Help with Hybrid DAW Setup 16 channels I/O to analog summing amp back to DAW/ 2 Buss

Discussion in 'Analog Summing' started by audiokid, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Man, I thought I had a handle on this but apparently not.

    Using Samplitude, Sonar, Cubase, Logic, Reaper whatever... (shouldn't matter what DAW correct)? what do I need to get 16 channels of I/O to a Dangerious 2-Bus or my SPL MixDream and back into my DAW? ( not concerned with cable) just the converter options for now.

    right now I have one FF800 and I'm cool with sticking to firewire but maybe I have other options with it and/or something else?
    What more do I need to complete the entire hybrid DAW summing chain?
    I'm guessing one more FF 800 will do it all, yes? Or do I need a 16 AES/ card plus a 16/in/out hardware converter ?
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm missing something. Don't you just assign channels in your DAW to output channels on the FF800 then route those to the Dangerous? It seems simple enough but maybe I'm way off.
  3. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    I have the FF800, as I remember you've got 10 analog outs, then 2 SPDIF, then 2 x 8 ADAT = 28? So you have 10 to send, but to get 16 you'll need another 6. You can send SPDIF to your Lavry making 12, after that you will need more D/As, another fireface probably isn't the best bang for buck, I've been considering the same situation myself but haven't gone out and researched 8-channel D/A converters with ADAT and whether they would exceed the Fireface quality and end up becoming the master 8.....
  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Ah. Now I see what I missed. LOL.
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Jeemy, exactly.

    But I want whatever I'm using to be equal in latency, converter sound etc. So, for sure two FF800 would do it then, and that is all I need? So, the FF 800 is a pretty solid bet for my 16 ins/outs?
    I like the idea of using the FireFace 800 because there are so many of us here, using it. Having taken the leap for analog summing will be in the direction a lot of us may be interested in hearing either, how it improves or doesn't. If it does, it will be easy for a lot of you to add analog summing to your rig. Not that I won't go for the max if something pristine came by my studio, I am trying to keep close to what we are all doing here.

    Now, The whole converter game is where I missed out on. Ten years passed and I never paid much attention until now.

    I may be able to work something out with RME so I'm looking at card options ( because I want less latency and simplicity if possible). What about this? But is it just ins/out and no converter?
    RME: Hammerfall DSP AES-32
  6. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    The second FF800 would give you 20 analog outputs (10 from each FF800)...not counting the SPDIF (it's digital).
    So...16 channels...say 8 from each FF800 (leaving you with 2 channels from each left over for monitor feeds) into the Dangerous then the sum Main outs from the Dangerous would go back into a pair of inputs on one of the FF800 (which will eat up 2 inputs, I would use the inputs 1/2 on the first FF)...that leaves you with 18 remaining input channels from the FF's for your instruments, mics etc...for tracking.
    In your DAW I would create a track template with 16 mono tracks mapped with the FF inputs and outputs and for convenience sake map them each the same channel in and out.
    I would map the Dangerous sum coming in on 1/2 as a stereo bus for your mixdown bus in the same template. At mixdown, you playback your 16 track outputs through the FF into the Dangerous and set record on the master stereo bus 1/2 and record the main inputs back in from the FF.
    I think you could substitute the SPL Mixdream for the Dangerous...they seem to be the same thing. The Dangerous is all XLR balanced which woiuld be easy to hookup between the FF's...the SPL your going to have to use the DSub connectors for everything but the SPL does have inserts which the Dangerous doesn't.
    Then there is your monitor want to take a pair off the FF's or the Dangerous or the SPL?
  7. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    One thing that I have setup with my FF800 (single unit) is I have my ZED R16 hooked up ADAT1 and ADAT2 in/out 16 channels into the FF800.
    The ZED acts as my summing mixer with the stereo bus of the ZED going back into 2 inputs of the FF800 (I use 5/6).
    In Cubase I have my project template setup with all 12 analog channels from the FF800 and all 16 ADAT from the ZED (so up to 26 mono inputs minus 5/6 reserved for the stereo ZED bus)..but I don't use the SPDIF...
    After I've tracked my inputs....I assign the outputs from each Cubase track back to the ZED (any of the 16 ADAT channels) where I have up to 16 channels for mixdown, pan, EQ, hands on faders etc. etc, then while I playback the project, I record the stereo bus analog from the ZED back through the FF800 and print that in the same Cubase project.
    I can monitor on headphones from the FF or the ZED and my main and secondary monitors I use 2 of the FF800 outputs and the ZED main control room L/R.
    Lately I've been tracking everything into Cubase and do all effects, automation, EQ within Cubase, but still have the ZED to add further processing to develop a final stereo master.
    I'll copy the master tracks to a separate Cubase project and I can take that even further and end up with a final master for export...
    I can't discern any latency with my setup either while tracking or overdubbing....
    As far as the FF800 or using the RME PCIe cards I don't think you can go wrong with RME gear!
    The FF800 and ZED both sound really good to me FWIW and the FF800 is rock solid over FW....
    One thing that you should take advantage of on your FF800 is the ADAT....if you had 2 FF800's that would be 32 channels ADAT plus 24 I/O from the FF800's!!!...LOL 56 I/O is a lot of people....
    I think JackAttack has two FF800 running so he could probably weigh in his experience...
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ah... I'm relaxed again, this is what I thought all along. Yes, exactly how I plan to set things up Thanks guys!

    Did you take a look at the RME: Hammerfall DSP AES-32? Are these AES cards just ins/outs with no converstion? If they do it all, I'd much prefer this. I don't need the preamps in the FireFace 800. I'd rather use a card and save the FireFace for my mobile rig if it pans out like that.

    Man, its taken a lot of years to get to this point. And now my eyes are going hehe.

    I have the MixDream in hand now. Its a really nice looking piece that looks very well made and thought out. I like the inserts indeed. SPL is a good company. The cabling is going to be expensive.
    The Dangerous 2 BUS is a simpler setup, a nice configuration if you have the package along with it. I've been chatting with Bob at Dangerous and his entire arsenal is one killer system. Both companies are heading in the right direction.

    I'm also looking at the BOB 32 for patching.

    My Lavry Blacks (AD-10 DA-11) are much better converters than RME. Am I able to use them in the mixdowns/ bypassing the RME's somehow?
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    You beat me to the reply. Very good to learn what you are doing! I'm searching for what ZED R16 does.
  10. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    You have the FF800 and the SPL and the Dangerous?
    The difference between those 2 summing mixers is the SPL has much more flexibility right?
    The SPL has the insert send and returns and the direct outs...the Dangerous has basically 16 inputs and then sums to 2 out and that's it? that true?
    I'm curious on what your ideas are on your setup?
    Plus the Lavry's....I would think those should be used optical or AES/SPDIF to the FF800?....Master clock?
    SPL out to Lavry AD-10 optical into FF?
    Dangerous out to Lavry AD-10 optical into FF or other way around?
    Lavry DA-11 optical out to FF or SPL or Dangerous...dang!
    Wow...I think my brain is starting to leak now...LOL
    is there anything else you haven't reported here that needs to go into this system?
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    16 i/o of AD/DA is tough for one interface. The best ones are going to be PCIe based of course just like a regular interface. Lynx Aurora 16 is one contender as well as SSL XLogic Alpha. There are a couple of others too and some digital mixers that might work like that.

    For RME, 16 channels from a DAW is achieved via the FF series. The Hammerfall is great but is not the current top line RME products. I do have two FF800's that I sometimes operate together. So far they work great together. I really don't need two for the kinds of things I do (classical/acoustic) so one lives in the mobile rack and one sits at home beside my house computer. Now if I need to add analog FX I can hook a FF800 up and send 8 analog channels out into whatever and then bring them back into the second FF800 on 8 analog in's. (9/10 in are available but 9/10 out is the headphone jack) If I want to sum 16 channels I would need to send all 16 analog gozoutas (8 from FF #1 and 8 from FF#2) and come back in as a 2-bus mix on input 9/10 of either FF. Better yet would be to bring the 2-bus into a Korg MR-2000s at DSD levels.

    Just some thoughts.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Missed the replies since DJ called me out. Have to think about the other bits of kit.......
  13. Chris

    Chris Guest

    hehe, that's why I'm so bonkers... But what people like about me most lol

    Sorry for the quagmire of a question.

    I own the MixDream and am simply comparing the two setups in respect to the ADDA setup. Its helping me understand something greater. I am getting a Dangerous 2 BUS sent to me so I need to get my head around all this and a bit bigger picture.
    Dangerous confused me with the setup I have, which threw me for a loop. I doubted myself with the way in which the FF 800 would work in conjunction to either summing amp. I needed to ask you guys if I was suddenly more wigged out than I already am. It will be good to get hooked up and back to making music again. Its making sense now.

    The AES cards is what I'm confused over now.

    Yes the MixDream is more flexible as is, but the 2 BUS and all the addition add-ons make a killer hybrid system.
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The ZED 16 would work with ADAT i/o as long as you were at 44.1k or 48k. Double the speed and halve the channels. Quadruple the speed and quarter the ADAT channels. Note: the ZED R24 is due out any month and is supposed to be good candy.

    You have to have the DA to use either the Mixdream or the Dangerous from a DAW. Can your DAW use the FF800 and the Lavry at the same time? The routing would be pretty much the same with either the Mixdream or the Dangerous. The advantage of the Mixdream is the inserts. Maybe more but I haven't used either boxes. I'm going cheap with the Black Lion Audio PM8 since 8 channels is all I really need.
  15. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    With AES, each RCA or XLR jack is one channel in or out. Sooooooo you need AES converters for all 16 channels. The FF only has AES on the S/Pdif jack so one channel only. The Lynx Aurora has AES as part of the conversion on the 16. Really you would only need AES though if you were transferring between digital components not for analog summing.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I hear ya on the Korg MR- 2000. Almost had my hands on one last year.

    Okay, back to bumed out a bit. So the FireFace won't work with the MixDream's 25pin connectors or The 2 BUS's AES? Or, I need two FF 800 for all 16 channels and some clever cable wiring? Still confused.. I thought AES could be split into other inputs...
    I could use the Lavry AD-10 to 2-bus back in?

    John, what PCIe card that RME makes would work for this setup?
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The Dangerous box is analog only. There is no digital at all in the circuitry. The Mixdream I/O is also analog only. No digital there either. AES would only be for getting from the computer to somewhere else digitally. You don't need that except to use different DAC than the FF800 provides. Even then the FF800 only has a single AES channel out per unit.

    Think of AES/EBU like an individual mic XLR jack. One channel per balanced line (unbalanced in RCA phono mode).

    [Edit: more thoughts]
    Also note that AES/EBU is a digital signal and not analog.

    The DB25 connectors on both the Mixdream and the Dangerous 2-Bus are analog line level in/out based on the Tascam pinout. This is the same pinout used by Mackie and the majority (but not even close to all) current generations of gear. You can get cables configured in nearly any plugs needed. I have DB25->1/4" TRS, DB25->XLR male, DB25->XLR female, and DB25 -> DB25. Pinouts for digital audio is not nearly as standardized. There are at least three commonly found that I can think of off the top of my head. These digital DB25 cables can also be configured however you need but make sure you label which connector is which pinout!!!
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Okay, then the FireFace will work? It has 8 analog ins and outs yes? So, I just need to cable config the 25 pins to TRS, yes?
  19. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You can go analog out of the FF800 into either the Mixdream or the Dangerous with a 1/4" TRS to DB25 connector.

    Come back into the FF800 or into the Lavry via standard mic cables.
  20. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Pro Co DA88BQ10 |
    Monster Cable SLDA88ST3 |

    I have used the ProCo versions for years and years all the way back to my PA days in the Corps. I just picked up a pair of Monster brand versions. I have not used them yet but I got them for a damn steal so I had to drop the coin. When I record a concert I am not playing in and have some time I may try them out. Until then they'll sit in the pile to test.

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