05 March 2009

Apollo Studio Cabling (Part 4)

I'm still very busy cabling. By now I'm done with all power and midi cabling. And also all digital synthesizers that have USB are connected and most digital synthesizers over SPDIF are connected. But still lots of work is to be done. In the picture you see a mobile 19" rack that I use as connection islands. In total I have three of these throughout the studio. In these racks you see some patchpanels for balanced and unbalanced audio, some DI boxes to go from unbalanced to balanced, an AD/DA convertor, a midi interface, a midi patchbay and a box to transfer ADAT over UTP. In this way I can connect all analog audio and midi cables to the nearest island to keep the cables as short as possible.

In the picture on the right you see a picture of this rack from the top. The red cabling you see are balanced audio cables going from the back of the DI boxen to the patch panel. The multicables you see are going to the Lynx Aurora 16 AD/DA convertors that are in my main desk. So in this island I can chose to either connect a synthesizers audio output to the local AD/DA convertor that is a Behringer AD8000 or connect it to the Aurora 16. This makes the setup very flexibel of course. In the bottom of this rack is all the midi cabling, but that is a bit hard to see. On the top patchpanel I can connect all the unbalanced audio now coming from the synthesizers. I can chose to run them through a DI box to make the signal balanced (decouple it) or connect it directly.

Here you see another of these Islands racks in place. You can see the rack is on wheels which is very convinient since I can easily move it forward if I need to be on the back of the rack. As you can see they are positioned right above the cabling guiding system in the floor for easy access there as well. I put them righ above one of the outlets where it can get power and also UTP connection to the main desk right away. In this way I can connect every thing with a maximum of 3 meter cable where in the past I used to have 15 meter cables running through my studio and I can tell you that gets very messy. I also try to make cables fit to length as much as possible by cutting them on the right length and resoldering the plugs. Unfortunately this is not possible for all cables.

I get a lot of questions how much cabling I still need to do. Well you can see the crates in the picture on the right. They are all filled with cables that I pulled from my old studio upstairs. So most of these will have to go back in downstairs as well. And yes that is still a lot :) But I don't mind it is fun everything something new starts working again. Usually I test everything right away on a synthesizer I connect. And I need to pay attention not to play around with them too long. That slows work down a lot, but is fun of course :) But it is better to find problems right away that find that out on the end of the run and then do debugging. Once you just laid a cable you still know which one it is, but after a couple of weeks this gets harder and harder and usually it is also more difficult to reach since you put a lot of other ones on top. Just the other day I was very happy that I use this method, because I had a broken midi cable. That would otherwise have costed me a lot of time to find out afterwards. OK that's all for today. I you have any questions by the way feel free to E-mail me.

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