Monitoring with effects

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by apstrong, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    I must be thick, because it seems to me like this should be easy to do, and yet I can't wrap my head around how to do it. Here's the issue. I record (and occasionally record live shows) using a Mackie Onyx 1640. I use the aux sends for separate (headphone) monitor mixes for several musicians (5). When tracking, the vocalists tell me they'd prefer to hear themselves with a little reverb. I can add that in my DAW and use the monitoring function there, but that creates too much latency and drives them crazy. So I wanted to do it with hardware, which is what I love about the Onyx to begin with, total control over individual monitor mixes and all via hardware for zero latency monitoring.

    As a result I've been thinking of picking up an external effects box, either a multi-effects unit, or just a stereo reverb unit. Then I got to thinking that it would be nice to use that same unit to add a little reverb to the drums as well, just for monitoring (we tend to rehearse through the phones too). So in the end, I want to use an external reverb unit to add some reverb to 2 vocal channels and 7 drum channels on the mixer at the same time, just for monitoring purposes. I'll add proper reverb later in the DAW to create the finished product (and the Onyx wouldn't record the reverbed signal anyway, the out to the DAW is post-gain and pre-everything else).

    If it was just the vocals with two vocalists and a stereo reverb unit, this seems easy, just use the channel inserts/returns on those two vocal channels, each channel sending to one of the two reverb processors and returning to that same channel. No problem. But surely it's possible to set up a single reverb processor and then have multiple channels on the Onyx feeding into it, and perhaps even dialing in more or less of that reverb on individual channels? That's what I want and what I don't understand how to do. Would I use one of the aux sends/returns to send each track to that reverb unit and adjust the send level on each channel to control how much of the reverb effect gets applied? If so, I'm using the other 5 aux sends for headphone mixes - how does that signal that has returned from the reverb unit then end up going back out to those 5 headphone mixes, i.e. how can the reverbed vocals (or drums, or whatever) be mixed at diffferent levels for different monitor mixes using the remaining aux sends so that each monitor mix can have different levels for vocals, drums, etc? I'm not trying to control how much reverb there is for each monitor mix, just how much vocal level there is in each monitor mix once the reverb has been applied to it, if you know what I mean.

    I think it would be easy if I just had one monitor mix for everyone (or if I just wanted that reverb sent to the main mix for a live audience), I would just assign the aux return with the reverbed signal to the main mix and/or to a single monitor mix by pushing a button. But how to do it when there are multiple monitor mixes being created through all the remaining aux sends? Is that possible?

    All those gozintas, seems like it should be possible, but I can't figure out how.
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    That's right. You can adjust the amount of snare drum, vocal, whatever, the gets sent to the reverb unit, just as you would use the Aux to determine the amount of snare drum, vocal, whatever that gets sent to your headphone/monitor mix.

    Now, do you have any channels open (1-16) ?

    If so, use the aux send of your choice (set to "Post"). (let's say Aux 6 for example)

    Send that signal to the input of your effects unit with a 1/4" cable. - You'll have to adjust the Aux 6 Send Level in the Aux Master Section.

    Return the signal from the effects unit into your open channel instead of an Aux Return. (let's say Channel 16 for example) 1/4" cable would be most common here too.

    You will be able to use the Ch 16 slider to control the reverb that goes to the Main Mix and at the same time the amount of reverb that goes to Aux 1 - Aux 5 mixes by adjusting those Auxes on Channel 16.

    But, you have to be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Aux 6 knob on Ch 16 (in the example) is COMPLETELY OFF, otherwise you'll have a hideous squealing feedback loop on your hands.

    You can use whatever channels and auxes fit your normal set-up, but the principles would be the same.
  3. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    I git it! So each individual headphone mix will end up being a blend of the 15 individual instruments on that aux send AND the 16th channel, which is the entire mix with effects as set by the aux send that is going to the effects unit. Simple. Like me, apparently. Thanks dvdhawk!
  4. bouldersound

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

    Almost. Channel 16 should be only the return from the effects, with no dry signal at all. Set your effects unit to 100% wet. If you don't then you increase the level of anything going to the effects unit when you mix effects into the main or monitor mixes, or worse, you will get terrible phase interference if the dry signal path is not purely analog. This is standard parallel effects loop procedure.
  5. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Got it, thanks bouldersound.

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