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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?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:52 am
by jellyjim
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

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:59 am
by The Elf
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.

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:02 am
by jellyjim
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"?

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:28 am
by Luke W
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.

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:56 am
by Hugh Robjohns
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...

H

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:02 am
by The Elf
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! ;)

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:17 am
by Mike Stranks
I wonder if the comment about reducing cables was to do with (or implied) patch-bay normalisation?

Jus' a thought...

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:31 am
by Kwackman
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!

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:39 am
by Hugh Robjohns
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

H

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:18 am
by jellyjim
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?

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:39 am
by Hugh Robjohns
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

H

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:15 pm
by The Elf
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!

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:37 pm
by Hugh Robjohns

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:48 pm
by jellyjim

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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:23 pm
by James Perrett

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.

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

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:44 am
by Zukan
I am so glad the patchbay days are over for me. I remember when I had a Mosses and Mitchel Jedi 'I also make coffee' type gauge B patchbay. I asked Max to solder it all together for me as I have cucumber fingers and find it hard to get to the little dodgy areas you need to access to wire a patchbay effectively. He did a great job but it cost our friendship as he torched a few digits along the way and has blamed me ever since. All jests aside I am really glad I don't have to 'find the crackle' patchbay anymore. Everything is now hardwired.

I must say I did enjoy using patchbays. Only sad batsrad studio owners like me understand the petty joy of patching one thing to another and a sound being made. Yay.

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

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:44 am
by The Elf
Eddy - how are you handling the connections to the gear, in terms of different cable lengths and format, e.g. XLR/jack? For me this is the most important reason for my bays - without them I'm I'd be snowed under by cable extensions and format converters!

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

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:51 pm
by Matt Houghton
For me, it all depends on how much you want present on the patch bay. If you're integrating an analogue console and lots of channels of IO, as well as countless bits of outboard gear, then a bantam system makes good sense. Because a jack equivalent would take up half your room. If you're not, it's probably more hassle and expense than it's worth.

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

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:03 pm
by Zukan
The Elf wrote:Eddy - how are you handling the connections to the gear, in terms of different cable lengths and format, e.g. XLR/jack? For me this is the most important reason for my bays - without them I'm I'd be snowed under by cable extensions and format converters!

Paul, I run everything off the audio interface as I don't have that much gear anymore and therefore don't need all the various connector types.

I use the L/R outs for my Naumann monitors and another out for the Avantone. I use two mic inputs and run two sets of headphones: one from the headphone socket and the other using another two sets of outs for the Stax as they need their own amp to drive them.

My keyboard runs off USB and is only a controller so I need don't need any inputs on the audio interface as the controller carries no sounds.

I don't track here and therefore don't need anymore ins. I run effects and dynamics solely ITB nowadays so don't need to patch any effects or dynamics in.

I don't use DAT Players, Tapes etc so don't need any more ins/outs.

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

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:44 am
by currentsound
Bantam patch bays usually have more inputs on the front but the connections on the back often have to be soldered unless you go for eleco or DB25. I'm using a redco DB25 bantam patchbay but my home studio is pretty crazy and not like a regular small home studio. In saying that, DB25 cables are a good way to run from one room to another as you can make your own snakes by using Planet Waves db25 cables. Plus DB25 is becoming more mainstream.

I'd avoid soldered patchbays for a home studio and go with TRS or DB25 if you have a larger home studio with lots of connections.