Defender of the Crown
by Polly

In addition to the concept of the signal chain, you should understand one other important signal path concept that is integral to all console designs; the bus (sometimes spelled buss).

Think of a bus as a single electrical conduit that runs the horizontal length of the console or mixer. This single-signal path often is a heavy copper wire or a single wire on a ribbon connector cable that runs the entire width of the console. It can be thought of as an electrical junction point that enables a signal to be injected onto the bus where it can be mixed in with other signals that are present. Signals can be routed off the bus to a particular destination, such as a console output, tape track output, and an auxilliary effects send. Much like a city transit bus, this signal path follows a specified route and allows audio signals to get on or off at any point along its path.

Aux sends, monitor sends, channel assignments, and main outputs are all examples of buses. The same aux send control is horizontally dupliaced across the console's surface. In the same way, these input controls are physically tied to a horizontal auxilliary send bus in which different amounts of signal from the various inputs are fed into the bus and to its destination; an auxilliary send output. An example of a stereo bus is the mixer's main stereo output. After the signal is determined by each strip's fader, the signal is balanced from left to right (using pan pots) onto the left and right output buses. The main output is a combination of all the different input signals and can be sent to the master recorder.

The compnents of the console interconnect at the Patch Bay (also called a Patch Panel). A Patch Bay is a panel that (under the best of conditions) contains a jack that corresponds to the input and output of every discrete component or group of wires in the control room. One jack is said to be normalled to another if the signal between the two jacks is connected directly from one to the other when there is no plug in either jack. When a plug is inserted into one or both of the jacks, the normal between the jacks is said to have been broken.

The purpose of breaking normalled connections is to enable the engineer to use patch cords to connect different or additional pieces of equipment between two normally connected components. For example, a limiter might be temporarily patched between a mic preamp output and an equalizer input. The same limiter could later be patched between a tape machine output and a console line input. Other uses of the patch bay are to bypass defective components or to change a signal path in order to achieve a certain effect. Patch bay jacks usually are balanced tip-ring-sleeve types that have two conductors plus ground. They are used with balanced circuits and come in two standard sizes; military telephone and tiny headphone. Unbalanced jacks and plugs have tip-and-sleeve connectors only.

Oh...yeah...Defender of the Crown. Well, ya wanna know how exciting, fun, innovative, and awesome this game is? Read the paragraphs prior to this once more and keep stabbing yourself in the crotch with a pen as hard as you fucking can until you've finished reading, and I'll guaran-God-damn-tee that it'll be more fun than this pile of pixellated shit and vomit stirred together in a nice AIDS and Cancer marinade with a crusty Herpes spoon.

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