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So I got a Soundtracs Topaz 32-8 this summer. I'm daisy-chaining 2 Firepods together so I have 16 simultaneous channels in/out.

My plan is to be able to record up to 16 live tracks, and also mix into 16 'group' to the console.

So my question is how the **** do I finish after that?

I have a two track Otari 1/4" mastering recorder as well.

Do I

a) Include "mastering" effects to the main outs on Cubase "before" going to my 16 groups, which I then EQ etc on the Topaz? Doesn't really make sense to me.

b) Run the 16 output groups from the Firepods to my 16 ch on the Topaz and THEN record to the Otari on 1/4" tape and then come back into Cubase and use my "mastering" on a stereo track?

c) Should I just record straight to CD from the Otari L/R "master" on something like an HHB CD burner?

d) I believe I can route my LR outputs from the Topaz for the 16 group ch mix and simultaneously record back to a stereo track on Cubase, but this seems like way too much ADDAADDADDA conversion, right?

I don't know why I'm feeling so stumped on this f-ing issue. :oops:


TheGreatAmericanSlum Tue, 11/04/2008 - 06:04


Forgot to mention a couple things:

a) I used to just mix "in the box" in Cubase and w/ just one Firepod.

b) I then used to run the track w/ no mastering to the Otari

c) Then I ran the Otari 1/4" (little more compressed and widened at this point) back to Cubase on a stereo track

d) Then I added my 2 L/R Mains "mastering" to the Cubase track and output to the highest fidelitiy WAV possible for master CD burning.

My band has done 3 cd's this way. Well, the last one was just like this anyway ;)

*** I'd obviously love to send this out to a mixing genius and then to a mastering house etc but there is NO BUDGET for that. thanks for your thoughts on how it "should" be done in advance though ;)

Kapt.Krunch Wed, 11/05/2008 - 00:07

I wonder if this is a case of "I have this and want to use it for EVERYTHING...just because I have it!"

Also, too many options can get one confused.

Do you find you NEED to run things through the mixer and then into the Firepod? Ok, that's fine...if that's what you want to do. You have a 32 channel mixer and 16 I/O to the computer. 1/2 those mixer channels can probably be connected direct to the 16 Firepod inputs.

Once it's in the computer...why would you want to run all 16 channels back out through the mixer to EQ, etc? Didn't you EQ things properly going in? Are you looking for extra noise, and extra degradation of the signal? Why take it through the mixer to a two-track tape? Why not take that right out of the box...if you feel a need to mix down to tape?

Since you'll have 16 channels of mixer left, couldn't you use those for a monitor mix coming from the computer to those 16 channels? I'm thinking you may be able to route things that way. Then, you may be able to monitor a rough mix of what's in the computer while adding more tracks to the computer?

A stereo signal coming from all tracks in the computer...which may be even MORE than the 16 tracks, can be routed through, say, outputs 1 and 2 of the first Firepod? That should probably go directly to the studio monitors, or to tape..if you wish?

Can you not do effects and EQ and such in Cubase? Why run it back out to do it with a mixer...when you may have already recorded it in with that mixer?

A good patchbay or two may come in handy with all this.

I wonder if you're making this too complicated with too many back-and-forth's?

You may even consider just using the mixer as an input monitoring source while recording to computer. This may help eliminate latency problems since you are monitoring before going in, and not after it's taken it circuitous route through. Then, run a rough mix of playback through mixer while recording more to computer, if you want. Monitor from the mixer. You'd probably want to disable any kind of monitoring back through the Firepod (in Cubase) WHILE recording for ONLY the TRACKS being recorded, so they don't echo through.

With patchbays, you could have a permanent connection from the first 16 channel direct outs of the mixer to the Firepod, which can be interrupted for any particular channel by inserting something to break that connection and then allow it to go directly to the Firepod input of that channel.

You could do the same thing from the outputs of the Firepod to the 17-32 of the mixer. That way, you could simply route everything, in Cubase, to output channels 1 and 2 of the Firepod, tap into corresponding 1 and 2 of the patchbay, and just run cables to...wherever. Or, you could run all 16 distinct channels out to do a rough hands-on mix for monitoring? Many options.

Beware that using a mixer this way might generate some feedback signals (loops) if you aren't on top of muting and routing things in the proper places.

Some things to think about.