack, but the return side does. It's how most console patch bays are configured.
Old 29th November 2014
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nosleepPDX View Post
Because it is intended to be hooked up to a patchbay, out (send) over in (return).

Normalled, so you only break the circuit when you patch, or half-normalled, so you can break the circuit or mult the channel.

Otherwise the signal flows.

As we learned in patchbay 101.

Boom
lol....'we' are a shrinking lot.......
Old 29th November 2014
  #13
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once a roadie's Avatar
...although db25 based patch bays seem to have a particular dislike for unbalanced inserts without some custom cables...and I am learning that buying in groups of 8 is convenient when wiring up said patch bays... ( or said another way, a 10 space API rack creates interesting cabling needs)...does anyone purposely avoid purchasing 10 space 500 series racks for this reason?
Old 29th November 2014
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
patchbay with proper normaling
This.
Old 30th November 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by once a roadie View Post
...although db25 based patch bays seem to have a particular dislike for unbalanced inserts without some custom cables...and I am learning that buying in groups of 8 is convenient when wiring up said patch bays... ( or said another way, a 10 space API rack creates interesting cabling needs)...does anyone purposely avoid purchasing 10 space 500 series racks for this reason?
A friend of mine uses one of those modular switchcraft DSUB to TT patchbays. All balanced gear on one bank all unbalanced on another etc. Hasn't had any problems, but may have had to get a custom cable for this purpose.
Old 1st December 2014
  #16
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Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by once a roadie View Post
Does anyone purposely avoid purchasing 10 space 500 series racks for this reason?
Yes. And 6 spacers.

Eric
Old 2nd December 2014
  #17
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Guys, patchbays are configured with other I/O connectors besides a DB25, all of which provide for easy mixing of balanced and unbalanced cabling. What to look for though is individual grounding schemes per I/O in the patchbay itself. So going 1/4" or punchblock or EDAC/Elco E3, or a couple other I/O options will get you there without the debate of crosstalk with a DB25 connector.

Bottom line, buy the right patchbay for your needs.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #18
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Granny Gremlin's Avatar
 

Unbal/Bal interfacing concerns (from my end, I was the one who mentioned it; maybe someone else did too) have more to do with the source and destination gear rather than the patchbay - the patchbay is the easy bit. Additionally, I don't want to run an unbalanced signal 15-20 feet in each direction through a patchbay between 2 peices of gear. I do have some unbal/bal converters, but it would still be a long unbalanced run from the console to the patchbay to those boxes.

So I just don't use inserts in general (because there are other options that suit my workflow better for series processing needs as described above), the odd time I do, I patch the gear in manually with an insert cable to keep the run as short as possible.

My inserts are not even on the patchbay (for a few reasons, including this one), I think I've used them, on my studio console, twice.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #19
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Proper mixer with balanced inserts then, innit.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Guys, patchbays are configured with other I/O connectors besides a DB25, all of which provide for easy mixing of balanced and unbalanced cabling. What to look for though is individual grounding schemes per I/O in the patchbay itself. So going 1/4" or punchblock or EDAC/Elco E3, or a couple other I/O options will get you there without the debate of crosstalk with a DB25 connector.

Bottom line, buy the right patchbay for your needs.
How many inserts would justify a patch bay?

What would you recommend for simple 1/4 TRS -> XLR inserts?
Old 2nd December 2014
  #21
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Robby, you just need to look at your individual gear and workflow to determine the best options. Putting it down on paper to figure out how best to hook up gear using line drawings helps most get a handle on it. As for your "how many?" question, no one can answer that without knowing all your gear and how you like to work. Some will direct patch outboard to their desk, some will run inserts and outboard comps / EQ's to a patchbay(s) and direct patch outboard FX to auxes, some will route all (inserts / auxes / outboard) to a patchbay(s) for more flexability. The only general rule is have "Out's" (top row) over "In's" (bottom row) in your patchbay layout.

A typical TT patchbay is 96 points so figure 48 ins and outs per patchbay. A typical 1/4" patchbay is half that. If you have 24 Inserts on your desk then that would leave you 24 channels of outboard ins and outs using the 96 points of a TT patchbay. Decent used patchbays are out there for not much money that will have the rear connector options and configuration that will work best for you, in fact I've got an ADC with punchblock rear listed in the Chicago area craigslist for not much money (there is a good chance you can find something local).

Hit the search button here or net for more patchbay info, there is plenty out there. Then after you have figured exactly what you need in a patchbay(s), hit the net and it should not be that hard or expensive to find it.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #22
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Granny Gremlin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Proper mixer with balanced inserts then, innit.
LOL - I'll get on that as soon as you lend me 100K (at 0.1% interest - I might be able to afford that)
Old 2nd December 2014
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Robby, you just need to look at your individual gear and workflow to determine the best options. Putting it down on paper to figure out how best to hook up gear using line drawings helps most get a handle on it. As for your "how many?" question, no one can answer that without knowing all your gear and how you like to work. Some will direct patch outboard to their desk, some will run inserts and outboard comps / EQ's to a patchbay(s) and direct patch outboard FX to auxes, some will route all (inserts / auxes / outboard) to a patchbay(s) for more flexability. The only general rule is have "Out's" (top row) over "In's" (bottom row) in your patchbay layout.

A typical TT patchbay is 96 points so figure 48 ins and outs per patchbay. A typical 1/4" patchbay is half that. If you have 24 Inserts on your desk then that would leave you 24 channels of outboard ins and outs using the 96 points of a TT patchbay. Decent used patchbays are out there for not much money that will have the rear connector options and configuration that will work best for you, in fact I've got an ADC with punchblock rear listed in the Chicago area craigslist for not much money (there is a good chance you can find something local).

Hit the search button here or net for more patchbay info, there is plenty out there. Then after you have figured exactly what you need in a patchbay(s), hit the net and it should not be that hard or expensive to find it.
Thanks for the great answer. I'm only using inserts on about 5 channel of my Toft and it's not too much of a PITA doing it straight in. Once I get that lunchbox I'll look into a patch bay.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #24
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Granny, that $100k figure may be a bit high LOL I've got an AMR model 2400 (Audio Media Research) up for sale for a bit over $2K that has BOTH pre and post balanced inserts on each of it's 36 input modules (separate send and return connectors - four 1/4" TRS connectors per input strip). A balanced buss insert (separate send and return 1/4" TRS connectors) on each of it's 24 buss/moniter modules. Lastly, balanced sends and returns for it's 8 auxes and main 2 buss.

You just have to look at signal flow and features of each desk. There are amazing deals on used quality desks with a little digging. The downside for some of the home guys is these desks were built for long term servicability with modular parts so you are not going to find this in a 2 foot by 2 foot form factor. You'll get better sonics and flexible routing but they are big (you can chop them down though).
Old 3rd December 2014
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Granny Gremlin View Post
LOL - I'll get on that as soon as you lend me 100K (at 0.1% interest - I might be able to afford that)
I'll consider selling you my Raindirk console with balanced inserts for a tiny % of that if you ask nicely......
Old 3rd December 2014
  #26
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I'd love a Raindirk, but my realistic budget is not even a fraction of that random figure I pulled out of my arse for a joke.

With the AMR I'd be paying more for freight and incidentals than the console itself, and I neither need nor have the space for a 32 channel monster (don't think I am up for the task of chopping it down). I'm good with what I have for now. It'd be real nice to have a better console, but mine works, has EQ that I like/find useful, it's not too big... and like I said, inserts aren't really necessary when you never use the mic pres (aside from testing that they work, only ever used once since I owned her, when a more known band came through my old spot that doubled as a venue to pay the rent and they wanted something better than what I usually had out front - and they had their own crew so it wasn't even me using them). That does sound like a sweat price though - wouldn't be that cheap locally.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #27
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Hot Vibrato's Avatar
 

I've never dealt with this issue before, but how about just connecting the in and out at the patchbay with a short cable when not using the insert? As mentioned in other posts, this is a non-issue if your patchbay is normalled (assuming I'm interpreting the definition of "normalled" correctly).
Old 3rd December 2014
  #28
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Granny Gremlin View Post
I'd love a Raindirk, but my realistic budget is not even a fraction of that random figure I pulled out of my arse for a joke.

With the AMR I'd be paying more for freight and incidentals than the console itself, and I neither need nor have the space for a 32 channel monster (don't think I am up for the task of chopping it down). I'm good with what I have for now. It'd be real nice to have a better console, but mine works, has EQ that I like/find useful, it's not too big... and like I said, inserts aren't really necessary when you never use the mic pres (aside from testing that they work, only ever used once since I owned her, when a more known band came through my old spot that doubled as a venue to pay the rent and they wanted something better than what I usually had out front - and they had their own crew so it wasn't even me using them). That does sound like a sweat price though - wouldn't be that cheap locally.
The Raindirk wouldn't be too much more and is 16 channel so no need to chop down. About a meter and a little bit wide. But it isn't going until February or March and sending it over the big sea wouldn't seem too great an idea to be fair.......
Old 3rd December 2014
  #29
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Get behind me satan! (so how many auxes/what model?... that's the thing about my console, it's not the best, but to match the feature set and move up sonically, is usually a big jump in price... and yeah, that's one expensive boat ride).
Old 3rd December 2014
  #30
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Granny, actually it's 116 channels at mixdown to the 2 buss LOL. Unbelievable what you can get in hardware for that little amount of money. Your point is correct though, most good analog desk deals are going to be without freight/customs costs (customs might be a gotcha). So keep an eye on your local area and within a decent amount of hours of driving as rental of a minvan for a day or two to move it yourself is very inexpensive (Dodge Grand Caravan with it's seats tucked under the floor (you don't have to remove them) will give you 4 foot by 8 foot cargo). Again you just need to look at potential canidates as they pop up on your radar and be ready to jump when the opportunity presents itself. As for chopping a desk down, some will be fairly easy to do and others not due to their frame and internal layout. Just ask the owner about that possibility. The AMR lends itself to an easy chop that I would do for a potential buyer as it's a simple frame and meter bridge cut off each side for the configuration (width) you want to end up with. There are some fantastic desks out there at pennies on the dollar, just place sonics and servicability higher on your priority list than compactness.
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