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Signal chain problems

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Nutti, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    Hi everyone!

    I just joined the forum to get some answers...Been seaching the net for hours and red 7 books on recordings but still hav'nt figured this out:

    I've got a Behringer xl2400 mixer and running direct out from each channel into my Hercules 16/12fw interface via a patchbay. Then from the interface to my computer into cubase. I'm quite satisfied with this and have made some nice recordings this far BUT...I'm not happy with the vst reverbs I'm using (can't remember their names but I have 6 of them) in cubase and would like to use my behringer virtualiser since I think it's alot warmer verbs there.

    So I plugged the virtualiser to the mixer and tried to get it to work, but I can't seem to get the reverbs out via direct out? I plugged my headphones directly to headphones out in my mixer and there was a reverbed signal there. How do I set this up to get the signal reverbed before the interface?

    Thanks for any replies that would help me with this!
    Regards,
    Fredrik
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Hi, and welcome!

    Are you trying to get reverb during tracking, or are you adding it at mixdown? If it's at mixdown, then, assuming you are mixing ITB, you should just connect up the effects box to a pair of outputs and inputs of the interface and not go via the mixer.

    So, you need to tell us your mode of operation and how you connected up the virtualizer. Is it the DSP2024P?
     
  3. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    Oh sorry...I would like to apply some reverb to drums during tracking. I know it's not that great to apply it during tracking but with my lack of computer power it would help getting the processor working with other things than processing reverb.

    I'm mixing all in cubase, but I would also like to apply reverb to the vocals during mixing since I like the warmness of the reverb. It's an older model of virualiser, but I can't remember the model name right now...Another option would be a warm and great sounding reverb vst plugin, I'm just getting hard, cold and "spike" like reverbs no matter how I try to tune and try different ones.
     
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    OK, if you must apply reverb during tracking, I would feed the reverb unit with a stereo stem mix of the drum mics and then record both the raw drum tracks (via the individual channel direct outs) and the stereo stem.

    To get the stem, you can use the master output of the mixer just for the drums and feed the effect unit with that. Keep the faders at minimum on the vocals and any other non-drum channels.

    At mixdown, you would use the stereo reverb track as though it were a stereo room mic. This does mean that you have to have a good drum mix in real-time for feeding the reverb, even if it's not exactly the final mix you end up with after mixdown.
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Since digital audio is not troubled by the noise of analog tape from yesteryear, you may simply need to record that reverb to some extra tracks in your software. And then when you mix down, you'll simply adjust the level of the reverb that will be mixed with eardrums. Likewise again for the other sources you also want reverb on. Print the reverb two additional tracks in your software. It's digital so noise and distortion will virtually not be a factor. In the past, back in the analog days, I would even do that to the analog 16/24 track Ampex. And that was because, I only had a single EMT reverb plate. So, for example, I would want a longer reverb for the vocals but a shorter reverb for the drums. So I would dial back the decay time on the EMT plate, assign the drums only to the EMT plate and then record the EMT reverb output to a pair of tracks on the analog multi-track recorder. And in that respect, I would print/record the reverb at quite a high level so that the noise of the analog tape would not be an issue. So even in digital, I would still print the reverb at a higher record level so that when I need to use it, I would bring that level down when I mix. Recording that reverb at a higher level, will improve its resolution and create much smoother sounding decays. The beautiful thing about the software is that you have the ability to record as many tracks as necessary and you are not restricted to just 16 or 24 as we were in the old days. So see how that works for you?

    I know it's going to work for you but you've got to hear it to believe it
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  6. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    In Cubase you should be able to create a sub group or stem as Boswell pointed out. It's a matter of assigning those stems to two free outputs (likely 3 and 4. Don't use the main outputs or you will get a feedback loop of death) on the Hercules. From there you can go into the Virtualizer and from the Virtualizer back into two free input channels on the Hercules. All other channels should go to the main outputs, including the reverb return.

    Conversely, if you have an insert on the stereo mains of the mixer you can go out from the insert send into the virtualizer and in to the Hercules on two free input channels.

    If you have an effects loop you can go from effects send to the virtualizer and into two free channels on the Hercules.

    Both of these ways you are getting just the reverb on two separate channels in Cubase. I realize that Boswell pretty well already explained all of this but I just thought I'd put it in a different way. Maybe I'm just confusing things. Sorry if that's the case.
     
  7. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    thanks for the reply, but I'm not sure I'm getting it all...let's see if I got it:

    Say I record one vocalist with two mics as I've done earlier. I then got two raw tracks in cubase, witch I then set to interface output 3 and 4. Then I'll send thease two through my virtualiser and then back into interface input 1 and 2 and solo the two vocal tracks in cubase and hit record in two new channels in cubase? It will be recorded at full reverb signal then? Unlike going trough a mixer where I have knobs to tune the amount, I can't change the amount if I'm goning straight trough it?

    The idea Boswell had about the drums sounded great, think I would get a great vintage sound if I run all mics raw and seperetly and then have L & R from mixer as two different channels. I'm gonna try that one! And the virtualiser was a DSP1000P
     
  8. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Yes, I did mean raw. Essentially you would be recording your drum tracks to Cubase. You then create a stem or even an AUX channel which outputs to 3 and 4 out on the Hercules. These go to the virtualizer and back into two free inputs on the Hercules. Cubase has automatic delay compensation so you should be fine with any latency involved. There shouldn't be any additional pre delay. DO NOT use outputs 1 and 2 regardless of how you do this as they are your monitor outputs and you will get a feedback loop that could do some damage to your ears if you are monitoring through headphones.

    If you go from the interface directly into the virtualizer, are you sure that the software routing allows you to create a stem? I'm not so sure that it does. Personally I think routing via Cubase(and the interface of course) or using the effects sends on the mixer would work out best. Also, if you use the effects sends on the mixer, it is something that you can keep connected and just reroute two channels on the mixer occasionally when you need the extra inputs. Using Cubase routing features however allows you to play with the mix and get it right. That way you don't have to commit if you feel the drums are not quite right and the reverb will also be freely adjustable and changeable. You have the I/O, you should make use of it.

    This is why patch bays were invented.
     
  9. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Something you also might want to consider is creating stems in Cubase, either as stereo or multi mono and running those out from the ten outputs on the interface to ten inputs on the mixer, using the effects loop as mentioned with the virtualizer and running a stereo output, say from the main bus inserts, back into two free channels on the Hercules. This essentially gives you a way to do more of a "live" mixdown to two free channels in Cubase. Make sure that you don't monitor from the original source tracks or else you will get a feedback loop. Just trying to complicate things yet more.
     
  10. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    thanks for all replys! I'll head out and try them out today, but by creating stems in cubase you mean routing channels in cubase to a group channel?

    I'm 100% sure I won't get all the routing right but I'll try and then I'll come back crying for more help :)
     
  11. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    Okej so now I'm in the studio and I got 2 guitars recorded at a total of 4 channels, 2 panned left 2 panned right...
    this is how I routed the hardware:
    Guitar 1 R Hercules ch3 out -> patchbay ch1 -> ch1 line in on mixer -> direct out -> patchbay ch1 -> Hercules ch1 in.
    Guitar 1 L Hercules ch4 out -> patchbay ch2 -> ch2 line in on mixer -> direct out -> patchbay ch2 -> Hercules ch2 in.
    Guitar 2 L Hercules ch5 out -> patchbay ch3 -> ch3 line in on mixer -> direct out -> patchbay ch3 -> Hercules ch3 in.
    Guitar 2 R Hercules ch6 out -> patchbay ch4 -> ch4 line in on mixer -> direct out -> patchbay ch4 -> Hercules ch4 in.
    Virtualizer ch1 in -> FX 1 send on mixer -> FX 1 return -> Virtualizer ch1 output.
    Virtualizer ch2 in -> FX 2 send on mixer -> FX 2 return -> Virtualizer ch2 output.
    This is how I set the software:
    Raw Guitar 1 R Hercules ch1 out.
    Raw Guitar 1 L Hercules ch2 out.
    Raw Guitar 2 L Hercules ch3 out.
    Raw Guitar 1 R Hercules ch4 out.
    New Guitar 1 C Hercules ch1 in.
    New Guitar 2 C Hercules ch2 in.
    New Guitar 3 C Hercules ch3 in.
    New Guitar 4 C Hercules ch4 in.

    The first thing that was positive was that it was coming sound from my speakers! Well thats a great start! Then I could eq on my mixer, witch I liked even better! But then to the reverb...I turned the fx send knob to 0db, the fx return fader to 0db and the fx knob on guitar ch1 to 0db. That should do it right? I'm getting great signal when monitoring guitar ch1 and when monitoring fx signal but still no reverb? What's wrong?
    Another thing I noticed was that the channels coming to the mixer are all centered, not panned like the original signal were. They seem to be mono, and no matter how I try to turn the pan knob, nothing happens... Howcome? Is it because I used unbalanced cables in the signalpath between patchbay and mixer?

    Thanks for any help!
    Fredrik
     
  12. drumrob

    drumrob Active Member

    Nutti,

    I believe the issue is one that no one has yet picked up on in the thread. You mention that you are routing the Direct Outs of channels from your mixer to your interface. Therein lies the issue. The Direct Outs are exactly that. They are the signal After the Mic Pre, but before any other processing on the mixer. So no reverb, no EQ ,etc. They also are not panned as they are just a mono signal, thus why you are not getting panning in your computer software. You need to set the panning for the output of the channels in the software. To get reverb, EQ, etc. on the channels you are sending, you are going to have to route the Main Stereo Outs (or whatever B***hringer calls them) or Sub Groups (if this mixer has them) out. That, of course, means that all channels routed to the Stereo Outs will also already be mixed together. The most you could do would be to do two channels at a time, panning one to the Left and the other to the Right.

    Hope this helps. Have fun!
     
  13. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    well...okej, but I disagree. I can run eq trough the direct out! That is, I can eq every single channel and still get the eq:ed signal individually into cubase.

    My problem is with the effect processor. I did get it trough main out, but that is hardly the way pros do it? Or mayby I'm just a fool stuck between the analog and digital world...perhaps that is just the way pros do it. But I can't do that, or I can't efford to do that. I'm testing on a song with 24tracks already and the vocals have yet touched the mic. That means I would need to get a 48 track board with a 48 track interface...well, thats out of my league.

    I'm hoping it would be possible to get fx trough the mixers direct out for each channel seperatly back into the computer.

    My question is: Is this possible to do?
     
  14. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Work backwards from what you want to achieve.

    The raw mono signals into Cubase from the mixer's direct outs will start out as centred and should be panned in the ITB mix to where you want them to end up.

    If you are generating a genuine stereo reverb with your Virtualizer (as opposed to using the two channels to create two separate mono reverbs), you should pan the two inputs from the Virtualizer hard L and R in Cubase. That leaves the question of whether you can run the Virtualizer as stereo in -> stereo out or just mono in -> stereo out. I was assuming that the full stereo mode was your preferred method when I suggested feeding it during recording from the mixer's stereo outputs with a mixed and panned stereo drum stem (sub-mix).

    When it comes to using the Virtualizer on the recorded guitar tracks, there are two things I would try differently from what you described. Firstly, I would not use the mixer in the signal chain; take the outputs from the interface directly to the Virtualizer and the outputs of the Virtualizer back to interface inputs. Secondly, I would process the two guitars separately, and maybe even each of the two recordings of of each guitar separately. The first case would mean using the Virtualizer in stereo in -> stereo out mode, and the second case using it in mono in -> stereo out mode, resulting in either two or four stereo reverb tracks being recorded. You would then have a large choice of effected tracks to work on in your mix.
     
  15. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    Alright thanks, I'll try this tomorrow...it's 0:35 am here now. Atleast I can mix in the mixer now, that's a great success! hopefully I'll get the fx going straight into cubase tomorrow then but I still dont understand how I control the amount of reverb if I route the virtualizer straight into cubase?

    I must say I'm learning alot from you guys! It's alot easier when to communicate with people that know the subject when you have a question rather than spending hours and hours searching answers in books and surfing the net! I appreciate all your effort!
     
  16. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    so I've been testing...routed like this:
    interface ch3 out -> virtualizer ch1 in -> interface ch3 in
    interface ch4 out -> virtualizer ch2 in -> interface ch4 in
    in cubase:
    Both left guitar -> interface ch3 and both right guitar -> interface ch4.
    Then I made 2 new channels with one panned left and interface ch3 in, and the other one panned right with interface ch4 in.
    Then I hit record and got all 4 guitar channels down to 2 reverbed channels. mixing all 6 channels togeather sound really good!

    Is this correct?

    Is'nt this the same as going trough the mixers main outs? In that case I think it's a bit easier, I can have the reverb conneted to my mixer all the time and just route the channels. But In the way I tried today I'll have the ability to change the verb at any time, so I get your point that this would be better. Actually, I figured that out while I wrote the last sentence :)
     
  17. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I'm glad you got it working well so far. Before you go too much further, it would be worth switching the Virtualizer to mono in -> stereo out mode and seeing whether having stereo reverb is going to get you an even better effect. It may be advantageous to process the two guitars separately in this mode as I indicated in the previous post.

    To maintain the best sound quality, you should try to minimize the number of pieces of gear in the signal chain for each process. That's really the only reason I suggested leaving the mixer out of the chain when adding these effects on already-recorded tracks.
     
  18. Nutti

    Nutti Active Member

    how do I accomplish that? I downloaded the manual and found nothing about switching to a stereo mode?
     
  19. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    I guess you could call a group channel a stem... However, I think of stems as mono or stereo printed/exported wave files. This could be like how you use a group channel to focus all of the selected tracks into a stereo or mono signal. To me a stem is a printed track that might include some pre-processed (if that's a word?) tracks mixed to one single file. Then you import the stem(s) back into your audio projects. This helps immensely when you want to process a group of tracks w/ some general pre-mixing or effect building processing. Sometimes this can have negative effects on the symmetry of the track and make it more narrow sounding dynamically speaking. Just don't over use this method and it will serve you well.

    Edit: whoops... This was in response to the last post on the first page...
    I jumped the gun here but I am not sure the question was answered so oh well.
     
  20. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It's in the type of effect dialled in. Since most of the reverb presets use L+R as the input (i.e. a mono drive) and generate a stereo output, the best match to your situation would be to process one guitar at a time with the two tracks combining to mono but producing a stereo reverb output.

    There are other setups that split the unit to give two separate mono in -> mono out configurations, but I think that ending up with mono reverbs like that will sound a bit flat.
     

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