Good Jackfield Design

Good jackfield design allows for easy reconfiguration of the signal path for special production requirements or to work around a defective piece of equipment.

With a good jackfield design, you can easily "read" the system signal flow without having to refer to a block diagram. But it is a good idea to start with a system block diagram to help create a logical jackfield design.

Consider the "waterfall" layout. Sources are connected to the top row of a two-row jackfield, and the corresponding destinations to the bottom row. Each jack pair (one upper, one lower) is connected as a normal, which allows the usual signal flow to be maintained without a jungle of patchcords.

Using an audio control room as an example, start with the inputs to the audio console in order. Keep mic-level signals separate from line-level inputs. Proceed to the console outputs, and the rest of the program and monitor output signal chains. Finally, include utility devices like frame syncs, delays, distribution amps, etc. as well as tie-lines to other technical areas.