Patch Bay/Routing solutions?

There’s a 64 point teac RCA patchbay on eBay right now for $60 (but shipping is pretty high).

There were some Tascam branded RCA patch bays that are actually normalled, I’m guessing the Teac isn’t though.

This BNC read/1/4" front RGB video patchbay looks great:

I assume you could use single patch points for a composite signal and the RGB groups are jsut a visual reference. If I ws in the market for a patchbay for video I’d be jumping on that myself.

Matrix switches are great but they’re usually only 8x8 and that can be a bit limiting, plus the prices have gon up a lot from what I’ve seen recently.

EDIT: this looks really nice, toon but I’m pretty sure those are Bantam/TT jacks on the front, and you don’t want to go there unless you have a lot of money to spend.

Used longframe patchbays are a REALLY good value, but Bantam style patch cables can get pretty expensive. There are some Hosa cables that are around $10-$12 each, but it’s really easy to pay as much as $40 for a single short, used cable when you get into the higher quality stuff. I don’t mess with it, 1/4" is fine for me.

I saw that! Sadly these are much harder to come by in Scotland…

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Yeah shipping and VAT really makes it less of a value.

I’ve been digging into the long frame patchbay world this month (I pcked up a few nearly free years aog but only recently got into a situation where it was worht all of the effort to actually solder them up), maybe the answer is to go that route but get the parts separately? Find a cheap 1/4" lonframe patchbay locally and then source some of those BNC to 1/4" jacks somewhere? I don’t know how easy they are to find now, but normalling, 1/4", long frame, TRS, Switchcraft jacks are only about $5 NEW from what I was seeing, which is pretty cheap for how nice they are. I bet if you could find some used BNC rear to 1/4" front long frame jacks they’d be relatively cheap to ship overseas and not very expensive. You could get a few at a time, mount them on the front panel of any cheap 1/4" longframe patchbay (and sell the old jacks to help cover the cost, maybe) and you wouldn’t even need to solder like you do with audio jacks.

If you find one with the cables still soldered on the back you can salvage all of that to make patch cables. One of the $20 patchbays I’ve been lugging around also came with 42 1 meter pieces of Mogami cable on the back as a little bonus.

EDIT: cut out some of the bad info. Al of these use MVJ-3 jacks for patching, which is something I wasn’t familiar with since I mostly do audio. Still, VERY cheap used, even with overseas shipping. Here’s another one:

I don’t know how much MVJ-3 cables cost; I do know there are BNC to MVJ-3 adapters, so using one of these patchbays with cheap Monoprice BNC cables could be a really viable option.

EDIT: “midsize plug” is the patch cable format and they’re really expensive, of course. No sruprise considering those patchbays still retail for $1000-$2000 if you get them from a regular vendor instead of eBay.

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Beyond impedance problems (which really can start to stack up), a patch bay set-up with audio bays can introduce termination issues as well (depending on what gear you have and how you set it all up). That being said, there seem to be plenty of examples of people using audio patch bays without trouble though, so it can definitely work.

FWIW, I’ve set up a video patch bay at a space I help run, using professional WECO video patch bays. I found some Canare units for next to nothing on Ebay and they came with the patch cables. I also built a lot of the backend cabling myself.

My experience with it has been mixed. Spent a lot of time setting it all up only to realize after using it for a while all the improvements I need to make to it. Really, now, I am likely to strip it down to something much simpler since I am mostly using my LZX modular rig these days (and most guests doing visuals bring their own gear).

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Thanks so much for all the suggestions and tips/info here. Even if I don’t personally end up using them all right now, this kind of stuff is invaluable for folks getting into video work in the future. I spent ages reading back on all the old threads on scanlines, and it’s a great resource. It would be awesome to develop an increasingly lively online community around video art, as I have tons of questions ha.

Buying stuff from overseas isn’t a huge deal for me for the right thing, but the issue is generally customs/import fees. That can slap an extra 30% onto the total cost, which is tricky.

@sean I don’t really understand the impendance thing with regards to video anyway if I’m honest. My knowledge of engineering/physics is limited. Similarly: when you say termination issues, do you mean that it would eventually just drop out?

For now that 8x8 Matrix switcher I got, combined with the Edirol v4 and the inputs/outputs on my other gear should give me enough flexibility, but I’m going to consider the other patching solutions in the future.

p.s. That setup is awesome! Is it a live music space or something similar? I’m trying to find ways I can stack some of my gear, but most of it doesn’t have rack ears, and all the circuit bent devices have buttons and knobs all over the tops too which makes it tricky.

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Yes, a live music/performance space: Betalevel. Though it has effectively been a studio/storage space for last ~21 months since hosting public events in a poorly ventilated basement has not really been a good idea.

My technical knowledge is a bit limited too. The way I understand it (which could be wrong) is that impedance mismatches are a little like connecting two pipes of different sizes. Whereas termination issues (generally some variation of having a cable connected to basically nothing) are like having a pipe that ends at a brick wall.

The first can often mostly be ignored, causing minor reflections that are not visible unless you’re running long cables or have lots of connections (as one would indeed have in a patch bay). Whereas, depending on device, an improperly terminated output can create serious distortion issues on other outputs.

One doesn’t typically run into too many termination problems until setting up something like a patch bay, where things are perma-connected. At least I never did.

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This is the video patchbay I have which I bought off eBay a little over a year ago. It’s in one of my racks and works great in my setup. Sorry I don’t have a pic handy. Only problem is that the cables can be tricky to find but I got lucky on eBay with those as well.


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Got a Kramer 8x8 and it is awesome. Here is the current video rig now:

Still waiting on a few cables to arrive to patch in some more of the inputs, but other than that it is sweeet. I am half tempted to get a second one to allow me to do some REALLY crazy routing, but that would be overkill. I might keep an eye out mind.

Thanks for the help!

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HAWT! :fire:

…nice - not necessarily portable though…

…i see a VMX410 on the first shelf left in there - do you have a manual for that? - i have the machine, but unfortunately no manual, so the machine is mostly unusable…

:see_no_evil: :hear_no_evil: :speak_no_evil:

…yeah - that is about what i thought it would look like…

…at the moment i am trying to build a setup for live-streaming ( ambioSonics live - Glockenbachwerkstatt München - YouTube ) and parallel onsite video planing to fit most of the stuff into (Thomann) racks for easier transport and faster setup - like i did with the synths and stuff for our monthly sessions: http://www.ambiosonics.de/

Portable wasn’t a requirement for me :slight_smile:

Well spotted on the 410. I’m not sure about the manual. I will take a looksee! I only use it as a TBC, so haven’t futzed about with the wipes or anything.

…great! - thank you very much…

…regarding portability: i think rather sooner than later we all want to go out there and show what we‘re doing with the direct feedback that only a live-audience can provide…

Aye. Don’t get me wrong - I play live. The rig above you linked above though is my studio setup, and not designed or intended to be portable for shows. For playing live I take select pieces depending on what visuals I am doing, rather than the full booner. In those scenarios, the Edirol v4 tends to be the main mixer, since I don’t need complex routing. If I do though, the Kramer switch coupled with some other gear is fine to take - it’s just a 1u rack unit I think, which isn’t unusual. In all honesty, even if I was to take my entire analogue video rig, it would still be more portable than the shit I end up having to take when I tour with the bands I play music in (!). There are more portable Kramer switches available though if you need complex routing with buffered multiple outs. Just a matter of keeping an eye out for them.

…yep, that is what i‘ll most probably be doing too - tear apart the bigger stationary setup…

…nevertheless i am trying to plan and build my ‚studio‘-setup also mainly rackmounted (eg. a couple of Panasonic ES-10s as TBCs and circuit bent video-mixers mounted onto rack shelves) to hopefully make it easier for me to switch between the studio- and the live-setup by just grabbing and re-plugging pre-wired racks…we‘ll see only later if it actually works out as i plan it now…

…i just remembered: somewhere i read that there are several TBC-modes in the VMX410 and also some kind of a reset code for the TBC…if that is really the case having a manual might also be useful to you (unless you know those codes by heart)…

…i have found the source (again): 'Video Tech VMX410' vision mixer .... Full TBC .....'dropouts'... discuss! - VideoHelp Forum

We only convert to XLR for long distances, that is over 3 meters up to 12 meters (then we use a 20m BNC cable. The same dirty cable that was used by Boiler Room Berlin, by the way).

We had a show last night where 2 CRT TVs were connected with adapter cables like these:

XLR cables are supposedly better at shielding the signal from interferences than composite cables (and most of our composite cables are very low-quality). We often play in spaces filled with electric devices of all kinds so we think about that. On the other hand, any kind of adapter may introduce issues on its own, and adapters quality will vary, so that’s another potential issue. BNC cables would be better on long distances but they are expensive (and BNC-RCA adapters are often shitty…see here or here). When you are on a low budget it’s a bit of the lesser of the evils.

(I was re-reading this thread and I noticed I never replied this, sorry)