The Patch Bay Question

make sure that while building, you identify every cable and connector
That's a very important tip! And use a coherent system doing so. I always use the same words as on the devices, so for example the plugs that connect the DM-3200 aux sends 1 and 2 at the back of the patch panels are identified as "DM ASN SND1" and "DM ASN SND2". That way I can always find where the snakes are in the schematics - but whatever system you use, be consistent with it.
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Hehee...thanks to @-mjk- ...
I'm sure it enables easier modifications and such...but I'm having flashbacks to when people used to spend years learning CAD so they could draw up a new backyard playset for the kids.
Despite my little studio being about a 13-out-of-100 on the complexity scale, I guess I understand that a good patch-bay setup will enable/enhance ease-of-use and versatility...but it's also a pretty intimidating prospect - and has me thinking that the occasional behind-the-gear cable-swapping crawl is way easier!!!o_O Like MJ said - I already have pretty good capabilities: my DP has 8 inputs, and I have a mixer that organizes/routes my inputs and outboard gear pretty well - just not as well (and with as much versatility) as a well-designed p/bay setup would.
Been there, done that shredd. I feel with you as I was in a similar situation two years ago. (Also with both DP and Mixer). After I had a hard time including all the additional instruments and FX for a few jams and reverting back to my standard studio connections I was done with my "simple" connection world.

I plunged into it, bought a PB and invested once(! but only once!) a lot of time designing (on paper) and testing (live) with few devices until I got it. Then I bought an amount of long and short patch cables to setup the connections as I had it on paper: It did work from the beginning like a charm! And the next jam I had was such an easy going with my friends to include their stuff.

The funny final work was to normalize the whole chains through all the devices.

In my drawing you see how it was used until beginning of this year. Now I disassembled all of it again to relocate my studio into another corner of the basement and include a few new pieces of gear. And exactly such changes and updates are now done hands down. Of course, as already emphasized by other pro people here (I don't count in), it is also important to have all pieces (PB, cables from & to whatever) labelled properly.

If you give it a try, you will never look back again.
Wow. THANKS @dctdct - and all you guys...these recaps/backgrounds/etc are really helping flesh out the concept, which up to now has been absolutely unintelligible...if you'd handed me a patch bay 6 months ago, the only thing I could do with it is use it as a doorstop!!!

But I'm starting to get the idea - not only what they hay they actually DO, but how I might apply it to my own little studio/gear/workflow needs.

In that light - it's possible, @dctdct , that I might DM you with some questions about how you set things up. Your setup sounds very like mine: a DP w/8 inputs; a mixer; and a few outboard pieces.
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Thanks, @dctdct - I guess I didn't wanna be a bumbling newbie dumazz in the open forum, asking specific-to-my-gear&workflow questions. But perhaps I can enable my fellow dumazzes to learn about this, by asking here.
On the one hand, it's overwhelmingly complex, trying to figure out what I want my gear complement to do, and if a p/bay will do it. On the other - 98% of what I read about p'bays sez "once you've figured it out, you'll never go back - and you'll wonder what took you so long!".

Stay tuned...I'm figuring it out. And TIA for the help - all youse guyz!:cool:
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OK: here's ONE potential situation that a patchbay could enable/ease. Feel free to comment/respond:

Let's say I want to record an acoustic guitar track.
  • I typically mic the guitar with a SDC and run it into mixer (I have an outboard compressor on that channel's insert, OR could use the one-knob compressor on the mixer); it would output to L & R Mains, which I typically put into 2 separate inputs on the DP, recording to 2 separate mono tracks for the purpose of having a basically "dry" mic'd signal, and a second one to be treated post-recording with FX or whatever. Sometimes I just record a mono track and clone a second for treatment.
  • I would ALSO run the guitar's undersaddle piezo through my Fishman (ToneDEQ), into another mixer channel, which would go out the SUB output of the mixer to ANOTHER DP input, for another mono channel to mix in w/the mic'd ones.
I can already do this quite easily via my mixer's routing I'm having trouble grasping how a patchbay would change how I do this, particularly while recording...
Or is it the intention that I'd use the patchbay to insert an outboard FX on a DP "Send", in order use it on modification of the original dry track AFTER recording (say during a bounce?).

Sorry for dumazz ?'s. While the CONCEPT of a p'bay's applications makes sense to me, the implementation is about as easy for me to understand as why US politicians are PAID to be duplicitous greedy scumbags with no sense of integrity whatsoever...o_O
The easiest one is just a matter of scale - Imagine you are tracking four artists (or even you doing four separate parts), each w a similar sort of instrumental and/or vocal tracking arrangement (1-2 tracks per instrument per person), and you have a range of mics and outboard dynamics you use depending on the timbre and quality of their voices and instruments. Until you get signal up and you hear what you are working with, you might not know how you want to chain each source’s possible eq, compression, etc.

Using patchbays, your patchbays could be set up half-, non- or normalled so that your eq, compression etc is all in-line in a default arrangement. If you set up, get going and then want to put a different compressor or eq on one performer vs another, or if you want to do your technique of recording a second copy track using different outboard gear but the same source, a patchbay can definitely help you change and patch in some other sequence than the default without losing focus w a mid-session rewire. Over time, you get to know your work preferences for routing and patching vs default setup for set-and-forget, and sometimes you can use the patchbay just to mix it up (lol pun!) and to try something new.

And yep, as you ask, the same thing for inserts can apply for aux sends and returns, tape returns, re-amping tracks or just about any other signal path you work with, including synths and other instruments.

Either way, for making those kinds of changes and decisions in the listening spot in front of the mixer w the sound up, imho a patchbay or other audio routing matrix lets you keep your musical / auditory focus better than crawling behind the gear and running different cable (and keeping track of those changes etc). Versatile, ergonomic, neat and efficient, even if you’re the only artist in the session at the time.
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Let me explain where my biggest benefits are. For my configuration as published a few posts above.
Short intro to my musical activities: My main applications are:

a) playing along the music I like (keyboard/organ oriented rock bands)
> DP24 used as live mixer

b) jamming same as a) with friends
> DP24 tracking the session

c) experimenting/jamming with my (semi-)modular gear
> DP24 most of the time tracking
d) composing with multitracking, mixdown, master etc. using parts of (c)

e) experimenting new DP24 ideas

Especially for c) the PB gives me the big freedom to route and insert in a few seconds whatever I want into every each audio path. Example: My CX-3 organ is connected to A+B inputs as standard, but sometimes I want to go through an FX before coming back into the recorder. Same for my synthesizers. Or chain more FX.
This specific flexibility was my trigger to buy a PB. All the other goodies are just on top for free

(well, the investment in good patch cables of different length was also a considerable planning effort, but it pays)
THANK YOU GUYS all, so much.
@dctdct and @mixerizer have pointed out my basic aim: to have my comparatively simply studio/gear have the kind of flexibility a p/bay can create...I just have to figure out specifically what I want it to do, and design it so it is so.

A good general recap:
I want to be able to take the inputs, route them through the specific gear piece/s I want/need to, then go to any of the inputs on the DP I choose.
And also/alternatively: have the outboard gear "reachable" by sends and/or inserts from both the mixer's and the DP's routings.

It sounds ridiculously complicated - to the point of being unrealistic - but I'm getting a sense it's possible. I'm in SERIOUS need of a wiring/routing diagram, the conceptualization/visualization of (and drawing up of) is what's really tripping me up. Gonna keep working on this.

Thnx again doodz - :cool:
This SoS article is worth the read, IMO
Holy CATS.

Yes - a great article, as is par for S-o-S...
Have had this article on my desktop for a couple weeks, returning to it to dabble...
Tonight - read it end to end, taking notes and trying to analyze how this is going to be implemented in my studio/gear/workflow scenario...

I now have such a headache that I'm devoting the rest of the evening to throwing up and mainlining Tylenol Extra Strength...:confused:
@shredd do you have a patchbay currently? Sorry but I don't remember.
Hey @-mjk-, at this point I don't have one...have considered picking up a basic one (and all the cabling for it) as an experiment to see if I can make it work...

But that seems like a pretty expensive experiment, especially since 1) I don't have a design envisioned for how to implement it with my studio/gear/workflow, and 2) uncertainty if it's really going to accomplish enough/improve things enough to merit the cost/effort (my studio is considerably less equipped than most) just SOUNDS like a good way to set things up. I'm just not convinced that my hobbyist/enthusiast-level studio and amateurish ability level makes it a good investment/effort - especially considering how complex it's proven to be.
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I have one. I just put the Line inputs on it so I could plug whatever I wanted into the Line inputs without having to fiddle around the back of it. All my mic sources are preamped so I didn't need the XLR/Mic pres. I didn't really do any complex routing with it because basically all I wanted to do was to (in a manner of speaking) bring those Line inputs out front.
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Honestly: it seems like any setup with more than a few sources/devices merits using one…even for simple solutions, like yours…
I guess the lesson here is that a p/bay’s implementation can be as basic or as complex as it needs to be!
Which puts ME right back where I started: do I even need to do this? And why not - even if it’s just to simplify a few common connections, rather than coordinate everything in my setup? And will what I achieve by investing in the planning/purchase/setup be woth it?!?

“Only The Shadow Knows”…gawd knows >I< can’t seem to figure it out! :rolleyes:

It’s also a factor that - being the classic “spare room studio” - space is very limited… and since I rent (which means getting tossed out on my butt in any given month) it’s hard to justify any serious refitting of the space.
Truth be told: I’m considering spending a few bux on it & experimenting, to see what I can do with it. Partly ’cuz I’m curious, and getting nowhere w the “planning/design” approach…and partly ’cuz I have absolutely nothing else to do in life…
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Am still exploring the feasability/design/application of this. As simple as my studio is, I truly believe that if I can get over the learning curve/design aspect, it'll be one of those "why did I wait so long" episodes.
I'm actually down to this; trying to glean the basics. Sadly, I am still unable to grasp how to make this work. Even these simple/barebones explanations leave me I'mma gonna make the pieces 'n parts in my studio line up right, using a p/bay.
I really wish I could sit in somebody's studio and have them explain to me/answer questions...but that's sorta like asking a quarterback how to hold the ball.

When you're a musician, it just sux to be stewpyd...
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There is nothing wrong with making a spreadsheet type list of the outboard gear you have and what you have for console I/O and then posting it here. Some of our more experienced engineers would be able to make some suggestions.
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There is nothing wrong with making a spreadsheet type list of the outboard gear you have and what you have for console I/O and then posting it here. Some of our more experienced engineers would be able to make some suggestions.
Thanks - again - @-mjk- ; I kinda need the help. I've been flailing with this for a while, knowing it's a good route to go, but being routinely overwhelmed with it.
My recent efforts are watching the countless y/tube vids for explanations, and making lots of lists and drawings...
Am still exploring the feasability/design/application of this. As simple as my studio is, I truly believe that if I can get over the learning curve/design aspect, it'll be one of those "why did I wait so long" episodes.
I'm actually down to this; trying to glean the basics. Sadly, I am still unable to grasp how to make this work. Even these simple/barebones explanations leave me dizzy...
I did look at the video you pointed to: It is a correct explanation. But for a more basic approach, I would suggest you read this text+diagrams from Ledger Notes. In my opinion they go far more into the basement of the topic: basic simple rules, visualization of the audio flow of the 3 modes, to mention a few.
A light came on me when I read a similar article years ago. Let me know if it helps.
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Thanks @dctdct - that was a great article - but not so info-dense it made my head spin (which is mostly what I've experienced, exploring it...)
I watched a buncha the vids from that y/tube search...based on the fact that a significant portion of y/tube content is absolute useless dreck posted by self-indulgent (if well-meaning?) wannabe's. I just wanted to see what I could learn.
The good news is that I am finally getting a grip on what these babies can do - which has me even more convinced I could benefit from having one.

Where I'm at now is doing some list-making and doodling, to see if I can figure out what needs to be in a p'bay to facilitate routing/config'g (no sense in wiring up stuff that never moves anyway).
I figure by the time I understand what I'm doing and am ready to do it, musicians will be routing their studios telepathically, using AI and nanorobots.:p That's about my speed, considering the technology-capability level I'm currently at (my studio would be considered extremely cutting-edge, if it were 1972...:rolleyes:)...
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