Tech Tip:Studio Maintenance

By Dennis Kambury


The joy of getting new gear is inevitably followed by the question of how to integrate that new marvel into your existing rack. After the recent addition of an Echo Layla 24/96 to my system, I realized that over the last couple years the backside of my once orderly gear racks had become a jumbled mass of cable spaghetti. In trying to trace a tangled patch, I decided that enough was enough - it was time to clean house!


Divide And Conquer


The first problem I needed to address was layout - as new gear was added, I'd put it into an existing rack space. As the system grew, effects were racked up with pre-amps, CD players with patch bays, and disorderly confusion took hold. There was only one way to make sense of the mess - make bigger one! I unplugged and unscrewed gear until all the cables, cords, power supplies, and rack modules found a temporary new home on my studio floor.
Then with pen in hand, I sketched a new, more sensible layout for the mixing desk - inputs and patching on the left, effects and recording on the right, and a few spaces in-between for future growth. I added four new patch bays - three balanced Furman
PB-48s and one Behringer PX2000 - to make everything accessible from one location, and started re-wiring.


Getting Wired


To keep the back of my racks free of spaghetti, I organized the cables with hooks and Velcro ties, keeping each cable type (clock, MIDI, audio, video, etc.) as separate as possible from the others. I took extra care to keep analog audio and power cables away from each other to avoid induced hum. I needed a few more audio snakes to get everything routed through the patch bays, but end result was worth it. Everything is now where I expect it to be, and any piece of gear can be instantly patched into any other piece.