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Patch Bays for Mastering?
Old 22nd May 2006
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Patch Bays for Mastering?

I was wondering if some if the MEs out there would like to discuss the subject of patch bays. Are most of you using patch bays in your studios? And if so, what type? Have you had them custom designed?
Old 22nd May 2006
  #2
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dcollins's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Onyschuk
I was wondering if some if the MEs out there would like to discuss the subject of patch bays. Are most of you using patch bays in your studios? And if so, what type? Have you had them custom designed?

Never used one. Mastering is really too simple to need one, imo.

If you really had to, XLR's would be the way to go.

DC
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #3
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phild's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
So Dave if no patchbay -

Do you plug and play or just put stuff in bypass when not being used?

Not trying to be"uppity" here at all...

Thanks

Phil
Old 22nd May 2006
  #4
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Onyschuk
Are most of you using patch bays in your studios?
Nope, ... at least for the analog gear. Direct connect seems to be the ticket for us.

Keeps it pure and simple.

I do know that some of the guys use an analog router (aka mastering console) for convenience and monitoring.

The SPL, Manley, Dangerous, & Crookwood products look very interesting.

For the digital gear sometimes I'll use my Z-Sys router which also doubles as a format converter.

JT
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #5
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dcollins's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild
So Dave if no patchbay -
Do you plug and play or just put stuff in bypass when not being used?
http://www.shallco.com/frameset.html

For inserting/bypassing.

I do have a standing joke that if you see me crawling under the console to re-connect -- all is not well...

DC
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
No patchbay here, either - all analog gear is plugged into the 'console' and each piece can be hard bypassed...
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
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phild's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins
I do have a standing joke that if you see me crawling under the console to re-connect -- all is not well...DC
Dave! This is what assistants are for!

For me, it means another form of exercise - gone.

I remember the really interesting "shallco" DIY console that Brad was puting together on his forum. The one that looked like a Sontec?
My problem is I have more gear than inserts - I have a Dangerous box.

I specifically asked for the possibility of more but Chris Muth told me there was a drop in sound quality after 3 inserts. Plus the cost factor, too. The DM line is good quality but marketed to the pro/project studio and "smartfully" so.

I'm happy but never satisfied so I've been thinking PB's for a while

Phil
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #8
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Darius van H's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
I've got my stuff on a Moses&Mitchell patchebay (i like to move stuff around in the chain a lot). I did a test between direct and via the patch and couldn't tell the difference. In the future i'll be getting one of those 8x8 analog routers i think.
Old 23rd May 2006 | Show parent
  #9
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Direct connext or XLR patch bay is the easiest way. 1/4" bay is better than TT if you must. A custom insert box is not too tought to make, and a couple manufacterers even offer them (or at least have announced them).

One of the most hight-tech solutions is from Crookwood. Have a look at their page. Very cool.
Old 23rd May 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Mastering
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phild

I'm happy but never satisfied so I've been thinking PB's for a while

Phil

Crispin at Crookwood will make you a custom, programmable, passive analog gold-relay patchbay. I shun TRS-based patchbays, too munchy-crunchy and intermittent over time. Might be good when new, but the contact surface area in tiny telephones is so, well, tiny, that a little bit of dirt goes a long way :-(.

Right now everything is hand-patched XLR, but if it gets any more complex, I'm either going to spring for a Crookwood, or build a switcher like Brad has. I also depend on the hard wire bypass switches in certain gear right now. Doesn't make me too nervous because there isn't that much in the analog chain right now.

BK
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #11
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lucey's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
I like to change things around and use a TT bay ... never have any issues with intermittancy. As I see it, if there is good contact there is good contact.

The problem with a fixed chain, or with most switched consoles, is that you're stuck with the order. Maybe you want a clean eq before a certain compressor and then a color eq after that ... then for another project you want the compressor first and both eqs to follow. Even if you have one eq and one compressor, the order can matter.

The best solution would be something I've talked about with Peter Reardon at Shadow Hills, but it's years away as he's swamped with pre amp and compressor orders. Basically it's a passive mastering console with some very deep switches that would handle all your gear inserts, with everythig available on each switch.

So for example you might have 4 or 5 switches in front of you ... each with as many positions as you have processors, and an 'off'. And for any one project you could select the order of processing by dialing it up, left to right. If you only wanted 2 processors then switches 3, 4 and 5 would be off. You could also quickly AB a processor order change by dialing it around. The console would be very deep to accomodate these switches, but it should work.

Until that day ... a TT bay.
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #12
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dcollins's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phild
I specifically asked for the possibility of more but Chris Muth told me there was a drop in sound quality after 3 inserts.
I wonder why that would be? And why 3?

DC
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #13
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lucey's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins
I wonder why that would be? And why 3?
And I wonder how he tests that theory?
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #14
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Guest
For digital patching and if you only have a few connections that need to be switched the Little Labs unit is AWESOME!!! :
http://www.littlelabs.com/digirr.html

Superbly built like a tank that is exceptionally superb! And much easier to comprehend then routing style of the Z-Sys units etc (I'll play the 'drummer card' here, simple is nice! ;-)

Think Coleman Audio for digital.

PS - no, I'm not a pro mastering engineer . . . maybe someday . . .in a future lifetime . . . . . .
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImJohn
For digital patching and if you only have a few connections that need to be switched the Little Labs unit is AWESOME!!! :
http://www.littlelabs.com/digirr.html

Superbly built like a tank that is exceptionally superb! And much easier to comprehend then routing style of the Z-Sys units etc (I'll play the 'drummer card' here, simple is nice! ;-)
Indeed - have two of them here and love them.
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #16
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Darius van H's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
I've had no problems with my TT patchbay.......every time you insert or pull out a plug, the contacts get scraped so it's sort of self cleaning (maybe!).
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Mastering
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phild

I specifically asked for the possibility of more but Chris Muth told me there was a drop in sound quality after 3 inserts.
Phil
I'd like to know what kind of inserts Chris is talking about that audibly drop sound quality, certainly no worse in my mind than directly chaining boxes. The biggest "hit" is always the active circuitry in the analog boxes themselves. The "hit" of passively switching ins and outs with Shalco switches can't possibly be that bad, and if you use short, dedicated low-capacitance cabling it might be better than using "just any old cable" to directly connect your boxes. Centrally locate your switchbox and use short, dedicated cables to your analog "processors" and it sounds like a win to me.
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz
The "hit" of passively switching ins and outs with Shalco switches can't possibly be that bad, and if you use short, dedicated low-capacitance cabling it might be better than using "just any old cable" to directly connect your boxes. Centrally locate your switchbox and use short, dedicated cables to your analog "processors" and it sounds like a win to me.
Exactly - I have six inserts on my passive console and the before/after listening and measured results show no loss whatsoever...
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Blackwood
Exactly - I have six inserts on my passive console and the before/after listening and measured results show no loss whatsoever...
I cant imagine how 10 clean insert switches would matter in the least ...
Old 25th May 2006 | Show parent
  #20
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Masterer's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
I cant imagine how 10 clean insert switches would matter in the least ...

Yeah, I wouldn't waste too much more time on this guys. Sounds like a misunderstanding to me. Especially since Muth consoles have more than three inserts on 'em.

C.
Old 26th May 2006 | Show parent
  #21
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This is unbelievable!!

Last night, my tech guy finished wiring my new point to point analog mastering setup.

For many years, I used a long-frame bantam patch bay to route my analog gear.

I was most curious to hear the difference so I booted up my mastering session from the previous day and compared the new signal path to the last master printed, using the same settings.

The sound was very, very noticeably different, in a very good way, like a veil was lifted. Sort of like when I changed from an Apogee PSX-100 DA/AD to a LavryGold loop but even more dramatic. In other words, quite a difference.

I see by some of the previous posts of bantam PB users that they don't hear a difference between point to point and PBs so maybe its b/c my PB is now quite old and had a veritable hodge podge of different cabling. It's been moved and changed so many times over the years there are wires that lead no where to devices I can't even remember owning!

I'm also sure that if I had been using one of the PBs specifically designed for mastering that the difference would be no discernable difference but those with regular PBs might want to take note!

Of course it helps that the new setup is using all new connectors and an excellent grade of wire made by Requisite Audio.

Anyway, this turned out to be one of the more important upgrades that I have made here.
Old 26th May 2006 | Show parent
  #22
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phild's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hmmm, I really started a ****-storm with my "3 inserts" thing.

I agree that there should be no real discernable loss with extra inserts but I also had nothing to do with the design of the DM Master either. Chris Muth told me that he had done some testing and 3 just sounded best. Cost was also mentioned in our conversation but that actually might have been me talking.

Chris was offering to the public something for the first time that he had not been able to for years because he was under contract. I had wanted a "real" MUTH console for so many years (7 inserts on those maybe?) but he asked me to wait until his new DM stuff came out.
3 inserts was the least of my worries at the time because it got me closer to that sound I had wanted for so long.
Now a year later I want more options.

Until that point I was daisy chaining stuff piece by piece as needed 'cause I had a cool Neve transfer console but it was designed before the mastering world went outboard crazy. Or maybe just crazy in general.

But here's a question. Stacking 3 separate chains (3 inserts) together in the DM Master sounds better than my old direct patch method. Anyone know why?

I have been wondering for years about impedance matching/loading and have literally tried every imaginable permutation of gear combinations that I'm embarrassed to say just how much time I've spent/girlfriends lost. Is there a definitive word/source anywhere on hooking all this stuff up. Yeah, I got good cable. Yes, they are short lengths. Balanced XLR.

Maybe related...I did speak to Leif Mases a year ago about this. I'll dig up this email for you guys. But depending where I put his deesser usually around the Sontec I could get some more level but a ****load more distortion (of course). I think I had better dig this email up.

I'm willing to speak to snake oil salesmen at this point because I've getting answers of all sorts for 2 years now.

So maybe all this late night gibberish from me is basically leading up to asking how do I get a XLR patchbay set up optimally if impedance is going to be an issue or am I just showing my naivity here?

Thank yoo!

phil
Old 26th May 2006 | Show parent
  #23
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phild's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phild
I have been wondering for years about impedance matching/loading
phil

did I say "wondering"? ...Sorry, meant "worrying" .... won't happen again!



phil
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