Patch sheets of course...
If there is one thing I've learned in my years as an audio engineer...it is that you can never be too organized. Whether its for yourself, other people working with you, or for guest engineers that maybe be contracting or coming through...a patch sheet can be a LIFE saver! Having every single input and output in your system mapped out may sound like a daunting task, but I promise you it's worth a million times the effort that it takes to throw one together.
I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a room or an event and wasted sometimes hours tracing lines or troubleshooting patch and routing problems within the system. A comprehensive patch-sheet can be a HUGE time saver! Whether its for a one-off show, for an install, or for your weekend platform, a patch sheet should become your best friend.
Over time I have developed a template that I use as my go-to patch template for any and every show I do. I will usually custom tailor little things like the actual I/O count and such to fir the specs of the system I'm working on but the shell the information included with it stays almost the same every time!
So what information is that?
Well, since you asked...here it is! The crucial information that a patch sheet should include is:
- Every physical audio input connection (XLR or other) should be included. This will depend on how many channels your consoles have, and how many channels your snake has.
- Every input source (instrument, voice, computer, etc.) should be included and named next to its respective physical input.
- The patch sheet should include how the source's entry point into the system; what microphone or DI that source is connected to.
- Include any notes that might be pertinent to that input.
- Finally list every physical output in the system, as well as where it is being fed from (Aux mix, direct output, Matrix etc.), and where that output is routed to (Main Left, Subwoofer, lobby, etc.)
It is also helpful to include additional information in columns such as patch numbers on sub-snakes, stage boxes or stage drops and other possible variances from a nice and pretty 1-48 patch.
How long does it take to create this?
Well lucky for you...I've included an example from a show I recently did. This show had a Digico SD9 console at monitors connected to 2 digi-rack remote stage boxes and then an Avid Venue SC48 at FOH fed by an analog split head snake. The monitor console was running at 96k sample rate which limits each digi-rack to 28 input channels each instead of 32 (hence the change in numbers at 28 on the monitor patch.)
Click the buttons below to download the PDF example, and as a service to you...I have included a FREE Template that I build my patch sheets from! You will have to customize it for yourself, but it should be a helpful starting point for you!
Let's stay in touch! We've got some REALLY cool stuff coming out that we think you'll want to be a part of! So enter your name and email below, and we'll let you know about it!