Making Patch Cables?

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Making Patch Cables?

Postby Lee » Sat May 04, 2013 4:35 pm

What cable should we use to make our bantam patch cables from?
We will probably need 100 foot.

We will be using these NP3TT-1-B Neutrik connectors.
http://www.neutrik.com/en/audio/plugs-a ... /np3tt-1-b
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby rick » Sun May 05, 2013 4:19 pm

This is NOT what you want to do lee


It's always best to keep microphone patch leads
Off the patch bay and on external xlr connector

Perhaps somebody more clued in on technics can explain
Best practice

But honestly .. You want to buy pre molded
Cables ..
I mean
You really don't want to make your own
Unless you plan on making 100 just to get good
Enough to figure you should by premaster ones
And pay the price

.. And keep the mic pres off the patchbay :)
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Hookemeister » Sun May 05, 2013 9:36 pm

What cable should we use to make our bantam patch cables from?

That's going to depend on what sort plugs you'll be using, how they're terminated and the cable anchoring system they utilise.

The basics requirements are a cable that is supple, flexible and strong with a braided shield... not foil.

We will probably need 100 foot

Make sure the patch bay cables are long enough to reach comfortably across the diagonal of the patchbay.
Usually 60cm (2 foot) will do it. So for a 100 foot that works out to about 50 patch cords.

As Rick has said and I'll go a little further... under nor circumstances put mic inputs on the patchbay... that's just asking for trouble.

I use to hate making patch cables. It may be worth buying some quality pre made cables. I'm sure somebody on the forum could post some recommendations.

General tips:

The most important thing with patch cables is how you unplug them from the bay. If you want them to last, pull them out by grabbing the plug and not the cable. I know when you've got back to back sessions it's tempting to just grab a bunch of them by the cable and yank them out, but that practise will come back to bite when you when least expect it.

Make sure the plugs are cleaned regularly. Under no circumstances use Brasso or steel wool to clean them.

Don't leave cables plugged in at one end... remove them completely from the bay and hang them up.

Vacuum the patch bay regularly.

Keep all food and drinks away from it.

All pretty basic stuff which you probably already know but it doesn't hurt repeating it for the inexperienced.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby waitup » Mon May 06, 2013 6:42 pm

Gotta agree bantam cables are no fun to make, especially if you've got to do tons of them. I'll make everything else from D25 to EDAC but I'll buy premade Neutrik bantam cables. They're a little pricy but when taken care of they will last for ever and ever.

Will also second the advice about keeping your mic connections off the bantam bay.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Paul Maybury » Tue May 07, 2013 2:53 pm

Hi, I have been using these for years. Very good price, no issues. The supplier has lots of different lengths and terminations.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/24-New-Gold-TT- ... 564a25497e
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Hookemeister » Tue May 07, 2013 3:19 pm

Hi, I have been using these for years. Very good price, no issues. The supplier has lots of different lengths and terminations.

What a bargain.

Less than $7 per patchcord including shipping... you couldn't buy the components for that price.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Paul Maybury » Tue May 07, 2013 3:32 pm

Yep. They have saved me a truckload of time and money. Money I have been able to spend on more exciting things, like Altec speakers and ADM EQ's, right Greg?
Cheers,
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Lee » Tue May 07, 2013 4:44 pm

That is a great deal. I think we will be ordering some of those.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby The Tasmanian » Tue May 07, 2013 10:35 pm

Be gentle with those ebay cheapies - they will no way compete with the lifetime of a proper terminated bantam plug high quality cable. ( but they are 110ohm which is great)
They do fail for me every now and then, at the point where the cable meets the moulded plug.
Price is good.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Lee » Tue May 07, 2013 10:44 pm

Good point Chris, When that happened did you re-solder them or replace and did you make them?
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Hookemeister » Tue May 07, 2013 11:14 pm

They do fail for me every now and then, at the point where the cable meets the moulded plug.

That's more than likely due to being pulled out by the cord instead of gripping the plug to remove them.

Good point Chris, When that happened did you re-solder them or replace and did you make them

At $7 each.... bin them and buy some new ones.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby The Tasmanian » Wed May 08, 2013 8:22 am

Exactly - bin them, or guess the broken end and try to make a phase reverse patch cable?

More to the point of how they are pulled in and out - (I always handle via the plug) - for me, all patchleads end up in a big mix situation leaning on each other, and the weight of all of them is taken at the point where the moulded plug joins - and this is where the fault arises on the cheapies.
(often well over 200 are lying on top of each other - there is enough weight here to damage the cheapies after a lot of mixes.)
If you are only using a few at a time then there is no weight leaning on them - no issues really.

But - I would suggest get half a dozen great quality cables for main mix out/main recording chain stuff.
Use these first, and have the cheapies on hand for when you need extra.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Paul Maybury » Wed May 08, 2013 11:23 am

Hi Chris, are your patchbays vertical? I haven't had trouble with my cheapie tt's but my bay is horizontal or nearly so, being built into the desk. Which means it gets dirtier with crap falling in but the tt's don't get as strained. They only bear the weight of their own cable.
The only "fault" I have had is from engineers smoking while patching and melting the sheath!
Cheers,
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby The Tasmanian » Wed May 08, 2013 11:30 am

Mine are vertical - I'd rather no dust falling inside, so yeah more strain.
Ive gotta dig out those trannies for you Paul....
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Paul Maybury » Wed May 08, 2013 12:12 pm

That would be great Chris.
I am about to install a new (to me) console, it also has a dust collecting internal horizontal patchbay. Should be a lot better than what I currently have . One thing though, the current bay is so chintzy it lets most of the crap just fall through. Then compressed air can blow it out completely. Normals are always getting iffy and occasionally need this ;
http://www.redco.com/Vertigo-TT-INJECTOR.html
And when that doesn't work;
http://www.redco.com/Vertigo-TT-BURNISHER.html
very sparingly for regular contact points.
Cheers,
Paul
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Hookemeister » Wed May 08, 2013 2:40 pm

:-B
Normals are always getting iffy and occasionally need this ;
http://www.redco.com/Vertigo-TT-INJECTOR.html

Hey Paul be very careful with what you spray into the jacks. Make sure it evaporates and doesn't leave an oil residue as this will just attract dust, and if you're anywhere near the coast the dust will absorb the salinity that's in the air and then that's the start of corrosion.

Theoretically the normalling contacts should be self cleaning. They are designed to have a wiping action when you remove the plug and the contacts close. Always try inserting a plug in and out of the jack 10 to 20 times as this often will self clean the normalling contacts.

http://www.redco.com/Vertigo-TT-BURNISHER.html
very sparingly for regular contact points.

A burnishing tool should only be used when the patchbay or a jack has not been used for a some time.
This is usually the case with a console that's been in storage for an extended time.

In general use the repeated insertion and removal of the plug should clean the jack by it's wiping action.

If you're going to use a burnish tool, insert it into the jack and give it 2 full rotations then move onto the next jack. If this doesn't remedy the problem you may need to retension the springs.

The only "fault" I have had is from engineers smoking while patching and melting the sheath!

...and dropping ash into the bay.

If you regularly clean the patchcord plugs, keep food, liquids and cigarettes away from the patchbay, vacuum it once a week and remove patchcords and by grabbing the plug and not the cord, then you shouldn't have too many problems with it.

If the studio is near the coast and the console has a horizontally mounted patchbay then I'd highly recommend covering the bay when it's not in use.

Finally if you're having repeated problems with crackling and intermittent connections, then you may have a patchbay that has the jacks mounted on a printed circuit board.

This type of patchbay is notorious for having problems due to hairline fractures where the jacks are soldered to the PCB. There were quite a few manufactures in the 80's that used this type of patchbay... Soundworkshops, Soundcraft, etc. The problem was only made worse by the engineer jiggling the plug around trying to get a better connection.

If you have one of these consoles and it's suffering this problem, let me know and I'll do a post on how to repair it. Mind you, it's not a job for the faint hearted!

Hope this helps.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Paul Maybury » Wed May 08, 2013 5:47 pm

Hi Greg, thanks for that. Guess what console it is? A Soundworkshop Series 30. Yep, pcb mounted jacks and Molex internal connections. Horrible. The patchbay that is, the console itself is ok.
I use non lubricating contact cleaner. I thinks its basically acetone? I am always careful about spray cleaners. I don't live near the coast, so corrosion is less of a problem. I generally try to use a regular tt plug to exercise the patch points first if there is a problem, but sometimes (about once a year) they need a spray. The injector tool makes that very easy and less messy. It actually works too.
The burnisher doesn't see much use. It's abrasive and can take the plating off the sockets pretty easily! It's a last resort for patchpoints that haven't been used for a long time and don't respond to the above methods.
Oh, the joy of patchbays...Gotta have 'em though.
Have fun with that TAC Lee. Good score.
Cheers,
Paul Maybury
P.S. of course i never smoke or eat over the console......
I wish i knew where the ash, egg yolk, beard hair and food crumbs come from, but I can't be there all the time.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby dave01.cooper » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:30 pm

Will also second the advice about keeping your mic connections off the bantam bay.


Could someone elaborate a bit more on this... Why so?

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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby mylesgm » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:31 pm

All the consoles I've worked with that have patchbays have always had the mics on the patchbay. As long as you don't insert/remove whilst phantom power is on I've never had a problem so I'd like to know more about why people think this is bad and what people use instead? XLR patch bay?
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby audioio » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:34 pm

mylesgm wrote:All the consoles I've worked with that have patchbays have always had the mics on the patchbay. As long as you don't insert/remove whilst phantom power is on I've never had a problem so I'd like to know more about why people think this is bad and what people use instead? XLR patch bay?


Agreed. Perhaps normalling is more important. There's an argument for full-normalled for sure.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby gigpiglet » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:20 am

i think (and someone with more knowledge will likely chime in) the problem is that with a jack you can "short" the connection plugging it in/ out.
in doing so it can go "bang" and damage your monitors.

i imagine that further to that - its simply good practice to keep different levels of things together.
ie: power, line level, mic level, speaker level all in their right place.

you wouldnt put the outputs of your amp so you could patch in your speakers on your patch bay right? you would use speaker cable and have a switch box or some such.

same concept.

i have always made (and usually seen in other places) a separate XLR "input plate" with all the mics showing up on. separate to the line level main patch. so to me that just seems like the right thing to do - technical reason or no!
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby obutcher » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:30 pm

mylesgm wrote:XLR patch bay?


We use this too. It does take up two 2ru worth of rack space for 8 channels ( 1 in and 1 out), but it means you can easily plug microphones in with regular XLR cables and don't need to fish for extra bantam to XLR's.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby audioio » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:48 pm

gigpiglet wrote:i think (and someone with more knowledge will likely chime in) the problem is that with a jack you can "short" the connection plugging it in/ out.
in doing so it can go "bang" and damage your monitors.

That could happen if you connect a mic pre output to a line in or patch in a compressor to your insert points... all the more likely if you have a cheaper console without an insert switch. and someone might start packing up mics before you've muted all your channels or turned off the record-enables in your DAW. There are so many ways to whack your monitors, so it's more a matter of training yourself to hit those mute buttons!

I'll go out on a limb here and say I like having mic-level points on TT bays. You can normal them... which you can't do with an XLR panel. Sure, you can leave short cables patched all the time, but if you make those cables long enough to reach from one end to the other (which you might want to do sometimes), it's harder to trace them to check that the mic output is patched to the pre input below it. Whereas, with a normalled bay, if there's nothing patched you know the two points are connected.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Paul Maybury » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:18 pm

I would mostly be worried about the chance of phantom power being applied where it shouldn't.
That's why I don't wont mic pres on my main patchbay.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby dave01.cooper » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:49 am

I would mostly be worried about the chance of phantom power being applied where it shouldn't.


Prezakilly. And theoretically your whole bay is 48v 'live' so if something has phantom, just get into the habit of switching off phantom on all channels, make a bay change, phantom back on - bonza.
And the mention of damaging monitors if not muted but apart from that I don't see an issue with it...

Out of curiosity Paul, those TT cables you mentioned, is shipping relatively speedy & boxed up well? AB'd them with say a mogami variant?
Noticed that factory has hosa TT cables. around $65 RRP for a pack of 10, not a bad price. Always been slightly skeptical on hosa in any form though... Anyone tried them at all?

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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Paul Maybury » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:35 pm

Hi Dave, yes, you are right, apart from the inconvenience and risk of damage, what could go wrong?......
Those cheapie TTs arrive quickly and well packed. I have a few brands of patch cable from old Switchcraft, some newer Mogami cabled ones and the cheapies. They all sound the same. The electrons don't seem to care how much they cost. As mentioned, I haven't had a failure in 6 or so years of constant use.
Cheers,
Paul
P.S. the Hosa ones are a good price, but many people seem suspicious of Hosa cabling. I'm not sure why.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby Drumstruck » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:53 pm

re Hosa - I've found the TRS cables from Hosa provide a better fit in the socket and better plating than some of the cheaper brands...... some of the cheapies are a couple of thou' under spec so they wobble in the patchbay...... imo it's not worth trying to save a few $s per cable when you risk getting intermittent signal (preaching to the converted I know).
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby dave01.cooper » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:10 pm

Cool thanks for the info Paul. Looking at getting some only problem is the dollar shitting itself recently means they're only getting more expensive...

but many people seem suspicious of Hosa cabling. I'm not sure why.


I've heard many a tale about them failing but I've had problems with them myself. One such instance was a pack i bought of small TRS patch cables (probably 20cm from tip to tip) all seemed to have some form of corrosion or oxidization on the base of the plugs. Was quite weird. Sure they fit nicer in the points but I didn't want to touch them with a 10ft pole.
I've used the Leem TRS ones and they seem even worse than the Hosa ones but again I've used them a zillion times with only a few breakages.

Btw check your PM Paul.
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby gigpiglet » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:50 pm

i have the HOSA bantoms here
thought id take the punt cause of the price (the 10 packs someone else mentioned)
bought 4 years in, and only 2 out of 80 or so thrown away so far...

i dont usually like hosa cables (their DSUBs are definitely not to spec and i wont use)
but for the price on the bantoms, and the performance so far, ive been totally happy
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Re: Making Patch Cables?

Postby dave01.cooper » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:52 pm

That's good to know Gareth.

I might buy a pack, see how they hold up and assess from there... After all those little cables are either a make or break studio situation!
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