Cables / Patchbays
I am trying to decide on the best way to easily patch a microphone into different mic pres. I have a couple of reasonably high quality cables leading from my vocal/recording booth into the control room. The back of my rack with the mic pres is not easily accessible (as the control room is somewhat small). One fairly obvious solution would be to use a few shorter cables from the mic pre inputs to an easily accessible place in the control room where I would connect them to the cables coming from the vocal booth. Do I have to expect noticable loss in signal quality by using these "extension cables" ? Is this negligibe in the bigger picture ?
Are there snakes available that you feel comfortable recommending as high enough quality for my purpose ?
A patchbay would, of course, serve the same purpose and present a cleaner solution (without wires dangling around). From what I have picked up on this forum, though, there appears to be a much more significant quality loss to be expected with patchbays unless these are really expensive units ... (?)
Any opinions and help will be much appreciated.
Really ... no opinions ? Too hard of a question ? I'm sure somewhat out there has solid knowledge and can help me out.
If your using a hi quality connector and cable there should be no problem in extending the room cables a few feet. Patchbays are no different' except they require a little more regular maintainece, and there is a small possiblility of RF and noise problems with mic input lines going to a patchbay as they are unshielded at the connection point at the back of the patchbay.
The problem with using patch bays (1/4" or TT) for mic patches is they short momentarily whenever a cable is inserted or removed. This is not so much a problem with dynamic mics but with condensers that use phantom power there is always the danger of damaging the mic pre unless the phantom is shut off. You can see this is an invitation to disaster.
Most studios I have been in have XLR mic panels in the Live Room, Isos and / or scattered around the C/R.
There is some loss associated with any extra cables or connections ... all metal imposed on the mic line will present some resistance but in the big picture, convenience often takes precedence. I personally think the loss is negligble but there are those who swear they can easily hear a difference.
In my home studio, I am using a quality 24 channel stage box / 50' snake. It's long enough that I can drag it out to an adjacent room where I have my drum kit set up but short enough, I can still wind it up and have it available right next to the pre amp rack in my control room to patch mics into when I am working in there. A pair of 8 channel or an 8 and 16 channel snakes would work for some other applications if needed.
That's one simple way to solve the problem. Another would be to install dedicated mic patch panels in the walls ... or perhaps a dedicated XLR panel and cables to route mics to the pres.
XLR patch panels and Belden / Mogami / Canare wire are available from http://www.markertek.com .
Thanks, Kurt & Dave,