Patchbay basics, ... er so I thought

Discussion in 'Patchbays' started by Sanity Inn, Mar 9, 2004.

  1. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    Hey gang,,

    I have a 48 point balanced patch bay , and ready, er almost to hook up,,,

    few novice questions while I try to config my gear on paper first.

    1) is it OK to hook balanced to unbalanced, or do i need to configure cable?

    2) since the jacks are TRS, can I make a jack STEREO? for example ( headphones)drum machine, etc,,, basically, can we make a jack stereo and use a Y split type cable from stereo to two monos?

    3) I have an old Roland VS-880, can I use it as a sort of effects unit by patching two tracks to and from the unit, arming track with effect?
    it has digital IN/OUT , so does my RME,, is this usefull,,,, I understand sample rates have to be the same but is using the effects as AUX worth it ?

    I'll prob add more question as I go

    thanks for any attention to this

    Sanity Inn
  2. Clueless

    Clueless Guest

    Balanced patchbays neither add nor take away balance or unbalance in your system. If you connected a balanced out to an unbalanced in, the balanced wire becomes, in effect, unbalanced (and if you are paranoid about a 12' unbalanced cable, your patchbay might magically give you 2x12=24' of unbalanced cable). If your balanced out doesn't like feeding an unbalanced in (or vice versa), your patchbay neither helps nor hurts, it just means (1) you need to make sure that your default cable is wired so that your balanced connection is happy talking to the unbalanced connection using cable coming from the the (half)normal connection (the bottom cable), and (2) you should always use balanced patchcords in front.

    Secondly, yes you can make a jack stereo (for headphones) or insert (send-tip/return-ring/ground-sleeve), but you need to be careful: if you try to plug those funky sources into things expecting a balanced connection, it's going to be a mess.

    So, if you know what your signals are, you label them carefully, you wire the default properly, and you use only balanced cables when making patch-to-patch connections (or other appropriate cables for other appropriate connections, such as a TRS->send/return cable if you're feeding from an insert), everything should be fine.
  3. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    It's been a long time since I wired a patchbay... but from what I recall clueless is correct. You can do balanced, unbalanced and stereo. The trick is careful labeling. You can also do phase reverse. Label the bay AND LABEL THE CABLES if they are not standard 3-pin balanced. Especially if a cable is phase reverse.

    Most patch bays are balanced/floating (the ground pins are all connected together, but are not connected to "earth"). But some patchbays are balanced/grounded (all 3rd pins connected and then actually connected to 'earth').

    You only ground it if you think you need to... NOT as a matter of course. It is not necessarily better to ground it. If you have a hum-free floating patchbay then all is well.

    Making stereo sockets is not done very often, just so you know. Usually you have pairs of mono balanced sockets for left/right sources. Then you can keep you entire patchbay balanced and tie the third pin to ground.

    If you do an unbalanced stereo socket I would NOT connect the ground (-) to the balanced sockets; let them float.
  4. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    Thanks Clueless & cruisemates

    You've enlightened a few things , but clouded a few more lol

    How do i tell if the nuetrik balanced bay is floating or grounded?

    Clueless mentioned being carefull on using the Stereo split cables on patches,, needing balanced connection,,,

    for now , the only thing I can see doing this with is headphones, but if I run out of space on bay i may need to do it with either my Korg N5 keyboard or Dr-5 drum machine,,,

    assuming i did this non practiced config with stereo insert,, would not a properly made and labelled cable help prevent this potential " mess" ?

    Also still curious if using the vs-88- in my set up is worth the trouble,,,

    not that I have an extensive list of gear, but would listing it help ??

    1 ADI -8 Pro 8 IN / 8 OUT balanced DA/AD
    1 Sebatron pre 2 channel balanced and unbalanced out
    2 ART(mono) levelar compressors(tweeked), XLR and TRS in/out
    1 Lexicon LXP-1 reverb
    1 Korg N5 keyboard
    1 Dr-5 drum machine
    1 Sabine feedback cancell box
    1 roland Vs-880 4 ins, 1 main out, 1 Digital IN/OUT
    1 Folio mixer, 4 XLR/TRS IN. 2 Stereo IN, 1 Tape IN , 1 AUX send/return, 1 main out,1 monitor out

    Again thanks for the direction,, er patching, well you know what I mean :) )

    Sanity Inn

    " Logic rules, emotion wins"
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Your Neutrik bay will be grounded as far as I know.. there is probably no way to lift the ground except with special cables that don't have the grounds connected..

    I would be very careful when using the PB for headphone connections. These have a lot of volts going through them and an accidental connection out of the phone send to a line input could be disasterous..

    This is not so much an issue with your Korg or the drum machine, as these are line level outputs. Just be sure to place the phone connections well away from the other connections to avoid an accidental connection. It can happen. K.
  6. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    Hey Kurt ,

    thanx for the feedback, have most of it resolved,,

    I tried " splittng" a channel to see how it works and discovered the line level isnt the same,,, will post more once i debug why>>>

    other then that , it will make patching a bit more convinient

    Sanity Inn
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    You will get a drop in level when you mult a signal in some instances as you are changing the impedance of the signal when you split it.

    I have noticed this doesn't happen all the time however. K.

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