So you’ve assembled a glittering collection of electronic baubles, digits, flashing lights, computers and interfaces. The challenge is now to get the maximum versatility and use out the system. Unless you’re happy to always work in precisely the same way with equipment permanently wired in a default setting, you’ll need to change patches depending upon whether you’re tracking, overdubbing mixing or just want to experiment with different ways of working to get the most out of your gear.
A simple example might be that juicy transformer balanced dual mic preamp you broke the bank to buy in order to track great vocals. What happens if you patch it over the two-bus? More often than not the transformers will add solidity and life to the mix. The same is true of the limiter you probably use when tracking; bang it over the mix and the result will be a smoother, more professional sound.
Rather than scrabble around and rewire your system every time you want to change the signal path, a patchbay enables an engineer to quickly route a signal in a multitude of directions merely by inserting a patchcord or two. Fancy running a keyboard through the mic pre to see how it sounds? Bish, bash, bosh…there you go. If it sounds thin through the line/DI input, repatch via the mic pre to see if that beefs it up. Want to smooth the sound? Patch the signal through your compressor in an instant. A well-designed patchbay will enable you to send any signal anywhere.
The downside of adding a patchbay used to be the cost and soldering required. A basic patchbay could cost thousands, particularly if a skilled wireman was employed to solder and connect cables. In recent times all that has changed. With more and more, if not most, equipment manufacturers now providing industry standard XLR and D-Sub interfaces for inputs and outputs on and many patchbays available off the shelf with D-sub connections on the rear, making designing and assembling a patchbay is now simple, quick and relatively cheap.
Patchbay manufacturers such as SIGNEX and MOSSES AND MITCHELL now offer extremely cost effective solutions, and with cable suppliers such as HOSA and VDC providing a standard range of D-Sub and XLR looms in a variety of lengths, adding a patchbay to a recording set-up is quick, easy and cheap.
We carry large stocks of patchbays, cables and looms and are happy to design systems to your specification.
For larger installations, our in-house techs can design, make and install larger systems for recording studios, production suites, educational establishments, conference halls, churches and other venues. Give us a call or drop us a line to chat about your requirements.