I don't think that I'm being creative enough with my patchbay

Tadpui

Well-known member
I have a 48-point TRS patchbay that I use quite a bit in my studio. It's my very first patchbay, and I'm mainly just using it for easy access to inputs/outputs for my interface and rack gear. But I have a feeling that I'm not using it to its full potential. I'm following the convention of having signal sources on the top row, and signal destinations on the bottom row. But damn, that really chews through points on the patchbay in a hurry.

My patchbay is the ART P48, where the top jacks are numbered 1-24 and the bottom jacks are numbered 25-48. So jacks 1 & 25 are a "pair", so to speak. I understand the whole normal/half-normal thing. But I'm having trouble visualizing how I can use this thing to its full potential.

For instance, I have a few channels of hardware compression that I like to use. And I have an external 2-channel preamp that I use a lot (mainly because it has inserts).

How would you patchbay veterans hook the interface, preamps, and compressors into a patchbay?
 

Track Rat

Dungeon Studio
I have everything (pretty much) in my studio coming up thru 5 patchbays. I'm using Switchcraft solid brass long frame solder type bays. From my console, all inserts are patched and normaled as are all channel line ins and outs (not normaled), also aux ins and outs and the 8 buss groups. The line ins and outs of all my external mic preamps are in the patchbays (the mic ins are in their own XLR patchbay to eliminate any phantom power issues while patching) as are all my compressors (and their side chains) and of course effects processors. Then there are the inputs to the multitrack (outputs are hard wired to the inputs of the console) and my computer interface (MOTU 2408mkII). I can pretty much patch anything to anything.
 

Tadpui

Well-known member
I have everything (pretty much) in my studio coming up thru 5 patchbays. I'm using Switchcraft solid brass long frame solder type bays. From my console, all inserts are patched and normaled as are all channel line ins and outs (not normaled), also aux ins and outs and the 8 buss groups. The line ins and outs of all my external mic preamps are in the patchbays (the mic ins are in their own XLR patchbay to eliminate any phantom power issues while patching) as are all my compressors (and their side chains) and of course effects processors. Then there are the inputs to the multitrack (outputs are hard wired to the inputs of the console) and my computer interface (MOTU 2408mkII). I can pretty much patch anything to anything.

Man, that's a pretty extensive setup! So do you basically just have "dead ends" on all of your patch points? Like, if you removed all of your patch cables, would nothing be patched to anything else? No "default" pathways created by the patchbays?
 

Track Rat

Dungeon Studio
Tape returns don't go through the patchbay. They're wired directly to inputs of my mixer. Other than that, yeah, if nothing is patched, nothing happens.
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
I use a half-dozen 96-point TT/Bantam bays., so I don't care about being "creative", or have the need to. :D

All I'm doing is outputs on top, inputs on bottom...and then I patch what I want where.
The normal/half-normal has its uses...like if your really, really need to have two things connected to each other 80% of the time...but if you have to break those normals 80% of the time, then what's the point...just go "un-creative" and do the basic outputs & inputs.
My setup doesn't really need any normals. I have more than enough points and patch cables, but also, I'm constantly switching from a mixer/tape deck, to tape deck/DAW, to DAW/mixer configuration...so normals don't have much use for me.
 

Tadpui

Well-known member
So, what I'm hearing from both of you guys is "just buy more patchbays" :D

And holy shit, Miro! 6 x 96 points? How do you keep track of them all? My ART doesn't really have room on the face for labels or anything. So I keep a printout of a spreadsheet on my desktop. Actually, maybe by taking a peek at my spreadsheet, you might be able to suggest any way to economize on my 48 points. I'd love to add another preamp or two, and eventually an ADAT rackmount unit of line inputs/outputs...

Scan0001.jpg
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
So, what I'm hearing from both of you guys is "just buy more patchbays" :D

And holy shit, Miro! 6 x 96 points? How do you keep track of them all? My ART doesn't really have room on the face for labels or anything.

My patchbays come with label strips...but they're not that big. It's a thin strip, and with the TT/Bantam bays...96 points is crammed together. So the labeling has to be short. If you looked at it, you would have a hard time understanding what's what because it looks kinda' cryptic...but it all makes sense to me. Most of the labels are 2-4 letters, that's all the room.
With stereo pairs, I get a couple of more letters, since I don't have to leave any space.
After 10+ years...I pretty much know where everything is, and it's all grouped so that stuff is easy to find.

Yeah...buy more patchbays. :)
I've got a lot of rack gear, plus the console, the tape decks...etc...so I've used just about every point on the 6 bays, with only some spares left.
 

Track Rat

Dungeon Studio
wiring.jpgdetail 1.jpgI've built dozens of the TT/bantam bays at work. I wanted 1/4" patchbays at home to keep everything, well, 1/4". Mine are 52 point so I still got lots of gozintas and gozoutas.
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
Isn't that a TASCAM M-3500 console in your pic...?
Is that yours or someone else's studio..?

If it's yours...I didn't know you have a 3500.
I do too.
 

Tadpui

Well-known member
Here's another question about your patchbay setups. Say you have a compressor hooked up to the patchbay. Do you patch its input and output into the same vertical "pair" of patch points?

Another way of asking the same question: If my patch points 1/25 and 2/26 are normalled, would you suggest patching the compressor output/input into 1 & 25 (respectively), or 1 & 26? 1 & 25 would create a feedback loop, but if there's nothing patched into it, does it matter? Or would you burn the extra vertical pair and patch the compressor output into 1 and input into 26, just to keep them from creating a loop?

So far I've been doing it the 2nd way (1/26) out of fear of creating some sort of runaway feedback loop when nothing is patched into the compressor. But I'm rapidly using up my patch points. Just wondering if I could economize on patch points by using the same vertical pair for a single device.
 

RFR

Well-known member
I install comps completely un normalled, except for an apex compellor into my master bus.
I dont know about any possible feedback loop issue, but I ain't taking chances. With comps un normalled its easy to just put them where i want them.
 

Tadpui

Well-known member
Since my patchbay is a budget model, it only has normal and half-normal as options (selectable with push buttons on the back side). I don't think that I can "un-normal" a vertical pair without opening it up and breaking out the soldering iron or wire cutters. I'm not quite that determined yet!
 
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