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external monitor controller with Fireface 800, Samplitude

Discussion in 'Samplitude' started by audiokid, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    More learning, new DAW, new equipment coming and sorting out old ways with new....

    How would you set up my monitor controlling with with Fireface 800?

    ITB monitor mix:
    I'm having difficulty adjusting the headphone mix with FireFace 800 and Samplitude /Sequoia 11. Can we do you do it in detail?

    If I recall my old Pro Tools Mix (eat crow) could simply adjust the active recording fader to monitor the headphone, thus, sing/play along to the mixed tracks with easy head phone monitoring. I could hear all the FX and no latency to speak of. I don't recall I had to create an aux for this. Simply adjusting the fader for the singer while recording was easy. hmm good on pro tools.


    OTB monitor controller:
    to make my life easier, I have an external monitor controller from SPL MTC. Here is a good link from http://www.frontendaudio.com/SPL_MTC_2381_Monitor_Talkback_Controller_p/9127.htm that shows front and back pics. I'm just hooking it up and wondering what the best way to do this is? I am totally confused with Total Mix/ Matrix process to feed the headphones out to Fireface 800, from and already confusing new DAW added to my learning curve.
    Please please... I need some help. :confused:

    Not that this is much help, here is a somewhat similar reference from Magix forum
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    SPL Monitor & Talkback Controller Details
    I've got the just of this but not with the headphone feed coming from the DAW to here. I can't get around the FF TotalMix and Samplitude feed.​
  3. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    hey audiokid:
    I struggle with TotalMix myself.
    I found using the Matrix view was easier to figure out what was going where...
    The mixer view can be harder to use IMO.
    If you start with the preset 1 and then go into the Matrix view is shows where each input channel is routed and what playback channels are routed to the headphone mix....if you want to change it you just click the appropriate cell....
    I don't know if that helps but let me know if there is a specific setup you want and I might be able to run through it...
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ah, thanks bud!

    Good to hear others find it challenging.

    After all day, I'm getting it now. Problem I'm having, with everything, are my eyes aren't so good anymore. 53 this year. I finally need glasses and its a hard thing to adjust to. Everything is damn blurry lol.
    I was routing the monitor out the same channels as the mix, which obviously couldn't be separated duh...
    The total mix is so cluttered to me. I'll have to remove most of it as I find my way. The matrix is making more sense too. Simple click and you are in/out yes?

    The old days of seeing the faders in my face are always a constant craving for me.

    I'm sure I'll be back asking for more help.
  5. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Yes click the cell that makes the connection....you'll notice the level value will appear inside the cell but you can always switch back to Mixer view to watch the levels.
    Hey right there with ya at 55 my friend....wearing dem dar new fangled blended lenses and I still have to take them off when I need to do close up work or inspect anything!

    One thing to remember in Mixer view is the input channels (top row) is setting the input signal.
    Your return playback signal from your DAW is in the second row and then your actual output level for monitor is the bottom row. Whenever you click inside a level meter in Mixer view you are selecting that "cell" to route. It's then a matter of right clicking on that meter and select where you want it to go to which output(s).
    In Matrix view its seems faster and you could literally click every cell and theoretically route everything to everything, everywhere!.....haven't tried that...it is possible but not very practical...LOL
    I find the cell routing comes down to diagonals, verticals and horizontal patterns.
    If you notice the headphone in preset 1 has all outputs routed to it and that is the clue on how to create a submix to a given stereo or mono output jack...you can actually use the FF800 outputs as a headphone amp...
    BTW...FWIW if you go to the RME forums (I know that just sounds wrong doesn't it) there is a TotalMix area which includes a lot of info and even different style skins for changing the TotalMix's appearance.
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    So, Chris, here's how I work with Total Mix.

    The top row is all of your hardware inputs. Moving these faders will vary the level coming into the DAW and out through the rest of your RME.
    The middle row is all of your "virtual" channels. If you tell your DAW (Sequoia) to send a submix out through channels 7/8, then you can control the level of that output from the middle row.
    The bottom row is your physical output row. Here's where the trick comes. Think of each pair of channels as a bus. For example, tracks 1/2 are a bus. Click either of those and now every single input (hardware and virtual or top and bottom row) that should be going out of hardware outputs 1/2 should light up. Generally, you don't want a mix of top and middle rows as these aren't properly time-aligned and will sound odd.

    For a HP mix, especially where you'll have dedicated outputs going to your HP amp, set aside 2 outputs from the back of the RME (for this example, we'll use 7/8). Click either channel 7 or 8 in the bottom row. Now, determine what you want going to that channel. Do you want to monitor exactly what's coming into the DAW? If so, only select those upper row values that you want and leave the middle row alone.

    Doe you want to hear exactly what the DAW hears? If so, zero out the top row, but now select your master output as specified in your DAW (usually 1/2) from the middle row and raise it up. The latency here will be identical to that imposed by the DAW.

    If you want a mix - say you want to hear the vocalist input over backing tracks but aren't actually recording the vox part, then raise the outputs from the middle row that correspond with the output of the backing tracks. Then raise the fader(s) on the top row that correspond to your singer(s).

    Total Mix is incredibly powerful! I've used it to set up a main output mix, 3 separate headphone mixes (unique), a back-up recording track and a live monitor mix within 5 minutes.

    Let me know if this helps or if I misunderstood the question.

  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    J that is a good explanation.

    I confess the mixer view confused me at first too even reading the manual. Like Chris I really missed the sliders. Once I started jacking with the Matrix view (much easier to grasp at first) then I would click over to the Mixer view to visualize what I just did. It wasn't until I started analog summing that I even worried about the middle row on the mixer view. I still miss the slidey thingies even if I understand the digital realm better now :-(
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks Jeremy, so helpful! I will bookmark this thread.
  9. leomartin6

    leomartin6 Guest

    Thanks for sharing. I have been able to grab a lot of useful and informative stuff from here. I will see what i can get out of it .
  10. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I'm going to jump into this late, as I am also building a hybrid system, though on a lesser level than Chris.

    Scenario 1a: What I hear in the CR for a tracking session
    In the mixer, I set the top row to the mix I want to hear. The 2nd row is nulled as I'm not listening to playback from the DAW - I want to monitor the inputs from the FF800 only. The bottom row (AN 1+2) is my master volume.
    As I see it, this is the way I should set it, and the matrix should change to match as I adjust the mixer.
    Does adjusting the faders in the top row of the mixer affect record level? I understand that it doesn't but I may be wrong?

    Scenario 1b: What the band hears in their headphones for a tracking session
    Here is where I see the Submix option as being critical.
    Select AN 1+2 in the bottom row. Then set the top row according to Scenario 1a. This is now my CR mix.
    Select AN 3+4 in the bottom row. This would allow me to set the mix to send to analog outs 3+4 of the FF800. In my case, this would be the drummer's cue.
    Select AN 5+6 in the bottom row. See above, but for the bassist.
    and so on for a number of stereo headphone (cue) mixes.

    As I understand it, at this point, I have my personal mix of live inputs, and the mix for (up to) 13 stereo headphone sends (assuming I am sending to external HP amps).
    Further, the matrix should always change to mirror my selections in the mixer.

    Scenario 2a: Overdubbing for the CR monitors.
    Just like Scenario 1a, but now I bring the middle section into play and AN 1+2 is playback from the DAW.
    Scenario 2b: Overdubbing for musician's cue(s).
    Same as 1b, note above.

    Here's where issues arise for me:

    1. My main HP amp only accepts a single TRS input (Rane HC6). When using my Firestudio, I had to plug the TRS jacks in halfway on the Rane for the musicians to get signal in both ears. On my first test run, I could not get the FF to provide both ears, even when setting "Out 3" in the matrix to contain monitoring of all desired inputs, regardless of the position of the TRS plug on the FF and the Rane.
    2. I am unable to use the talkback send of both FF Ch 9 and 10, even when it is routed to the appropriate analog output in the matrix. I get it in my CR mix, but the musicians do not.
    Is this where the middle section of the mixer might come into play for a live tracking session in my case?
    3. Where does the DAW come into play for me, since I am used to monitoring/talkback via my hardware? Is the talkback routed through this?
    We are currently auditioning several DAWs including Sonar 8.5, Nuendo 4, Logic (x) and Samplitude (x). We'll be running dual boot with Logic (my partner's system) and either Nuendo or Sonar for me. Samplitude comes in w/ the 3rd head of our venture, though he is comfortable w/ Sonar as well.
    Are we talking about monitoring through the DAW? My partner who uses Sonar monitors through the DAW, but I experience BAD latency in Cubase SX3.

    I mention DAWs b/c w/ the change from the FS to the FF800, we now need a monitor control (like Chris), unless I can control this easily via the FF Mixer -or- the DAW for the FF800, since the FS and its MSR are gone.
    Still want the ability to a/b monitors, dim, mono, and such.
    So we pretty much have to have a monitor controller.
    The nice thing about the Firestudio was its Control Console, and the ability to route talkback to every analog output. Plus the MSR was critical...
    I'd prefer to route all monitoring/cue through the hardware control since both the FS and (especially) the FF800 seem particularly suited for it.

    I've mentioned how I understand a few uses of the mixer and matrix of the FF800, the problems I've encountered in our first week of implementation, and hinted at some of Chris's original concerns.

    Taking all of the above into account, we need to make one or two purchases, just like Chris.
    We *are* getting a DAW controller, something akin to the TASCAM FW-1884.
    But it has no monitor control, and no talkback feature.
    So like Chris we probably need a device that does DAW control + one that handles monitoring and talkback, or one that does all three at a reasonable cost (~$2000)?

    Sorry for the info overload. But again, like Chris, me and my partners are making some critical upgrades in building a hybrid system, and want to make sure our monitoring, cues, talkback, and DAW control can be made to work w/ the FF800.

    I only hope responses to my concerns/questions provide insight for Chris as well.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The middle row of the GUI is for audio returns from your DAW itself. That's where any overdubs would come from if I read your post correctly. As to placing 9/10 inputs into other mixes, set it up the way you are then double check your routing in the Matrix view. It should reflect any changes made to the Mixer view.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Oh, and ultimately I believe you will want an external monitor controller since you are in a studio environment. Controlling it all from the DAW or interface GUI while necessary in some circumstances is not the ideal. In my opinion.
  13. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's exactly where I'm at, John.

    Looks like I've got a handle on just about everything, w/ one exception - the talkback, when the mic is plugged into FF 9 or 10, and sent to the analog outs.

    As I stated earlier, I get the TB (if I want it) in my mix, but even when routed properly for the outs to musicians (AN 5-8), they don't hear it.
    Everything in the mixer/matrix says they should. Now, when I plug the TB mic into one of my ADAT channels and route it, it works just fine.
    Seems to be an issue sending 9/10 to the outs for the musicians....

    If you have any ideas, let me know. I'll get a chance to do some detective work tomorrow.

    Any thoughts on monitor controllers that offer a/b, mono, mute, and (if possible) dim?
    I'll forgo the TB on the controller, as they all want to route it through the HP sends on the controller, and not through the FF's analog outs.
    The MSR for the Firestudio (connected via ethernet), routed the TB to all outs, which was nice.
    I want to use the FF outs for my headphone/cue mixes, NOT HP sends on a controller, which gives me less flexibility for mixes.
  14. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I route out of my FF800 through an SM Pro Audio M-Patch2 to my KRK active monitors. The M-Patch 2 has a passive volume control on the monitor path, but also has an active headphone amp if you don't use the phones out on the FF800.
  15. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The SM Pro unit also has the advantage of being fairly easy to mod. Another option is the Mackie Big Knob which IMO is not quite as good. Dangerous Music of course makes some nice units. ProCo makes a Switch Witch, which is a solid piece of gear but maybe not as versatile as you need. Lastly is the Presonus Central Station, which I haven't used but seems to be fairly common.
  16. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    That's an interesting thought - what mods have you done?
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Well, truthfully, I am a baby/novice in the mod world. I understand the maths you designer types use but never had enough tutelage in design or advanced theory to jump into the deep end. (Somehow that wasn't covered at the graduate music courses at Northwestern-lol)

    I've mostly just repaired units/upgraded jacks/mirrored jacks etc. I have made my own splitters boxes etc which is a real basic beginner task of course. Remember, I'm just a dumb Jarhead that's better at figuring the drop of a 7.62 at 800M than that little PCB based stuff that only hurts you if you cut your finger. ;-)

    I know that Black Lion Audio mod's the PM8 with a complete gutting to create their summing mixer and used to mod other gear until they locked themselves down to what's on their website. I have also had internet acquaintances that love to use the SM Pro stuff to play around with because it is a great bang for buck starting platform and they have generally found room inside the boxes to work with.
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    And I mentioned mods because I don't really see any monitor controllers out there that are flexible as much as Soap wants.
  19. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Well, the M-Patch 2 does the A/B, mono, mute and volume control that he asked for. I agree it doesn't get his talkback problem solved, but I think that may be a funny in the FF800 routing matrix. I'll try it on mine.

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