HELP! How to route tracks in DAW to outboard mixer!!

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by mistercrayle, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. mistercrayle

    mistercrayle Active Member

    Can anyone save my stress? Please...
    I'm aware you go from interface OUTS to outboard mixer INS, mixer OUTS to interface INS.
    I use Cubase 5. In Cubase, when I set the outputs to "8 mono" and send track 1 to "M1" aka "mono1", the signal is on the left speaker, track 2 to "M2" (on the right speaker), track 3 to "M3" on the left, etc., because it's mono - I know, but that's where i'm TOTALLY lost. How do I route my DAW tracks to each track on the outboard mixer and have each instrument in stereo? In simplest form, how do I act like i'm mixing in a DAW but in the physical world?? What am I doing wrong? Do I put the main stereo outs from the interface (output 1 & 2) to something else??? Please help, someone....i'll appreciate it alot.
  2. bouldersound

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

    Are the tracks recorded in stereo or mono?

    What interface do you have?

    What mixer do you have?

    What is the routing from your interface to the mixer?

    What output is driving the monitors?
  3. mistercrayle

    mistercrayle Active Member

    They're recorded in stereo, but went sent out to a single outboard track - it's a one sided signal.
    I have an M-AUDIO Fast Track Ultra 8r which has 8 ins x 8 outs.
    The thing is, I haven't purchased a mixer yet, but will get one with dedicated outs for each channel.
    I'm aware i'm gonna route it via outputs on the Fast Track Ultra 8r to outboard mixer input via 1/4" line-in.
    (so all outputs from 1-8 to mixer channel 1,2,3,etc.)
    I haven't hooked up monitors to the mixer, I was monitoring with headphones on the FTU8r.
  4. bouldersound

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

    You can send four stereo signals out of an 8-channel interface. Each stereo track will require two channels of your interface and two mono channels of a mixer (or one stereo channel of a mixer). The left sides of the stereo tracks will come out odd channels of the interface, and rights will come out the even ones.

    I really have to wonder why you would record all your tracks in stereo. Most sources are fine recorded in mono and panned to some part of the stereo field in mixdown.
  5. mistercrayle

    mistercrayle Active Member

    What's the difference between panning in stereo and panning in mono?
    Anyways, i'm still lost. I've tried grouping the outputs 'stereo 1+2', 'stereo 3+4', etc. but I don't only wanna mix 4 tracks.
    Do you understand what i'm trying to do? I wanna mix out of the box, without having to deal with any one sided signals....
    How do I do this? How can I route track 1 in DAW to channel 1's mixer and have it in stereo using Cubase?
  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Panning in stereo and mono? Stereo is already panned left and right...that's why it's "stereo". Mono can move left, right, center, or anywhere in between, but not in two places at once. It's "mono". A mono signal panned center will be equally heard in the left and right channels. A stereo signal generally has instruments that benefit from a stereo chorus, or maybe more dry left, mostly reverb right (and you can create that by doubling the track and effecting the doubled track, and panning it opposite).

    To have each track in stereo, they have to be recorded as stereo tracks, and you should have a need to record them as stereo. Everything doesn't need to be recorded in stereo. You don't need a kick drum, or a bass guitar, or usually a lead vocal, in stereo...unless you're going for some effect.

    If they are already recorded in mono, then you can't make them "stereo". You could copy a track and route each track left and right, but all you'll have is two mono tracks spread out, which will only achieve about the same thing as panning one mono track, anyway.

    You could copy a track and put effects on one (or both), and then spread them left and right to create some kind of stereo.

    What do you have that you want to record in stereo? What can be recorded in mono?

    You're STILL only going to get 8 tracks out of that box. It'll be either 8 mono tracks, 4 stereo tracks, or some 3 stereo and 2 mono, or 6 mono and one stereo. Each output can only handle one mono track, or one side of a stereo track.

    If you have, say track 1 as a mono guitar, you'll assign it to track 1 output. Its pan position will appear to be as left out of the box, but it doesn't matter to the mixer. It's going into, say, channel 1, of the mixer. Then, you can pan it anywhere you want on that mixer channel...left, right, center...or anywhere in between. But you can't pan 1 track to two sides.

    If you have, say, a stereo keyboard on track 1, it'll come out of the box on output 1 (left) and output 2 (right). You'll route those two outputs to either two mono channel inputs on the mixer (channels 1 & 2 ,etc.), and pan them left and right, or you'll plug them into the two 1/4" left(mono)/right jacks if the mixer has stereo channels. A stereo channel on a mixer will pan left and right evenly, with its pan (or 'balance') pot at center, (given that the source is input evenly in volume).

    You have only a few choices of total output tracks through eight outputs.

    8 mono tracks.
    1 stereo track, 6 mono tracks.
    2 stereo tracks, 4 mono tracks.
    3 stereo tracks, 2 mono tracks.
    4 stereo tracks.

    Remember, the mono channels of a mixer don't care one bit about a signal coming out of the left, right, or bottom...anything...of another source. It's taking one signal, and you pan it wherever you want.

    A stereo mixer channel kind of does...but not definitely. You can run two completely different things to each of a stereo channel's two (left/right) inputs. The reason it isn't often done is that the two instruments will share the exact same EQ, effects...anything you do to that least one of them is likely to suffer. And, those separate instruments will still only be as "mono" from the left and right, respective, with neither being able to cross to the middle or the other side....using the pan (or 'balance') pot on a stereo channel of a mixer will only lower the volume of the signal you move away from.

    I'm wondering if you realize what it is that you are trying to achieve, anyway? Do you have a legitimate purpose and understanding of why you want to take a (supposedly) pristine recorded track out of the DAW, and run it through more noise and confusion? Did you read something about "mixing out of the box", and buy into some kind of hype, without realizing why someone does any of that?

    Is it just that you want to mix "hands on"? You can pretty much do that by just buying a control surface, instead of an audio mixer, to feel like a "real engineer" by moving faders and knobs to control the tracks in the software. You can probably automate a lot (or most...or all) your mixing decisions in the software.

    If you've recorded your tracks properly, then why would you want to (probably) degrade them by running them through more stuff? If it's outboard effects you want, you don't need a mixer for that. Just run the track(s) through an outboard effect and back in.

    What are you trying to accomplish by making things more difficult (and expensive) than they need to be? I'm thinking we need to get the story behind all this before any real progress can be made.

  7. mistercrayle

    mistercrayle Active Member

    For my style of mixing, it'll just be WAY more fluent in the process. Using plugins that simulate really nothing doesn't cut it for me.
    I've mixed on a Soundcraft GB4 once and I can GUARANTEE you'd never get that sort of circuitry equalization simulation, not even on Waves.
    This is one of the main reasons why I wanna mix out of the box. For example, i'd EQ vocals totally different in DAW than I would outside the box.
    In other words, you approach things differently outboard instead of the typical 'brainwashing' technique using digital audio tools. I do, anyway.

    So as you were saying, I can send out each track as a mono to the mixer and be able to pan it? That, I didn't know and perhaps was the reason for all
    my confusion! If I am able to do it that way, then that's perfect. BUT what about if I wanna use the headphones on the Fast Track Ultra 8r?
    It still has ; for example, the guitar hard left, vocals hard right, bass hard left, etc. Should I just not monitor this way simply because i'll be using the mixer as it's main sound source?

    Another concern, where do I hook up the monitors on the mixer? I'm gonna take a wild guess and say the main stereo outs going into the monitors?

    Anyway, thanks for your help Kapt.Krunch, I really appreciate it.
  8. bouldersound

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

    How can you possibly have gotten enough experience to have such strong opinions about mixing without learning how to pan?

    Anyway, if you want to monitor the mix you need to put the monitors/headphones in the signal path of the mix. Right now you have no mix so that's impossible. There are several possibilities, the most likely of which is the control room output of the mixer.
  9. mistercrayle

    mistercrayle Active Member

    Where in this thread does it say I don't know how to pan? I sense a little defense for the digital world.
    I have no mix? My mix is on the mixer, going back into my DAW. And you could've just answered my question and say...
    "yes, they go from stereo outs (control room outs) to your monitors" - but I guess sounding highly intelligent is a big fad here.

    My problem was I was totally oblivious to the fact that you CAN indeed pan the sent mono signal from DAW to the mixer ON the mixer.
    It's not that I had no idea how to pan, are you kidding me lol.

    So, say I when i'm mixing out of the box, what if I wanna connect an analog delay, for example, to track 1?
    Being that the inputs and outputs for each channel would all be in use because of the routings. What do I do?
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    LOL-there is no defensiveness from the digital world. Boulder, the Kaptain and myself all use analog gear equally as much and as well as digital gear. What you sense is our suspicion that you don't understand what you're trying to do. Also if you think mixing OTB (out of the box) inherently is going to change anything then you will be sorely disappointed. You say you mixed once on a particular Soundcraft board. That doesn't cut it for experience.

    Your monitoring setup is what is most likely the culprit in your feeling of inadequate mixes. That and the fact the analog circuitry and digital clock in the Fast Track are substandard. What this last bit means that if you were to send signal out of the FT and back in to the FT the DA/AD conversion would likely add artifacts or noise that are not desirable. People that mix OTB normally are all analog until the very last main outs mixdown; or have much higher end digital interfaces for AD/DA conversion and moderately high end to ultra high end analog gear (read quiet-no noise added) for the analog summing/FX/etc. Panning has no advantage analog versus digital.
  11. bouldersound

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

    Well, my smartass answer would be: Same way you usually connect a delay to a mixing board.

    But I'll be nice. You connect a post-fader aux send to the input of the delay and connect the output to an aux input or a channel if available. Set the mix to 100% effect (wet).
  12. mistercrayle

    mistercrayle Active Member

    I've just found out that it was the DSP for the Fast Track Ultra 8r that was causing sound to emmit from only one speaker.
    And no, there were no noise when going analog back to digital. I've done an A/B comparison and to me, there's a big difference.
    I mix alot of reggae/dub music, which requires alot of pressing buttons for delay effects, lots of EQ changes during the song, muting, soloing.
    That stuff just doesn't cut it using a mouse. Now you guys should have a more clear perspective of why I wanna mix out the box.
    Can you answer my question about hooking up an outboard effect (reverb/delay) to mixer since all ins & outs are in use? Thanks for you help guys.
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    No noise that you're aware of. And there is nothing you have described that isn't very easy to do ITB-especially if you have a control surface. Jah Know!

    But I digress.

    If you are adding outboard gear with a Fast Track, then you have to add it inline. Boulder already described how on the mixer itself via an insert or aux send and return. The other way to do this is much less flexible and that is to run the output of the Fast Track into your FX box and then into the mixer input. These are basic beginers routing sequences.
  14. bouldersound

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

    I went through a phase of being the go-to guy for live reggae bands in my area, so I have a pretty good idea of what dubbin' out is, mon. Rewind!
  15. mistercrayle

    mistercrayle Active Member

    So, how the hell do the big dogs connect tons of gear like compressors, reverbs, eq's, etc. to a mixer, and the whole patchbay thing?
    Think you guys could tell me??????????? I have a joint waiting for you guys........
  16. bouldersound

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

    You don't absolutely need a patchbay, but it helps by bringing some of your inputs and outputs to the front of the rack where you can get at them. You need to read up on normaling (normaled, half-normaled etc.).

    Effects to be shared, like reverbs and delays, are connected as I described above. It's probably not necessary to put these on the patchbay as the routing on the board will suffice. Returning the effect to a channel is the best option, so get a mixer with plenty of extra channels. Returning to an aux return/aux input is okay, but not as nice as using a channel.

    For your application compressors go on inserts. Most likely the inserts on your board will be on 1/4" TRS jacks, but they are neither stereo or balanced, they are send/return. Use a special insert cables that split the TRS to two TS, one for send and one for return. A patchbay will let you insert your compressors on whatever channels need them without going around to the back of the mixer to re-patch.

    I still think its pretty crazy to do it the old way. To compete with ITB sound with an OTB mix setup is expensive, and you give away a bunch of versatility.
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    And the big dogs aren't limited to eight channels. Don't worry, you'll get there. Keep saving those pennies and don't throw them away on too many big blunts and soon you could have a 16 channel firewire mixer/interface to do things like you really want.
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    This is an excellent guide for beginners and mixers. While it is published by/for Mackie the information on routing is general enough to be quite useful to you.

    Mackie - Compact Mixer Reference Guide

    You should also look at finding a library copy or a used copy of Gary Davis "Sound Reinforcement Handbook" also known as the Yamaha Guide. It is sort of the unofficial bible of live sound basics and is well worth the cash. Or spliffs.
  19. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    Why are all the outputs on ur mixer being used. I get sending 8 ch from the interface into the mixer but why use six sends to send all 8 tracks back to the daw? U should be summing to 2 tracks with the mixer. All ur aux outs should be available. Are there aux returns on the mixer? If ur tracking through the mixer then u should b eating up auxes or direct outs but for mixing use ur auxes for auxes.
  20. mistercrayle

    mistercrayle Active Member

    I'm not using aux outs. Not yet, anyway.
    I'm using each out for each channel and routing them back in my DAW, recording it as I mix/dub stuff out on the mixer.

    Say I have a 16 channel mixer, how do I connect 5 or 6 outboard gear?

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