Patchbay confusion...

Discussion in 'Patchbays' started by Juergen, May 23, 2001.

  1. Juergen

    Juergen Guest

    Hello. I am trying to put together a project studio in Paraguay. I got a G4, PTLE + Digi001, and a Yamaha Rev7. I am going to buy a Mackie 1604, a Digimax, stereo comp, and a double channel preamp (presonus mp20). I am thinking about perhaps getting some better preamps not too long from now (api).

    I rented an abandoned studio that had some studio furniture in it already, and a patchbay - I don't exactly know which type it is, it's got plugs the size of 1/4 inch...like TTs on steroids...

    I have never hooked up a patchbay before, so I am a bit confused about the cabling. The mic lines are coming from the other rooms into the Control room - then into the patchbay - (old setup that is still there) and from there I got 4 cables "coming out" of the patchbay, I guess:
    a. xlrs (to go into the console I suppose)
    b. a pair of RCA type cables (send and receive, which I get adaptors for to go into the Mackie's inserts???)
    c. and another one that used to come out of "d out" of the old console they used to have (direct out?).

    What I am confused about is
    ---------------------------

    Question 1: I am confused how the patchbay would route signal that goes in and out of the insert and into the pres of the Mackie? (is this question stupid?)

    Question 2: Do I need a Stereo 1/4 inch plug adaptor for the send/receive RCAs? These ones have pointy ends, and not round ends, like the "d out."

    Question 3: The analog outs from the Digimax would go over the patchbay aswell? What is the advantage to actually have all the mic lines go through the patchbay?

    Last thought: They've had these cables lying around for 2 years without use, and all this was installed in '87. What is the chance of them cables not working correctly anymore, or the cables going through the walls slowly corroding/falling apart?

    I am not sure if I even asked the right questions... :roll:

    Juergen
     
  2. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Hi Juergen,
    I'll try to help you, but need to get a couple things figured out.

    When you say there are 4 cables coming out of the patchbay, do you mean 4 multi-channel snakes?

    If so: The XLR's were most likely intended to feed the mic inputs of the previous console. The rca's will have to be replaced with TRS 1/4" in a tip=send ring=return sleeve=G configuration. What was the direct out snake was terminated with?

    Question 1: I am confused how the patchbay would route signal that goes in and out of the insert and into the pres of the Mackie?
    Each of those points on the patchbay matches up to one line on the snake. Think of it as an extension cord for every input and output you want to use, all coming together in one convenient place.

    (is this question stupid?)
    Yes, but that's not important right now.
    Sorry, just kidding, hehe. I couldn't resist! :)
     
  3. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2001
    Angelo is steering the right course, I think. If I were you, I'd go buy a good cable tester, one with as many different shape and size jacks as possible. You'll need it eventually anyway, and right now it'd be really nice to be able to test all the cables there before you plug everything in.

    One suggestion- if you're going to buy a Mackie 1604VLz Pro, then don't spend money on the Presonus- the Mackie pre's are similar quality, and you'd be better off saving towards something really good.
     
  4. Juergen

    Juergen Guest

    Cool, 2 responses! Great.



    When you say there are 4 cables coming out of the patchbay, do you mean 4 multi-channel snakes?

    If so: The XLR's were most likely intended to feed the mic inputs of the previous console. The rca's will have to be replaced with TRS 1/4" in a tip=send ring=return sleeve=G configuration. What was the direct out snake was terminated with?



    Yes, the 4 cables coming out -I think- are multi-channel snakes. I don't know if there's a Ground, would that be a separate cable? I mean...is it usually there? (can't look at it right now, I am at home)...

    If I understand the termination of the direct out question correctly, it's rca also, only that it looks like a normal rca plug, and it's not pointy, like the send/receive rcas.




    Over 2 years? Not likely - unless they're underwater, or rats are chewing at them, or some other extraneous circumstances are at work. Also if they were 50 years old before the last people moved out there may be some issues. Again, we are in speculative territory.


    Great! The studio is on a 3rd floor of a building (I am already feeling sorry for the poor drummer that's got to carry all his crap upstairs...), so there's no chance of underwater. A cable tester is probably a good idea, except that I don't know if I can get there here (in Paraguay). How hard is it to put one together? I know how to solder, but haven't really done it in a while...



    Welcome to RO! :)
    []

    Thanks! I am glad I found this place!

    Can I hook my spdif connections up to the patchbay? Or how does that work?

    Thanks for your answers, Ang and Jon!

    One last pregunta (question): are you seriuos about the mp20 being similar quality of the mackie? Is either mackie that good, or the mp20 not all that good? Dang. Maybe I should get an outboard verb for that money...the m1 or the lexicon that's in the same range...do you guys have any opinions on either? (I am so limited by my geographical location - can't check out most of the gear I would like to buy)...

    Juergen
     
  5. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Originally posted by Juergen:
    Can I hook my spdif connections up to the patchbay? Or how does that work?
    It is possible to connect one spdif to another spdif, as long as the impedance is properly matched and there are no polarity or ground issues. Hopefully you know enough that a digital output cannot be connected to an audio input, and vice-versa so we don't have to get into that, right?

    One last pregunta (question): are you seriuos about the mp20 being similar quality of the mackie? Is either mackie that good, or the mp20 not all that good?
    Si. Los VLZ mic pre's estan muy bueno, sin precio muy costoso. Pero el Mackie mic pre mas viejo (sin nombre "VLZ") solamente asi-asi.

    Dang. Maybe I should get an outboard verb for that money...the m1 or the lexicon that's in the same range...do you guys have any opinions on either? (I am so limited by my geographical location - can't check out most of the gear I would like to buy)...
    Have you considered a kick-ass mic, or a single channel pre? Or maybe an outboard converter to bypass the 001? There are so many options for you right now, maybe it's best to keep saving for a while, until you are sure about what thing you really need the most.
     
  6. Juergen

    Juergen Guest

    Mh, how do I match impedance on a patchbay? I forgot some things since school, and I was always a bit more on the artistic side of the job than the technical, so that would explain some things (the drawbacks of working mostly on DAWs). Or maybe it doesn't.

    Anyhow...are cables characterized by specific impedances? How would I go about hooking up spdif connectors to the patchbay?

    I do know that a digital output can't be connected to an analog input.

    Also, we had some complication with one of the partners (3 people total giving some money/equipment for the studio). One of them ran into financial trouble so I am not sure if there's going to be that money that we were going to spend on the mp20.

    Micwise we have
    1. Neumann U89 (how similar is it to the 87?),
    2. Rode NT1
    3. AKG C3000B
    4. RE20

    We were thinking of getting one of those tom kits for drums (Sennheiser 604 I think), but I am really skeptical about the price tag. At $350, how good of a sound do I really get? Amazingly enough, we don't have 57s yet, but will get some too. I was thinking of perhaps a matched pair of KM184. We will be recording some pop/rock, but I am not concerned about it not standing out so much, and sounding a bit darker.

    The main applications right now in the studio are going to be:
    -A ton of vocal stuff, mainly mexican mariachi derivations/"romantic international" (cheese) music
    -some rock
    -latin

    I'd use the 184s for some percussion, for BGV groups, classical guitars, some strings, and OHs...

    (I guess I am asking for opinions). My main drama is that I can't just rent stuff here, there is really none to rent, except for some PA equipment. So I gotta go by what I read, but since I am planning on owning close to every mic that sounds good I might aswell start soon.

    I am thinking of getting a Digimax too, for more inputs. At some point I know I am going to get a pair of neve pres, and/or api, but I don't know which ones yet (in the case of api).

    I am sorry, this post is a bit unorganized, and ranty.

    Juergen
     
  7. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Originally posted by Juergen:
    Mh, how do I match impedance on a patchbay?
    For spdif, you need to replace the lines with new lines rated at 75 ohms. Only + and G will be neccesary, as spdif is coaxial. You should use 75 ohm patch cables between spdif devices as well (or use regular patch cords and don't tell anyone about it, as long as it works! hehe). Try to keep the total length of output cable, patch cord, and input cable less than 10m. For example, send >= 4.5m, patch >= 1m, return >= 4.5m. Shielding needs to be maintained as much as possible at the patch point. If you don't have any fancy housing mechanism, some tin foil and electrical tape can work wonders. (Have you heard the expression "more than one way to skin a cat"?)

    For AES use 110 ohm balanced cable. 100m run or longer shouldn't be a problem.

    I am sorry, this post is a bit unorganized, and ranty.
    (Dead Link Removed)

    Cheers!
     
  8. Juergen

    Juergen Guest

    Originally posted by Ang1970:

    (Dead Link Removed)

    Cheers!


    Haha. Ok. Thanks for your help, Ang...with the patchbay and all. At this point, it's a bit theoretical for me, since I am not in the studio at the moment. I have decided to set up the Mackie and the digi001 and start working with that (rent is going to be due soon), so that there's some money coming in.

    And in spite of knowing the danger of putting things off (especially in the studio, installationwise), the patchbay thing is just going to take some time with soldering, and buying the right cables for spdif patching, and planning out how everything is going to be hooked up. Right now I can't really make out how signal flow is going to be structured between things...I think I forgot to mention that there's going to be a 2nd computer and another Mackie (1402, I think, one of them small ones), running its own audio app...

    Yep, I am familiar with the expression (There's more than one way of skinning a cat...). I had the pleasure of digging into whatever idiom I could stumble upon while I was in the US. I got so good at it that when I told people I was an international student, they (my boss, for example) thought I must be canadian.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that....

    Juergen
     
  9. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Cool. Good luck with your venture! :)

    One more thing about the spdif patches... It doesn't seem to me like you have a heck of a lot of spidf to patch, or that would need re-patching more frequently than every other blue moon. Maybe it would be cheaper and easier just to get a couple RCA turnarounds (female on both sides) and re-patch that way, at the same time saving all your patchbay points for analog lines. Or even an inexpensive, easy to build panel with all RCA jacks, if you need to patch spdif more often. Adding that might be a lot easier than dismantling the already wired bay.
     

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