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Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

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Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby paulsmusic » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:38 pm

Hi, does anybody else use a Samson S Plus patchbay? I have just purchased one, and am having some trouble setting it up. I'm using an Apollo 8 firewire interface, UAD 7-10D preamp, and some outboard FX. I want to be able to patch the outboard FX into the FX sends and returns on the UAD 7-10D, and also have them routed into the Apollo 8 so that they are available as external FX within Cubase.

If I'm understanding the manual correctly, signal flows into the rear top jacks of the Samson S Plus, and out from the rear bottom jacks, as well as from the rear top jacks to the top front jacks . I have set things up as follows:

External FX outputs to rear top jacks of Samson S Plus
Bottom rear jacks of Samson S Plus (beneath FX output jacks) to Apollo Line-inputs.

Apollo Line-outputs to Samson S Plus top rear jacks
Bottom Samson S Plus rear jacks (beneath Apollo Line-out jacks) to external FX inputs

FX insert send (from UAD 7-10D) to front bottom row of Samson S Plus (connecting to external FX input)

FX insert return (to UAD 7-10D) from front top row of Samson S Plus (connecting to external FX output)

Am I setting this up correctly? Things aren't behaving as I would expect - signals are doubling up in the UAD console channels and I haven't been able to patch one external FX to another and return it to the UAD 7-10D. I also have the UAD 7-10D inputs connected to the Apollo via ADAT, but have muted the channel in the Console software.

Any help/advce would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:56 pm

paulsmusic wrote:If I'm understanding the manual correctly, signal flows into the rear top jacks of the Samson S Plus, and out from the rear bottom jacks, as well as from the rear top jacks to the top front jacks

It depends how the modules are configured. Looking at the specs, I see that the S Plus supports normal, half-normal and through mode on each pair of sockets, so it might be worth double checking what configuration they are currently in and see if that helps.

Top jacks are for outputs (from back -> front), bottom jacks are for inputs (from front -> back) and connections should only ever be from the top to the bottom row.

Normal Mode: The top output jack sends the audio signal to the bottom input jack until a patch cable is inserted. The cable interrupts that signal path and intercepts it, sending it through the cable only.

Half-Normal Mode: The top output jack sends the audio signal to the bottom jack even if you've inserted a patch cable. This lets you split the signal to send to two inputs. The splitting will be interrupted if a cable is patched into the front input, though.

Thru Mode: The top output jacks only sends the signal to each other, back-to-front. Unless you plug in a cable to send the signal to an input, the signal hits a dead-end.

If the manual is sketchy, there is some info on different configurations in this SOS article if you scroll down a bit.

More detailed general purpose patchbay guidance can be found here (the text about the three modes above is quoted from this latter article).
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:56 pm

paulsmusic wrote:I want to be able to patch the outboard FX into the FX sends and returns on the UAD 7-10D, and also have them routed into the Apollo 8 so that they are available as external FX within Cubase.

Quite do-able, although you obviously can't have the FX units normalled to both devices at the same time!

I'd bring the 7-10D sends onto four top-row jacks, and the returns from the corresponding bottom row, with the channels set to normal or half-normal mode. If you want to patch FX in you'll need to activate the inserts on the relevant 7-10D channels, of course, but with the patchbay normalling you could leave those switches 'In' all the time.

Do the same for the I/O channels you want to use as sends and returns on the Apollo...

...And plug the FX units onto more spare holes on the patch bay with the outputs on the top row and inputs on the bottom row, with the patch switches set to Thru.

All you need to do then is patch the 7-10D or Apollo send (top row) to the appropriate FX In (bottom row), and FX Out (top row) back to the relevant 7-10D or Apollo return (bottom row). Two patch cords per audio channel.

If I'm understanding the manual correctly, signal flows into the rear top jacks of the Samson S Plus, and out from the rear bottom jacks...

Yep. And it's available for patching from the top front jacks back to the bottom front jacks.

External FX outputs to rear top jacks of Samson S Plus
Bottom rear jacks of Samson S Plus (beneath FX output jacks) to Apollo Line-inputs.
Apollo Line-outputs to Samson S Plus top rear jacks
Bottom Samson S Plus rear jacks (beneath Apollo Line-out jacks) to external FX inputs

Yes, of you want to normalise your FX units to some Apollo channels. Set the switches on those patchbay channels to either the normal or half-normal modes.

FX insert send (from UAD 7-10D) to front bottom row of Samson S Plus (connecting to external FX input)

FX insert return (to UAD 7-10D) from front top row of Samson S Plus (connecting to external FX output)

Sorry... I'm not quite getting what you're doing here. Are the 7-10D send/returns not on the patchbay? Are you routing them separately straight into the front of the patch?

It sounds like you're creating a mess of duplicate routes... Perhaps it would help if you can be specific about the actual FX units you're using and what you're trying to achieve?

H
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby paulsmusic » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:25 am

Thanks for the links Eddy, I have just read them and they're really helpful...
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby paulsmusic » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:48 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Sorry... I'm not quite getting what you're doing here. Are the 7-10D send/returns not on the patchbay? Are you routing them separately straight into the front of the patch?

It sounds like you're creating a mess of duplicate routes... Perhaps it would help if you can be specific about the actual FX units you're using and what you're trying to achieve?

H

Thanks for the tips Hugh. The FX units I'm using are a pair of Warm Audio W-EQs, a Lexicon PCM92, and a Drawmer 1968 MkII compressor. The FX sends and returns are going to the line-ins/outs of the Apollo 8, via the patchbay.

As there are only 8 line-ins/outs available on the Apollo, I've been using ADAT to connect the 4-710D up to the Apollo for tracking, so at them moment there are no sends from the 4-710D going to the patchbay. My plan was to use the FX insert points on the 4-710D to patch in the external FX for tracking.

This system is now working (I've set the patchbay to 'normal'), sending the FX insert from the 4-710D to the front input of the patchbay, returning to the 4-710D from the front output of the patchbay.

If possible, I would rather not use the ADAT connection, but couln't think of another way to do what I wanted with the limited number of line-ins/outs on the Apollo 8. I'd also like to have the option of dong parallel compression for mixing, which I thought the patchbay would allow me to do. I'm sure there is a more efficient way to set this up!
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:12 am

paulsmusic wrote:As there are only 8 line-ins/outs available on the Apollo, I've been using ADAT to connect the 4-710D up to the Apollo for tracking

Makes sense to me.

My plan was to use the FX insert points on the 4-710D to patch in the external FX for tracking.

Sure. Makes sense too!

This system is now working (I've set the patchbay to 'normal'), sending the FX insert from the 4-710D to the front input of the patchbay, returning to the 4-710D from the front output of the patchbay.

This is the bit that's unusual -- you're patching the 7-10D straight across the FX units, rather than using the patchbay as a patchbay.

Here's the way I'd do it, with the FX units normalled to the Apollo line ins and outs, and the 7-10D inserts on other patchbay sockets. You then patch the FX units into the 7-10D with TRS patch cables when needed -- I've shown the Drawmer patched across the first two channels here, for example: Each socket pair is set to Normal, apart from any unused pairs (such as the line 7/8 examples here where I've omitted any normalled FX boxes).

Patch idea.png


If possible, I would rather not use the ADAT connection, but couldn't think of another way to do what I wanted with the limited number of line-ins/outs on the Apollo 8.

Well, you could bring the 7-10D outputs onto the patchbay as well (onto some top row sockets), and then patch them when needed into the Apollo Line Inputs. Or you could normal them instead of the FX units, and then patch the FX units when you need them... this is the whole point of a patchbay, after all!

I'd also like to have the option of doing parallel compression for mixing, which I thought the patchbay would allow me to do.

Parallel compression requires a mixing function, which is not something a patchbay can do. You need to mix the direct signal with the compressed signal -- very easy to do in the DAW, though.

Just send your signal out to the hardware compressor in the usual way, and then mix the return with the direct signal. Hey Presto - Parallel compression!
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby paulsmusic » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:51 pm

That's amazing - thanks Hugh! I think the penny has finally dropped!! One final question, I bought some unbalanced patch leads, and you have mentioned that I should use TRS leads. I am going to have to buy some extra patch leads anyway, does it matter if I combine balanced/unbalanced leads? (I am guessing it depends on whether the outboard FX accept unbalanced signals, which I think they all do?).
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:00 pm

paulsmusic wrote:That's amazing - thanks Hugh! I think the penny has finally dropped!!

Excellent! :thumbup:

I bought some unbalanced patch leads, and you have mentioned that I should use TRS leads. I am going to have to buy some extra patch leads anyway, does it matter if I combine balanced/unbalanced leads? (I am guessing it depends on whether the outboard FX accept unbalanced signals, which I think they all do?).

Using unbalanced patch leads will, obviously, unbalance the connections. Depending on the equipment and the electrical nature of their outputs and inputs, that could leads to unwanted level drops (-6dB), or ground-loop noises, or unwanted interference, and potentially even damage to the equipment...

I think everything you have mentioned has balanced inputs and outputs, and so you really should use balanced connections everywhere -- so TRS patch cables please!

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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby paulsmusic » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:09 pm

Will do, thanks Hugh!
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby The Elf » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:43 pm

Get a spreadsheet together and *plan* your patchbays!

Above all else, design your system such that you can work 'normally' (i.e. that's what 'normalisation' is all about) with absolutely no patch cables in the front of the bays - if you can do that you've got a good system.
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Re: Samson S Plus Patchbay Setup

Postby paulsmusic » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:50 pm

I believe the term they use locally to me is 'normal for Norfolk'! :P
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