P&R PB48(M) Jack Patchbay
Historians still argue over exactly how long man has walked on his back legs, but they all agree that it has been quite a long time. During this time he has conquered space, split the atom and even invented shoes, but until 1992 AD, nobody on the planet had managed to get 24 pairs of standard, quarter-inch jack sockets across a 19-inch patchbay panel. Finally, P&R audio have cracked it, though they tell me in the strictest confidence that they still have no idea how to conquer space or split the atom and that, indeed, they buy their shoes from Freeman, Hardy & Willis!
The descriptively-named PB48 sent for review has two rows of 24 sockets on the front panel and another 24 on the rear. Each pair of front and rear sockets is mounted on its own printed circuit board, which is clamped in place by the rear socket nuts and protected from dust by the folded chassis panel, which forms a cover.
The system for setting the normalisation status of the sockets is taken from an earlier P&R concept — the circuit boards are simply unfastened, reversed and replaced, which gives the choice of unnormalised or semi-normalised operation without recourse to soldering. As each socket pair has its own board, a single patchbay can contain any combination of normalised and semi-normalised positions, as selected by the user.
Currently available models include balanced, unbalanced and hardwired versions. All have black, powder-coated front panels with white screened label strips, and one very nice touch is the inclusion of two sheets of ready-printed, self-adhesive labels, which cover most common patchbay requirements.
The unbalanced version provided for review functioned faultlessly and I was impressed by the build quality and design ingenuity. Reversing the cards to change the normalisation status is both simple and quick. Most normalised patchbays will fall prey to dirt and corrosion in time, and in this respect, the P&R models are better protected from dirt than most and easier to disassemble and clean. Professional studios tend to employ the more costly bantam jack patchbays, but given the amount of musical instruments that get plugged directly into studio systems these days, standard jacks make a lot of sense.
PB48M unbalanced patchbay, £79.95; PB48 balanced patchbay, £89.95; PB48HW hard-wired version, £98.95. Prices Include VAT.
Review by Paul White
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