The ultimate patchbay-do I have to build it myself?



Here is my idea for the ideal patchbay, for me at least.
I'd like to have 1/4" TRS connectors on the front, normalled, switchable to un-normalled by solder, jumpers or switches. The back will have ELCO connectors, compatible with ADATs. From there I can also put 1/4" connectors on the ends of the ELCOs to interface to my equipment, ADA's, whatever.
Is there a product like this on the market already that won't break the bank? <US$500 Or do I have to construct this myself, which I am not opposed to do?


Well-Known Member
Jan 3, 2001
You've got a couple of options. There are companies like Audio Accessories who will build just about any custom patchbay configuration that you can think of. Or, you can buy the basic parts (patch bay, ELCO connectors, some cable) and drop them all off at the local soldering shop. Here in LA, there are a few different companies that will wire up your patchbay for $3/point. That's $288 for a 96 point TT bay - seems like a lot until you figure out how many hours you would spend cutting, stripping and preparing the wire for 96 points and then soldering them all (3 solder connections per point!) I can't figure out how they stay in business at those prices, but I'm glad they do.

ADC makes an elegant patchbay with a Punch-In connection. Sounds like it would be problems, eh? Don´t worry, the connection is gas-tight. Lots of broadcasting companies & NASA are using this kind of patchbay. They might be a little more expensive to buy but you save a lot of time connecting everything and it is really easy to change anything on the back.

I would not consider using 1/4", go for TT (or Bantam as it sometimes is called). You can squeeze many more jacks into each row of the patchbay.

There is also a second-hand market for this kind of gear, you can save a lot of $$ if you shop around. As long as you buy name-brands such as Mosses & Mitchell/Switchcraft/ADC etc it is probably possible to get spare parts should anything be worn out or broken. Check with those who sell used consoles & recorders etc.


You should ask yourself, "How valuable is my time"?

I did all the audio connections at our studio. We have 5, 96 point TT patchbays! Do the math. It took me app. two weeks to do just the patchbays. You better have a good back, good eye, KNOW how to solder and USE heat shrink.. I also used a lighted magnifying glass.

There is a company in Canada called AVP that make great TT patch bays. They also make some high end punchdown type punch blocks, which I used but I still feel better about solder connections. AVP uses Switchcraft jacks and the cost is about 1/3 of the ADC and others we looked at. We used the Elco to 1/4" (they were readly avaiable and cheaper than custom made with fanouts) and cut the 1/4" ends off to solder to the TT's.

If I had it to do over again I would consider paying to have it done! But on the other hand I know that it was done right and we have not had any problems with the system.