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I'm building my first studio and trying to plan the wall for the reference / mixing room. Does anybody have suggestions on in/out put panels? I was thinking a 16 input knockout panel for each side that includes XLR and 1/4 inch plugs. Also, any resources on the actual wiring of these connectors would help as well. I do have soldering experience but not sure what kind of wires to use on each connector

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Your 1/4" plugs should have three conductors (TRS) instead of two (TS) since you can plug TS cables into a TRS passthrough but not vice-versa. Both TRS and XLR connections can use the same wire between them. Here's a list of different brands and price points from Sweetwater: http://www.sweetwater.com/c789--Bulk_Wire?params=eyJmYWNldCI6eyJDYWJsZSBUeXBlIjpbIk1pY3JvcGhvbmUiXX19

For both TRS and XLR you want to wire them "straight through". That means for XLR wire 1 to 1, 2 to 2, and 3 to 3. For TRS, tip to tip, ring to ring, and sleeve to sleeve. Pin 1 on XLR and the sleeve on TRS are each for the ground connection, so if you have a conductive sleeve in your cable you want to connect it to that, in addition to any internal conductor. Some cabling is two conductor with sleeve and in that case you just connect the sleeve to pin 1 or TRS sleeve and the other two conductors to the other two. Other cables are three conductor with sleeve in which case you connect the sleeve AND one of the three conductors to the ground connection on each end (sleeve or pin 1 as appropriate).

Google "TRS wiring" and "XLR pinout" or "XLR wiring" for diagram and more info.

One more thing, in case this isn't obvious: You should have female XLR panel connectors on the live room side and male connectors on the control room side, since signal flows towards the male end. TRS connectors should be female on both sides (of course) and will enable monitoring, re-amping, talkback, etc. Note that you should not ever use one of these TRS connections to connect an amp to speakers. If you want to send speaker signal through the wall, you should wire up separate connections for speaker signal and use speaker wire and 1/4" TS or even better Neutrik Speakon connectors.

If you can afford a 24-connector panel then you might do well to have 16 XLRs and 8 TRS. Otherwise for 16 I might do 12 XLR and 4 TRS. You can easily eat up 16 XLRs just micing up drums.

  • Neutrik sell combi sockets that are TRS and XLR together. They have numerous poles for any wiring you need to solder for different paths. Fiddly but fantastic for the job here! – Tim Apr 9 '15 at 17:30
  • But Neutrik combo connectors are only female, so you'd have to have more slots on the control room side than on the live room side. – Todd Wilcox Apr 9 '15 at 17:33
  • Maybe, but it may save doubling up on one side. – Tim Apr 9 '15 at 17:56
  • Excellent info Todd! Should I be concerned about heat from any of these connections? We were going to insulate the wall for extra sound proofing – Colbs Apr 9 '15 at 18:17
  • Only speaker connections might get warm. You should make sure all materials are appropriately fire rated in any case and if you have a jacket and/or heat shrink tubing around all connections you'll be fine. – Todd Wilcox Apr 9 '15 at 18:20
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Instead of a knockout panel, build a hatch large enough to pass through your most wildly optimistic number of cables. To soundproof this gap, attach covers on both sides of the wall, with cutouts that fit your current cabling. Build the covers from a material that is easy to make more cutouts in later.

  • this reduces the number of connectors and solder points considerably, which increases reliability.
  • this futureproofs your installation. Those 16 XLR will be obsolete when you switch to a digital snake, for example.

I get the impulse to build a custom solution; I've done this a lot. In my experience, it's difficult to futureproof these custom wiring jobs though.

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