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Focusrite Pro 40 analog outs ideas ?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sturoc, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. sturoc

    sturoc Active Member

    I have a Pro 40 and mainly run over the FW to the DAW and use the monitor outs for my near-fields.
    What would one use the Pro 40's eight analog line outs for ?
  2. bouldersound

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

    Alternate headphone mixes.

    Looping out to hardware effects.

    Surround mixing.

    Hybrid mixing.
  3. bouldersound

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

  4. pcrecord

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

    You could use long wires to send to the living room PA so your wife knows you are really working on a song !!!:wink:

    Seriously, there's a bunch of applications where you could need more than two outputs. (2 sets of monitors, some cheap speakers as reference and you are already at 6 outputs)
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    As stated, you could use them for cue mixes, or, if you were Chris (audiokid), you would use them to bus discreet track sends or sub groups (stems) from your DAW to an outboard analog summing mixer (hybrid).

    Or, you could use them as multiple aux sends, to bus particular tracks through a variety of outboard processing gear... for example, if you had a nice outboard compressor or limiter and you wanted to add analog compression on a vocal track, or to even just pick up the coloration that some units offered, you could assign a vocal track to one of the outputs, send that signal to something like an 1176, and then return it to your DAW through your audio I/O and print it to a separate track. Just an example.

    This would also include, as Boulder mentioned, re-amping. You could take a clean guitar track on your DAW, and instead of using a plug in processor like Amplitude or Guitar Rig, send that track out to a real guitar amp... mic it up, and them bus that signal back into your DAW on a separate track.

    Although if you ask Chris, he'd likely tell you that if you were using those outs to mix through an outboard analog summing device, that your best bet would be to send that summed analog mix to a secondary computer through a pro caliber audio I/O with nice converters, as opposed to going back into the computer you are using to multi track with.

  6. sturoc

    sturoc Active Member

    Great suggestions, Thanks !

    Since the Pro 40 is the only DAW interface right now (have a 2nd smaller interface,picked up for cheap since it needed repair is being refurbed):
    By using the Pro 40 analog out to process outboard, can i return it back into the Pro 40 in order to get into the DAW or would that create a nasty loop of noise ?
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Yes, you can do that, and it's the way many external analog effects units are handled when mixing ITB. Don't forget that, when using an external device in this way, the signal goes through two conversion processes (D-A and A-D) in the interface, so you lose some quality each time on any signals passed out and back again.

    Because of this, it's normal practice to set the external effects to be fully wet and then do the wet/dry blend in the DAW knowing that the dry signal is of original quality.

    You may have to perform a small time slide of any returns in order to line them up accurately against the original, as there is a small but discernable time delay through the two conversion processes. Doing a test beforehand using a channel that contains short pulses of known polarity will tell you what time correction to make and whether there is an unexpected phase inversion in the conversion process. Don't scoff - I've seen it, and it wasn't a wrongly-wired cable.
  8. sturoc

    sturoc Active Member

    Great, Thanks Boswell.
    I lprefer to mix with that method of independent dry and wet channels/tracks.
    and the tip on timing is much appreciated.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Great idea. A simple click track would likely suffice.
  10. bouldersound

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

    If it's doing that on a loop it's doing it while tracking and you already have a major problem with time smear. The time to do this test is before tracking anything.
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It's true I didn't spell it out particularly well and rather lazily used word "beforehand" to cover that concept. However, the technique I described is best used during mixdown rather than tracking. Anything that goes out and back via analog (or digital) paths should be checked for time synchronicity on return as not all DAWs get their compensation right.

    In addition to any delay added as part of an effect, many outboard effect units have their own inherent signal delays, and this method provides an opportunity to compensate for them as well.
  12. sturoc

    sturoc Active Member

    Could the tweak be made and set prior for recording, once the time differential has been determined ?
    i.e that track is set to record a few milliseconds later ( or whatever the diff is ) than the rest ?
    Do all sequencer programs have this capability ?
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You only need to do it once for any hardware route unless you change things like buffer sizes. If you have different pieces of outboard gear on different send-return channels of the interface, generally you can only configure the DAW to compensate for one set, so either decide which is the important route and set it to that measured value or else take an average over all affected tracks and use that. It's normally a small correction to what is needed for buffer delays anyway, so it's a bit of a perfectionist's refinement. If I'm doing a multi-channel mixdown using a DAW plus external gear, I normally set the DAW for exact buffer delay compensation and make any additional gear-specific time shift manually.

    I don't know whether all DAWs have a user-settable delay compensation capability, but I have never used a professional one that does not have it in some form.
  14. sturoc

    sturoc Active Member

    Will ck it out, Thanks Bos
  15. McMurphy

    McMurphy Guest

    Another route you could take with these eight discrete outputs is to create stems. You have a couple of stereo stems of percussion, guitars and keyboards, vocals. And if you're into that hybrid style of mixing, and these are ready to be summed in the analog domain. It can also be done with an actual analog summing mixer or with just an analog audio console/mixer. And then you get that great analog summation at the speed of light. And it's what you might do to a 24 track or more production when you don't have 24 or more discrete outputs. So some get mixed and summed digitally while in the end, they go through analog summation.. And I can give you a different kind of flavor that a lot of people really like.

    So there are many uses for those extra discrete outputs to be routed within the software and used anyway you wish along with their associated additional inputs. This is another way to loop a hardware effects device, into your mix. It opens up a world of other possibilities.


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