Looking for a high-quality patch bay for your home studio? We've put together a list of the top four contenders. The line-up includes the Samson S-Patch Plus, ART P48, Switchcraft StudioPatch, and ART P16. Let's jump in and explore their unique features, intended users, pros, and cons.
Samson S-Patch Plus TRS Patch Bay - Front Switches ($139)
The Samson S-Patch Plus Patch Bay is a fully balanced, 48-point 1U patch bay with 1/4” TRS connectors. Its versatility shines through its three modes of operation: normal, half-normal, and thru.
The unit has a signal level range of -10dB to +4dB. Its frequency response is 5Hz to 100kHz with a tolerance of +/- 0.5dB. It also provides low noise and is built to last, weighing only 3.8 lbs. For reference, these are great specs.
Ideal for beginners and professional audio engineers, the Samson S-Patch Plus has user-friendly front panel switches to change operation modes. Setup is easy with routing diagrams on the top panel.
The position of the mode switches on this home studio patch bay are a potential downside. They're accessible but this increases the chances of toggling a mode switch by accident.
ART P48 TRS Patch Bay - Rear Switches ($129)
The ART P48 TRS Patch Bay is a 1U balanced audio patch bay with 1/4" TRS connectors. It operates at a signal level of -10dB to +4dB. This patch bay has a frequency response of 10Hz to 50kHz. It offers switches that allow you to toggle between normal mode and half-normal mode.
Each set of TRS jacks operate in through mode automatically when you connect a 1/4" TRS connector to both the top and bottom jack on the front of the panel—meaning there's no "thru" mode switch. Weighing in at 4.5 lbs, the P48's durable steel chassis makes it a home patch bay that will last for decades.
This patch bay offers simplicity. The push-button switches between normal and half-normal mode are situated on the rear, keeping them out of the way. Its design is durable and simple, and it performs well, making these characteristics its standout pros.
Nonetheless, some users might find the placement of the mode selection switches on the unit's rear inconvenient. It's difficult to toggle the switches once you've plugged in all your music production gear.
The main difference between the Samson S-Patch Plus and the ART P48 is the position of the mode switches. Do you want switches on the front of your device? If so, choose the Samson model. On the other hand, if you want switches on the back, go with the ART P48.
Switchcraft StudioPatch 9625 TT Patch Bay ($1,209)
The Switchcraft StudioPatch 9625 is a versatile bantam patch bay. It is designed to integrate into both analog and digital patch bay environments. It is simple to use and adaptable for any recording environment.
This device connects to audio interfaces using DB-25 cables. It has 48 channels, or 96 points, of TT (Bantam) jacks. Each one of the two 48-point groups has its own DB-25 input and output. As a result, this is a popular DB-25 patch bay.
This TT patch bay has adjustable configuration modes. You can easily modify the settings to suit your studio's needs using a flathead screwdriver. These modes include full-normal, half-normal, and non-normal.
Its capacity to pass phantom power to condenser microphones is an advantage. This patch bay is 1U rack-mounted. It enables you to form twice as many connections as the other patch bays on the list.
The ideal user for the Switchcraft StudioPatch 9625 is a studio owner with plenty of outboard processing gear. TT patch bays are more common in commercial studios than home studios because they are more expensive. However, if price is not a factor, this is one of the best patch bays on the market.
The ability to easily switch modes and the concise labeling system are other great features. Pairing this device with high-quality snake cables can improve its performance. Clean wiring and dependable connections are the benefits of this setup.
Reviewers have suggested adding cable management brackets to the back of the unit. This would reduce strain on the D-SUB connectors.
The 9625 is highly praised for its build quality and reliability. Although, transitioning to this patch bay model could require significant changes to your current studio's setup. This could be a potential drawback for some users.
ART P16 Balanced XLR Patchbay ($99)
The ART P16 Balanced XLR Patchbay is a 16 channel patch bay. It enables you to connect up to 16 microphones or other XLR-enabled devices. For the most part, you'll be hard pressed to find anything smaller, like an 8 channel patch bay.
This is a great addition to a TRS or TT patch bay and making the connection is simple. You have two options: Use female XLR to male 1/4" TRS cables. Combine female XLR to male TRS connectors with male to female XLR cables.
The P16 is suitable for professionals such as sound engineers and musicians. It can manage multiple sound sources, which is ideal for large home studios, commercial recording studios, and live concerts. It makes managing multiple sound sources a lot easier.
If you find yourself constantly plugging and unplugging XLR cables from your audio interface, an XLR patch bay is essential; it's cheaper to replace an XLR patch bay than it is to service the worn out XLR jacks on an expensive Apollo x8 interface.
Finding the right patch bay for your home studio involves understanding your specific requirements and budget. Whether you're a beginner dipping your toes into audio engineering or a seasoned professional in need of versatile configuration options, there's a product a part of this gear roundup to meet your needs.
The Samson S-Patch Plus, ART P48, Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1, Switchcraft StudioPatch 9625, and ART P16 are all audio patch bays. Each patch bay offers unique features and caters to a variety of users. Be sure to consider the technical specifications, pros, and cons of each before making your decision. The right equipment can enhance your music production workflow, making the investment to upgrade to a patch bay studio well worth it.
Need help getting your new gear set up? Watch the following video to learn how to set up and use a patch bay.