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Combo setup help: Recording/Mixing with Home Entertainment

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Jonathor, May 5, 2015.

  1. Jonathor

    Jonathor Active Member

    So, I was unsure if this was the right place to post this; but it seemed to be the place I feel those who would have the answer would likely be reading.

    Anyway, I am looking to combine my recording/mixing station into my home entertainment setup as well. Basically, I want to be able to (in my downtime) use the same monitors/interface while watching a movie (from just the tv), gaming (off of a console) and mixing. When I'm mixing, I'm basically doing audio post for short local films. Gaming is on PS4 to the television.

    The thing is, I'm attempting to find resolutions as to how to get the audio from my tv to the interface as well as having the computer I'd typically mix on connected (ideally not having to run the computer while I'm watching a movie/gaming).

    Here is what I have to work with:
    TV (has 2 optical, a headphone jack out, 4 hdmi)
    Macbook Pro
    Apogee Ensemble (not the new black one, I have the older silver)
    PS4 (out is HDMI)

    Some specific questions:
    1. Would the tv's optical out be able to work with the Ensemble as an 'in'?

    2. Is it a horrible idea to have the TV headphone out jack put into one of the line in jacks on the ensemble (granted this idea reduces my available inputs to use on the ensemble if I'm doing larger recordings)?

    I know I can place the apogee in standalone, so that is a start to being able to run this all without always having the computer running. Just attempting to seek some advise at this point.
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    In my mind there is no good reason to mix Studio and Home equipement. Get studio monitors for the studio and a home theater audio system for movies. Have them in the same room if you want, but not interconnected... ;)
  3. Jonathor

    Jonathor Active Member

    How about not having a whole lot of cash to put into home theatre speakers at the moment (or the extra room) and just want something better to use than the built in speakers of the tv? Can't that be good enough reason? lol

    But yeah, fair enough. I know that home entertainment speakers are created for a different experience/purpose than that of studio equipment. Was simply just trying to find a way to use what I have to enhance my non-work experience as well.

    However, could we argue that getting used to how other peoples films and things sound in your environment and your speaker setup help you know more about how to work in your own mixes with that same equipment? I mean, we often toss our mixes into consumer equipment for reference? why not do the exact opposite, toss professional mixes in our setup to get a feel how it there?
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    are you trying to import audio from the TV into a DAW? or do you want to only monitor the TV from the same speakers?

    if its the latter then a simple monitor controller would do it.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Initially I thought you wanted to mix on a home theater system. The monitors are not in your list, what are they ? Flat studio monitors are not very enjoyable on movies and day by day music playing. Training your ears is a very good idea, as long as other member of the family don't care. But yeah nothing says you can't use them. Things is, the output headphone out is already amplified and is not the signal I would send to a PA or the Ensemble. A line out or digital out is a better choice..

    But again why going to the ensemble, why not having a little switching box to choose the source. (unless the monitors have multiple inputs)
    The ensemble is such a nice unit, it's just hard not to picture it surrounded with other highend gear ;)..
  6. Jonathor

    Jonathor Active Member

    Oh, woops. Probably should have made that a little more clear. Yeah, it's studio monitors out of the apogee. Was just attempting to send a signal to the apogee from my tv so that I can use the monitors (instead of built in tv speakers).

    I completely agree. Studio monitors are not likely going to make the best listening experience, but I actually only just graduated from an Audio Post Production course last year and am just building onto my work station as I go, so funds are aimed there and not home theatre systems.

    Anyway, a monitor controller is likely a decent way about it. I like that idea in general.

    But at what point in the chain were you thinking of placing a switcher?

    What about optical? Both have the connection, but I know there are plenty of instances where 'just cause it fits, doesn't mean you should put it there' lol
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    before the speakers. a decent switcher will have source switching. plug the analog outs from the tv and the analog outs from your daw in source 1 and source 2 respectively ...
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    If you want flexibility, then how about a small mixer? Plenty of ins and outs, and the ability to send A to B or X to Y? I used to do this, but all attempts to do this were lost on my wife. She wants to listen to the TV ON the TV, and have the TV remote work the volume. If it's just you, it's pretty simple to suddenly have good quality audio from the TV, but a pain for others!
    pcrecord likes this.
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Is the Macbook Pro one of the pre-Retina models? If so, the audio input jack doubles as an optical connection and you can use a standard optical cable (Toslink - 1/8" jack) to connect the optical output of your TV system directly to the computer without having to go through the Ensemble. You would switch between TV audio and mixing work by switching applications in the Macbook.
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    So if I understand you correctly, you want the capability to listen to your TV sources through your studio monitors - and then still have the capability to do audio production, without rewiring anything.

    You still haven't told us what monitors you're using, so we don't know what your unbalanced connection options are, but I'm with Kurt on this one. I'd spend a little money for a passive analog studio monitor controller. Something like a Mackie Big Knob, or this SM Pro M-Patch 2.1 perhaps. It will be a useful tool to have as you move forward doing audio/video production.

    The stereo mini headphone output isn't the greatest, but not necessarily a deal-breaker.

    If I were truly trying to do this on-the-cheap, and my monitors had unbalanced inputs, I'd buy or build the appropriate cable and connect the TV stereo headphone jack to the monitors when I'm in TV/movie/gaming mode. Connect the Apogee to the monitors when you're editing - it's 2 connections.

    To do anything else more elaborate, there will be some hurdles and manuals in your future, so let's get some of your ins and outs straight.

    Your TV's HDMI connectors are all inputs.
    One of your Toslink is mostly likely an input, the other is most likely an output.
    Your PS4 can either send the audio embedded in the HDMI signal, or via Toslink
    Toslink out the back of your TV could be any number of sample-rates 44.1kHz to 192kHz in different bit-rates.
    Your TV can usually be set to deal with Toslink audio in normal left/right stereo all the way to 7.1
    There are numerous DAC converters in the $50 - $100 range to convert Toslink into stereo analog RCA connections - if that helps.

    I'm not very familiar with your Apogee, but I see it has ADAT / SMUX capability - neither of which are compatible with the TV Toslink even though they do share the same connector & cable. You are correct regarding the 'just cause it fits' in this case. The Apogoee says it will take S/PDIF. You will have to check the Apogee manual to see what S/PDIF protocol(s) it will accept through the Toslink, and then check the manual of your specific TV to see exactly what it sends.

    If you do manage to get audio from the TV out the Toslink into your monitor system - you'll have to check to see if it can be configured to let the TV's remote control the volume (which I assume would be what you'd want). Some TVs use "Fixed" audio and the TV remote doesn't affect volume, because they assume you're running it into a larger home-theater receiver (which would handle the volume and source selection with its universal remote). Other TVs allow "Fixed", or "Variable" volume.
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Altought those are very good suggestions, for a lot less money you could buy some speakers for the TV alone.

    Or for the same price :


    Unless, the OP didn't buy the monitors yet...
  12. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I do work on my home theater system all the time. I'm very used to how it sounds since I listen to TV, FM, CDs and DVDs through it. My computers are attached via SPDIF and analog. I can check mixes in stereo with and without the sub, and in 5.1 (via Pro Logic processing). I have vague plans to add multichannel connections so I can monitor in discrete 5.1. I can also route audio from one computer to a Logitech 2.1 computer speaker system that I use for casual listening.
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i've been interested in doing this same thing for a long time. it just seems to make sense to me. in the largest room of the house, laptop computer and desktop interface on the coffee table while i relax on the couch and listen. if i did this, i could turn my "studio" into a large iso booth for drums or vocals ...
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Well, as long as you are able to turn out mixes that translate well ... and "evenly".... to other playback mediums, then why not?

    It's when you play something that sounds great in your space, and then you play it on another system and discover that there's no low end, or maybe extensive hi mids and/or highs that bore a hole in your forehead, that you've got to re-evaluate what you are doing, as well as how you are doing it.

    Acoustic treatment can be very important, but, so is the familiarity and acclimation of the ears of the person who is mixing in a given space.

    If you really know your room, and really know your monitors, this can go a long way when it comes to having your mixes translate well to other spaces and mediums.

    As far as recording goes, you'll never know how any given space will sound for tracking purposes until you simply do it and find out. You may find out that the space works well for certain things, but perhaps not so well for others.. or, you may find out that everything sounds good - or that everything sounds bad. Some issues can be dealt with easily, and for not much money - for example, for vocals, maybe you'll need nothing more than a few thick packing blankets hung in the room to kill flutter echo / or "pinging". You may also find that there is a certain area in that space that sounds better for certain things than other areas in the same space.

    It could be as easy as putting some furniture into the room. Or a bookshelf on a back wall that acts as a diffuser. Keeping in mind that all of these things are cheap and quick fixes that may - or may not - work, depending on what the issues are - and to what extent.

    I wouldn't say that just because a room has been treated to sound optimal as a home theater for watching movies, or listening to music, that it automatically makes it okay to record or mix in. But again, until you actually do some recording and mixing in that space, you won't know.

    Personally speaking, I prefer to mix in as large of an area as I can. I think it helps, in that even if the room might not be "flat", the bigger the area is, the less chances of me being hit with one particular frequency (and faster in time) than others, as long as I'm still within the sweet spot of the monitors.

    All that being said, if given a choice, I'd still rather mix in a treated room than in an un-treated one.
    But.... even after you treat a room, it's still very likely that you'll go through an acclimation period of sorts, where you'll need to get used to mixing in that treated space.

    IMHO of course.

  15. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    When we were looking for a house to buy a couple of years ago one of my main criteria was a living room with "friendly" acoustics so I could work at home. It's not perfect but I think it's a bit better than the control rooms I typically get to use. One short wall is about 40% open to the kitchen/dining area and the other is a stairway dividing it into two walls at different distances from their opposite. It's fairly full of furniture including a sofa and loveseat, a bookshelf in one corner, large planters in another. It's not quite dead but it's pretty neutral, and the standard listening position relative to the speakers happens to have the most accurate bass response. I mastered the song I posted recently here.

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