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Help me build my studio
Audioblysk sucks at recording. Much better at making music


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#1 Audioblysk

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 08:46 PM

Aright gents, so I have a bit of a particular set of questions and thoughts to get your ideas on. I've been toodling around with the same bits of gear for a long time in full sync.

 

I've gotten my JX-3p (modded), Pro-2, RYTM, Minilogue, EMX-1, and TX81z all routed up to sync to the clock of a TR-707, which is fucking cool because they all have internal sequencers (aside from the TX81z AFAIK, that I plonk around on)  I can run together like one spread-out cirklon in a way... I run them through outboard gear (some DBX compressors, a few of these ART pro-channel 2 strips a friend gave me from his work and into a digital mixer/interface  --- I quite like recording through a desk, but my current one leaves some things to be desired with DAW stuffs.  

 

I have PreSonus 16.0.2 interface/mixer that I thought would be a dead-answer to my woes with recording multi-track into Live. Lo and behold, this sum-bitch doesn't pump out its individual channels with the EQ/Comp/Limiter and such onboard unless you're trying to record the master in one take in stereo. Which is cool if I'm recording in sound effects, simple drum patterns to sample or what have you. But when I jam live I like to record each track in. Sucks I have to just run them through the outboard gear and then into the Pre-amp -> Live. 

1) Would this be easier with an analog desk that has outputs after the processing signal-path -> 16/16 i/o interface to Ableton and chopped from there?

 

2) Are there digital/analog firewire mixers that dump their actual output to each channel in a DAW (Live prefered, I have gotten used to it.) It's shit that this thing is fully digital and doesn't output anything besides being an over-glorified pre-amp/interface. The fuck is the point unless you're just mixing a live band to two-track? I mean I get it, most music is recorded live like that, but it just seems like a flaw

 

3) Is there a way to trigger Live to start recording when I hit start on the 707 and sync with so I can not have to sync things by ear?

Sorry to be a total neanderthal with the recording tech, I'm just tired of everyone I know telling me to record and put out more after hearing all the live-meddlings. I've even had offers to go play paid gigs abroad but I can't get the tunes from my gear to a convenient DAW file for live-fuckery. I'd have to drag around everything currently.

 

I can do what I need to do to make tracks with the current set-up. Don't get me wrong -- but, there has to be an easier way to streamline this work-flow. I love making tunes outside the box, but I can see what 'Phex was saying about how 'making music with tons of gear just complicates things' because half the time I give up on an idea due to me not being technically saavy or having constraints based on equipment. I just go back to the comfort of making tracks that I mess with in my living room, which is cool.. but TBH I need a hobby to get me head out of shit and this is the one that feels best. 

 

I have pretty much unlimited funds aside from dropping 5 figures or more on equipment. Any suggestions welcome. 

 

Thanks for reading all of that. 

 

TL:DR - I'm not good at recording engineering

 



#2 Brisbot

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 08:56 PM

I'm not good at setting stuff up but I'm a good cheerleader.

GO AUDIOBLYSK YOU CAN SETUP A NEW STUDIO!!

On second thought I'd be copy-pasting my questions on the relevant sub-reddits to get as many opinions as possible.


Edited by Brisbot, 21 October 2018 - 09:05 PM.


#3 thawkins

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:22 PM

For question 3) - I would start with trying to slave Live to the TR-707. If all goes well you should be able to arm the session record in Live and hit play on the TR-707 and Live will then record everything you throw at it while you mess around on the rest of the kit.

 

For question 2) - I got a MOTU Track16 for more or less the same purpose - to be able to get my stuff into the DAW all in separate tracks. It's got a built-in chip that does DSP (EQ & compression IIRC) and if you run out of inputs, you can hook up a MOTU 8 Pre or something else that will convert analog tracks into a optical link that you can send to the Track16. There's definitely better interfaces more suited for what you need that won't break your budget.

 

Hope this helps!



#4 RSP

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:22 PM

I would personally take a separate mixer and interface over a mixer with an integrated interface any day.  Digital technology is constantly changing but a good mixer is a good mixer.  Don't get stuck with something that's a brick in ten years because it's no longer possible to hook it up to a modern computer. Plus you'll have an upgrade path for your converters without having to replace your mixer.  And in general, single-purpose devices tend to be better than integrated systems IMO, even if they're a bit more work to set up initially. It might not be easier initially but it's going to be more robust, more flexible,more upgradeable and more future proof.  Unless you're taking it out on the road or something and need portability and quick setup, I'd personally avoid any combination mixer/interface.



#5 eczem

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:28 PM

All i can offer you for 1 & 2 is that my multi-tracking solution for hardware driven stuff ended up being the Evolution UC-33e midi controller and Behringer 8 channel ADAT extension to my audio interface. So mixing from the channels in the DAW basically. I more or less ran into the same issue and I couldn't find a mixer that did what you described. So yeah, the other option that i use is an analog mixer and accepting that that there will be no multi-tracking down the line.

 

For 3, I think you want MIDI master (707) & slave (Live) with transport control. Everything should be aligned after recording. I use Reaper, not Live, but there ought to be a way to arm for recording before you hit start.



#6 sweepstakes

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:44 PM

2) Are there digital/analog firewire mixers that dump their actual output to each channel in a DAW (Live prefered, I have gotten used to it.) 

I've been eyeing the Soundcraft 22 MTK which does just that. Every input pair has its own audio interface. This lets you record all channels individually, then you can switch between analog input and interface output for each channel (including mono channels, not just pairs). This makes it really easy to record live input with individual recorded tracks.

 

There's a 12-track version, too, if you don't need all the channels/busses/sends/EQ bands. 

 

I would personally take a separate mixer and interface over a mixer with an integrated interface any day.  Digital technology is constantly changing but a good mixer is a good mixer.  Don't get stuck with something that's a brick in ten years because it's no longer possible to hook it up to a modern computer.

I get what you're saying, but as you said, a good mixer is a good mixer. If it's got a crap audio interface attached to it, well, you might not use that once the new shiny arrives, but the mixer itself will still be handy.

 

Also my 20-year-old VLZ1202 just about a brick at this point, despite not having a digital bone in it.


NOTE: the MTK is USB, not firewire. I thought firewire was pretty much toast.



#7 thawkins

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:50 PM

Firewire seems to be dying now that there's USB-C although I think the devices themselves will still be around and working for 4-5 years.



#8 ignatius

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:52 PM

i can only tell you what i do. 

 

hardware synths, fx, compressors and mixer all patched into patch bays. i can patch anything into anything.  audio interface is patched in to patch bays as well. 

 

i have midi interface hooked up to computer and everything is midi'd to that. if i want to use a hardware sequencer i just plug it into the synth as needed. 

 

i use an older mackie 1604 onyx. it has a FW audio interface built in but i don't use it. it has 16 direct outs which is what i use for tracking. the outs are post eq and post fader. 

 

i have an RME fireface and lynx aurora 8 hooked up via ADAT into the RME so i get 16+ channels of recording. also have a 1 of the ADAT outs routed to expert sleepers ES3 to send info to the modular if i want. 

 

an interface separate from a mixer is the way to go. way more flexible. and typically better quality converters. 

 

if i were doing it all over again i'd get more i/o and either get a newer RME or something like an antelope orion

 

https://vintageking....-audio-orion-32

 

as for mixers... you can do fine w/an allen and heath or soundcraft.. i wouldn't buy any of the current mackies. they're kinda shitty now. 

 

or if you really want to throw money at it there's things like API 1608 or various used vintage things or larger/mid format mixers like Audient... 

 

or if you don't use all the routing in a mixer then just get a bunch of channel strips or 500 series gear... 

 

just don't go down a pro audio rabbit hole. it serves no purpose and just is a waste of time imo.  get a decent signal chain and decent to spendy converters and some good monitors and you'll be good. 

 

some acoustic panels and bass traps go a long way.

 

https://www.gikacoustics.com



#9 auxien

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 07:40 AM

Aright gents, so I have a bit of a particular set of questions and thoughts to get your ideas on. I've been toodling around with the same bits of gear for a long time in full sync.

 

I've gotten my JX-3p (modded), Pro-2, RYTM, Minilogue, EMX-1, and TX81z all routed up to sync to the clock of a TR-707, which is fucking cool because they all have internal sequencers (aside from the TX81z AFAIK, that I plonk around on)  I can run together like one spread-out cirklon in a way... I run them through outboard gear (some DBX compressors, a few of these ART pro-channel 2 strips a friend gave me from his work and into a digital mixer/interface  --- I quite like recording through a desk, but my current one leaves some things to be desired with DAW stuffs.  

 

I have PreSonus 16.0.2 interface/mixer that I thought would be a dead-answer to my woes with recording multi-track into Live. Lo and behold, this sum-bitch doesn't pump out its individual channels with the EQ/Comp/Limiter and such onboard unless you're trying to record the master in one take in stereo. Which is cool if I'm recording in sound effects, simple drum patterns to sample or what have you. But when I jam live I like to record each track in. Sucks I have to just run them through the outboard gear and then into the Pre-amp -> Live. 

1) Would this be easier with an analog desk that has outputs after the processing signal-path -> 16/16 i/o interface to Ableton and chopped from there?

 

2) Are there digital/analog firewire mixers that dump their actual output to each channel in a DAW (Live prefered, I have gotten used to it.) It's shit that this thing is fully digital and doesn't output anything besides being an over-glorified pre-amp/interface. The fuck is the point unless you're just mixing a live band to two-track? I mean I get it, most music is recorded live like that, but it just seems like a flaw

 

3) Is there a way to trigger Live to start recording when I hit start on the 707 and sync with so I can not have to sync things by ear?

Sorry to be a total neanderthal with the recording tech, I'm just tired of everyone I know telling me to record and put out more after hearing all the live-meddlings. I've even had offers to go play paid gigs abroad but I can't get the tunes from my gear to a convenient DAW file for live-fuckery. I'd have to drag around everything currently.

 

I can do what I need to do to make tracks with the current set-up. Don't get me wrong -- but, there has to be an easier way to streamline this work-flow. I love making tunes outside the box, but I can see what 'Phex was saying about how 'making music with tons of gear just complicates things' because half the time I give up on an idea due to me not being technically saavy or having constraints based on equipment. I just go back to the comfort of making tracks that I mess with in my living room, which is cool.. but TBH I need a hobby to get me head out of shit and this is the one that feels best. 

 

I have pretty much unlimited funds aside from dropping 5 figures or more on equipment. Any suggestions welcome. 

 

Thanks for reading all of that. 

 

TL:DR - I'm not good at recording engineering

1) Probably? Follow up in 2

2) Yes. I've got a Focusrite Saffire Pro that does exactly this. There are plenty others that are more expensive and maybe a little more stable (had many small issues with mine, plus it's firewire which as thawkins mentioned is definitely on the way out...though you can convert FW>Thunderbolt so that's an option? or just get a more expensive/up to date audio interface built for something like Thunderbolt)

3) Yes, I think you'll have to tell Ableton to follow remote commands somehow in MIDI pref. Definitely possible, just get out the manual and/or trial and error with the settings there related to the gear you want to follow.

 

What may be slightly more complicated is recording all tracks at once on play...there may be a trick to getting it to always work right but I've never dived in to find it as I always just record my hardware jams to one stereo track in Ableton. 

 

I think you should also remember re: Richard's comments that when he says tons of gear he most likely means something entirely different than you or I. He may be preaching but obv not often practicing that given his Syro gear list. Getting the amount of gear you have (especially with many having their own sequencers, I'm also doing a lot of stuff like this) all working together can be a hassle but it's definitely doable...I just like to work with the quirks rather than against them these days. Bit more of a zen approach :)



#10 RSP

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 09:31 AM

Everything Ignatius said.


Samson makes a pretty nice 48 point 1/4" patchbay for under $150 used. all of the cheaper ones I've had are shitty, wear out fast, and occasionally have damaged cables (because the Jack's don't work smoothly and the extra stress of plugging and unplugging eventually messes the cable up and means resoldering or replacing depending on the cable). everything fancier than the Samson is overkill for a home studio.

#11 thawkins

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 06:57 PM

2) Yes. I've got a Focusrite Saffire Pro that does exactly this. There are plenty others that are more expensive and maybe a little more stable (had many small issues with mine, plus it's firewire which as thawkins mentioned is definitely on the way out...though you can convert FW>Thunderbolt so that's an option? or just get a more expensive/up to date audio interface built for something like Thunderbolt)

 

 

 

I think the key point here is that even though you can always get adapters and hook the thing up physically, there is no guarantee that the device manufacturer will keep the drivers up to date when you eventually want to upgrade your OS and in the case of class-compliant devices, the maker of the OS can drop FW support in the near future.

 

So if you go the FW route, I would pay real close attention to the manufacturer's support deadlines and be careful when updating your OS. Windows 10 updates automatically which can lead to interesting results unless you really commit to keeping your studio computer off the net.

 

Btw, it seems Thunderbolt is already an obsolete standard as it has now morphed into USB-C. Hooking up a FW interface to my new MBP involves a FW->TB adapter and TB->USB-C adapter which basically meant it was cheaper to get a new interface.



#12 Stickfigger

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 08:31 PM

Behringer UfX1204 for me .. I know it's a dirty brand but I get all my tracks individually in the DAW and u can send pre or post fader and there are nice routing options with the different busses. I've got everything synced to my OT and just snip the silence off the start of the recording to get everything on grid .

#13 Braintree

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 09:39 PM

Erm...computer, mixer, audio interface, MIDI timepiece. You may need a receiver for your speakers if they're not powered. Make sure it's balanced so there's no hum. I have mine set up so that I can record whatever is going through the mixer. That's about it, really.

 

Here's my studio setup:

 

Apple Mac Mini

Mackie 1202

Apogee Duet

MOTU Micro Lite

 

I would like to upgrade to a digital console, but it's not really at the top of my list right now.



#14 Audioblysk

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 10:19 AM

Thanks for all the responses! I’ve sold off the studiolive (some dude came and got it for 875$ last night, nice guy, smoked some weed with him and talked synths) and will come to my decision on a mixer, patchbay and interface this weekend when I’m feelin’ spendy. After meddling with the 707 and live, I finally got it all to sync correctly (good god I’m bad at figuring these things out... YouTube videos and forums are a pain to navigate through and watch/read)

I can make tracks all day every day in my current setup and love programming each sequencer, getting it all set up, hot swapping drum patterns on drum machines and twiddlin’. But fuck meh, engineering is a craft I really need to practice more. Been on the wait list for a cirklon for-goddamn-ever, but I can’t wait that long to start making some packaged tunes for my own sanity. I used to make tracks mostly on just a laptop with scattered gear samples, but after the untimely loss of my music making friend, I have had a block there where I freeze up when I need to make ideas entirely ITB from nothing or VST’s. Or I try and they just don’t feel as good as all the machines poppin’ off.

BTW - any love in here for punch-in sequencers (don’t know what else to call em) like the one in the JX-3p and sh-101? Perfect hybrid sequencer would be something to that effect where you can punch it in as the sequence is playing in real time and then go back over and edit finer details. The EMX-1 actually has a really cool sequencer when coupled with the motion sequence feature. My pro-2 and minilouge have something to the effect, but not nearly the step-amounts I wish they had. Some baselines that get complicated I have to just sequence from midi in Live. Pretty sure there are a few that do that, but not with the flexibility of the cirklon AFAIK.

Rambling now.. Not too much music makin’ talk on here as of late it feels like.

#15 RSP

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 01:17 PM

I think the key point here is that even though you can always get adapters and hook the thing up physically, there is no guarantee that the device manufacturer will keep the drivers up to date when you eventually want to upgrade your OS and in the case of class-compliant devices, the maker of the OS can drop FW support in the near future.

 

 

 

Case in point, my interface doesn't even have 64 bit Windows drivers and I've just been coasting on the fact that the 64 bit drivers for the next model that replaced it also work with mine under Windows 7. I haven't  seen a driver update since 2009 or 2010 (before I even owned it)



#16 RSP

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 01:43 PM

BTW - any love in here for punch-in sequencers (don’t know what else to call em) like the one in the JX-3p and sh-101? Perfect hybrid sequencer would be something to that effect where you can punch it in as the sequence is playing in real time and then go back over and edit finer details. The EMX-1 actually has a really cool sequencer when coupled with the motion sequence feature. My pro-2 and minilouge have something to the effect, but not nearly the step-amounts I wish they had. Some baselines that get complicated I have to just sequence from midi in Live. Pretty sure there are a few that do that, but not with the flexibility of the cirklon AFAIK.

Rambling now.. Not too much music makin’ talk on here as of late it feels like.

 

 

I haven't used mine much (because I never sprung for a proper enclosure and the buttons are wobbly and fall off a lot with my half-assed DIY one) but the MidiREX might be exactly what you're looking for.  The downside is it's kit-only, the up side is that it's a pretty easy build - it takes about an hour from opening the package to powering it up. My only real complaint is that the firmware stopped being updated before sysex record/playback was implemented, and part of why I got it was to use as a makeshift sysex librarian for my MT-32 once that was implemented (dump all the custom patches to a pattern as sysex and then play back that pattern later to reload them).  But as a real-time performance sequencer it's pretty unique and very cool.  Kind of like a hybrid between an older MPC, an SH-101 and a 4 track audio looper like the Electro-Harmonix 2880 (but with MIDI instead of audio).  I can't think of anything else like it.



#17 worms

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 01:47 PM

i use an 808 and have the trig outs trigger an sh101 a csq 600 and a csq 100, the 808 has kenton midi mod so you can plug in a midi sequencer into it.

 

wouldnt mind a jx3p but i have me vx600 now that does the job of polyphonic stuff.

 

606 is good drum machine you can get for 300 quid because it has 2 trig outs, if you syncd that with your 707 you could sequence up to 3 sh101s and/or jx3ps


Edited by worms, 23 October 2018 - 01:54 PM.


#18 auxien

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 01:55 PM

Btw, it seems Thunderbolt is already an obsolete standard as it has now morphed into USB-C.

I wasn't very specific with what I said but this isn't exactly correct either...or rather, just to clarify in case anyone is learning about this for the first time: not all USB-C is Thunderbolt, but most (all?) Thunderbolt stuff now has a physical connector that is physically a USB-C that is 'Thunderbolt capable' (also I think maybe there's even further distinctions as to what type of Thunderbolt use is allowed? not sure there). Thunderbolt is very common still and seems like it will be for a while, but the older Thunderbolt physical connections are definitely going (or gone). So basically if anyone's looking for Thunderbolt capable computers don't just assume USB-C = Thunderbolt in all cases. 

 

Everything else you said was exactly correct to my knowledge thawkins, just clarifying in case anyone was confused (as I was recently when I started shopping around for computers, shit's goofy as fuck now with USB 3/C/A/C+Thunderbolt/etc.) And also many of these laptops are using USB-C to charge with as well so if you're going to be using a laptop as a main computer for long sessions, keep that in mind (may need a dock in some cases).

 

Sorry for the specific blabber, you're all smart people and I probably didn't need to type all that out but I already did so here you go.  :cat:



#19 RSP

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 04:05 PM

Makes me nostalgic for the days when all you had to worry about was getting the exact right revision of a specific Firewire chipset or else your interface would crash your entire system if you forgot to switch it on before your computer and were fool hardy enough to turn it on after your OS had loaded.



#20 thawkins

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 06:37 PM

 

Btw, it seems Thunderbolt is already an obsolete standard as it has now morphed into USB-C.

I wasn't very specific with what I said but this isn't exactly correct either...or rather, just to clarify in case anyone is learning about this for the first time: not all USB-C is Thunderbolt, but most (all?) Thunderbolt stuff now has a physical connector that is physically a USB-C that is 'Thunderbolt capable' (also I think maybe there's even further distinctions as to what type of Thunderbolt use is allowed? not sure there). Thunderbolt is very common still and seems like it will be for a while, but the older Thunderbolt physical connections are definitely going (or gone). So basically if anyone's looking for Thunderbolt capable computers don't just assume USB-C = Thunderbolt in all cases. 

 

Everything else you said was exactly correct to my knowledge thawkins, just clarifying in case anyone was confused (as I was recently when I started shopping around for computers, shit's goofy as fuck now with USB 3/C/A/C+Thunderbolt/etc.) And also many of these laptops are using USB-C to charge with as well so if you're going to be using a laptop as a main computer for long sessions, keep that in mind (may need a dock in some cases).

 

Sorry for the specific blabber, you're all smart people and I probably didn't need to type all that out but I already did so here you go.  :cat:

 

 

Thanks for clearing that up. To be honest it is quite a mess to me still. Now I actually looked it up and my cynicism was justified - https://www.cnet.com...nnect-them-all/ (tl;dr world is a fuck, there are three thunderbolt versions and loads more USB versions, but it seems generally a Thunderbolt 3 port/cable can do USB-C and all other USB standards, but not vice versa). So hooray for backwards compatibility and I guess just don't buy Thunderbolt gear if you only have USB-C ports without the Harry Potter logo lightning thing.



#21 sweepstakes

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 04:49 PM

also have a 1 of the ADAT outs routed to expert sleepers ES3 to send info to the modular if i want. 

Do you ever mess with control signals going the other way, i.e. modular -> computer? I guess that would be handled by e.g. the ES6 instead.

 

I've been playing with Max lately and it seems like that'd be brilliant for high-resolution control, where MIDI is often absurdly coarse. I can't seem to find anyone talking about this, although there's a few folks using VCV in this way to augment their hardware racks.



#22 ignatius

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 07:59 PM

 

also have a 1 of the ADAT outs routed to expert sleepers ES3 to send info to the modular if i want. 

Do you ever mess with control signals going the other way, i.e. modular -> computer? I guess that would be handled by e.g. the ES6 instead.

 

I've been playing with Max lately and it seems like that'd be brilliant for high-resolution control, where MIDI is often absurdly coarse. I can't seem to find anyone talking about this, although there's a few folks using VCV in this way to augment their hardware racks.

 

 

 

i never have but it's way more possible now with off the shelf stuff. 



#23 sheathe

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 09:38 AM

I think you’re going to find that many successful electronic musicians using hardware do not record 16 simultaneous inputs of a hardware jam and then tweak. What they actually do is record the stereo out of their mixer, and try to become more skilled at doing live takes.

If you do find people doing simultaneous tracks, it’s probably on telekom videos where they describe how they use a $30k setup to make bland techno.

That said, I was obsessed for a while with getting all my channels recording at once, which would amount to like 8 tracks for my setup. Problem is, I don’t have any money, best mixer I could afford was a used epm12, and I did the halfway plug on the insets which resulted in a prefader direct out which was a big headache.

what I’ve done in recent tracks with hardware is get a good jam going, then use my 802vlz alt 3-4 mute function to send each part to my sound card, one at a time.

I want to try out another method: recording lots of live instrumentation on simultaneous channels, then use ableton exclusively for arrangement.

Either way, your mixer’s tape out is gonna be your best friend for actually getting tracks done...

Either that, or bypass the mixer and go fully digital straight into the soundcard, then do analog post processing to taste.

#24 RSP

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 05:14 PM

That's good advice.

 

I know personally I switched to multitracking stuff a couple years ago (only 6 channels at once maximum, but building up arrangments a track at a time) and it's fun because I really like mixing and don't have the budget or space to do a really complicated mix in hardware (my mixer is an EPM8 plus a middling quality,mid 90s, 1u, 10 stereo input rackmount line mixer with trimpots for pan and one aux send) but the truth is, since I switched to working that way my mixing has gotten way better but as far as actually making music it will take me a year to do what I'd do in a month or two when I was doing it all live to stereo, and the stuff I come up with is a lot less interesting.  PRobably going to go back to doing it all live again (but maybe recording two or three stereo submixes), I just have to fix a couple buttons on the old MPC and it's back to sequencing a bunch of patterns on that and then jamming out the arrangement live in one pass.



#25 sheathe

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 07:36 PM

Are you doing insert half plug ?