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Patch Bays

Postby JRocker » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:57 pm

Just been reading the Patch Bay article in latest issue, really informative and helpful piece. I have a small set up of analog gear, basically a interface, a compressor, an EQ, a guitar tuner and a tape deck. Would a Patch Bay be useful or are Patch Bays really better suited to bigger studios with loads of gear? I do plan on eventually in future, adding a couple more outboard gear.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:00 pm

As I said in the article, a patchbay is warranted when there is a disparity between the number of sources and the number of destinations. If you find yourself having regularly to replug sources and destinations, then a patchbay may well make things a lot easier and elegant.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby The Elf » Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:05 pm

...and if you see yourself being in that position at some point in the future, then there's merit in getting a patching system started now, and building with it as you progress. Not only will it grow with you, but you'll grasp the basic concepts while things are relatively simple and be better qualified to expand later.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Luke W » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:00 pm

Agreed. My current setup is very minimal in terms of I/O and as I generally only need to do one thing at a time then a patchbay provides a lot of extra functionality without having to buy a larger interface and only use sections of it at a time. Or at least it will once I start wiring it up...
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:23 pm

Leave room for a couple of mult points and use balanced cables as far as you can - unless you hit a problem.

Hopefully you understand the basics, but... if you have to have *any* cables in the front of the bay to work 'normally', then you haven't got your bays set up properly. Keep that as a touchstone and you won't go far wrong.

I favour the Samson S-Patch bays, since they will allow you to change normalisation options from switches on the front panel - you won't touch these often, but when you need them it's *far* easier than having to get the bays out to flip modules or find solder targets!
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Luke W » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:56 pm

:thumbup:

Almost ashamed to admit it's something I'm very much looking forward to doing!

I picked up a Mosses and Mitchell B-Gauge bay for pennies, the catch being that it's still got some tails attached from its previous life so needs a bit of de-soldering and cleaning up. Sadly I quite like such things...
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Arpangel » Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:19 pm

I’ve been through this recently, my advice to anyone is if you can avoid it don’t get patch bays, they add extra wiring, and potentially, extra problems.
I’ve got them, simply because I have a lot of outboard that can’t be accommodated by my mixer, and I haven’t got room for a bigger mixer. I would try and make sure your other equipment is ample for your needs, to the point where you don’t need a PB.
But patch bays can be useful, for instance providing extra insert points, making effects chains without having to resort to aux send gymnastics, and for splitting signals.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Luke W » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:40 pm

They're definitely not something that should be added for the sake of it, but I think in general their usefulness outweighs the downsides. I'm also of the mind that a lot of the time the downsides can be avoided with good planning and workmanship anyway.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Matt Houghton » Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:05 pm

Luke W wrote:a bit of de-soldering and cleaning up. Sadly I quite like such things...

Sadly? If you enjoy soldering, you can make cash doing that kind of thing!

(I have some M&M bantam pays I've been meaning to clean up and sell for years... never seem to find the time!)
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Luke W » Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:25 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:
Luke W wrote:a bit of de-soldering and cleaning up. Sadly I quite like such things...

Sadly? If you enjoy soldering, you can make cash doing that kind of thing!

(I have some M&M bantam pays I've been meaning to clean up and sell for years... never seem to find the time!)

Absolutely, just acknowledging that my interests are probably not "mainstream" :lol: I'm fortunate really in that my work and hobbies/general interests cross over rather a lot.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:27 pm

Patchbays only add problems if you don't think them out and set them up properly. Beyond that they are an absolute life-saver, and creatively inspiring.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:21 pm

That's not quite true. Cheap and poorly designed, abused, or dirty patchbays can cause significant problems of distortion and unreliability... I have seen and heard it first hand. But these things needn't be an issue given care in selection, design, installation, and use of a patchbay.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:50 pm

Due to the amazing braintrust here I am a patchbay convert.
I have a guitar pedals into fx units into a small mixer chain that I think is awesome and gives me great flexibility.
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:54 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:But these things needn't be an issue given care in selection, design, installation, and use of a patchbay.
Which is the bit I'm pointing out. I can't answer for wear, tear, rust, dust, or duff manufacturing!

But I will also say that in all the time (and it's a lot of years now) I've had these Samsons I've *not once* had a patchbay problem of *any* kind - not once. I can't say the same of my previous patchbay choices! :headbang:
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Re: Patch Bays

Postby Arpangel » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:24 am

So far, I haven’t had any issues with my patch bays, but they are getting used quite regularly. I think problems can come with lack of use more than anything.
I have a long-term collaborator, and every time I used to go to his studio there was always a problem with patch bays, almost every single time. We’d be in the middle of recording something, and bingo, one channel would cut out, or there would be an intermittent connection. The trouble was lack of use, the studio only got used for our collaborations, once in awhile.
My final advice would be to try and plan your patch-bays so that you only have essential inputs and outputs appearing there, things that you know need changing all the time, my bays are essentially an extension of my mixer effects section, plus outputs from my sound sources, synths, effects etc, all of my recording inputs and outputs are still hardwired direct through my interface and mixer.
This may not be ideal for you, we all have different ways of working, try and plan it carefully, and you should be fine, and make sure you run a plug around the bays in times of low usage, it’ll stop them from tarnishing, or getting dirty.
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