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The simplest way to interconnect a large digital audio installation is to use a patchfield. This is a passive system based on a standardised connector format and intended for connecting various equipment in a studio, but without the need for repatching while sound is active.

The first decision is what number of channels to have as the patching unit. An AES/EBU signal is a stereo pair on an XLR connector so two channels is the smallest unit. However this soon becomes unwieldy in use. A more conveniently sized unit is four pairs of Input and four pairs of Output on a 25 way D-type connector. This format was originally introduced by Tascam and has been adopted by many other manufacturers.

In a D-type patching system all Digital Audio in a studio is brought to a central panel with female D-type connectors on it. Equipment with discrete XLR AES/EBU connectors are grouped with 8 core cable to one connector, equipment already in the Tascam format is kept as is with a male to female 8 core cable. Large equipment with multiway connectors, eg SSL digital consoles with 24 pair connectors, are split it smaller connectors. Any group of 8 channels may be connected to any other group on the patch panel using a male to male crossover cable.

Only two types of free cable are required: a male to male crossover in convenient lengths and a male D-Type to XLR breakout cable. This greatly simplifies the studio cable stock and troubleshooting.

We can custom design and build a digital patching system to suit your requirements and have experience with complex interfacing of SSL Digital consoles with hard disk recorders and Pro Tools systems. Please enquire.

Last updated: 18 March 2006