Tuesday, 20 May 2014

GTK Studio Telephone Exchange Project Part One

So here’s the thing. I’ve got a good few synths and effects units, as well as a couple of really nice mixers now and I really want to get the best possible use out of all of them. But I don’t want to be wasting time and trying my short-lined patience levels having to reach round the backs of things hooking up a synth to a flanger or a signal generator to a digital delay. Yes, my Peavey mixing console has 6 auxillary sends, but I have more then 6 effects units. My answer, and probably  a very obvious one to recording folk the world over, is to put together a patching system that incorporates everything so that I can route everything, using, as the title of this post suggests, a telephone exchange type set up.
My thinking and, hopefully, execution of this latest ingenious plan of mine has been inspired by the patch bay set up that I saw in the studio of Ben “Benge” Edwards back in 2011 (see HERE). In an interview he did with the rather splendid Metamatic website, he explained that the equipment in his studio is “connected up to a big patch bay, the idea being that you can then use short patch cords to make connections between things, and you can combine them together in interesting ways. For example, if you want to play a Minimoog synth through an MXR flanger and then put that sound through a tape delay and then send the result to a compressor and distortion box, then you don't need to scrabble about round the back of the equipment and change all the leads around, they are all ready connected to the patch bay, so you can just use four short cables and you have a brand new set of sounds. Everything is labelled up on the patch bay using a number code and then there is a sheet with all the relevant instruments and effects units.
This is exactly the type of thing I want and, I suppose, need for my little studio to work to it’s maximum capacity.
I have to tell you that this project is daunting stuff as I don’t have a brain that sees logical pathways, and the thought of all that cabling!!! However, the means will certainly justify the ends and the creative potential really is just too powerful to resist.
Thanks to my good pal Ross Lamond I now have a couple of extra patch bays to add to my existing Behringer one, so I now have the means to create this little behemoth of a set up. The idea is to route everything, including auxillary sends, using the patch bays in the afore-mentioned telephone exchange manner – think of it as East Cheam (Roland Juno-D) being connected to Piccadilly (Alesis NanoVerb) via Stepney (Behringer Ultra Flanger) on something of a party line.
As it stands at the moment, the 3 patch bays currently reside in my main rack under the Peavey console. I’m contemplating taking them and the AMT8 MIDI interface out of the rack and putting them into a 4U metal case and placing that ABOVE the Peavey on a stand or wall brackets. That’ll give me better access to the telephone exchange rather than having to bend down or get on my knees when I want to [lay around with routing (I’m not old but I’m getting any younger!!!).
Here’s a picture of the current set up:
Next installment coming soon!!!

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