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signal flow...compressor/mbox

Discussion in 'Recording' started by pfactionbrett, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. I currently use an mbox2 as my interface/preamp/converters. I purchased a rackmount compressor, but am not sure of the correct way to hook it in the chain with my mbox...before the mbox?
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Which Mbox2? It would have been best to research first. You either need a set of inserts on your Mbox2(pro) or you need to buy two external preamps(all the other versions, with exception of the micro).

    EDIT: My mistake. Even the "pro" Mbox does not have inserts.
  3. the mbox2. Not the Pro. This is correct as I only purchased this compressor as it was used and got it at practically a steal wanting to re-sell but I wanted to try it out.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Not unless you are using the line inputs on the MBox2 with external preamps, when you would connect the compressor between the external preamp output and the MBox2 line input.

    If you are using the microphone preamps in the MBox2, there is no easy way to connect the compressor as an insert device during recording. The MBox2 is entry level gear and doesn't have simple features such as insert jacks.

    What you should think about is why you would want to compress a track on the way in. PTLE (or whatever audio software you are using) has facilities for applying compression during post-processing, either by using software (native or 3rd-party plug-ins), or by replaying via the analog outputs into your compressor and recording the output as a new track. In that way you have not compromised your original track by over-compression, and you can experiment with different wetness levels of compression or other effects, each time starting with a clean slate.

    It does take time to build up sufficient experience to be able to judge the correct amount and flavour of compression to apply during recording, by which time you will undoubtedly have acquired a more comprehensive interface that has insert jacks for this purpose.
  5. Understood. I regularly use compression on my vocal tracks while recording using the sidechain inside of protools, but was wanting to try it with outboard stuff. I was looking into an ART pro as well so there's always that route, but I was also wanting to upgrade to the 003 in the future. Thanks for the help
  6. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Can you elaborate on that?

    The side chain is the trigger input for the compressor. ie. using the guitar track to expand the vocals, or HP the side chain to create a de-esser.

    What are you side-chaining?

    The recorded audio is not changed by insert effects on the HDD. So I don't see why you are compressing with Pro Tools during tracking. Do you feel you get a better performance? ie. some people sing better with a little reverberation.
  7. Excuse my use of the word side-chain as I did not mean that. Using key inputs on plugins (such as the compressor) while recording..

    When the singer doesnt have good vocal habits yes i've found it necessary to record with little compression.
  8. TopherNeverDies

    TopherNeverDies Active Member

    I'm going to take a guess at what he meant by using compression on a channel while tracking into protools. I have done this once or twice before. You start with an auxiliary track and put the compressor on that. Set the input to whatever your using and the output to an available bus. Then you create an audio track with the input being that bus. Record on the audio track and now you have the compressor recorded on that track.

    Is this what you do? If you're just putting the compressor on the track your recording on it puts it in the monitor path and you're not recording the compression.

  9. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    No need for excuses. You have it right. The side chain input is call the “key input” in Pro Tools. So what are you connecting to the key input?

    What does recording the compressed input do for you if you have the uncompressed audio, and the same plugins available? It doesn't help you if your audio clips, because then you just have processed clipped audio.

  10. TopherNeverDies

    TopherNeverDies Active Member

    Oh I was just saying that's how it would be done if one wanted to do so. I'm not sure if that's what Pfactionbrett was getting at but I took a guess. I don't actually do that because I would agree it's far better to just compress in the monitor path in protools. Especially if one wants to serial compress. The only times I've really used compression while tracking is when I had access to some sweet gear but only for tracking. In those cases I've definitely used a little compression.

  11. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Totally with you on sweet out board compressors.

  12. monkfunk

    monkfunk Guest

    hey guys I need some help...

    I have an original MBOX (with inserts for both channels), a Studio Projects Mic Pre(also with an insert) and a RNC Compressor... I can't get it to work together... as soon as I plug the RNC in the insert on the mice pre or the mbox the mic stops recording, when the insert is plugged into the mbox I tried making aux track and busing it to another audio track, but that didn't work either... any ideas? also which is better when tracking to have it using the mbox insert or the mic pre insert

    all the thanks in the world if you can help me get this setup working!
  13. Youre gonna have your microphone plugged into your studio projects preamp. youre going to have the output of your preamp going into the input of your compressor. the output of your compressor is going to go into the line (TRS) input of your mbox.....don't use the inserts, hook it up as I described.
  14. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Why are you doing this? What are you trying to do? This is the signal path.

    Using a proper insert cable:

    -line out from the pre to line in on the RNC
    -line out from the RNC to line in on the pre.

    These should be marked on the insert cable. If it's not marked, you will have to try both cables.

    This isn't the best example of an insert cable but it should give you an idea of what one looks like:


    I've never found a good 3 foot insert cable for less than $25
  15. monkfunk

    monkfunk Guest

    thanks for your reply... I am doing this on the signal path for some crunchy guitars, wanted to compress it a little... I was hooking up the insert into the sidecar input on the RNC, is sidecar something else? I can get an insert cable if needed... so once I get that it will work huh? it is just a straight Y cable right?

    also, how can I use the compressor on the backend, so I can bus my vocal track to an aux track with my RNC on top?
  16. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Sidecar? Sidechain? This is a key input used to trigger the compressor. You would use this in a case where you are trying to lower the volume of a source when you want the trigger sound to be louder than the source. You need to use the input/output of the RNC.
  17. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    An insert cable is not just a Y cable. It is a Y cable that is a true stereo to dual mono L/R converter. Many stereo to mono cables sum the two channels. Make sure you either get a true stereo to mono cable or a proper insert cable. Buy one or make one.
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