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how to wire a balanced patchbay with balanced/unbalanced pedals and more fun

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how to wire a balanced patchbay with balanced/unbalanced pedals and more fun

Postby dreux » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:52 pm

Hey SOS community, this is my first post in the forum. Stoked to connect with you all on fun audio things.

I have a question about a patchbay build. I have the balanced Samson S-Patch Plus, and am going to be wiring unbalanced and balanced pedals, unbalanced synths, guitars, and more into the unit and routing it into 4 channels of my Apollo 8p. Will also be routing a send from my computer to be able to use the effects as outboard gear.

My questions are:
1. Should I be using TRS or TS cables on the front and back?
2. How would I route stereo pedals into the patchbay? I saw something about using the a vertical pair as the left/right send and another as the left/right return. Is that right?

Thanks,
Dreux
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Re: how to wire a balanced patchbay with balanced/unbalanced pedals and more fun

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:25 am

I think this might be the best thread for you on patch-bays, especially with the linked threads in one of The Elf's posts: https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 49#p372039
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Re: how to wire a balanced patchbay with balanced/unbalanced pedals and more fun

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:03 am

I'll just emphasise a couple of things:

Use balanced (TRS) cables wherever you can - patch cables too. With some gear, mostly guitar pedals, this can cause a problem, but cross that bridge when you come to it and then substitute those specific connections for unbalanced (TS) if you have to.

L/R side by side, rather than top/bottom, otherwise you can't normalise them. If you're running short of patchbay points it will work at a pinch (and it can be handy if these are lesser utilised connections), but I really wouldn't if you can avoid it.

The whole point of a patchbay is that you should be able to work 'normally' with NO cables plugged into the front of the bay.

Here you can see my incoming stereo connections as pairs of sockets (blue) normalised to the audio interface inputs below to which they will normally be allocated (pink):
Image
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Re: how to wire a balanced patchbay with balanced/unbalanced pedals and more fun

Postby Luke W » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:20 am

The usual approach is for outputs to be along the top row, and inputs along the bottom. The world won't stop turning if that isn't the case, but it certainly helps to keep things organised and if you're planning on doing any normalling then it's the vertical pairs that have the switched normal options on the S-Patch Plus.

Edit - Looks like The Elf added that to his post :D
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Re: how to wire a balanced patchbay with balanced/unbalanced pedals and more fun

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:21 am

Combining balanced and unbalanced sources and destinations on a patch bay is opening a can or worms, and there is no single solution that will make it all work perfectly. You have to treat each source and destination individually to resolve any issues which might arise. You could get lucky and everything works perfectly... or you could get a ground-loop hell...

dreux wrote:My questions are:
1. Should I be using TRS or TS cables on the front and back?

I'd start off using TRS for everything and hope for the best...

2. How would I route stereo pedals into the patchbay? I saw something about using the a vertical pair as the left/right send and another as the left/right return. Is that right?

You can do it either way, with vertical pairs or horizontal pairs -- choose whatever format best suites your purposes and requirements.

If you plan to normal stereo outputs to stereo inputs, you would place the left/outputs right on adjacent sockets on the top row and the left/right inputs on adjacent sockets directly below, typically with half-normalling between the vertical pairs.

However, if you don't plan to use normally, then you could place the left/right outputs on a vertical pair, and the left/right inputs on a different vertical pair... But if you use vertical pairs you must disable the normalling option, obviously.
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