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  • Normalized, half-normalized or open?

    I was just reading through the most recent patchbay thread, and I thought it would be better just to start a new thread on this.

    What exactly is the difference between normalized, half-normalized and open? In which circumstances would you need to use these different wiring configurations? Thanks guys!
    "Infinite patience produces immediate results," - Unknown

    "Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished." - Confucius

  • #2
    This is my understanding:

    Let's say you have a patchbay with three pairs (top and bottom). Pair 1 on the top is normalled, where the top is the direct out from channel 1 of a mixer, and the bottom is track 1 input of a multitrack. Pair 2 is half normalled, where the top is the direct out from channel 2 of a mixer, and the bottom is track 2 input of a multitrack. Pair 3 is open, where the bottom is connected to the input of a compressor and the top is the output of the compressor.

    Full normalled: if you insert a cable into either the top or the bottom of the patch pair, the signal is interrupted until you complete the circuit. For example, in pair 1, without inserting a patch cable, the signal flows from mixer channel 1 direct out directly to the track 1 input. If you want to insert a compressor into the path, you connect a patch cable to the top - taking the signal from the mixer channel 1 - and put the other end of the patch cable into the input of your compressor. That patch cable interrupts the flow of the signal to the track 1 in - and the signal won't return until you connect a cable from the output of your compressor to the bottom - the track 1 input - of the patch pair.

    Half normalled - same as above, except that when you put a cable in the top of the patch pair, the signal is not interrupted. This allows you to mult a signal - for example, if you put a cable in the top of the Pair 2 and put it into the input of a compressor. Now, connect a cable from the compressor output to the bottom of the Pair 1. You will now be recording the uncompressed signal from mixer channel 2 out to track 2 input(because the normal signal is not interrupted), and the compressed signal from mixer channel 2 to track input 1.

    Open - the top and bottom of the patch pair are not connected to one another, as they are in the normalled or half-normalled setup. This is good for compressor inputs and outputs, for example, where if the top and bottom were linked, you'd get a feedback loop. In the example, compressing the signal from channel 1 is as easy as connecting the top of pair 1 to the bottom of pair 3, then returning the signal from the compressor to the track input by connecting the top of pair 3 to the bottom of pair 1.

    To record the signal compressed and uncompressed at the same time from channel 2, connect the top of pair 2 to the bottom of pair 3 (compressor input), the top of pair 3 (compressor output) to the bottom of pair 1. Track 1 is the compressed signal from mixer channel 2. Track 2 is getting the uncompressed signal from mixer channel 2.

    Hope that makes sense.
    -------------------------------------
    My songs

    WINNER: BONOMAN POST OF THE DAY AWARD 12/23/2004

    My bass gear: 1988 GK800RB; 1992 Eden 2x10; Ashdown ABM C115-500 combo with MAG 210T extension cabinet; Lakland 55-01; Corvette Rockbass fretless 5er; MIM Jazz; mid-80s Fretless Jazz Special with EMGs; Turser Beatle bass; FrankenPJbass

    My guitar gear: Tech21 TM60; Vox Pathfinder 15R; 1958 Gretsch 6120; mid-90s MIM Strat; Danelectro Electric 12; 1974 Martin D-35 with K and K Trinity mic/pickup; late 90s Seagull S6+ folk with Baggs Dual Source mic/pickup; 2002 Deluxe American Strat; 2002 Taylor 314

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    • #3
      It should also be pointed out that the term for a patchbay is "normalled", not "normalized"...

      -Duardo

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      • #4
        Thanks for the great explanation flatcat... So, a couple things I want to confirm.

        On the first pair you described, the normalized pair, the mixer output is already connected to the multi-track input unless you choose to break the signal to insert something. So if you just wanted to do a direct send from the mixer to the multi-track without altering it, you would not have to patch the two together manually, as they are already connected? Is that right?

        Any devices that you do not want to be permanently connected should be in open mode. Correct?

        Wow, now that I know this, I can see why it would be worth spending the extra cash to get a patchbay with the 'normalled, semi-normalled, and open' selection switches on the front!
        "Infinite patience produces immediate results," - Unknown

        "Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished." - Confucius

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        • #5
          Think of it this way: in the back, you have cables connecting all your gear to the patchbay the way it would normally be connected. In the front is where you can change the routing.

          Think of normalled as the path that the signal 'normally' follows (at least that's how I think of it). That's where the connections in the back come in. In the example I wrote, say, for patch pair 1 - the mixer out for channel 1 to the multitrack track 1 input - basically, you take a cable from the mixer out and plug it in in the back top. You take a cable from the back bottom and plug it into the track 1 input. That's it - the signal path now flows magically from the mixer to the bay to the track 1 input. Unless you interrupt it on the front.

          You're using the patchbay to alter the flow of the signal path to where you want it to go. It allows you a lot of flexibility in terms of tracking and mixing.

          That said - when I set up my patchbay setup, it took me a couple of days of reading through the manuals for all my gear and really trying to figure out what I could do to make my work process better. It's not an easy thing, at least it wasn't for me. At the end of the day, though, it's time well spent.
          -------------------------------------
          My songs

          WINNER: BONOMAN POST OF THE DAY AWARD 12/23/2004

          My bass gear: 1988 GK800RB; 1992 Eden 2x10; Ashdown ABM C115-500 combo with MAG 210T extension cabinet; Lakland 55-01; Corvette Rockbass fretless 5er; MIM Jazz; mid-80s Fretless Jazz Special with EMGs; Turser Beatle bass; FrankenPJbass

          My guitar gear: Tech21 TM60; Vox Pathfinder 15R; 1958 Gretsch 6120; mid-90s MIM Strat; Danelectro Electric 12; 1974 Martin D-35 with K and K Trinity mic/pickup; late 90s Seagull S6+ folk with Baggs Dual Source mic/pickup; 2002 Deluxe American Strat; 2002 Taylor 314

          Comment


          • #6
            Sweet, I definitely get it then! Thanks again for your explanation. This has totally changed my thoughts about which patchbay I should buy, and what I should look for in terms of features!
            "Infinite patience produces immediate results," - Unknown

            "Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished." - Confucius

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