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New and not so new

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Kirk Hersee, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. Kirk Hersee

    Kirk Hersee Active Member

    Hey! I have been out of the home recording loop for so long that I feel like a newbie so I figure this is the best place to start.

    What I'm looking to do is record vocals while monitoring effects (reverb). I just like to hear the effect while I'm recording vocals. For some reason it helps put me in a better zone when there's a touch of reverb going on.

    Some years back I used a Behringer MX-1804X mixer. It has channel inserts and I could monitor effects just using that unit out to a Delta 44 then into my DAW (Sonar).

    I no longer use the Delta and don't have the mixer so what I'm asking is can I use an insert cable with an effects unit (like the TC Electronic M-350 or the Lexicon M200), neither of which have inserts? I am using a Lexicon Alpha audio interface. Something tells me I need a mixer again to achieve this.

    Someone please point me in the right direction. Thank you!
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    There are several interfaces that will allow you to monitor with both effects and processing, and that will also allow you to hear them without printing them.

    Presonus VSL with the AudioBox Engine ( this is the same interface, and the same preamps that are built into the popular Presonus Studio Live Consoles. You canget a rack version of the pre's and software in the 1818vsl model.


    In this program/interface, You can monitor both reverb and delay - both of which are adjustable discreetly - and either print the effect or, monitor the effect(s) without printing them as well.This is done by selecting either Pre or Post on the software menu as your routing. You can also monitor with various stages of compression and EQ. (There are times where engineers like to track with a little Gain Reduction to tame incoming transient/peaks).

    I generally don't print any effects, with the wide availability of so many special effects plugs in most all DAW platforms, you can easily add it when it's time to mix. If you do print an effect, it's there permanently - you can't put the toothpaste back into the tube, so to speak. The workaround for this, if you feel that you must print effects, is to bus one signal with effects to one track, and bus the same incoming signal without any processing to another track.


  3. Kirk Hersee

    Kirk Hersee Active Member

    Thank you for your response Donny. I was hoping not to have to by another interface, but rather use another piece of equipment (perhaps a mixer with inserts or one of the effects units I mentioned above even though they don't have insert capabilities). I was almost there using the input monitoring in Sonar, but the Alpha's latency wasn't acceptable. Correct me if I'm wrong but can I use a mixer (with effects) with an insert cable like I was describing above to monitor the effects? Such as Behringer Eurorack UB1222FX-Pro? If not, I will consider a new interface (however, the VSL you suggested is a little out of my budget range at the moment unless the 22VSL will suffice). Let me know. Thanks again!
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You haven't painted us the whole picture, and don't mention whether you are singing along to a pre-recorded track or are just singing solo or even with guitar accompaniment. I'm also a little worried by your strong emphasis on reverb in your phones when singing, but maybe it's just that I've recorded too many singers who think they sound better with reverb in the headphones as it masks deficiencies in vocal technique.

    That said, there are several ways you could record with effects only in the monitor feed and without spending too much. Examples:

    (1) get a new mixer with effects that you plug your microphone into and use for your effected monitoring mix while taking the direct outs or the inserts (via appropriately wired cables) to your Lexicon for recording.

    (2) get a microphone pre-amp and split the amplified output to the line-level inputs of your Lexicon for recording and also to whatever effects unit you like the sound of for monitoring. I often recommend (surprisingly) the Mbox 1 for a simple pre-amp rather than as an interface, as it has two good Focusrite pre-amps as well as insert jacks and a headphone out. It needs 5V power from either a USB socket or a mains USB power adaptor. They come up on Ebay for very low cost (search for "original mbox"), as nobody wants an interface that is no longer supported in current DAW software.

    (3) ditch your Lexicon and get a small mixer with effects and a USB interface. You have to choose with some care to make sure the effects can be used on the monitor/headphone output without them being applied to the USB recording output.
    pcrecord likes this.
  5. Kirk Hersee

    Kirk Hersee Active Member

    Thanks for your response Boswell. Perhaps I am placing too much emphasis on the reverb after all. It's just something that I had always done (when I was recording some years back) and felt comfortable with. I have an M-Audio - Audio Buddy mic pre that works very well. Amazon has the Mbox 1 for 50 bucks used. Compared to a $400 new price tag, it would be worth the venture especially with the inserts. Will it work with DAW's other than Pro-Tools? If I were to choose a mixer with effects like the Behringer Eurorack UB1222FX- Pro, could I access those effects for monitoring? If you think so, what would be the proper routing with my Audio Buddy? Or does the Buddy even come into play? Ultimately, I may be able to save some money by just recording without monitoring effects. I can find something else to spend my money on, I'm sure. Hopefully, I'm asking the right questions. If not, I apologize if I'm not expressing myself properly. Kirk
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    A whole lot of questions there.

    The UB1222FX is indeed one of those mixers with built-in effects that can be inserted into either or both of the main outs or the monitor outputs, but that's not to say I would recommend it in any way.

    I would also leave the Audio Buddy out of it if you can.

    The original Mbox 1 has good pre-amps and is well-equipped with inserts and direct monitoring, but it has only so-so ADCs and cannot easily be used as an audio interface with modern DAWs or operating systems beyond XP or the equivalent vintage on a Mac. The Ebay prices for an original Mbox seem to be in the $15 - $20 range, which for a pair of Focusrite pre-amps is a steal.

    Before you spend any money on this, you need to decide which way to go. To do that, you have to look at the system as a whole. We can't with what you have told us because you haven't said why you are recording vocals.
    pcrecord likes this.

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