headphone mixes 4 daw multitrax?


Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2001
just wondering how people get about multitrack monitoring with their daw setups:

1. do you use the computer as a dumb tape deck, and send a separate signal to a mixing desk? or...

2. do you use the daw for doing the monitor mix, and don't worry about the latency? or...

3. do you run the signal through the alsihad with zero pan/volume/phase changes and out to the desk to mix for headphones?

i'm primarily concerned with headphone mixes, and whether it's possible to get away with monitoring post d/a conversion

i know there's no rules, i'm interested in opinions, particularly, if you've had experience with both latency-free and latency-laden monitoring worlds (read analog and digital)

newcastle, oz


Well-Known Member
Feb 10, 2001
With Pro Tools and other DSP card systems, provided you don't stack several plug ins on the overdub channel (as they cause small delays), you can patch out of the an interface output pair fed by an aux send off the DAW internal mixer, direct to a headphone Amp.

With Native based systems you often get a delay (latency) that is anoying an unworkable so the workaround is to monitor (the mix and) the signal to be recorded off a little mixer before it goes to the DAW. This skips the delayed loop in & out of the computer..

hope that helps explain it some...


Shane Milburn


I run a Paris DAW so latency isn't an issue, but
prior to sending audio to the DAW I run signal through a Mackie 1604 and monitor to a Furman HDS headphone distribution system using the 4 aux buses on the Mackie. Doing something like this may work for you.

I also send the stereo outs from Paris to the headphone monitoring, but again latency isn't an issue with Paris. I don't know how big of an issue it would be in a native setup.



Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2001
thanx 4 your responses,


with pro tools, in your experience, how much dsp can use before latency becomes a problem with drummers and vocalists, eg phase, eq, panning, volume, reverb?


do you use mackie's preamps?


Oct 28, 2001
I'll add my 2 cents:

With pro tools, I have had no problem sending multiple signals(usually 4 stereo sends in my case) straight to the headphone amp, as Jules states. I (or I should say 'the artists') have not had any problem with latency, even when using two or three plugins per audio track. Monitoring off of the input is usually not an option, except for the first pass because most tracking these days involves a fair amount of overdubbing to existing tracks in the DAW.

The 'audible' latency in a TDM system is extremely small in this application. It's only when you start combining multiple drum tracks, that you need to be aware of plug-in latency. Latency in a TDM system is more a phase issue than a 'musical groove' issue.