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Do I need a patchbay?

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Do I need a patchbay?

Postby _ Six _ » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:17 pm

I've got a few pieces of hardware outboard that I'd like to use for tracking and mixing. My soundcard is the Focusrite 26 i/o with an SSL Alpha connected via SPIDIF.

I've got a TC Electronic digital multi effects, a Graphic EQ, a Bass Amp Sim with effects and the EQ section of the SLL I'd like to use in the mix.

Would I be better using a patch bay or wiring everything up to the sound card? I'm using Logic Pro 8.

Cheers

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Re: Do I need a patchbay?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:02 am

A patchbay is always worthy of consideration as soon as you have a few pieces of gear and a few options for how it plugs together. Being able to change allocations and chain order is not only quick and efficient, it is also less restrictive and more creative.

I have written entire songs based on the results of sounds created by strange patch bay configurations!
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Re: Do I need a patchbay?

Postby ef37a » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:38 am

Six, is all that kit balanced in and out? (can't be A'ed to pull ALL the manuals!)

If not do consider making it all so. You can impedance balance outputs but you will need transformers or active boxes (Orchid Electronics? OEP?) for inputs.

Trying to integrate balanced and unbalanced kit in a patchbay is a nightmare I can tell you.

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Re: Do I need a patchbay?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:22 am

It's all down to how often you have to replug stuff. If it's once every six months or more then you don't need a patchbay. Any more frequently than that and I would say get one. After all the Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1, which is well made and straightforward to use, is only 40-50 quid. Not very much for the convenience.

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Re: Do I need a patchbay?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:30 am

Patch bays can be useful, but they are also a weak-link in the audio chain with the potential to introduce distortions, drop-outs and so on.

With the larger computer interfaces it is often possible to connected everything permanently to seperate line inputs and outputs, and then do all the patching by setting up the appropriate routing within the DAW.

However, the down side of this approach is the added latency of going through additional conversion processes if you want to chain different outboard together.

Whether that's relevant to your situation only you can decide.

If you do go down the patchbay route, I would also recommend the neutrik patchbay unit.

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Re: Do I need a patchbay?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:15 pm

...and I'd recommend the Samson S-Patch. Mine have been 100% reliable and I find the front panel per-channel normalisation switches useful.
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Re: Do I need a patchbay?

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:53 pm

Well, it's a tricky one. The advantages are that once you've done it, it's a convenient way to quickly patch stuff, and can sometimes enhance functionality. The disadvantages are that it's expensive to do properly, it needs to be done properly because otherwise you risk the sort of reliability and fidelity problems that Hugh mentioned and if you're trying to stay portable it can add a lot of weight to the rack.

Personally I repatch stuff almost every day, and I don't have patchbays at all. I prefer to be able to connect stuff directly.

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Re: Do I need a patchbay?

Postby Jimi's Music » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:41 am

The studio I work at could not function without a patchbay.
people bring in different gear, plus we have so many combinations
it is a must.
AT home I have a setup with Rossetta 800, Avalon 737. Two Twin Finities going into DBX160's, Daking Mach 4 into DBX 1046 and 2 DBX 386
For this setup I just leave it wired to a snake to my tracking room. Rarely do I change things.

So it is really up tow often you need to change your setup. Some people get one because they think they need one but you will know after working with your setup a while.

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