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Basic studio hardware setup - monitoring thru mixer

posted on #1
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The instructions for most mixers show how to use them in live sound reinforcement situations, not for using with a Digital Audio Workstation.

A couple of conversations I have had and seen here on the 'Loops about recording and monitoring made me want to write a little about my (inexpensive) hardware setup, made fro equipment in a box from my past with almost no $$ invested. It should also give those unfamiliar with the basic (old school) gear a diagram or two to copy. This is intended for people new to recording hardware, and uses very few parts, intenionally simple to illustrate method. I am currently using a $6 sabrent usb soundcard from amazon.

To me it is important to hear my instrument as it being recorded, blended with the track it is meant to be mixed with. It is possible to listen to a track and "monitor" for instance, an electric guitar, by listening to its acoustic sound while recording along with the track, then finally, hearing the recording. If you were to use headphones, you could use a micropone in the same way, say to record vocals or an acoustic guitar. Extremely simple, but the drawback is not being able to hear the source being recorded- as it is recorded. (This is more is more or less how i sing into my phone- it is crude but does work)

In this example i use a computer, usb sound card, mixer, headphones/speakers, input instrument.
The mixer hardware in this case has two goals;
1) get sound to your ears from instrument and recorder,
2) get instrument sound (alone) to the recorder device. [img]https://image.ibb.co/nkFupT/RECORDING_CONSOLE_DAVE_thru.jpg[/img]

First connect headphones to headphone out, and (if you want to ) speakers to the mains out.

I connect the "headphone" out on my laptop to 2 inputs on my mixer. Now the track playing on the multitrack software is going through the mixer, and the mixer can be used to adjust the output levels to the speakers and/or headphones.

I use an old mackie 4 channel mixer for my recording. One of the main reasons i use it is; it has "direct out" or "thru" outputs, for (some) inputs, as well as the main output. The instrument goes in, uses the pre amplifier, and is sent to both this direct out AND the main mixer. So i run my instrument or mic in to a channel the mixer, and out the direct out, to the usb soundcard. At the same time, the mixer can be used to listen to the instrument "live". I find for few$$ the "extra" soundcard to be a straightforward solution.

And that is really is it. The track and the input instrument can be heard together through the mixer.

There are more complicated ways to set up, but they are all extensions of this basic idea.
For example if you do not have a mixer with direct outs, you could achieve much the same effect with a "Y" cord splitting the instrument signal, before it gets to the mixer (but you lose the mixer's pre amp). Some mixers have a "bus" to perform similar task(s). I have a$40.00 beringer one with usb out, maybe i should detail that...
[img]https://image.ibb.co/bCmdG8/RECORDING_CONSOLE_DAVE_Ycord.jpg[/img]


a little more about direct out: https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/direct-out/
I really like this article: http://ethanwiner.com/mixer2daw.html
Edited by BuzzBomber on July 29 2018 00:54
Ain't too young to admit it, And I'm not too old to lie,
I'm just another empty head - Bon Scott
posted on #2
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Good guide! For my recording purposes i'm not in need of a mixer, and all new audio interfaces have a zero-latency direct analog monitoring which achieves the same as the above setup. You can have other instrument tracks in your DAW and they can be muted or removed at a later stage :)

Decent audio interfaces are also getting pretty cheap :)

For example: https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/Mackie-Onyx-Producer-22-USB-Audio-Interface/25AN#full-des
posted on #3
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GemmyF wrote:
[img]https://wloops2.r.worldssl.net/galleries/38395/files/092154c928fef815cb6767bde9aeea2b.JPG[/img]
without getting into too much engineering details and jargon I posted this picture as an insight on how I do my magic with all the knobs, latches, locks and stuff. May this be educational and informative. And eGil I don't like or understand latency --I have no feeling one way or the other about it---I'm a dapper Dan Man! I don't use FOP.


Straight-jacket time!! <3
posted on #4
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[youtube]4hni4OIJXG4[/youtube]
posted on #5
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Thanks e-Gil! That is BFA, i love mackie gear, and at about 150 bucks it is a good deal - plus 48v phantom power, and all the magic happens over USB! I bet it sounds awesome, and it is surely easy to set up with the unit doing USB doing all the sound card chores. If i were jumping in cold i would definately get that mackie unit.

But damn, I hate buyin' more crap, when i have a huge amount of still working crap. I assume i am not the only old guy with a box of gear from the past and a desire to make that stuff go somehow... plus i am only in it 8 bucks. I am so cheap, i squeeze nickles until Thomas Jefferson cries. 48 v pp is another reason i use my old mackie.
[img]https://i.pinimg.com/736x/f2/3b/b3/f23bb3a7632bd2b280e71676d66aca8a--hobo-nickel-skulls.jpg <img width="150">

[/img]

Gotta think on this... Thanks man!


Gemmy
What is the original thread/is that?

dapper Dan LOL
Edited by BuzzBomber on July 29 2018 00:46
Ain't too young to admit it, And I'm not too old to lie,
I'm just another empty head - Bon Scott
posted on #6
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Buzz you play drums----looky looky 4 channels on individual tracks for $99
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UMC404HD--behringer-u-phoria-umc404hd?mrkgcl=28&mrkgadid=3248788167&rkg_id=0&product_id=UMC404HD&campaigntype=shopping&campaign=aaShopping%20-%20Core%20-%20Studio%20&%20Recording&adgroup=Studio%20&%20Recording%20-%20Audio%20Interfaces&placement=google&adpos=1o2&creative=213185928233&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=Cj0KCQjwqPDaBRC6ARIsACAf4hA43xDQaq1geJH4QYDnwxzUEOGq4LO6mHSCc9tnLUVyPAQ8dwMJeKkaAvKmEALw_wcB

Plus midi ---- so that makes 6 channels(2 midi)
Edited by GemmyF on July 29 2018 00:54
posted on #7
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for those that want to spend a little more on a setup that I think works great, check out the AVID Eleven Rack. I have studio monitors connected to it as eGil mentioned the newer ones have for zero-latency, plus it has a zero impedance input for guitar bass active passive that automatically adjusts to the instrument to give great recordings plus it has built-in effects that are great and a lite version of Pro Tools all for $350 USD not including the monitors. I have had compliments on my sound since switching to one and I use no other hardware other than the PC its connected to, for Guitar and Bass and it has a balanced line in for a mic so I use it for vocals too. Digital effects have come a long way
posted on #8
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Dang-0 ! It is lookin' more and more like garage-sale-here-i-come for my old gear and cables, though i will really miss my Mackie 8-channel. I have had it forever... plus- $8 !! but seriously- these options are actually inexpensive even to me... and way simple
Ain't too young to admit it, And I'm not too old to lie,
I'm just another empty head - Bon Scott
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