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patch-bay question

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patch-bay question

Postby MarkOne » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:44 pm

Well, I'm in the process of wiring up my desk. I want to bring all my hardware synths, my e-kit some effect pedals, etc into a multicore across the studio into a patch-bay, and from there into the 8 line-in inputs on my liquid 56.

So here's the question.

All the hardware is unbalanced, (apart, maybe for the Fantom G) and I already have an old Ultrapatch Pro (PX2000), which is unbalanced - which used to go into a long departed soundcraft mixer (where the line-ins were unbalanced too.

But the liquid 56 line inputs are obviously balanced.

What would you guys do? Should I make up some of Hugh's spiffy pseudo balanced cables to go from the patchbay to the Focusrite, or just plug in unbalanced TS jacks?
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Re: patch-bay question

Postby The Elf » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:00 pm

Personally, unless I hit a specific problem (which I've only done with guitar effects pedals), I simply use balanced cables everywhere. To date I've not had a problem with this approach.
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Re: patch-bay question

Postby MarkOne » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:34 pm

The Elf wrote:Personally, unless I hit a specific problem (which I've only done with guitar effects pedals), I simply use balanced cables everywhere. To date I've not had a problem with this approach.

Yes, I can see the sense in that approach.

Other than I'll have to dump off the Ultrapatch and get a balanced patchbay, and dump off the TS multicores and get TRS ones (Or buy some multicore and a bag of neutrik TRS plugs. Which may be money well spent in the long term, but I'd dearly love to save the costs if I can.
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Re: patch-bay question

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:46 pm

With line level (ish) signals, the risk of interference with an unbalanced cable is negligible in most cases, and the most likely problem is going to be that of a ground loop... but that will depend on lots of factors including whether the specific unit is Class 1 or Class2 mains powered, or batter powered, and what else is connected in the signal chain.

So I'd just plug the thing up and see what happens, addressing the problems individually as you come across them.

You will have a lot more flexibility if you use a balanced patchbay (you can still use unbalanced plugs/cables ) if you want to.

And personally, I tend to always use the pseudo-balanced cable idea if I have balanced inputs available for unbalanced sources. It just makes life easier and more reliable... (although you can occasionally get caught out with a battery or class-2 device that needs a solid ground from the destination!)

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Re: patch-bay question

Postby Dave B » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:42 pm

Another vote for a balanced patchbay and balanced loom into the Liquid 56. Then the patchbay can be anywhere and there should be no induced noise from the patchbay to the interface. I use this exact setup and happily just use unbalanced leads into the patchbay from the synths. My unbalanced cable lengths are short and I don't have any problems.

It's worth noting that one of the many great things about the Liquid 56 is that you can plug in anything you like and use the control panel to select which input you are using. I know some people prefer to have an override system, but I much prefer this as I have the line ins (and outs) coming up on a patchbay and the mic inputs wired into a snake which is at the front of the desk so I have access to move it closer to any mic sources. If I have a guitar / bass, I can just bung that into the 2 front panel inputs. I love this!
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Re: patch-bay question

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:49 pm

Those unbalanced leads will unbalance the whole run though not just the bit between the synth and patchbay. It's not usually a problem, as Hugh says, and it's useful to have the balanced connections available for gear that can use it.
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