Patchbay, also referred to as a patch panel, is a virtual switch board for a host of audio and video hardware. Found in commercial and home recording environments, television and theatrical performances and live sound applications, a patchbay serves as the centralized hub where all input and output routing takes place.
Imagine a live band going into a studio to record an album, or a marketing firm contracting a producer to write a jingle for an upcoming television commercial - both of these often take place in a recording studio with a large number of options for capturing audio. Now imagine that the band has a few key pieces of gear that they would like to include in the recording process. A patchbay can incorporate the gear, and allow for the quick routing of audio to and from various devices, and cut down on the clutter of wires covering the floor. Gotta keep the trip hazards to a minimum!
In addition to creating more options for sound, a patchbay can improve the organization of hardware and protect the lifespan of gear. Having to constantly plug and unplug cords can weaken connections over time, adding to the wear and tear on your hardware. With a patchbay, diagnosing problems with signal flow is much easier, as all connections are in one place.
Most patchbays come equipped with ¼” (balanced TRS and unbalanced) inputs and outputs, but some patchbays include RCA and Tiny Telephone (TTL) connections. There is no standard way to set up your patchbay, as this depends on the type of gear you have. Everyone has a different workflow. But the benefit of incorporating a patchbay into a recording environment can maximize the potential one has for routing options and sound creation.
If you want to discuss how a patchbay can improve your workflow, drop us a line at +1 (818) 500-8142 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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