The Patchbay Blog

Advantages and disadvantages of normals

Hey Stefano,

Sorry for the long delay in answering you sir. 

Is normalled better for insert-like situation or for send/ret?

      Normal is good for inserts. This lets the insert make a complete loop without using a patch cable. 
Normal is not good for sends and returns. We want all effects, comps, EQ, gates, reverbs etc. with no normal because we do not want the outputs going back to the inputs. This is the wrong kind of loop. 
Yes, you could use a half normal for inserts. This would let you "Y" the send to the inputs of two devices. One of those would return back to the channel the insert was in, and the second we could return to a different channel.


On Nov 29, 2012, at 9:44 AM, Stefano<
***********> wrote:
Dear Bobby, first of all thanks for your quick reply. I still get confused on possible audio utilisations of these setups.

Is normalled better for insert-like situation or for send/ret?
in the usual configuration (output above the input) wouldn't it create a loop?
According to what you've written, it looks like the best situation to manage an insert point would be half-normalled, isn't it?

And I am still struggling to find actual "advantages or disadvantages" of these different setups. I mean, to me it sound like asking: what are the advantages of apples related to oranges?

Sorry for the last example!

Best regards.

Stefano --

On 29 Nov 2012, at 01:14, Bob Hickey <> wrote:
Hello Stefano,

I think the best is for you to look at my normals page:

I'd like to know something more about the advantages and disadvantages of having these sets of patchbays
- normalled

Advantage is: A normal keeps you from having to use patch cables to make the connections. When you plug a patch cable into either row the signal path is broken and follows the patch cable. 

- normalled with listen jacks

These are for telephony commutations and are not used in Pro Audio that I have ever seen.

- half-normalled

Advantage is: A half-normal keeps you from having to use patch cables to make the connections plus since the top-row of jacks does not switch, you can use the top-row to make a "Y".  So when the output of your 24 track recorder channel #1 is going to the top-row of a half-normal patchbay, and the first channel on the bottom-row of that patchbay is going into channel #1 line input of your mixing console we hear 24 track recorder channel #1 without a patch cable making the connection. Now we can insert a patch cable into channel #1 top-row of the patchbay and take that signal to a different channel on the bottom-row of the patchbay and patch it to a different channel of the mixing console. Now I can get two different sounds from one channel. I might send one signal to compressor type "A" and the other output of the 24 trk to a different compressor or EQ etc.. Now we can choose which sound we like the best or use both.  

- double-innered

I have not ever heard that term sir. But a quick look on Google brought up this page: which says: "The words 'normalled' or 'innered' are used after the above. 'Innered' derives from the physical layout of the contacts. The contacts that connect to the plug are the 'outer' ones, these break away from the 'inner' ones."

I basically got the principles, but I can't understand which may be the relative (dis)advantages.

I hope that helps you. Please ask again if you are still not clear on normals. Good luck in that nice studio!

Bobby Hickey
phone: 817-926-9535
Visit Bob Land Below
Mr. Patchbay Website:
Mix resume:

Thank you very much.

All the best!


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