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Confusion about hooking up signal processors.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by secondflooreast1, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. secondflooreast1

    secondflooreast1 Active Member

    I recently bought a bunch of things for my recording studio including, an antares avp-1, Focus rite ISA one, and an ART VLA II tube compressor. I have a 48 point patch bay in which I have the aux sends and returns from my alesis multimix16 as well as the outs and ins from all above said unit connected to. I can patch them so that my sends are running through them, but it does not run the signal back to my track that i want affected. The units all show that the signal is going through them, with the exception of the focus rite preamp, but the final signal is not affected. Can I not do this? Do they need to be plugged into an insert jack? If so, my mixer does not have any and is there any other way to set this up? Sorry if my post is confusing, but I am relatively new to using multiple signal processors.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It sounds as though you are making this more complicated than it is by thinking about everything through the medium of the patch panel. You have already identified the basic problem, viz. that the MultiMix 16 does not have channel inserts. This means you are limited to two types of operation for effects during recording:

    (1) External Pre-amp (Focusrite + any other you may get) -> effects unit/compressor -> line input on a mixer channel

    (2) Mixer send outputs -> effect units/compressors -> mixer returns or channel line inputs

    Whether you cable this directly or wire it through a patch panel does not change the functionality.

    BUT what you should do is step back a moment and ask WHY? You have said this is for your studio, i.e. not live performance, so why do you want to patch all these things in during recording? What happens if you don't like a particular effect setting when it comes to mixdown?

    Consider recording more of the raw tracks and then applying effects (and particularly compression) when mixing. This gives you greater flexibility and a better chance of creating effects that blend well with other tracks. You can also incorporate any effects available in your DAW that you may happen to like, e.g. reverb. Take care to compensate for round-trip DA -> effect -> AD times when applying external effects during mixdown.
  3. secondflooreast1

    secondflooreast1 Active Member

    thank you very much for help. This information is extremely useful.
  4. secondflooreast1

    secondflooreast1 Active Member

    ok i've been trying to figure this out but how would i add compression or any other outboard effect to an already recorded signal? Sorry for all these newbie questions, but all this technology is fairly new to me.
  5. bouldersound

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

    That depends largely on what you are recording on and, more importantly, if you're mixing in a computer or on a mixing board. Based on your previous post I'll assume you're mixing through a mixing board.

    There is no need to alter the recorded tracks once they are recorded, you just add effects at mixdown.

    Compression is almost always a series effect. The signal goes into the compressor and comes out the other side altered. To do this you put it on a channel or submix group insert. The channel eq works the same way but it's built into the channel.

    Reverb, delay and several other effects are normally used in parallel. You use an auxiliary send to get the desired signal to the effects unit, then return the result to the mixer through an auxiliary return or a regular channel. Each channel can send different amounts of signal to the aux send, so one track can send a lot while another can send little or none. The signal that returns to the board has none of the original signal in it, just the reverberation, echoes or whatever, in proportion to the levels sent from each channel. It is mixed in with the rest of the signals and audible at the output.
  6. secondflooreast1

    secondflooreast1 Active Member

    Sorry about that i should have been more specific about what i was recording on. I have my alesis multimix 16 hooked up to my iMac by usb 2.0. Now is there anyway to apply my outboard units to something I've already recorded to that?
  7. bouldersound

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

    Using that outboard hardware on recorded tracks with that recording hardware is probably not practical. Plugins are your best option.

    If you want to use the stuff for tracking refer to Boswell's post, especially the "step back" part.
  8. secondflooreast1

    secondflooreast1 Active Member

    Ok. Thanks for all the help. I am now looking at new hardware in which I will be able to bring the tracks back from my computer to my mixing console and mixdown there.
  9. bouldersound

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

    All you really need is an interface with more inputs and outputs so you don't have to give up your monitor outputs in order to connect the external hardware.

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