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ZED R16 Analog Mixdown - How does it work?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by MrMojoRison, May 22, 2011.

  1. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    Hey all, I'm a new owner of a Zed-R16 and one of the really cool features the mixer has is of course the analog mixdown option where you can send the tracks back from the DAW to the mixer and mix the tracks like one would on a traditional analog mixer. But what I'm having hard time understanding is how its actually done or more importantly how is the mixed signals then recorded? Where does the analog mix go and how can I record that mix? Right now I'm running Ableton Live because that is what im most familiar with. How is Ableton going to send the track signals to the audio digital converter on the zed and be able to record the mixed version of those signals at the same time? Or is that even how it works? As you can see.. I'm confused. :cool:

    A concise explanation to this question or point in the right direction would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm doing this, only a different product to analog sum.

    See this video explaining the process. A few members have your console that will be able to fine tune your question but check this out because it really explains OTB mixing and why some of us are doing this.

    See this diagram and just replace the MixDream with the ZED R16 on how it works:
  3. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    Unless I am mistaken, the ZED-16R stereo master channel is channels 17 and 18 and must be routed to an input track within your DAW.

    Cheers :)
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Regard the output of tracks from the DAW to the mixer as completely separate from what happens to the two-track mix.

    The raw tracks from the DAW come in via FireWire and can be selected to be the input of any or all channels. From there you can mix down to an analog two-track. This comes out on the XLR main outputs as analog and is also digitized and can be returned to the DAW as input channels 17 and 18, as Mo Facta indicated.

    You do not have to use the internal digitization on the two-track master; in fact, I have had slightly better results by taking the analog two-track outs to a separate external A-D converter.
  5. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    Thanks guys. The external A-D converter is a great idea. Is there any recommendations out there as far as a good one to get? Thats the only job it would perform. But i would like it to be a quality converter.
  6. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    There's nothing wrong with the 2 channel converter on CH17/18 of the ZED.
    That's what it's there for.
    Just route it back into your DAW on a stereo pair do a mixdown of your 16 channels and record it!
  7. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    The manual is so vague. Im having a hard time with routing configurations. It seems that only the first two channels can be mixed and those are the stereo outs. I cant figure out how to mix each channel individually. The faders work for each channel but the EQ's don't. Does anyone have experience setting this up?
  8. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    If you have the Firewire connected and the ZED ASIO driver assigned in Ableton then you should see a total of 18 audio ins and 18 audio outs that can be assigned to tracks in Ableton. I don't know if Ableton is like Cubase but that's about it. If you only see one then maybe Ableton can't handle multiple channels at the same time, or you don't have Ableton setup properly, not sure I don't know much about Ableton.
    The ZED gives you 16 mono channels and then the "Main" channels 17/18. You can assign any of those channels in and out or "to" the DAW or "from" the DAW.
    EQ is switch selectable for each channel "In" or "Out". All this is thoroughly explained in the manual. If you don't have much experience with a recording mixer you should read it over several times and try each thing. If you figure out one channel you have the bulk of the thing down because all 16 channels are identical. The rest of the stuff is MIDI control and monitor sections. Each channel being mixed down is switched into the mix by the L/R pushbutton on each channel to the Main mix pair 17/18 on the firewire (the red faders).
    The four pushbuttons on each 16 channels assign different configurations for each mono channel on the ZED and of course you need to select the appropriate one. The manual explains all this or look over the block diagram to get an idea how everything works.
    Hope that helps.
  9. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    Just add a stereo track in your DAW, set it's output routing to "not assigned", the input to 17-18, and record-enable it. Then, when you're happy with your mix, record the results from start to finish. EASY.

    Cheers :)
  10. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Exactly, in fact you can do that for any group of channels or just a couple of channels of the ZED.
    Say you want 8 or 10 channels of drum mics as a mixdown. You can EQ, add effects like reverb either ITB or OTB with hardware etc mix those down to 17/18 the way you like it and "bounce" those down to your DAW.
    Do the same thing for a group of guitars or vocals etc etc.....the possibilities are endless.
    After you have these "stems" done, send them back to the ZED on any mono or stereo channels you like and do it all over again until you have everything in place and blended just the way you like. You can do that as many times as you like.
    That is one of the great things about the ZED and using your DAW together as a hybrid system ITB/OTB.
    The ZED lets you add analog warmth and richness to a source and the DAW acts like a big giant multi-track tape deck.
    The flexibility and creativity of the ZED and your DAW gives you unlimited options.....
  11. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    Ok, thanks for all the help.

    So Ive figured it out to the point that I can record the mix from the mian (red faders) in my DAW. And I can adjust the EQ for both of those channels which looks like the signal for the main is running though channels 1 and 2 on the mixer. So how do you adjust the EQ for each individual track? The only EQ's that respond are on channels 1 and 2. Shouldnt you be able to adjust the EQ's for each individual track? The only function that responds on each track is the faders. The EQ's dont (I do have them activation buttons for the EQ's engaged).

    Ive been throught the manual front to back many times. Im not finding the answers to these questions so I thank everyone for your patience.
  12. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Which of the four pushbuttons on the channels do you have pushed in?
    You keep saying only 1 and 2 work? Those are just two of 16 channels available.
    Do you have the rest of the channels setup in your DAW or just 1 and 2?
    Are you tracking with the ZED or mixing with the ZED?

    Top = DIGITAL SEND POST (After) EQ
    If you want to use the ZED EQ on your source as it's going into your DAW use this.

    Second = DIGITAL RETURN PRE (Before) Insert point.
    Use this if you want to bypass the insert point and go straight into the DAW.

    Third = DIGITAL RETURN POST (After) EQ
    Use this when you want to use the ZED EQ on your source coming back from the DAW.

    Bottom = MIDI
    Use this to use the MIDI control channel fader and control that same fader in your DAW track.

    Like I said you can easily see how these work from the block diagram on Page 12 and the functional descriptions on Page 17.

    Understand there are two stages to using a recording desk like this.

    #1.) Tracking and recording your inputs.
    You don't need to be too concerned with the main 17/18 channels at this stage.
    At this stage you are setting your instrument levels at the board using the PFL and meter checks, adjusting EQ if you like, using the insert point for outboard hardware effects and adjusting that if you like, setting up each channel into your assigned tracks of your DAW and then recording that.

    #2.) Mixing down those recorded tracks from your DAW to a master.
    Once your tracks are recorded and complete, you can now play those back from the DAW track outputs to any of the ZED channels into the mixer.
    At this stage each channel can be changed and setup with different settings like pan positions, EQ if you like and each one can be selected to go onto the master mix bus using the L/R switch.
    At this stage your just playing back what you've recorded and mixing them.
    Once you get a good analog mix of the tracks you like, setup a stereo bus in your DAW (within the same project) and assign that to input the master 17/18 channels. Record that. Make sure you don't have any output so you don't get a feedback loop.

    Hope that helps.
  13. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    Im talking about mixing tracks that are already recorded into the daw. I have the second button (yellow) engaged. But it only works on channels 1 and 2. I engage the second button (yellow) on channels 1 and 2, push play in the daw, and can draw the faders up on each channel and hear each individual channel. I can also lower or raise the mix volumes with the main faders and record that in the daw on a stereo track (i have to select channels 1/2 on the track to record the mix). What isnt working is the EQ for each channel on the mixer; Just the EQ's on channel 1 and 2 which adjust the mix. I'll be spending tonight working with it again and report back. Thanks all.
  14. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    OK, I figured out how to route each track into the mixer from the DAW. I can run the mix to the mains but when I open a new track in my DAW and select 17 and 18 as inputs there is nothing coming in on 17 and 18, or so thats what is looks like in the DAW. The stereo track in the daw isnt recognizing the incoming signal.
  15. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Make sure the DIG MASTER switch is punched in to monitor the main mix in your DAW!
  16. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    Yeah..if only it was that easy. It must be the settings in the DAW. I can add a new track and select the 17 and 18 in the "extension in" for that track in the daw but the daw isnt recognizing any signal coming in from the mixer. I know its sending information back because each channels "dig send" (top button) will send its own individual channel back to the daw if its engaged.
  17. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I would check your Audio Device channel configurations in Ableton and make sure you have all 18 channels assigned and showing up in there either in stereo pairs (which would be 9 stereo pairs) or 18 mono channels or a mix of those.
    I use Cubase 6 and I usually have a configuration template with 8 mono channels (1-8) and 5 stereo pairs (9/10, 11/12, 13/14, 15/16 and 17/18 the main master pair).
    The ZED is pretty straight forward and it will always send and return 18 channels back and forth over the firewire all dependent on where you have your channel switches set.
    But you have to have the DAW software match those channels in its audio configuration using the ASIO ZED driver (which should be the latest version from A&H BTW).
    Then its just a matter of where on the board you send and return things from Ableton and which controls you use on the ZED.
    The ZED doesn't control the audio configuration inside Ableton or add them automatically. You have to set them up in Ableton yourself manually. Once all the channels show up in Ableton then its just a matter of starting a new track in Ableton set the "in" to whatever ZED channel you like and set the "out" to whatever ZED channel you like.
    It doesn't even matter or have to be the same channel you go into or come out of. Take your pick. The only audio channels that are kinda special are the 17/18 master pair but those are effectively your main red faders no master EQ but then that's what the rest of the channel EQ's are for.
    If you don't have the L/R mix bus switches engaged on each of the 16 channels you want on the 17/18 mix bus you won't hear anything on that pair because they're not selected.

    So...it really is that simple and plenty of people everywhere have it working just fine with Ableton, PT, Cubase etc. Granted it is pretty confusing to a new user because it does have so many routing options and features and all those knobs can be sort of overwhelming. Maybe reading a good mixing book would help.
    Each ZED channel is identical so if you understand one channel strip you'll get them all.
    Then tackle the monitor/mix section.
    I've helped three different friends with the ZEDR16 so far and everyone of them struggled with the very same things you are.
    I think you just have something either configured wrong in Ableton or your not punching in the right buttons on the ZED.
    Keep at it....you'll get there.....a light will come on and you will have a moment...Ahhhh!
    I hope this helps!
  18. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    Hello. I'm now using pro tools and just about everything figured out and have recorded quite a few songs with the band. BUT I still cant record the mains (17/18). Ive tried everything. And i know i have the track routing correct because when i make adjustments on the mixer (ie EQ) i can hear it through the monitors. I know everything is routed to the mains because i can adjust the level coming out of my monitors by adjusting the red faders (and the LR button for each channel is engaged). But when i create a stereo track in pro tools and route the mains in, that track doesnt recognize or doesnt "hear" anything coming in, no signal. The console is switched to 44.1 and the session in pro tools is set at 44.1 @ 24 bits.

    Could the bit rate be the reason the mains arent being returned to the DAW?

    Any ideas?
  19. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Do you have "17/18" inputs showing up in your PT setup and is it assigned to that track and armed to record properly?
    When you start playback of all the other tracks do you see any meter movement on the 17/18 track.
    Sounds like you have something not routing or setup for CH 17/18 to and from the ZED rather than any bit rate thing.
    But double check the little switch in the back...
  20. MrMojoRison

    MrMojoRison Active Member

    Yeah, its gotta be pro tools. The console is all setup right. And yes, i create a stereo track in my session, route the mains to that track, arm the track, hit record and play in the transport window, and all that stereo track records is a couple flat lines, its not receiving the signal from the zed. I know all my tracks are routed to the mains because i can hear the session playing through my monitors and when i make adjustments like EQ i can hear the difference.

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