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Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

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Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby jellyjim » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:52 am

As title

Is a bantam patch bay, vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Is the only difference in format mechanical durability with no difference in sound quality?

Also I read somewhere ‘you save money because there’s less cables at the back’. What does that mean?

Jim
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:59 am

For a home studio a TRS jack bay is easier to live with - when required you can simply rig a quick connection from anything to anything on the fly. I really wouldn't choose a bantam bay in that context.
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby jellyjim » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:02 am

Thanks Elf

Not sure I fully understand the difference. Why would a bantam patch bay not allow "when required you can simply rig a quick connection from anything to anything on the fly"?
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby Luke W » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:28 am

I've never really liked Bantam patchbays, they're too small and fiddly looking for my liking. Saying that, I've never used one enough to actually encounter any problems, but I just don't trust them.

I'd have thought a standard 1/4" TRS bay would be fine for most purposes. B Gauge would be another option but they tend to cost more, and you've got to be careful not to get your patch cables mixed up.
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:56 am

jellyjim wrote:Is a bantam patch bay, vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Depends on what you want to achieve and your budget.

The only real advantage of Bantam (or TT) patchbays us the socket density -- you get a heck of a lot of connection points in a small space.

The biggest down-side is the expense -- obviously in the cost of the patchbay itself but also in the wiring of it and the cost of the patch cords. If buying new reliability shouldn't be an issue, but I've had more reliability problems with used TT patch bays than any other kind.

Also I read somewhere ‘you save money because there’s less cables at the back’. What does that mean?

Probably that the writer didn't have the faintest idea what they were talking about! :-)

With most TRS patchbays you have to run individual TRS cables for each input and output at the back. That's a lot of cables to buy and plug in. In contrast most TT patchbays come pre-wired with looms terminating (typically) in D-sub connectors which you can plug straight into a console etc. So the wiring is already accounted for in the (high) cost of the patchbay, and one multicore cable instead of eight individuals... But patently there are the same total number of input and output connections as in a similarly sized TRS patchbay.

I think the Elf's comment refers to the fact that with a TRS patchbay, reconfiguring the thing is a simple matter of unplugging some of the cables at the back and plugging them in to different sockets. You can't do that with a pre-wired TT patchbay. At the very least you'd need to get the soldering iron out!

From a sound quality point of view there's not that much to choose between them. The main enemy of patchbays is dust, dirt and corrosion/tarnishing, which results in unreliable connections, with increased distortion and noise. PO316 or B-type patchbays are mechanically better than the other types and, if kept clean, are more reliable. But they are horrendously expensive and regular polishing of jack plugs and sockets quickly loses its appeal! The plating on TRS plugs and sockets is rarely thick or robust enough to be polished so the life of the sockets/plugs is inevitably shorter than a B-type. But the balance is that in a home studio it wouldn't be used anything like as much as in a professional studio (or olde-worlde manual telephone exchange!).

So... unless you really do need a heck of a lot of patch points in a small space, I'd stick with TRS patchbays. Better still... avoid the mechanical patchbay altogether and plug everything permanently into a multi-channel interface so you can use the computer to route things, or where latency is an issue, use an electronic router! ;-)

I have all three solutions (TRS patch, multichannel interface, and electronic routers) in use at Robjohns Towers...

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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:02 am

jellyjim wrote:Not sure I fully understand the difference. Why would a bantam patch bay not allow "when required you can simply rig a quick connection from anything to anything on the fly"?
Often I'm simply plugging a synth, a drum machine, or even a guitar and a few pedals, straight into the front of my bays - I'm using standard TS jack cables.

Soldering up a few jack-to-bantam cables in a hurry might just kill the moment! ;)
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:17 am

I wonder if the comment about reducing cables was to do with (or implied) patch-bay normalisation?

Jus' a thought...
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby Kwackman » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:31 am

Mike Stranks wrote:I wonder if the comment about reducing cables was to do with (or implied) patch-bay normalisation?

Jus' a thought...
Maybe, but you can do normalising with TRS jack bays too, so the cable count is the same anyway.

As already said bantam gives a lot of sockets in a small space, I've only seen them used in OB trucks where they seemed to give more trouble then the normal sized B gauge, but nothing scientifically proven!
In a home studio you'll need convertors to get "normal" studio jacks (A type) into the front of it. Also, because of the density of jacks, labelling is a pain as space is very limited and the writing can only be so small before you need a magnifying glass.
Your studio will have it's own personal requirements, but I vote for no bantam!
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:39 am

Mike Stranks wrote:I wonder if the comment about reducing cables was to do with (or implied) patch-bay normalisation? Jus' a thought...

Possibly... but that applies equally to all patch-bays.

I meant to add earlier... mechanical patchbays are disappearing from professional studios these days. Certainly in the broadcast world which has switched across to digital audio in a very big way, signal routing is done mostly with electronic routers. Cheaper, faster to install, more reliable, and more versatile...

But where a patchbay is deemed necessary, I see Ghielmetti more than anything else:

Image

http://www.ghielmetti.ch/docs/PDF/ghielmetti_interconnecting_system.pdf

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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby jellyjim » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:18 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
jellyjim wrote:
Also I read somewhere ‘you save money because there’s less cables at the back’. What does that mean?

Probably that the writer didn't have the faintest idea what they were talking about! :-)

It's why I came here Hugh :)

Thank you all, fascinating stuff and the answers reveal a degree of ignorance on my part. Always good to get an education!

It was also all a roundabout way of fueling my continuing GAS for the SSL SiX :headbang:

I better question then: what's the best way to bring the D-Sub connectors on the rear of the SiX out to a patch bay of some kind?
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:39 am

jellyjim wrote:I better question then: what's the best way to bring the D-Sub connectors on the rear of the SiX out to a patch bay of some kind?

There are several options.

The easiest would be to purchase a standard TRS patch bay and some D-sub to TRS cables. The Samson S-Patch seems to get a lot of love around here, and has the advantage that the normalling is done via front panel switches, rather than removing and rotating individual circuit cards.

Image

The most expensive would be to buy some D-sub to D-sub cables and one of the RME Bob 16 panels:
Image
https://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/bob_16.php

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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:15 pm

My own solution is the S-Patch and D-sub to jack looms. I can't recall where I bought the looms, but they were a bargain pointed out by one of the regulars here. Maybe they will remind me where!
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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby jellyjim » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:48 pm

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Re: Bantam patch bay vs TRS, overkill for home/project studio?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:23 pm


Those are the ones that I use - the only way to beat that price is to keep an eye on their special offer catalogues where they sometimes appear £2-3 cheaper but I've not seen them on offer for a few months now.
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