Many of you have run into this situation. You have audio cables that need to connect to jacks on the rear of gear and out to the front of a rack. I've drilled holes in blank panels, filed the sharp edges, and used rubber gaskets to protect the cable. But this is time-consuming and difficult to arrange when considering the size of some XLR barrels. A brush grommet, also called brush panel, permits easy feeding of cabling while keeping dust and light out of the rack. Picture a blank spacer with the center removed. It's a big empty mouth-hole. Now imagine if there were two sets of teeth (above and below) made of soft black bristles, kind of like those on vacuum cleaner attachments. These soft brushes move to allow connectors, then close around the cable to form a barrier. From 10 feet away, they are virtually invisible. If no one pointed them out, you wouldn't even notice. I chose a 1 RU unit from Networx Products, that was super affordable. This panel is perfect for headphone cables and lightweight items. Should you need strain relief or a super sturdy model, this won't be sufficient. I've seen those, but they cost five times the price of the Networx. If you want to keep a clean appearance, limit dust entry to racks, or have the flexibly to pass cables front to back; the Networx Brush Panel is a great find.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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