Studio Patch Bay

Studio Patchbay Home Page

What is a Studio Patchbay?

A studio patchbay (sometimes called a patch panel) is simply a device designed to centralize the input and output connections of all of the pieces of equipment in a studio. Patchbays are used in a wide range of industries including recording and broadcast studios. Patchbays are usually rackmounted, and offer the convenience of allowing engineers to easily change the path of certain signals without having to crawl behind their gear to change their cabling. Patchbays are used mainly to route the connection of microphones/preamps, compressors, EQs, effect units, amplifiers and many other devices. They feature jacks on the front, which are used in conjunction with short patch cables. Patchbays have jacks on the back, too, where connections to your hardware gear are left permanently (until you decide to rearrange your patchbay, or get new equipment). The jacks on the top of a patchbay are usually routed to outputs, while the bottom jacks are routed to inputs. A patchbay is a useful piece of equipment for any pro or project studio, as it allows the engineer to connect different equipment all from one spot, and in different orders/chains for different projects.

Types of Studio Patchbays

A patchbay, depending on the model, can be wired and run in several different configurations. Here is a list of the most common: open, normalled, half-normalled, and parallel.

Open Patchbay: This open configuration is the simplest.  Outputs are not routed to inputs by default, as all connections are independent of the others.  This basically means that no signal will flow through the patchbay without inserting a patch cord. 

Normalled Patchbay: The normalled configuration electrically connects the outputs (top jacks) to the inputs (bottom jacks) by default (i.e. whenever no patch cable is plugged in).   The connection is broken when a jack is plugged into either the top or bottom jacks, though.  A normalled patchbay is ideal for connecting equipment that you use together regularly (e.g. an aux output to an FX unit’s input.) as you don’t need to insert a patch cable every time you want to use that connection.

Half-normalled Patchbay: The half-normalled configuration also electrically connects the outputs (top jacks) to the inputs (bottom jacks) by default (i.e. whenever no patch cable is plugged in).  However, if a cable is plugged into the top row, the connection remains in tact.  If a jack is inserted into the bottom row, the internal connection is broken.  This configuration is useful for connecting a normal signal flow from one piece of equipment to another, while allowing the connection to be tapped from or changed with cables if needed.

Parallel Patchbay: In a parallel configuration, the outputs and inputs are electrically connected.  This connection remains in tact, even if a jack is inserted into either the top or bottom row.  This allows you to tap into both the inputs and outputs, and split the signal.  It is useful for connecting an output, which is normally connected to one input, to several different inputs at once. Both jacks can send the signal to other pieces of gear where you would like it to go.

The Samson S-Patch Plus is a popular patchbay that allows switching between normalled, half-normalled, and open configurations.

Planning Your Studio Patchbay

You should always sketch out a plan of a patchbay before you start wiring it up. This will help to avoid problems such as feedback, broken channels, and running out of space for all the connections you want on the patchbay. You may find that you have a large amount of patches that you want to start with, so you might need to purchase multiple patchbays, or just narrow down your list to those patch points you really need to access.

Make sure you clearly label the front and back of your patchbay. This will help ensure you can efficiently keep track of all your patch points, and will prevent a lot of headaches. Don’t use magic marker as your patchbay will evolve over the years, and probably sooner rather than later. Label your patchbay using studio tape, instead.


DBX PB-48 Patch Bay

DBX PB-48 Patch Bay Details

Patchbays often go unappreciated until their contacts get rusty or you need just a few more connections. The dbx PB-48 48-point Patchbay takes care of both problems with the greatest of ease. This balanced DBX 1/4" TRS patchbay has 48 easy-to-reach jacks in the front and rear — 96 points in all. Each of its 24-card assemblies has 4 jacks and thumbscrews so switching from normalled to non-normalled positions is easy. Pure nickel silver self-cleaning contacts won't get funky and waste your connections. The patchbay uses one rackspace. You'll appreciate its dependability and the price!

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Switchcraft 96 Point TT Patchbay TTP96-ASFN

Switchcraft® TTP96-ASFN TTP Jack Panel Quality-built for long-term reliability with 96 points

  • Attractive, corrosive resistant nickel-plated jacks
  • Steel frame jack for superior jack life
  • Extra wide labeling strips provide maximum space
  • Cable tie bar takes the weight of cables off the jacks
  • Rugged, attractive black anodized aluminum face will not break
  • Full normal jack configuration
  • Fanned solder terminals for easier solder connections
  • Offset ground terminal for ease in making common ground buss connections
  • Gold switching contacts for long-term reliability in normal-through connections

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Solid State Logic X-Patch

Solid State Logic X-Patch Details

The Solid State Logic X-Patch is designed to deliver the flexibility of plug-in style routing to boutique analogue processing. Developed from technology at the heart of SSL’s acclaimed Matrix console, X-Patch provides a 16x16 SuperAnalogue routing matrix that can be Ethernet controlled remotely from a standard computer. SSL’s Logictivity Remote Studio Browser application provides Set-up, Configuration and Preset Storage and makes the X-Patch the perfect tool to incorporate analogue processing into any production studio environment. The Solid State Logic X-Patch can function as a simple ‘X-Y Router’ or as a ‘Matrix’ to create complex processing chains. This allows for analogue processing to be built into favourite processing chains and then easily placed into signal paths, for example, favourite Mic Pre, EQ & Dynamics processors recalled as the perfect vocal chain at a single stroke. In a studio environment X-Patch speeds up workflow and aids creativity by reducing the constant physical re-patching required when using only a patch bay for routing. Up to six Solid State Logic X-Patch units can be controlled in parallel from a single instance of the X-Patch Logictivity Browser software.

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Horizon NYS-SPP-L Neutrik 48 Point Balanced Programmable Patchbay

Neutrik® 48-Point Patch Panel / Model # NYS-SPP-L

  • 1/4” Panel featuring Neutrik® connectorsTwo rows of jacks
  • 24 front pairs and 24 rear pairs
  • 19” rack-mount and fully PCB-wired (24 vertical PC boards) without nut fastening
  • Identification strips included for front and rear panels
  • Programmable normalling

Read more: Horizon NYS-SPP-L Neutrik 48 Point Balanced Programmable Patchbay


Samson S-Patch Plus Patchbay

Samson S-Patch Plus Patchbay Details
The Samson S-Patch 48-point patch bay makes all your connections easy, as it is fully balanced and extremely durable. Gone are the days of changing a patchbay's mode by taking it out of the rack, dismantling it and putting it back together in the desired mode! With the S•Patch Plus, all of this can be accomplished from the front panel with a flip of a switch! Simple, affordable and time-saving!

Read more: Samson S-Patch Plus Patchbay