Patch Bays or Mixers

Patch Bays and Mixers, sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious.

There are lots of posts on the forums where users are either attempting to build their own patch bay or trying to switch a mic signal through a patch bay. The general feel is never to switch phantom power through a patch bay.

Allen and Heath Xone DB4
Allen and Heath Xone DB4

A studio mixer with sliders all facing the horizontal axis is often one of the best solutions as long as the mixer as enough line outs to feed a patch bay. What happens if you have a rack mounted console with combo receptacles (XLR/TRS) at the rear of the unit?   Continue reading “Patch Bays or Mixers”

Multiplexer and Demultiplexer switching (follow up)

Using Electronic switching to route signals

As a follow up to our article on multiplexing (and demultiplexing) or MUX/DEMUX and running my own experimentation with a CD4051 it comes as no surprise that this chip works well but there are limitations.

As I am no expert in this field I must confess that the biggest obstacle IMO when switching or routing signals is not the degrading of signal quality necessarily but the dangers of phantom power.  As most microphone preamplifiers use an XLR plug or TRS combo, the TRS does not pass the +48V but the XLR does.  Now if someone unwittingly connected his expensive tape deck to XLR outputs and then into an XLR mic preamp there is a chance that they would end up with a toasted front end to the deck. Yes, we all like XLR plugs but this can be a problem. How to eliminate this problem? Continue reading “Multiplexer and Demultiplexer switching (follow up)”

Analogue Routing – patchbays and cables

Samson S-Patch Plus

Patchbays – routing your signal

Note:  This is a preliminary article and will cover the construction of a basic Arduino controlled patch bay/audio signal router.  Users should be aware that manufacturing a patchbay as a DIY project can and will will be very expensive. The Samson S-Patch Plus retails for between R2000 and R2500.00 in South Africa.  A parts B.o.M places this project at about R5 000.00. However, careful consideration of B.o.M (input types) and digital control will be infinitely cheaper than an electronic audio signal router off the shelf.

The Samson S-Patch Plus is remarkable in that it tidies up your flow,  gets rid of unsightly cables, is quick and affordable.  If you are like me you prefer to purchase pro series audio because it’s modular and often cheaper than commercial consumer integrated audio.  So you can throw away the parts you don’t like and only add that which you deem necessary and very importantly, have some control from the PC or laptop.

This comes at a price of course, spaghetti!  And if you are like the mechanic whose car never runs properly this spills down to never being able to find that missing plug or socket. To be honest, pro audio can be a nightmare.

Samson S-Patch Plus
Samson S-Patch Plus

Continue reading “Analogue Routing – patchbays and cables”