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patchbay cable length?

I am gathering supplies for a new patchbay, and its unlike any that I have built before. It is the patchbay for a portable recording rig and it needs to be very flexible. It will have the usual 1/4" longframe jacks on the front panel, but there will also be a rear panel with XLR connectors to allow me to connect new gear into the system by simply plugging it into the XLR jacks. Overall, the design has really come together and I'm about ready to start soldering, but I've got one question. The front panel (1/4" longframe) and the rear panel (XLR) will sit about 16" apart in the rack (front to back), but I'm wondering how long to make the wiring between these two panels? Obviously, I need to allow for some extra length so that the panels can be mounted or removed from a rack without cutting cables. But how do you determine how much slack you will need in the cable run? An extra foot? 2'? 3'? Can anyone recommend any good source of info on basic wiring practices? Not so much from an electrical standpoint, but more from a cable management or "housekeeping" perspective?




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