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FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / had to move a few cables........................

Contributing Member

St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Nov 18th, 2017 01:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

So I started rooting them out and changing things around.Now I have my whole recording setup torn down and unhooked from everything else.
I built my desk and setup 2 years ago and it took a while to get it figured out. Now I'm going back and trying to fix some of the " mistakes" I made setting it up then. Between 2 computers and a pile of synths both software and hardware getting all this stuff to talk to each other is about to drive me nuts.

I'd love to just do everything out of one computer and get away from the hardware stuff but some of the older synths and processors are capable of sounds etc. that I can't give up.
Anybody else go through this? Or am I the only loony who does?

Oh well, at least I get to clean cable ends and inputs and reconfigure a lot of stuff.

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Nov 19th, 2017 04:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have built and wired 3 studios in the past and will be doing another one after I get my construction on the room finished. I did them all with Mogami multi-channel snake cable. I terminated everything in patch bays so I could have endless options without having to crawl around behind the racks in order to re-patch something.

It took me awhile but, before I ever started running cables I configured my racks in a way that made sense wiring wise. Put all of the MIDI sound modules in one group, signal processing in another, etc. That way when everything goes to the patch bays everything stays together.

Next thing I did was to take a detailed photograph of the rear of each rack so that I could see exactly what the inputs and output options were on each device. You could do the same thing by getting all of the device's manuals out but I decided that was a lot of busy work. I still had to do that to a certain degree just to make sure if the connections were balanced or unbalanced on the devices that I wasn't sure about.

I put together an Excel spreadsheet that listed all of the locations in my patch bay and what device's inputs and output went where. As with the racks I put similar devices in specific group locations in the patch bay. I decided which wires needed to be balanced TRS (tip, ring sleeve, plugs) or XLR and which could be just TS (tip, sleeve). Then, on another page in the same spreadsheet labeled each location on the patch bay by what type of connection it would need to be and how many wires would be used. Then I ordered the snake cable since I had an idea of how many lines I needed to run and what the distance from the racks was to be. Then I added 20% to that length just to cover any mistakes I may have made with my calculations or if I decided to change something around while doing the wiring. Since I had already figured out which snake channels needed a balanced or unbalanced wire configuration I knew what kind and how many plugs I needed as well so, I ordered the plugs. I also ordered a number of different colors of different sized shrink-wrap tubing to reinforce the snake cable at both, the ends coming out of the jacks, and, a larger size where the multiple wires come out of both ends of the snake.

Once I got the cable and plugs I cut it into the lengths I would need and proceeded to start the soldering process of putting plugs on the ends of the cables after stripping back the sheath from the outside of the snakes in order to get the proper lengths on the pigtails.

On every snake I put the same color of large shrink wrap on each end of the snake where the multiple pigtails come out. I used a different color on each snake. The function of this was intended for strain relief but the unique color made it easy to identify later if I have to chase down a problem. Then I started soldering the jacks to the pigtails using my spreadsheet to document what color shrink-wrap was on each pigtail on each of the snake ends. I also documented what color wires were used in each snake channel wire set.

I was meticulous documenting and testing each and every connection as I went along and when I was finished every single connection worked without having to repair it and I had highly detailed a record of every connection in the patch bay and at the racks.

I cannot tell you how happy I was that I decided to document the colors of shrink wrap on everything and what color wires I used. Years later if I needed to change something around all I had to do was pull up my spreadsheet and look to see what went where and move it changing the document as I did it. There is no substitute for planning ahead of time. It takes longer but, once the soldering started I knew exactly what I was doing and there was zero guesswork. That extra time spent was well worth the effort.

Contributing Member

St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Nov 19th, 2017 01:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's a pretty detailed design for a studio. I'll bet it's great to have a schematic to check out as you go.
The patchbay route is something I haven't gotten into yet but it seems after I get something that's workable there is always something that I wish I had routed differently or was changeable after the fact.
I guess there's something to be said for doing it right.
Patch bays and shrink-wrap here I come. Might be handy for pulling a rack out for gigging as well. Always seems to create havoc when that happens.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member

Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Nov 19th, 2017 01:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

Nice detail there in ninworks! I did the same thing with making an excel spreadsheet detailing where each socket on the patch bays went. The only way to truly understand how everything is wired is to do it yourself.

I helped re-wire a studio last year where the guy who had set it all up, left. Leaving no one who really understood how everything was patched. We disconnected every cable in that place and re-patched the whole thing. Only took us about 2 weeks, but we both understood exactly how everything worked after that. We also fixed some things that made no sense at all too.

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Nov 19th, 2017 03:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Might be handy for pulling a rack out for gigging as well."

Absolutely! When I was gigging as a sound tech I always put a 48 point patch bay in the front of the racks at the bottom. That handled all of the connection points for everything in that rack. The only thing that came out of the back of the racks was the power cable.

I made snakes to connect the racks to the mixer as well with enough slack to fit any kind of setup placement scenario I might encounter. Playing in clubs I never knew what kind of space would be available for my setup. Its a whole lot easier and neater to coil up extra snake cable than it is 50, or more, individual cables. It also keeps the dreaded spider web effect, where all of the cables are tangled up, to a minimum.

I attached Velcro wire ties to the top of the inside rear of the racks so I could hang the snake cables for transport. Nice and neat and the pigtails were never tangled up when I had to set it all up again. A huge time saver at setup time. The stage to booth snake had it's own case. I used a black, fiber, bass drum case for it. 32 channel, 100 ft. snake with 8 returns was too big to put into anything else.

My new studio will be a breeze to wire since most of my sound modules and effects devices are now built right into the software. That eliminates lots of cabling. I still have a couple of synths, MIDI sound modules, and pieces of outboard gear, but, nothing like I used to.

FDP Data Goon

We all want

our time in hell
Nov 19th, 2017 06:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

The patchbay is huge. I still have to diagnose *something* every year or two and dread it, but it's been in a spreadsheet since I ordered the patchbay a decade+ ago.

I *don't* want to go all in the box if I can help it - been burned by upgrades, "this doesn't work in the new OS", etc. too many times to count now. Only the bare minimum is ITB, for stuff that, well, I can't afford outside like some of the stupid expensive mastering gear. I also like actual knobs for preamps and the like as well, and half my rack stuff doesn't even have a MIDI option!

FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / had to move a few cables........................

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