What is a Patchbay? here are the 5 best models

What is a Patchbay? here are the 5 best models

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A patchbay is a hardware device that offers pros and cons for analog audio devices. It allows you to easily patch the outputs of one instrument to the inputs of another. A patch cable is usually 1.5-3 meters long and is used on the front of a patchbay. The most common is the patchbay with 48 TRS jack points, although there are other versions with RCA, XLR, TS and other types of connectors. The patchbay allows you to easily create signal paths by placing so many inputs and outputs at close range, making it easy to experiment and find new audio effects without leaving your chair in front of your computer monitor or console.

Why you should get a patchbay

1. Offers an edge over what it does with mixer or audio interface inputs.

2. The rear of the audio interface is in a remote, inaccessible place.

3. You have an analog mixer with inputs, buses, sends, returns and a lot of external devices, such as effects units, compressors, pedals, samplers, synthesizers and standalone audio recorders and you want maximum connection flexibility.

4. You need to split the audio signal to send it to the various processors. You are using hardware samplers, vocoders, harmonizers, and want to assign the sequencer output to the input of these devices, while not disturbing the original signal path.

5. You have a modular multi-track recorder with discrete components and channel outputs and want to patch channels to the analog mixer.

A patchbay is a device used to facilitate the connection of audio equipment to each other; a similar device is widely used in recording studios, given the high presence of audio equipment to be connected together. This device is passive and does not require power supply. A patchbay is, therefore, a central point on which to manage the connections thanks to a well structured and organized cabling. Patchbays are devices that allow you to return to the initial audio configuration by simply disconnecting all cables from the front panel. The patch bay consists of a front and a rear panel on which are located various 1/4 “jack connectors (TRS).

Let’s now analyze the 5 best patchbays on the market.

Samson S-Patch Plus

The Samson S-Patch Plus is a device that allows you to recover considerable space on the stage or in the recording studio by protecting the cables: through this patchbay, the cables will be kept neatly and without any tangle. In terms of performance, functionality and capacity, Samson S-Patch Plus is considered by many users to be one of the best patchbays on the market.

It is a 48-point patch bay with high quality jacks, fully balanced by 1/4 “TRS connectors. It allows operation in three modes – Normal, Half-Normal and Through – allowing quick and convenient switching from one to the other from the front panel, thanks to the 3-way mode selection switch. This device is easy to use for beginners, but also has interesting features for more experienced users. Features a 19 “rack mount chassis. The build quality of this device is very high indeed; this patchbay has an optimal quality / price ratio and is recommended for beginners and experts.

ART P48 – See price or buy

ART P48 is a 48-point patch bay, balanced by 1/4 “TRS connectors. Each pair of I / O, balanced on 1/4 “TRS jacks, can be configured in normalized or semi-normalized mode. This device is very simple to use and belongs to an overall economic price range. One of the advantages of this patchbay is its reliability over time; in addition, it is covered by a 3-year warranty. It offers a perfect solution for optimizing the cabling and connectivity of any live or studio rack. It is built with a strong steel frame and the transition from normal to semi-normal configuration is ensured by a button on the back of the unit. A highlighted defect is given by the absence of the Through mode.

Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1 – See price or buy

This patchbay model is an economical solution, but one that guarantees reliability and ease of use. Offers rack mount (inch x 1U) with a ruggedized metal body. This patch bay is 48-point with two rows of 24 1/4 “stereo jacks (TRS) on the front and the same number on the back. It is a device designed to perform at its best in a recording studio, even if it has such features that it can also be used on stage. It features rear and front panel identification strips. It offers the possibility of wiring without the use of screws. Configuration settings are convertible to each PCB board. This patch bay does not allow you to change the configuration settings via a switch, but it is possible to change them by pulling out the PCB boards without, however, having to remove the entire device from the rack. This device is very convenient for both beginners and more experienced users.

DBX PB-48 – See price or buy

This patchbay guarantees truly reliable performance and functionality. It is a professional 48-point device (2 rows of 24) with fully balanced 1/4-inch TRS connectors. The device can be configured in Normal and Half-Normal modes. The price is absolutely cheap, but the performance is good and the use is really comfortable and practical. The frame is built differently than previous models and is open: this could give some problems in terms of durability over time, although the construction material is absolutely valid and resistant. An open chassis has the disadvantage, therefore, of leaving the circuits exposed. The overall design is simple, but aesthetically it remains valid.

Hosa PDR-369 – See price or buy

It is a durable patchbay that is simple to use and adaptable to a variety of applications. It is a 12-point device with XLR connectors that offers the possibility of reversing the jacks from the rear to the front and vice versa. This is a device indicated exclusively for novice users. The functionalities and configuration options are the basic ones, but allow you to become familiar with similar tools for novice users. This patchbay is built with a sturdy metal frame that guarantees reliability and durability over time. The possibility of reversing the jacks and the general ease of use are features much appreciated by novice users, together with the economic cost of the device.


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