Inputs, outputs, hardware & DAW - Advice needed

Discussion in 'Soundgear' started by freefeet12, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Platinum Record

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    I'm going to start using my hardware synths, samplers, effects, ect again, and I have plans to get more stuff this coming year. Some time back, way back, I used a Mackie 32-8 and my computer's role was basically a sequencer, editor, and multitrack recorder.

    The problem: I have an old 2-channel firewire duet, which has been fine for in the box, an instrument or two and a mic. As you can imagine it's a hassle plugging/unplugging and moving stuff around all the time. I no longer have the board, so that's out.

    What I'd like: 12 1/4 inch inputs for synths, samplers, ect, at least 6 1/4 inch outputs, at least one mic input, and it would be nice to have the ability to monitor at least some of it, before it gets recorded, at the same time if possible.

    I've read that some people use a patchbay as a means to get more inputs into their 2 channel interface, but I don't jack about that, nor have I found a satisfactory explanation of how this works, or how or where my monitors would fit in. It's certainly a cheaper alternative if it works. Wouldn't that be nice? Get a Samson S-Patch or two and call it a day.

    If I'm forced to get another audio interface, I'm thinking A: Motu PCIE-424 with 24 i/o (crap, no mic pre on this one, I do have an old 1224, not sure if it would work with the PCIS-424, I think it's max 48kHz too) or the MACKIE Onyx blackbird, though it only has the 8 line inputs. What do you think? I picked them based on affordability, the fact that I'm using a Mac Pro 2010, and this chart: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/sho...count=2186&s=d1fdc5b8b3dbc24fa27bbf4cd6e91c9f

    Yes, they're older and 24/96, but does it really matter if I only ever record at 44.1 or 48? That RME Babyface Pro looks sweet BTW, but then I have the same problem and have to spend a crap load of money to solve it.

    Another question, how do people use outboard effects with a DAW? Do they just go out to the unit and record the result on the way back in, or is there a way to set up a send/return deal? Ideally I'd like to have the effect return to its' own channel in the DAW so I can do what I please with it. I'm clueless how this works, please enlighten me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  3. Jeffriezal

    Jeffriezal Kapellmeister

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    I have been planning to do a new setup for the future rig, not the same as yours, but to summing outboard gear for mixing and mastering. The basic idea is to use an ADAT connection if you require a lot of IO... unless you can spend good money, u can take a shot at Antelope Orion.. if I'm not mistaken it comes with 32 io. And I've seen many console sum and sync to pc with it.

    Well, I can't really afford an antelope, so my best bet since my setup will be strictly for mixing, I plan to get RME digiface, its an interface with only adat optical hub and headphone out... so I don't need a built-in line in or preamp, it just a simple basic interface so I just can link up another io/adda via ADAT optical and get the best driver from RME to run the internal processing. In your case, you can use the RME, with multiple 8 channel pre like Audient ASP800, MOTU or any that available in the range of your need and budget capable of optical io.

    And for my monitoring, I can just optical out to my DAC unit and chain to my monitoring system and to the speaker.

    RME driver is the best at what it does, good low latency, stability and a wide possibility of routing for your setup.

    Hope this little information be helpful to your setup.

    EDIT: oh yahh, since you require 12 input, I think you can check out Roland Studio Capture, it basically have 12input in one unit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  4. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Platinum Record

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    Thanks for the reply. If I had that kind of money I'd go all out with RME. Hell, I'd have a more modern computer as well. I'd like to solve this issue spending as little as possible. If I could get away with a patchbay, that's what I would do, I just don't know that I can.
     
  5. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    The main advantage of a patchbay is, that it gives you access to all the different line ins and outs of your hardware on one single spot.

    You need to patch all line outs (synths, fx gear, soundcard) and line ins (fx gear, soundcard) in the back of the patchbay.
    Then you can connect with these short 10'' patch cables literally everything with everything on the front.
    For Example: synth A out -> fx A in, fx A out -> soundcard in, press record in DAW, play synth, smile.

    Just make a plan in wich order you connect your hardware to the back of the patchbay (to not get confused), label them on the front and you're good.
     
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  6. Jeffriezal

    Jeffriezal Kapellmeister

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    Patchbay also a great solution, you hook all ur key to it and just switching the output easily when need. Patchbay is the most cost-effective.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  7. TW

    TW Guest

    As already mentioned a patchbay is a convenient way to hook up multiple gear to 1 IO.

    If you want to use your hooked up gear at the same time you should go with a bigger interface with more I/O.
    In your case, 12 in and 6 out + preamp you probably should get a bigger interface (and a patchbay for gear you use not simultaneously).

    Edit Still have an Onyx Blackbird around and hooked up as standalone smux adat converter. Great box for the price. With it you could get 6 in and use the other 2 with a patchbay or add an adat converter like a behringer ada 8200 (super cheap used) or any other standalone interface (+8 I/O).


    this explains in 5 Minutes how you setup outboard gear (Effects) in a daw. It is explained in S1 with pipeline but every daw has basically the same workflow.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2018
  8. fiction

    fiction Rock Star

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    I recently purchased two second-hand Edirol UA-1000 units for $220 both, and i can hardly imagine any better bang for the buck. Sixteen analog inputs, low latency, drivers still working under MacOS 10.13 and Windows, and 24bit/96kHz.
    The sound quality is very good too and connectivity is top notch, including ADAT, optical and coax digital i/o and word clock sync in case you need it.
    Using the free editor software you can also use it as an 8in/8out patch bay (!) and/or monitor mixer with volume and pan for each input channel mixed to outputs 1+2 or headphones.

    These units go for little money nowadays.

    Review:
    https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/edirol-ua1000
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  9. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Platinum Record

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    That's pretty straight forward, the video. I'm wondering if it's possible to run a reverb, (reverb unit would output the wet signal only) to it's own channel for parallel style? Maybe latency is an issue?

    Ok, this sounds like a possible solution for the meantime until I get the money together to get something proper with more IO, perhaps more modern, although the Onyx Blackbird is tempting used at around 250 shipped. Plus having a patchbay looks really useful anyways. One thing though, er two, the only outputs my duet has (besides headphone out, coincidentally one of my old reverb/FX units has 1 input and the Operating Manual labels it "Phone Jack") is two unbalanced 1/4 -10 dBv line outputs and they're meant to go to powered monitors. Is it possible to run those into the bay and back out to the speakers, and at the same time run the signal/outputs (split) to something else and that something else would feed back into the bay and back out the speakers so I can hear what's going on? (sounds complex) While I'm at it, is it possible to have several instruments all going into the bay so they feed into the two inputs at the same time so I can monitor it in my software, even it's on one channel?

    I'm about to blow my load on a couple vintage pieces so a proper interface will have to wait.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  10. scrappy

    scrappy Producer

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    whatever way you choose, go with patchbay anyway, everything's a 6 inch cable away.
    patchy.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  11. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    Sorry, it's a 'no' for both questions.
    You'd need a split-cable for the first and a mixer for the second (or abunch of split-cables which you need to stack, but that's rubbish).
     
  12. Legotron

    Legotron Audiosexual

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  13. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Platinum Record

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    Oh phooey! :rofl:

    Ah well, I'll just have to wait then. In the meantime I'll be taking whatever advice is offered and make a plan.

    I actually have money put away for a few Behringer synths yet to be released. I never considered using anything else by them, in fact I used to frown on the name but I've since changed my mind given how great their synths sound and the price you can get them at.

    It's worth a look, wow that's cheap. Almost scary cheap.
     
  14. santillana

    santillana Ultrasonic

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    So many configurations can be made with the same equipment, it's all about your workflow. Things you should ask yourself are:
    - Am I playing all the hardware from a 1 midi master keyboard (ex-everything pre-mapped up in your DAW - Preset pre-mapped etc...) by selecting the corresponding midi channel?
    - Am I a real-time player ( no midi, just audio direct into DAW then to another synth ) I'm counting that your hardware has keys to play and not modules ( that's more like option number one then )
    - Do I want to have different modules running at the same time? ex. A Beat in a drum machine, then a bassline in another synth etc.
    - Do I hate sync problems?
    - Are my mixer and equipment near or far enough to achieve what I want? So are the audio, midi and USB leads?
    And the list goes and goes.....
    Now :)
    Option 1 -
    Direct outputs from the hardware into the interface no other equipment inserted in between. This gives the best quality but you need a big interface and you'll need to set up the software monitoring according to your needs, DAW, driver monitoring etc - UAD is great for this
    Option 2-
    Classic big analogue desk ( inline please ) with all hardware wired in and good use of the buses and/or auxiliaries, direct outs to feed the inputs of your soundcard. I will still use the desk monitor section to feed the speakers + DAW return ( Main Outs ) from the MAC or PC into a return input of the desk itself.
    Please note that none of the above is ever perfect as everyone has it's own way of doing things.
    Hope this helps, any questions please just shoot I have loads of hardware and I have tried loads of configurations, so yeah I hear you, dude !!!!!
     
  15. bluerover

    bluerover Audiosexual

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    How about this. Since you have a lot of outboard synths and samplers, etc., just buy a mixer that sums everything to 2-channels? Sequence your HW synths, and when you're ready to print, record on synth at a time. It limits you on tweaking all the synths in realtime while recording though. Then, get a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. You could also add a Behringer ADA8200. I don't know your budget, but here are some ideas :

    EPM12
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EPM12--soundcraft-epm12-mixer
    [​IMG]

    22 MTK
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...22-mtk-mixer-and-audio-interface-with-effects
    [​IMG]

    SM10
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SM10--samson-sm10-stereo-line-mixer
    [​IMG]

    ADA8200
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ADA8200--behringer-ada8200-microphone-preamp
    [​IMG]

    Scarlett 18i20
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlet18i20G2--focusrite-scarlett-18i20
    [​IMG]
    Buy from eBay sellers advertising as "open box" - those are where the deals are!

    Altomusic
    Proaudiostar
    Audiobargain
    ....just to name a few.
     
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  16. santillana

    santillana Ultrasonic

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    If those were my options I would go for The Scarlet18i20 and the ADA8200 as ADAT input. :wink:

    That would give you 16 inputs and plenty outputs.
     
  17. grabme

    grabme Ultrasonic

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    I use Behringer RX1602 line mixers in conjunction with a basic audio interface like Roland Quad Capture and find that the sound quality is great and it doesn't take up a lot of space like a large dedicated desk mixer, I could happily just use this as there are plenty of inputs.
    However for extra convenience I'm also using a Behringer patchbay and a Soundcraft EPM12 mixer as above for EQ and extra sends and inserts. However had the Uphoria 1820 been around at the time I probably would have gone with that option as its more convenient. Not sure if it can do effects sends or inserts like the 1602.
     
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  18. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    Mackie VLZ and ONYX mixers go for quite cheap these days and they are some of the best small console mixers. I got lucky to pickup a Soundtracs console instead. It's a really nice "console plugin", I must say. :wink:

    Although, yeah, a patchbay can solve the problem. You can't record more than 2 channels that way, if your audio interface has just 2 inputs. That's the reason why I bought TC SK48. It's got 8 inputs and it goes for not much money these days. Motu interfaces are a great bargain, too, when you want a lot of inputs.

    It really depends on your workflow. Try to envision how you'd like to work, and then decide what you need to make it happen. :wink:

    I like to work outside the box as much as I can, so I do need more inputs on the audio interface, to be able to record all the samplers without having to re-patch the cables every time I want to record another piece of gear. It would feel really cumbersome.

    I've pretty much gone back to the 90's studio workflow and enjoying it immensely. :) Then use all the nice ITB tech to make it sound more contemporary. It makes a lot of sense to me...
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  19. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Platinum Record

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    Great stuff everyone. The first thing I did is start looking at mixers, that's just how I used to do it. Mackie desk, a Sony display in front of me, monitors, multi keyboard stands, a small 12 channel Mackie mixer with a VCR, radio and tape/disk player, and a couple of racks with various effects and a rack sampler to each side all running into the board where almost everything took place. The desk had rack spaces on each side but they where too close to the floor, they didn't get much use save for the Mackie power supply. I still have that heavy SOB, they left it behind, the mixer was stolen, along with a Randall cab/head and Ampeg 8x10 cab. Sad times, at least they didn't take everything, for whatever reason.

    Anyways, when looking I found myself lost because I have no experience with these new smaller mixers with built in effects and what not. Reading around gearslutz, it seemed frowned upon due to noise they claim these small cheaper mixers make and how there's no need with all the i/o you can get, maybe they have a point. It wasn't very uninspiring to read stuff like that so I sort of moved on at the time.

    I've never seen those line mixers before, interesting. Well I have a lot to think about.

    SineWave, do you keep that Soundtracks next to your Solid Sate Logic?

    I don't know if any of you saw earlier on ebay, but there where a few listings for RME Babyface Pro's at $175 each. Of course that was really fishy and they've since disappeared. For one sec, just for one, I got excited, I'll admit. :wink:
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  20. bluerover

    bluerover Audiosexual

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    The Babyface Pro's are going for around $550 new right now. Great deal!

    The $175 advertisement sounds like some b******* for sure
     
  21. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Platinum Record

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    Is such a set up feasible with a RME Digiface usb? (attractive price, also USB) Also, what would one monitor with?
     
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