Consider the patchbay as the traffic controller in the world of audio engineering. When working with multiple outboard gear, it can get a little complicated to connect everything to your console in an orderly fashion and that’s where the patchbay comes into play. These devises route and organize what can be an extremely convoluted setup into something more streamlined and self-contained. If you’ve ever seen a picture from when telephones were first introduced and someone had to sit in a room connecting lines into ports in order to make calls happen, it’s the same concept. So needless to say, the patchbay’s role in a recording studio is of extreme importance. We've selected the best patchbays available today, with each one listed here offering at least 12 connections to link cables through, they're rack mountable for easy integration into studio or live rigs, and they also feature adjustable operating modes or configurations which allow you to calibrate each patchbay to best fit your routing needs.
Behringer PX3000 Ultrapatch Pro 48-Point Patchbay
Samson S Patch Plus 48-Point Patchbay
dbx PB-48 48-Point Patchbay
Hosa Technology PDR-369 Patch Module
The Behringer Ultrapatch Pro PX3000 patchbay has 48 fully-balanced patch points on TRS connectors, giving users a quick and organized way to keep their equipment rigged up via 1/4 inch connections. The unit has three different switches to choose from: Normal, which interconnects the two rear jacks of one channel; Thru, which interconnects each rear jack with its corresponding front jack; and Half Normal, which interconnects the two rear jacks of one channel. This flexibility allows for a system that you can cater to your specific cabling needs. Sporting an all-metal design to provide extreme durability, the PX3000 is a patchbay that's not only impervious to wear and tear, but also wards off messy and/or cluttered cables.
ART’s P16 patchbay features 32 XLR connectors (16 female on the front, and 16 male on the rear), making it a great addition for those in need of some cable organization in both live and studio settings. All of the connectors are made with PCB wiring, which is a reliable way to ensure that you won’t lose signal. The P16 is also quite affordable, making it ideal for those working within a budget as well as those who are looking to purchase their first patchbay. The unit’s reversible rack ears also give you more flexibility when you’re installing it in tight or constrained spaces. The P16 also comes with a three-year warranty, so you can rest assured that if anything does go wrong, you’ll be covered.
The Samson S-Patch Plus provides a clear and organized way to keep all of your equipment connected together as well as to your console. With 48 points available, you can pick and choose just how you want to run your cables. Three modes (normal, half-normal, and through) also give you the option to choose how you want to connect things via the 48 patches. The unit is also built to be extremely durable, so you can take it on the road or use it in the recording studio without worrying about doing any significant damage to the build of the patchbay.
Like many of its peers, the dbx PB48 offers 48 patch points to connect outboard gear to and from your console. It splits 24 pairs up onto 24 cards. Each card or pair can be set to one of three configurations (normal, half-normal, or de-normalled/thru). Unlike many of the other patchbays available on the market, the PB48 also has pure nickel/silver alloy self-cleaning contacts, which ensure both the signal and the actual surface of the patchbay will remain tidy. Now you can route a large number of cables without the headaches and hassles that typically accompanies such a large amount of wiring.
The Hosa PDR-369 patchbay offers a simple and convenient way to connect and organize up to 12 XLR cables. The unit comes with female XLR connections on the front and male XLR connections on the back, but its reversible design means that you can set it whatever way you’d like. The unit’s tough metal chassis makes it a great candidate to take on the road, but this unit is also good for studio use. The PDR-369’s shielded, oxygen-free copper conductors also help to boost signal clarity. Meanwhile, the gold-plated contacts have been put into place to prevent corrosion as well as to increase the fidelity of the signal.