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Patchbay for inserts

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Patchbay for inserts

Postby Kolakube » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:02 pm

Hi all,

Want to put my hardware mixers inserts onto a patchbay so I can easily swap over insert FX such as guitar pedals and compressors etc with ease.

Do I just run a standard cable (do I use a mono or stereo jack??) from the insert to the patchbay? Then plug an insert cable intro the front of the patchbay and connect to my compressor the normal way.
In other words the mixers insert socket had been extended to the front of my patchbay and so now I just use the front of the patchbay exactly how I would use the back of my mixer?

Or

Do I need some dedicated cables or patchbays, or something I have yet to consider?
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:03 pm

I've never used a patchbay for inserts, but the insert connection on a mixer is set up so that it sends and returns on the same plug, using tip to send and the ring to return (usually). You would normally send to the compressor using a Y cable, so I would presume that the same would apply if you want to set up an insert point on a patchbay. You would have this connection half-normalled so that a patch cable isn't required, unless you wanted to insert a different compressor.

For sends, you will have one cable from the send and another from the patchbay to the return (or channel) on the mixer. You could then normal that to a reverb etc and then be able to patch in when you want to change form the usual effects.

This is a good little resource:

http://www.sweetwater.com/expert-center/techtips/d--05/25/2001

Someone with actual experience might be along soon!
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby mpvano » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:11 pm

If you do what you propose, then the normalling on the patch bay won't work properly. You could fix this by using dummy plugs wired to short Tip to Sleeve and plugging them into unused front connectors, but that's really klugey.

Unfortunately, there's not a simple solution that preserves the single cable insert IO style.

I usually do one of two things that are more complicated:

1. Split all the inserts using TRS to 2xTS cables going into the back of a patch bay set for normalling in such a way that the upper row on the patch bay are the insert outputs from the board and the returns to the board are the bottom row. The normalling should be set up that plugging something into the TOP row does NOT disconnect the return row, but plugging something into the bottom row DOES. You can then use two ordinary patch cables to connect to the inserted devices. Beware of inconsistent balanced/unbalenced usage, however - using a balanced patchbay and balanced patch cables usually works properly for most cases if you understand what you are doing....

2. Hack up the PCBs on the patch bay to allow it to function as a proper insert patch bay that duplicates the behavior of the jacks on the back of the mixer to the corresponding bottom row of the patchbay front - plugging into the bottom row breaks the ring to tip normalling. I usually wire the other rear and the top row front jacks to be compatible with balanced cables to "bridge" the outputs for recording or other uses that tap into the insert output before the effect...

Either way works, but I have grown fond of #2! I just wish that you could buy patchbays prewired this way (is anyone around who knows how to pass suggestions to Neutrik?), since I'm getting tired of hacking up the boards.

Approach #1 is what most people do because it requires no mods to the patch bay, but it requires a lot of patch cables...

hope this helps,

M
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:55 pm

It's just a TRS jack, plugged into the insert point, to a pair of TS jacks connected to the back of the bay.

As mentioned above I'd also set the bay points for half-normalised to allow for splitting/multing.
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby DGL. » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:30 pm

If Iremember correctly my chepo Neutrik NYS-SPPL1 (This thing http://www.thomann.de/gb/neutrik_nyssppl1.htm) can have insert modules instead of the usual ones (these http://www.thomann.de/gb/neutrik_nys_spcr_1.htm), which allows you to use standard TRS wired insert leads with the patch panel. You just take out the required amount of standard modules and replace them with however many of the inser modules)

Hope it helps,
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby Kolakube » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:11 pm

Hi guys, thanks for the replies. Out of all of them Elf seems to have it the easiest. I have a try and get back on what works for me.

Daniel, neither of your links work :0 Is this what you meant mate? http://www.audiospares.com/product.php?productid=2845&cat=13&page=5

EDIT - Bizarrely the diagram shows send and return into a single stereo jack what makes sence, However the photo distinctly shows 4 sockets, not three like the diagram???? Anyone shed any light?

Pleased you mentioned this Daniel as that is my patchbay model also. How would this be any better than elfs solution? Curious? I know nothing little cabling.
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby DGL. » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:27 pm

Sorry for the links (take the ) off then end and they work, and yes that was exactly wat I was mentioning.
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:31 pm

Kolakube wrote:EDIT - Bizarrely the diagram shows send and return into a single stereo jack what makes sence, However the photo distinctly shows 4 sockets, not three like the diagram???? Anyone shed any light?

Maybe the photo is simply showing a standard module, or maybe the single rear socket is simply a switchable option on a standard four-socket module? It could be that you get the single connection option by only plugging into one of the rear sockets?

The clever bit seems to be that you don't need to use a splitter cable for the rear connection with this design. That may mean less plugs and possibly cheaper cables, but I don't really feel it's much of an advantage.

As I've mentioned before on this subject, I very much like my Samson S-Patch Plus bays, since they allow you to configure normalisation on the fly from a switch on the front panel. I find that useful. They've also been very reliable too.
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby DGL. » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:50 pm

If you check the neutrik website it clearly shows 3 inputs (i guess the extra is to help support the module in the patchbay ( http://www2.neutrik.com/uk/en/audio/210_t3_540348292/NYS-SPCR1_detail.aspx )
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby mpvano » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:03 am

That module is close, but it's not the same thing I'd like to see as an off the shelf product.

The neutrik insert module acts like a normal insert splitter cable (not a bad thing). You connect the mixer via a TRS - TRS jumper and then plug in FX devices as desired via two cables. Normalling keeps the channel working if nothings plugged in. It's a great thing if that's what you're trying to do.

This is an excellent solution for many users, but I believe that all the cards really do is let you use a single TRS patch cable instead of an insert Y cable from the mixer to the back of the patch bay.

I'm currently using custom wired modules that take a single trs cable for input AND output to the FX device and normals the jacks properly.

This is useful in transparently inserting them inline with a mixer so that any existing bidirectional insert cables still work exactly as they did before inserting the patch bay. Mine also have two bridging connectors (one on the back, and one on the front) that allow tapping off the insert send side via balanced TRS cables.

This lets me drop a patchbay into an existing FOH system to tap off recording and/or monitor mixer sends without disrupting the use of the original FX device cabling. I do live MT concert recording...

(I believe that JoeCo has something like this built in to their recorders as well)

Again - it works great, but I hate having to get in to each module and cut traces with an xacto knife and rewire it with wire-wrap wire to get this behavior.

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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:25 pm

One thing to watch out for when using a standard balanced TRS cable for inserts is crosstalk between the two signal cores. Most of the time it will be fine but there is a possiblity that devices with an extremely wide bandwidth could become unstable with too much crosstalk between input and output. You would be safer to use 2 individually screened cores.

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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby Kolakube » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:34 pm

Hi guys,

Can you all just confirm to a purposely dumb guy like myself if I buy and fit out my patchbay with the item Daniel kindly liked to I simply......

1 - run a typical and standard stereo jack (not mono jack)from my mixer to the single port on the back of the diagram marked 'rear send return stereo jack'

and then...

2 - Use typical and standard mono jack cables from the sockets marked on diagrams as 'A Front mono send' and 'B front mono return' to my insert effect.


.....and all will be tickety boo?


DGB / Daniel -


If you check the neutrik website it clearly shows 3 inputs (i guess the extra is to help support the module in the patchbay (


Yeah good point. So its like a dummy connector. Sounds plausible. Really pleased you posted here mate. Think its the way ill go. IE buying the connectors you linked me too. Daft thing is a new set of connectors is as much as a new patch bay. Shame you cant just buy them like this in the first place then I could keep my current patchbay. Instead im going to have 24 redundant 'normal non insert' socket sets.


James - Thanks. Those cables you mention sound expensive, no? Im sort of an unbalanced cable and put up with the hum in the background sort of guy usually. I was just going to buy snakes of standard stereo jacks. Would I need balanced? or is that different all together?


Thanks to all for there input. Appreciated as always.
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:02 pm

The cables I mention shouldn't be expensive - they're just standard stereo cables instead of a screened pair. And unbalanced shouldn't be noisier than balanced if you're using reasonably short leads with a sensible grounding scheme.

Personally I would go for a standard patchbay with Y cables - at least you'll end up with the right type of cable that way.

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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby Kolakube » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:06 pm

Hi James thanks.

So to put the above into kolakube terms.

Take one return cable thing (IE stereo on end into two mono jacks) plug the stereo end into my mixer and one of the mono jacks into the top and the other into the bottom of my patch bay (x 24).

Then patch in my compressor etc via standard mono jacks to the front of the patchbay?

Is this correct?
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby James Perrett » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:26 pm

Yes - that's exactly the way that my patchbays are set up. The sends go to the top row on the bay and the returns are on the bottom row. The normalling is set up so that the signal goes from the send back to the return when nothing is plugged in to the front or when something is plugged in to the top row. Plugging an output from an effect into the bottom row interrupts the signal.

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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby Kolakube » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:43 pm

Thanks James.

Do you know what kind of normal ling that is called? Is it half?

Sure someone mentioned this above but im on a different screen now as replying to you and SOS forum doesn't let you see the post your replying to arrrrg.
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby Kolakube » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:45 pm

Aye, Elf mentions Half Normalizing. Is that right? (Not doubting Elf doubting my own interpretation of information )

:D
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby The Elf » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:48 pm

'Normalised' means that you will get a connection between the top and bottom sockets when nothing is plugged into the front of the patchbay. There are a couple of types of normalisation:

'Full Normalised' means that as soon as you plug a patch cable into either of the sockets on the front of the bay then the connection between top and bottom socket is broken.

'Half Normalised' means that only plugging a patch cable into the lower socket on the front of the bay breaks the connection between top and bottom socket.

The latter is useful, since it enables you to split signals to multiple destinations.

I recall sending you a spreadsheet of example connections for a bay - hopefully it will make more sense now you're getting into the workings - lovely things are bays! :angel:
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby Kolakube » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:47 pm

Hi Elf,

Yeah I remember that jpeg you kindly sent me. Must be 3 or 4 years ago now.

I don't have a prob at all with instruments on a patchbay but this is new to me IE inserts.

Thanks for the English explanation of normaled. As you know my attention span for in depth knowledge and jargon is astonishingly low, even lower than Homer Simpsons.

To everyone else, going to get this working and will post back. May be a few weeks by the time I get the cabling and other parts etc.
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Re: Patchbay for inserts

Postby Kolakube » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:46 pm

Damn! Insert cables are expensive compared to mono jacks!
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