10 Best Patchbays for Home Studio Recording [Buying Guide]

Best Patchbay for Home Studio RecordingLet’s get you connected with the best patchbay for home studio recording.

There are a number of patchbays to choose from, so in this guide we’ll take a look at a handful, and narrow down our choices by our final analysis.

By the end of this post, you will know which patchbay is right for you.

Quick answer: We’ve updated this post to include 5 more options. But we still consider the Samson S-Patch Plus to be the best bet for home studio owners, followed up by the Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1.

Let’s take a closer look at the rest of them, going over a few details, and getting to our final decision 🙂


Table of Contents

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Patch Bay Buying Guide

What is a patchbay?

A patchbay is all about convenience…

… particularly to the studio owner with a growing gear collection, or who needs an easy way to manage lots of connections.

Sometimes spelled patch bay” or “patch panel,” (Wiki links) it’s an electronic device that allows you to rout incoming audio signals to any one of several physical outputs.

They are typically used in recording studios and PA systems, where you might need to make it easy to route various audio sources to any available signal processing devices.

Patch bays also reduce the wear and tear associated with repeatedly plugging in and pulling out audio cable connectors, like microphone cables of studio monitor cables. As an added benefit, they help reduce–if not totally eliminate–the need to frequently reach behind racks in order to connect a new piece of studio equipment or to track down and repair broken cable connections.

What features should you look for in a patch bay?

At the very least, you will want a patch bay that supports all three standard modes:

  • normal
  • half-normal
  • and thru

This will give you enough flexibility to handle most studio applications. (More on what those terms mean at Recording.com)

Patch bays are typically fitted with TRS jacks, which will accommodate most types of audio equipment. Depending on your needs however, you may opt for patch bays that have XLR, RCA, mono TS, or some other type of connector. TT or “tiny telephone” jacks are favored for their small size, which allows you more patch points in a standard 19” rack unit.

How to choose a patch bay

When choosing a patch bay, the most important consideration is the number of inputs and outputs available. Even if you only have a handful of equipment that you want to patch in, it’s a good idea to invest in a patch bay that has more I/O than you need right now.

This will ensure that you are able to accommodate future equipment purchases or acquisitions.

Connectors are more than a matter of aesthetics. RCAs might seem like a good idea, but keep in mind that they are not capable of passing balanced signals. You will then be unable to incorporate equipment with balanced inputs such as a mic pre or a mixer. Most RCA-equipped patch bays are also closed configuration devices, reducing your connectivity options.

If your studio is short on space, TT-equipped patch bays might be worth considering. In addition to providing you with more patch points, they also give you more configuration options via the rear solder points they are typically fitted with.


Best Patchbays for Home Studio Recording

Now let’s take a look at some patch bays that we recommend. Remember to read the Final thoughts section for the final verdict.


Samson S-Patch Plus

Samson S-patch

Compare Prices @ Amazon or Sweetwater

The Samson S-patch Plus is a fully balanced 48-point patchbay that has enough flexibility for most studio applications. It’s easily configured via a front panel switch, so it’s ideally suited for new users as well as more experienced studio boffins that require a fair bit of versatility from their patch bays.

With its low noise and robust construction, S-patch Plus could very well be one of the best patch bays in this price range.

Specs and useful features
  • Fully-balanced connectors
  • Normal, half-normal, and thru modes supported
  • 3-way front panel mode select switch
  • 1/4” TRS connectors
  • 19” rack-mount chassis
User impressions

User reviews of the Samson S-patch Plus are overwhelmingly positive, with most comments pertaining to its solid build and durability. The ease by which it can be configured gets a lot of great reviews by users, especially those that haven’t settled on any particular way of working yet. Also popular among new users are the routing diagrams printed on the top panel, which provide helpful hints on the various ways by which patch bays can be set up.

Bottom-line

Those looking for a balanced patch bay with 1/4” connectors would do well to consider the Samson S-patch Plus. The build quality is pretty impressive for the price, and the ability to switch configuration settings from the front panel will definitely help new users well along the road to familiarity. Even though the printed configuration diagrams on the top panel make this patch bay ideally suited to beginners, it will continue to be useful in your studio as your needs become more complex.


ART P48

ART P48 patchbay

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The ART P48 is a TRS-equipped 48-point balanced patchbay that’s been said to have reliable performance in a rugged steel chassis. Switchable between normal and half-normal modes, it does away with the “thru” setting found on most other units. Nevertheless, the P48’s combination of flexibility, performance, and the trademark ART durability makes it a worthy contender in the affordably-priced patch bay category.

Specs and useful features
  • 1/4″ balanced TRS connectors
  • Better than -90dB CMRR (-95dB standard)
  • Better than -80dB channel-to-channel isolation (-95dB standard)
  • Steel chassis
User impressions

Most reviews of the ART P48 praise the unit’s durability and simplicity, particularly with regard to being able to switch between normal and half-normal settings with the push of a button. Some users did complain about the mode selection switch placement in between the jacks at the rear of the unit. Interestingly enough however, only a few mentioned the absence of a “thru” mode. In general, the ART P48 gets pretty good marks from hobbyist users and even quite a few working pros.

Bottom-line

If you value looks as well as functionality, you will find the ART P48 a worthy addition to your studio. The switch that toggles between normal and half-normal settings is a definite plus, even without the inclusion of a “thru” setting.

Although we would have preferred to have this switch more easily accessible, it is still better than patch bays that require you to open up the chassis in order to change configuration settings. As it stands, the ART P48 provides excellent value for the money, and you could do much worse than to have this unit in your rack.


Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1

Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1

Compare Prices @ Amazon or Sweetwater

Neutrik’s NYS-SPP-L1 is an affordably-priced “modular patch panel” with 48 points. Housed in a rugged metal chassis, it’s robust enough to hold up to live use, although its feature set suggests that its true potential lies in a studio setting. Like the company’s famous connectors found in audio equipment the world over, the NYS-SPP-L1 combines rugged reliability with the ease of use of a well thought out piece of equipment.

Specs and useful features
  • Individually grounded channels
  • Rugged metal housing
  • Enhanced plug contact
  • Fully PCB-wired jacks
  • Switchable configuration settings in each PC board
  • Color coded normalling jack
  • Front and rear panel designation strips
User impressions

Most users of the Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1 have been drawn to the brand because of the excellent reputation of their audio connectors. Judging by user reviews of the patch bay, it seems that most are satisfied with their choice. The Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1 is routinely praised for its solid construction, and also for the ability to switch configuration settings on a per PCB board basis.

Although some users did complain about having to pull out the boards in order to change settings, most appreciated being able to do so without having to pull the entire unit out of the rack.

Bottom-line

The Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1 takes a page out of its own playbook with a rugged and durable patch bay that seems to be every bit as reliable as its ubiquitous connectors. Capable of handling most every requirement in both hobbyist and semi-pro settings, this could very well continue to be a useful part of your studio even as your needs grow.

An external switch for changing configuration settings would have been preferable, but the ability to pull out the jacks while the unit is racked is admittedly the next best thing. If you’re looking for a patch bay that delivers reliable performance and a good range of configuration options, the Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1 should make it into your short list.


DBX PB-48

DBX PB-48 patch bay

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The DBX PB-48 is a 48-point patch bay that offers half-normalled and de-normalled operation. It has a simple and straightforward design, this budget-priced patch bay is reminiscent of classic DBX pieces that have been studio mainstays for years. However, although the generally acceptable performance places it in the category of other patch bays costing many times as much, some corners have obviously been cut in the design and construction of the PB-48, as we will explain below.

Specs and useful features
  • 48 patch points (24 pairs on 24 PCB cards)
  • Switchable between normalled and de-normalled configuration on a per pair/card basis
  • 1/4″ TRS connectors
  • Pure nickel-silver contacts
User impressions

The DBX PB-48 hasn’t really received a lot of user complaints with regard to performance. Those that have taken the plunge and purchased this unit report quiet and stable operation, and generally reliable performance and functionality.

However, the open construction of the chassis casts some doubt as to whether or not this patch bay will be able to go the distance without breaking down. Concerns have also been raised with regard to the attachment of the circuit boards to the frame via a single plastic nut. For many users, this design seriously compromises the durability of the DBX PB-48.

Bottom-line

DBX is generally known for their ruggedly reliable equipment, and although the DBX PB-48 does share many of the physical characteristics of the company’s other rackmountable devices, we can’t help feeling a bit letdown by this one.

The open frame that leaves the circuitry exposed doesn’t inspire much confidence, and neither does the use of a single plastic nut for affixing the individual modules to the frame.

Although the PB-48 will likely provide the trademark DBX performance and functionality at the outset, we can’t say that it will keep doing so for an appreciable length of time.


Hosa PDR-369

Hosa PDR-369

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The Hosa PDR-369 is a 12-point patchbay with female XLR connectors on the front and male XLR connectors in the rear. The jacks can be reversed from front to rear and vice versa, providing a straightforward solution to basic routing needs. A simple unit with fairly modest connectivity and configuration options, it is nevertheless a good starter unit for those just beginning to explore the possibilities of patch bay usage.

Specs and useful features
  • 12-point patch bay
  • Female XLR connections (front) and male XLR connections (rear)
  • Reversible configuration
  • Rugged metal chassis
  • Rackmountable design
User impressions

Most user reviews of the Hosa PDR-369 seem to come from beginner users that are just beginning to appreciate the value of a patch bay. Given their more rudimentary requirements, these users unsurprisingly tended to favor the simplicity, ease of use, and low cost of the PDR-369. Many users have also favorably mentioned the ease by which the jacks can be reversed, which provides a fair bit of flexibility right off the bat.

Bottom-line

As far as budget offerings go, the Hosa PDR-369 provides pretty decent bang-for-the-buck. Although it isn’t the prettiest or most robust option out there, the ability to reconfigure the XLR jacks is a nice feature for such an affordably-priced unit. The 12 mic inputs might leave you wanting, particularly if your requirements go beyond that of the hobbyist stage. Even so, the PDR-369 is a good entry point into the fascinating world of patch bay usage.


ART TPatch 8-point 1/4 TRS Balanced Patchbay

ART TPatch TRS Balanced Patchbay

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A durable and reliable workhorse that can fit inside your pocket, ART TPatch 8-point 1/4 TRS Balanced Patchbay is the perfect patchbay for home studios. No bigger than a DI box, this piece has a robust design that can withstand constant use and even traveling gigs.

Specs and features
  • 8-point balanced
  • Rugged black-anodized aluminum case
  • Switchable normal and half-normal modes in the rear-panel
  • Line-level
  • 14.4 ounces
User impressions

Most users are impressed with the ART TPatch’s functionality given its price point and its size. Since eight connection points are typically enough for a small home set-up, something as small and compact as the ART TPatch would not make anybody’s home studio space significantly more crowded.

Some were also fond of its aluminum build. This means less likelihood of it getting broken.

A few users even found a way to disable the ART TPatch’s normalling function for a non-normal operation SoundonSound said that the way to do it is to turn the unit around and use the rear panel as the front panel. It’s a harmless trick that can be useful if you need more through inputs.

Bottom-line

ART TPatch’s is the perfect compact patchbay for home studios. Rugged and simple, its straightforward design can even be used as additional inputs or outputs.


Hosa MHB-350

Hosa MHB-350

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The Hosa MHB-350 is the modular version of the PHB-350 1/4’’ patchbay. Ideal for mobile recording and small studios, this piece’s no-nonsense build delivers just like the best patchbays out there. However, unlike the others, it can be mounted on a PPP-000 Patch Bay Module Rack Frame as part of a multi-function patchbay.

Like ART TPatch, the MHB-350 can be reversed for a de-normalled operation.

Specs and Features
  • 8-point balanced
  • Rolled-steel chassis
  • Nickel-plated jacks
  • Reversible channel modules
User impressions

Users who prefer their set-ups purely modular will find the MHB-350 perfect for such a set-up. Integrating it into the recommended PPP-000 Patch Bay Module Rack will keep the modular theme consistent.

Some users, however, found the activation of the de-normalling function a bit of an issue since users have to take it all apart to reverse the normalling route.

Bottom-line

Build-wise and function-wise, Hosa Tech’s MHB-350 is another fine option for home studios. Its charm, however, lies in its modular functionalities which may appeal to modular-heads out there. Nonetheless, with or without this modular function, it’s a solid gadget in itself.


Behringer Ultrapatch Pro PX3000

Behringer Ultrapatch Pro PX3000

See Price @ Sweetwater

The Behringer Ultrapatch Pro PX3000 is a one-size-fits-all solution to all your patchbay needs. All of its 48 balanced points are durable. Its uncomplicated design and durable build make the Ultrapatch the best solution for most routing and patching needs.

Specs and Features
  • 48-point balanced
  • All-metal design
  • Normal, Half-Normal, and Through modes available
  • Top-side switches
User impressions

What the Behringer Ultrapatch Pro PX3000 lacks in terms of bells and whistles, it compensates through its solid build. Users were most impressed with the tight-fitting connections and high-quality jacks. This testifies to Behringer’s commitment to crafting good professional-level products as with their consumer-level products.

The top-side switches are also a nice touch as it means not having to thumb through the rear panel when changing modes.

Bottom-line

The Behringer Ultrapatch Pro PX3000 is a straightforward device with a high-quality build. The three switchable modes also make it versatile. Some of the small but practical design choices such as the top-side switches endear this tool to many users.


Switchcraft StudioPatch 9625

Switchcraft StudioPatch 9625

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Higher up the price point is Switchcraft’s StudioPatch 9625 96-point TT – DB25 Patchbay. This patchbay is packed with features, perfect for advanced users who have higher workflow demands. If you are the type of user who has to use bantam cords, DSUD cables, snake cables, and other specialized gear, you’ll find Swiftcraft’s one of a kind patchbay a stallion among workhorses.

Specs and Features
  • 96-Half-normal, full-normal, or non-normal modes/ 48 channels (two 48-point rows)
  • Integratable into analog and digital environments
  • Durable Bantam/TT jacks
  • Grounding switches for vertically strapped or isolated ground configuration
  • Switchraft’s EZ Norm technology
  • Includes a 1′ TT patch cable
User Impressions

The StudioPatch 9625 has all the functionalities that most users will need. For instance, users who needed the DB25 rear connections interface were pleased to know that it works for DSUB cables.

Obviously, the well-stacked I/O front panels are more than enough for most people’s needs. But many users loved the availability of a non-normal mode which can be easily switched on through a flathead screwdriver. Usability, after all, is more important than mere quantity.

Bottom-line

The StudioPatch 9625 is a powerful gadget that can be used for studio and commercial contexts. Its variety of jacks makes possible all sorts of routing and connections. This versatility, along with the durable and intelligent design, makes the StudioPatch well worth its price.


Flock Audio Patch 64-point Digitally Controlled Analog Patchbay

Flock Audio Patch 64-point Digitally Controlled Analog Patchbay

See Price @ Sweetwater

Flock Audio Patch 64-point Digitally Controlled Analog Patchbay is a digitally controlled analog patchbay. This means users get to ditch their patch cables and recall routing assignments via USB. No audio is turned into digital signal – all of it is still processed in analog. Oly the routings are digital. This lets users enjoy the best of both worlds without compromising audio quality.

Specs and Features
  • 100% analog signal routing of 64 connection points
  • Digitally-assisted patchbay routing recall
  • 1U rack form
  • Patch App controllable via USB
  • switchable 48V phantom power for 32 of the connections
User Impressions

This hybrid patchbay is well-received by users for opening up many analog routing possibilities. The ease of saving, editing, and recalling these routes also pleases many users.

The fact that it makes the use of cables obsolete is also welcomed by users who prefer not to be bothered by cable problems.

Bottom-line

Flock Audio Patch can be an incredible addition to anyone’s studio. While purists may hesitate in integrating a digital aspect into their workflow, users rest assured that all signal is processed in analog. It is difficult to pass up on the ease of usage and recall that this piece of equipment offers.


Final thoughts

Many  of these patchbays are pretty good. But as you may need to choose one, we’ll figure out which is best for our final analysis.

Top Choice: Samson S-Patch Plus

Samson S-patch

In terms of performance, functionality, and capability, the Samson S-Patch Plus is still our top choice. We clearly considers this to be the best patchbay for home studio owners. With its normal, half-normal, and thru options–and the ability to easily switch between them from the front panel–this is one patch bay that beginners will undoubtedly find useful in their quest for greater patch bay knowledge. Nevertheless, it provides enough functionality for even more experienced users to get plenty of use out of it as well.

Coming in at a close second is the Neutrik NYS-SPP-L1. Although it isn’t quite as easy to configure as the Samson S-patch Plus, the ability to switch between configuration settings without having to pull the unit out of a rack is a nice touch. Quality construction and the trademark Neutrik durability further adds value to what is a pretty good patch bay for the money.

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