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Looking for some hardware setup and connectivity advice. Non-newb

Hey Folks,

While I am not a newb (12 years with home studio) I have always had this underlying feeling that I have not ever set my system up just right. I have resisted asking for input as I certainly should know by now if I am properly set up and/or running as efficiently as I could be.

I will list the equipment I have and offer a quick connection overview of how it is setup now and I would greatly appreciate any and all assistance in whatever adjustments I should make. One usage note is while I do record other musicians and sometimes entire bands here it is not that often, so normal use is me. I play the piano, guitar, bass and have very good working knowledge of my softsynths and so on.

I have a 16channel Behringer mixer model XenyX X1622USB with ASIO connectivity via USB. ( I know many still look down on Behringer, however I have had a great experience with this mixer and have found their QC to have increased substantially from the days of "STAY AWAY FROM BEHRINGER" at all costs) For the money I am very happy with it. OK that being said.
Outboard hardware BBE Sonic Maximizer (I like it for vocals) sent in via channel insert on vocal channel. A Lexicon MPX-550 not being used right now.
I have several decent microphones (ShureKSM-44, Shure KSM-32 and an M-Audio Luna) as well as a few sm-57's and 58's.
I have a full 88 weighted key piano/midi controller.
I use Line 6 modelling gear POD 2.0 and the newer POD HD500
I have an M-audio Fast track Ultra that is not hooked up right now as the Behringer has USB ASIO connectivity.
That right there is my main area I feel I am not set up right. The Board has two audio channels in and 2 Out via USB into the PC, and the M-Audio has 8 in and 10 outs.
I often want to route audio to other hardware outputs but am unable to do so with the Behringer as it is but still would like to use it as well, unless there is a better way.
Ultimately the control room outs are sent to a pair of Yamaha HS-50 nearfields. I have no other decent studio speakers.
I record with Cubase V5.12 as well as Sonar X2. ( I started with cakewalk and use it for certain needs due to familiarity and workflow ease.
Lastly I have plenty of extra cables and patching cords. TRS and speaker cables, stereo as well as mono and so on.

Thanks so much for your help and I hope I don't sound too goofy to you all.

Thanks Mark


Boswell Mon, 02/18/2013 - 02:42
The XenyX X1622USB is one of a range of mixers that I guess must have been designed for live use, as it has two serious shortcomings in its routing design when used for recording or mixdown: USB data to the computer is always the stereo main mix and USB channels from the computer can only be sent to the main mix.

From what you have said about what you want to do and the equipment you have, I would use the FTU as your computer interface. This at least will give you independent monitor outputs that you can route wherever you want. It also gives you 4 mic inputs going to separate tracks. If you need more than that, or you want the facilities of a mixer and effects while recording, then you can plug the master analog outputs of the Xenyx mixer into a pair of the rear-panel line inputs of the FTU and continue working in a similar way to how you are at the moment, but with the flexibility of independent computer output channels.

I may have misunderstood your workflow, but if you want to take the next step up in technique, you should be looking at recording each instrument or vocal cleanly into a separate track on the computer and then mix these down afterwards with any EQ, dynamics and effects added at this stage to get your stereo mix. It's very hard to get a respectable-sounding stereo result by mixing and applying effects in real time during recording.

RemyRAD Mon, 02/18/2013 - 03:26
As you said, the Beringer only offers on USB, two master outgoing channels and two return channels. Which of course makes tracking of an entire band, all at once, pretty much on the inconvenience side of things. That mixer does not offer the multis channel input to multi-channel output USB 2.0 devices can offer.

Meanwhile you also have an excellent multitrack interface you are not using, why I don't know? If you are going to track a band all at once, you're going to need your Fast-Track and your Beringer.

I personally don't have too many qualms over Beringer devises. They work well and they are a good bang for the buck. Of course the unit that ya have was designed to basically only record your PA mix. It wasn't exactly designed for multitrack recording. Thankfully, it's easy to use for multitrack recording especially because of the lower latency that ASIO delivers. But did you have latency issues with your FastTrack? And did you know how to correct and compensate for that? Was your computer properly set up as an actual DAW? Or is this just a general purpose toy, i.e. you use it for everything? Because I personally think that the XLR microphone inputs are every bit as good or better than the Beringer microphone inputs. So why are you on such a big kick on using this mixer thingy for your recording purposes in the studio? And if I were you, I would have them both up and operational. No reason to leave the Fast Track not in your computer. Why isn't it in your computer? It doesn't do you any good sitting on the shelf. Just because it's a new gizmo doesn't mean it is a device that must be used or that somehow you think it's any better than your Fast Track? It's certainly is limited I cannot fill the bill for simultaneous multitrack capture purposes. And there is nothing special about those five dollar microphone preamps in it. In fact your Fast track, may actually have better microphone preamps? Those devices are still very popular because they are of high-quality. It wasn't the lowest priced device you could get, like your Beringer is. No it's not a problem. But it's also nothing to write home about.

Better is only better if it sounds better for you and works better for you. So maybe like those microphone preamps in the Beringer? Well you could bus those into your Fast-track line level inputs from the Beringer microphone preamp insert outputs. And then you can decide, by selecting within your multitrack software, whether you want to listen to your playback through the Fast-track or through the Beringer. And those selections will appear in your multitrack software. And that's why you can have it all plugged in. Why limit yourself what's the point in that? You said you've been in the business for a while. So surely you can understand my reasons and position? So I hope this has been a help?

You're just having problems with a little confusion and some operator error. Easily remedied.
Mx. Remy Ann David

anonymous Mon, 02/18/2013 - 04:22
I guess I would echo Remy and Boswell's comments regarding the use of the mixer - which if I'm understanding correctly can only offer two audio sends to your PC?

...As opposed to using the M Audio, which offers independent and discreet tracking of up to 8 separate tracks at once...

The way you are doing it now, especially if you were doing something like recording a band, means that you need to pre mix everything, and because you are limited to only a 2 mix coming out of your Behringer, you don't have any post control over individual tracks, so doing things like bringing up a snare, or EQ'ing just the kick, isn't gonna happen because you're tracking only a 2 mix to Sonar (or Cubase, or whatever your production platform is..)

And, as Remy mentioned, you can still use the Behringer if you like the way it sounds (I have no experience with Behringer or the Fast Track's pre amps, so I can't comment on the quality or difference in quality)... if the Behringer has direct outs or inserts, you can come out of those into the inputs of your Fast Track... although again, you have to determine whether this is worth it or not, and have to be very aware of gain staging as well when using multiple/stacked pre amps in a signal chain, and... if the console does have inserts or D.O.'s, you have to determine whether these are pre or post...

Can I ask...Is the reason you are using the Behringer instead of the Fast Track because you simply like the tactile feel of a mixer?

I'm not passing judgement, I'm just curious...


mcolquitt Mon, 02/18/2013 - 11:14
All three of you have given me the answers that I was looking for;How to set up the fast track within the system I have now. The different choices of connectivity you have given me means I can try them all and see what works/sounds best. I am sincerely grateful.
In answer to your questions about why I want to use the behringer, it is simple really. Each of my studio instruments are plugged in on their own channels and ready to go without need for setup or replugging. THAT is is!!I am definitely aware of the 2 track shortcoming of the behringer. The last time I had a band I needed to track (3 piece acoustic mexican band) I had to connect my FTU and use it for the reasons you describe. What I did not or was not sure of was how to configure the FTU into the mixer and on into the PC. I am going to try the various ways you have each said starting I think with the Boswell's idea of
then you can plug the master analog outputs of the Xenyx mixer into a pair of the rear-panel line inputs of the FTU and continue working in a similar way to how you are at the moment, but with the flexibility of independent computer output channels.
Then I will move to Remy's and so on...hey wait...No Kidding
Donny..It's Vegasmark6stringsat100mph from the otherplace and cake forums...haha how are you and thanks for your help. I will PM you and see how you are, hope things are well on your end. Can you believe I still struggle with such things?

Actually thank you all. I will certainly let you know how things have worked out. Sincerely, thanks for your help, thoughts and input. It means a lot!

RemyRAD Tue, 02/19/2013 - 03:29
Mark, glad to have helped you get the info you needed. Yeah I can believe that you are struggling through some of this. I'm going through it right now with the new HP laptop I just got that had Windows 8. This is a toy operating system. Really not intended for any kind of business applications. Ya know things aren't good when the info about Windows 8, most definitely states, it's "designed for smart phones and tablets and will also work with your laptop and desktop", which says to me it's an afterthought for actual computers. Nothing pro about that. And it does not want to boot from the Windows 7 operating system installation disc. And even when I get it to boot it starts to load the operating system and after about 5-7 minutes... bang! Blue screen that says it "cannot find the optical drive and ya do not have an operating system so please load an operating system." God dammit I was loading an operating system! And it has done this over and over again regardless of how I changed the bios settings? HP technical service is absolutely useless. These screwball East Indians art card readers. You ask a question and they give you an answer to a different question that is completely unrelated to your question. You cannot get a supervisor. I've gone through three technical support guys that have no idea what they are doing. No training for the product they are being a two support. And I am not getting this free technical support that is included in price of the computer. So this all sucks. And I was told it would not boot due to the new EFI something or other that prevents the computer from loading any harmful software. What? It can't scan a Windows installation disc to verify it is authentic? Great design work terrific programming. And how is one to boot from the emergency backup disks if it doesn't want to boot from the optical disc like it's supposed to? Total utter nonsense. I've had this computer for a month now and it is still nonfunctional. I'm going back to the computer store with it. And it has gone beyond the time that I can return it. It was $1000 and I have added $400 + of additional upgrades and it still floundering. So it's extremely frustrating and taking up too much of my time. I got work I've got to get to with this thing. So I'll see what the computer store has to offer? So don't feel bad.

Don't hesitate to ask further questions if any of us can be of any help.
Mx. Remy Ann David

anonymous Tue, 02/19/2013 - 03:47
Does it seem apparent to anyone else that Microsoft has a pattern of success/failure on an "every other platform" basis?

Windows XP - solid, smooth, dependable. As a matter of fact, it's still my OS on my desktop PC.

Windows Vista - uh... ya. I don't believe I need to elaborate any further.

Windows 7 - another very solid and dependable OS. I have a laptop with this OS and it works great, both in day to day functionality and with DAW production use.

Windows 8 - as far as I can tell, it's built for greasy fingers to reach up and touch the screen. Not much help for guys like me. Apparently, not much help for Remy, either.

So what am I missing by not having Windows 8? I'm completely willing to be convinced .. if that's possible. So far, I haven't seen any reason(s) to upgrade... to the contrary, I've seen many reasons why I shouldn't.

Boswell Tue, 02/19/2013 - 04:06
Perhaps Microsoft has two Windows development teams working isolated from one another in separate buildings, and each leapfrogs the other one in the timings of their releases. There's one team that knows what it's doing, and the other that only thinks it does.

Seriously, I've bought several and specified many more PCs that these days all come with Windows8 Pro as standard. I've always been careful to insist that the users take the "downgrade" to Windows7 that is offered with W8Pro.

kmetal Tue, 02/19/2013 - 22:17
well i mean they're pretty obvious in there advertisement, no offense remy, but people are pretty happy w/ windows 7, which worked at the pinnacle of multi core processing, and before the new current push for touch based screens ( hence grapic processing focus). it's just business for them, as the average user only cares if face book works. so i am not at all surprised that 8 sucks. i am surprised you'd bite the bullet? i feel bad, honestly, you know me. but did you expect much more from an off the shelf hp, thrown into a pro audio position? i made that mistake 7 yrs ago, and w/ a pro fools program/hardware.

windows has to service the 'non' mac/everyone community. which is alot of people, from gaming, to facebook, to whatever. this just has to be acceptable, it sucks, but it's a part of it. not to start a preference convo on platforms, but when you buy general, you get general. i bet windows 8 machines do fine on ebay, and RO. from what i guess, win 8 is just based around a beta of touchscreen, and cloud based stuff.

i use a mackie d8b, a realitively early digital board, and it has it's own quirks. to me computers are even more suseptable to weird operation stuff, which makes me even more cuatious. win 7 seems like the next leap, even tho it's already old, it's proven and 64bit if thats your bag.

to me what would be ideal, for all cpu audio pro users, is if someone had the integrity to design some sort of 'audio/video' centric os. just like when i boot up the d8b, bang, just does one thing. the d8b is rudimentary and doesn't always start up right, it's the right idea, lol, it's host cpu is 366mhz, and has a 3.5" floppy drive. remember mhz? a company could make some serious money if they developed a 'work specific OS'. you press power, all ya can use is your audio programs. this is a fantasy, and prob won't happen, but computers digital recorders from 1998 could do 24 tracks, why 'as advanced' are we still messing around. i think/hope, that some company will realize that regular computers we all use are not taking advatage, and make a standalone system. like the joeco blackbox, but for studious. it's rediculous to me, that a world class studio is running the same 'brain' as the average wealthy person is using to watch you-tube...

anonymous Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:07
but computers digital recorders from 1998 could do 24 tracks, why 'as advanced' are we still messing around.

Well, yeah, although I also remember a time, when using Windows 95 on a 286 machine (LOL..remember those?) I had Soundforge working on processing the EQ for a 3 minute wave file and the render time came up in a little window and the message said that it would take "2 hours"... LOL...I also recall working with Adobe Premier and some of the video previews I wanted to render said "more than a day".... so yeah, we've come a long way, K. ;)

If you had a machine that was loaded for bear back in the "bad old days", you could maybe record 24 tracks. But since then, the audio processing has become so intense, so much more is available now, and that's not even counting the soft-synth technology, where I can literally have entire libraries of DX7's, Prophet 5's, Mellotrons, huge orchestral libraries... I don't think that any machine that I ever had in those days could have even come close to being able to do any of those things...and USB and firewire was but a dream. All my sound and midi devices were cards that had little dip switches on them to set IRQ's and DMA's.... and God forbid if you shared an IRQ with another device. LOL

I do like the idea of a dedicated PC that does nothing other than audio or video; and I think that you can tweak machines to do that stuff alone - if you know how to set them up... which I don't. ;)

I mean, yes, I have deleted many programs to lean down my DAW PC, crap like games and toolbars and other things that I don't use and just takes up memory and space... and you're right, we as engineers and musicians generally don't care about the stuff that "civilians" care about... FB, iTunes, Instant Messaging, etc.

You mentioned previously that for what we do, buying a PC off the shelf at one of the big stores like Best Buy is a mistake, (and I agree with you, having made that mistake once or twice myself) because those machines are designed out of the box to cater to the everyday PC user. Hell, getting a salesperson to even acknowledge programs like Sonar, PT, reaper, etc., let alone finding one who knows anything about them, is pretty rare.

Which is why, the next machine I get (and it won't be anytime soon, BTW) I plan on going to one of the services that caters to what we do. I like the idea of dealing with someone who has worked within the platforms and has used the technology that I use.

I love the idea of NOT having to explain to a PC builder what MIDI is, in fact, I love the idea of actually NOT knowing as much about computer related audio work as the builder does. I want them to be able to tell me things I hadn't thought of, as opposed to me attempting to explain what a wave file is to a kid making minimum wage at Best Buy who thinks that MP3's are the "shizzle"... facepalm


RemyRAD Wed, 02/20/2013 - 22:52
Well yeah but my issue isn't with Windows 8 8 at was supplied. It's just another disgusting abortion by Microsoft trying to force a single do everything incapable operating system. And while I want to learn it, my issue was that this new Hewlett and Packard Envy DV 7-7292 LS, with a blank 500 GB, Seagate, does not want to boot from the Windows 7 Pro installation disc. I removed the 5400 RPM 1 TB Hitachi drive with the Windows 8. Machine refuses to boot from any operating system install disks such as Windows XP Pro, Linux. Yet the bios indicates the first boot device CD/DVD/Blue Ray. So something ain't right with this machine. Something about EFI?

A computer geek I ran into him, who indicated he was a coder for one of the big defense contractors told me that, the EFI was something new in the bios, to prevent malicious software. So I guess this new computer of mine thinks that loading a factory Microsoft Windows 7 Pro must be malicious software? I'm simply trying to load it onto a brand-new blank Seagate 500 GB, 7200 RPM drive. I also have an SSD of 120 GB. And the computer will not allow itself to boot from the optical drive in order to load in a new operating system on a blank drive. I told him I had seen some option in the bios labeled legacy something. Which brought up another eight or 10 selections of three or four letters. And as I ran down the different selections, some would then boot from the optical drive and it looked like a voilà moment. Which is all it turned out to be because 5 to 7 minutes into the operating system loading onto the blank hard drive, I would suddenly get the blue screen of death telling me the computer had no operating system and that I should load an operating system. Which it was doing until, I guess, it forgot what it was doing while it was doing it? This happened three times or more over to the point that I wanted to perform brain surgery upon myself. It's as if it was designed to thwart the running of any other operating system other than what had been installed at the factory at time of purchase? But of course that makes no sense. But then Microsoft does not always made sense except to its shareholders. Because it seems as though the bios is somehow designed not to boot from the optical drive? At least that legacy selection over EFI, while it allowed it to boot, it could never follow through to completion. And the HP technical support (in India) voice recognition software that provides for an incorrect response. It's kind of like trying to thread a piece of analog reel to reel tape on your computer. Right. A complete non sequitur.

People have committed suicide over far less.
Mx. Remy Ann David

anonymous Thu, 02/21/2013 - 04:20
A computer geek I ran into him, who indicated he was a coder for one of the big defense contractors told me that, the EFI was something new in the bios, to prevent malicious software. So I guess this new computer of mine thinks that loading a factory Microsoft Windows 7 Pro must be malicious software?

Wow. I have to admit I've never heard of this happening before.

Just so I've got this straight...

You're saying that you are working with a completely blank slate (formatted hard drive), placing an authorized Windows 7 install disc into the optical, and it won't let you install it onto that drive you've targeted for your system OS?

And the computer will not allow itself to boot from the optical drive in order to load in a new operating system on a blank drive.

That's even worse..... that the PC won't even boot from the optical. What would happen if you were using the supplied platform (windows 8), your drive crashed, and you wanted to reinstall the OS using an authorized Windows 8 disc? If the PC won't boot from the optical drive at all?.... man that's F'd up.

mcolquitt Thu, 02/21/2013 - 18:38
Remy, I sure am sorry to hear that you are having so much difficulty. I wonder though, and yes I realize how Captain Obvious I am being but, can't you just format the disk and instal windows 7 on it? Or better yet, get a new HD and instal win7 on that. Just curious.

I do, however have a final bit of help I need on my initial situation. I get that I should come out of the board and into two inputs on the back (I am thinking of using 5 and 6 but what I am unsure of is should I use my control room outs (I use those now) to go into the M-audio and also could I even (nodding towards Donny's method) take standard cables from the 4 inserts and put them into the first 4 channels of the m-audio? And of course I need to run the USB from the M-Audio and not the Behringer into my PC. So am I missing anything?

EDIT: Forgive my question, Remy I didn't realize this thread had grown to a second page....oops.

RemyRAD Thu, 02/21/2013 - 21:36
That's not a problem. This is only the second page. Some of these responses run up to 10 or more pages and over a period of years with people responding to posts from a couple of years ago LOL. It's all good. It's how ya learn.

In answer to your question, yes. Your M-Audio device allows for those six inputs. So yeah, take the stereo left/right analog program outputs from the mixer into five and six. And then you can also take those for microphone inputs from their inserts, into your M-Audio inputs one through four. You will monitor the output from your M-Audio stereo outputs and/or headphone outputs and not directly from the mixer.

Now you don't have to take the stereo output from the mixer into channels five and six unless you want to. It will be whatever mix you push up on the mixer of what's going into inputs one through four. But inputs one through four will be isolated as separate channels in the computer timeline of the software. Which you will have to select and assign from within the software. Though there really isn't much reason to print your stereo output from the mixer unless you just want to hear in lockstep synchronization what it will sound like to your other four tracks when you have processed and equalized them with whatever effects are going to use, individually against that boring flat stereo mix from the mixer. Something you will not use likely in your final mix anyhow. Good for a comparison for yourself however and you understand how that dimensionally straitjackets yourself in comparison to the four discrete tracks. So instead of taking the stereo output from the mixer and printing that the channels five and six, think about this goofy option. You could use two additionall outboard microphone preamps busing those two into five and six. And then you are tracking six simultaneous different tracks i.e. four on the drums, bass guitar, rhythm guitar. Instead of guitars, a single stereo keyboard or 2 mono outputs from 2 separate keyboards, etc.. Or just six microphones on a drum kit? And then you're working like real studio engineers work. Need two more inputs in addition to those six? Well you could get an additional inexpensive extra 2 XLR combo input, simple USB audio device. Though that's where the monitoring becomes more involved and problematic. Can't afford that extra USB audio device? Well it's not recommended but you can also utilize the computer's internal audio device. Using a microphone/microphones on those inputs is simply dreadful, horrible, awful. So you grab your old cassette deck sitting on a shelf in the basement. Blow off the dust. Get a couple of Radio Shaft low impedance XLR to high impedance 1/4 inch adapters and plug that into you are old cassette deck microphone inputs. Stick in an old tape and hit pause record. Take the output of that cassette deck and feed it into that awful computer input sound card, line level in and you might be able to live with it, on incidental ancillary sound sources? Tom-toms come to mind or more cowbell? Scratch vocal or something like that. Again, monitoring will then become a problem. Because the M-Audio device will not be able to monitor in real time from any other sound devices until after they have been recorded. So, that would be fine for a basic rhythm tracking session with a scratch vocal for instance. So you do have some room for scenarios that might be more complex than just by yourself.

This is how you function out-of-the-box, while working ITB. And where your capabilities are going to expand nearly exponentially. Stereo capture is fine for a stereo capture. Multitrack production is what we do today and have for over 50 years now. Those two separate methods are still used both individually and together. It's not one or the other. So you've been kind of thinking a little two dimensionally. You're just thinking in stereo. We all still have to think that way but not until we recorded 24 or more tracks many one at a time. And only when we are finished doing that and do we really start to do our stereo thing for the mix. A stereo track however may have been recorded of the drum overhead microphones? But everything else our individual mono tracks to be processed, panned, modulated time delay effects to create stereo imaging of mono tracks, etc.. And then your individual equalization, compression and limiting, downward expansion and gating, reverbs and time delays, echoes, all that stuff to create a stereo mix of individual mono and stereo tracks. And you have nearly a virtually unlimited track count we could never get in analog without remortgaging your home to get. And that's all included in simple bundled software and even free software like Reaper. And that free available download of Adobe Audition 3 which is my favorite program and has been virtually since it was introduced in its shareware variety back in the early 1996 era. So you're all ready to get your free $600 copy of Adobe Audition 3.

LOL as far as my computer dilemma goes, that's exactly what I was attempting to do. Load the Windows 7 operating system on a brand-new blank hard disk drive. I removed the Windows 8 hard drive altogether from the computer for later re-insertion if I just want to learn Windows 8. And in that manner, I might tell the bios to boot from a USB hard drive that has that operating system on it?

So while I think there is perhaps a possible technical malfunction? I believe it's really a bios issue? This EFI thing is confusing a lot of very computer savvy people. It's brand-new. And there's something about choosing legacy over EFI in the bios that has allowed the optical drive with a boot disc inserted, to boot. And then ask me if I want to install Windows 7. And it begins to install on this blank NTFS new, fresh out of the box, Seagate hard drive. And then a few minutes into the loading of some files, blue screen of death. And it's done this with Windows 2000 Pro, XP Pro, Linux and Windows 7. I've been building up custom computers for audio video use and for office use, loading operating systems, maintaining these systems, since 1996. This almost reminds me of the old days when you needed to load a floppy disk in order to load the operating system off of the CD. Yet that surely is not applicable (I hope the hell not?) for loading any of those other operating systems as it never has been in the past. Those all have boot partitions on those optical discs today and the CD drivers built into the motherboard chipsets. And HP technical support, is a non sequitur. It's like speaking to an English-based voice-recognition software in Farsi. Or is that the other way around? Yeah? Speaking English to your Farsi voice recognition software LOL. It's not only frustrating... it's the reason why God created automatic assault weapons with large capacity clips LOL. It's just a longer trip than your average elementary or high school. So I can probably sell the computer for enough to purchase a plane ticket to India and where it should not be difficult to pick up an AK-47 inexpensively? And then I can fix technical support. I'll stop at the computer store first however and see what can be done. Because this is crazy stupid. I know what I'm doing but the computer doesn't. And here I was hoping it was just a bad Windows 7 disc? It isn't. I mean I'm now starting to think that Hewlett-Packard is just some other kind of medical term for something involving constipation? I mean I'm so frustrated with this I think the inverse should be occurring? Or maybe that's what I should do to the computer, package it up and send it back to HP? I'm actually getting the impression this new machine will run nothing but Windows 8? But really how could that be? It's not even touch sensitive. If morons are loading bootleg programs with viruses on them, why should we all have to suffer? And apparently that's what this EFI was designed to prevent? You'd think it would know an honest to God Microsoft disc however? So maybe it's just a lemon? Where quality control has no translation or interpretation in Chinese? This I will find out soon enough which hasn't really been soon enough. But thank you very much for your triage like troubleshooting suggestions as they were quite valid.

Time to start tracking some good music dude.
Mx. Remy Ann David

mcolquitt Thu, 02/21/2013 - 22:19
WOW..great response,Remy! Thanks. I am a tad confused on one area, however. OK So most (85%) of the time I am a lone musician working alone in my studio. At this point me worrying about having 8 simultaneous inputs is not worth the trouble. What I really want is the best audio clarity and sound as well as flexibility. So that being said. I am beginning to think that running the control room out's to inputs 5 and 6 and still running my mic into the board for EQ and the built in compressors are nice channel 1 and from the rear panel insert point out to channel 1 on my m-audio. Does that sound right? Or smart? Or am I in left field?

Thanks so much.

OH yes and I shouldn't leave the usb from the mixer in when I am also running the USB into the PC from the M-audio, right? Or does it matter?

gdoubleyou Fri, 02/22/2013 - 15:38
Actually with the M-Audio you don't really need the mixer.

The idea of digital recording is to apply eq and compression during the mixing process, unless you have access to wonderful Neve or SSL mixers.
Mixers that add depth and character.

I've been mixerless for over a decade, a more direct signal path.

Your system will see one of the interfaces, unless the drivers support multiple devices.

RemyRAD Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:28
Actually, you can most likely do all of the above, in its entirety. Which means, you can have both USB devices plugged in. Any of these devices of the USB variety that feature anything in and above 16 bit, 44.1 kHz/48 kHz capabilities, requires that the company create and deliver their own USB driver for their own devices. Otherwise, if you don't load their driver, it will default to a Microsoft USB 1.1 build in driver. This will only allow those devices then, to operate, I believe, only one at a time and only for 2 inputs and 2 outputs, restricted to 16-bit, 44.1/48 kHz.

Let's assume that you have loaded each devices unique drivers. In your multitrack software (depending upon the type and the version and the manufacturer) you'll have the ability to choose each device and route their inputs to whatever tracks in the timeline you want. Up to the devices maximum capabilities. With the mixer, that is only two in and two out. The M-Audio device in drivers allows up to six simultaneous inputs to be assigned to six independent timeline tracks and/or any variation thereof i.e. a stereo pair and four individual, in your timelines. And you could also make a simultaneous stereo recording direct from the mixing bus from the mixer assigned to channels 7 & 8 or perhaps 3 & 4 if you are cutting a vocal microphone to track 1 and a guitar microphone to track 2. Because usually the direct send outputs are without the EQ or any of the built-in effects. They are dry, untouched, unmolested, generally. And then what comes out your mixer includes your available effects such as a compressor/limiter, time delay effects, reverbs. And that's only going to come out the master left-right outputs. And those master stereo outputs available in analog are also transferring through the USB.

So this opens up different kinds of horizons for you. For example, I'm one of those engineers that usually includes some kind of filtering. Such as a high pass filter on the microphone or just a little low frequency EQ rolloff. Perhaps a small boost in the high-end. Followed by some compression and/or limiting as I cut the track. Many people are adverse to recording and working in this manner. But it's what we all did back in the analog days and we know what we are doing. Others want to ensure that they didn't screw up going in. So they don't do that or believe in that. But lots of professionals do and not just myself. And if that affect processor in your little mixer allows for just some compression or limiting, only use that. And however you might want to tilt your EQ's before hitting the compressor/limiter. You don't add the reverb or other special effects at that stage of tracking. What this does give you, in essence, is a channel strip from a console and an outboard limiter/compressor going into a line level input, high resolution, USB audio device. And you will be able to record in parallel. Meaning that the microphone, Direct insert output won't have any of that stuff on it as it goes to the M-Audio inputs one through four. And the output of the mixer will have that same microphone channel, recording to another timeline track that you have selected in the software of that device, which will include the built in light equalization you dialed in and the compression and/or limiting. Then you can try to add that software equalization and software dynamic range compression/limiting on those dry tracks. And then compare it to the real-time tracks your recorded from the USB out from the mixer. And in playing it back, in your software, you should easily be able to solo each track back and forth. And then you start to establish your own workflow and techniques that suit you. You won't end up using both together in all likelihood? And that's generally because digital processing takes time and there are certain kinds of time delays that might become all too evident when you combine those dry tracks with the mixer's USB tracks? And then it will sound like you are singing into your bedroom pillow face down LOL. This cannot be avoided using different devices by different manufacturers who might be using different chips by other different manufacturers. But it still will allow you to compare the differences and establish your own workflow and technique.

Even if you add no EQ or effects, from your mixer, you still may likely hear some kinds of differences. By virtue of the different input sections and converters of both units. So you could make a parallel dry recording onto two separate timeline tracks of that dry microphone. Then you have to decide, within the software, which device you want to play back from? And they will both have different sounds coming from their output circuitry into your monitors. Only you can then decide which unit's outputs suit your ear best. I make that decision by generally playing back something I know over the years quite intimately such as George's EW & F, Bruce's MJ, my previous stuff through the years, before I decide what device I like to monitor output from. And for you, this has to be a plug in, unplug, plug in decision making procedure. And along with the required subsequent level matching. And where some are designed to drive headphones and line level output. Where others are designed only for line level output. Some have adjustable output controls others don't. Which might require you to readjust the controls on the powered monitor speakers themselves if you are not feeding from a central amplifier that includes a volume control to passive speakers? Just because one device seems to play louder than the other device doesn't mean it's better. That's not a fair shoot out. You're not listening to loudness differences. You're listening to nuance differences of the analog electronics and the converters utilized. And that's why unity gain level matching is so important.

Getting to this point of understanding with your equipment will allow you to take full advantage of what each individual device has to offer. And they both have something to offer. One device might in fact be smoother sounding than the other. But the other one provides a better edge than smoothness. Those are two more colors on your palate you get to use. And what also might help to figure in to your microphone selection for your particular application? You might want that really bright sounding microphone on that smoother sounding converter device? Or maybe you will want that smoother sounding microphone on that brighter converter device? And that's four completely different colors of sound. And you haven't even screwed with the onboard real-time compressor/limiter effects nor EQ. And you could take those significantly different sounding pair of tracks and process them in the software, identically or independently, to get a sound that you have in your head. And if you still hear that sound in your head with the equipment turned off, like the rest of us, you are suffering from a severe case of Audio Disease. And you will immediately have to turn your equipment back on to keep from losing your mind further LOL. The next thing that you will get... are the divorce papers from your wife's attorney because you are always playing incessantly with that dumb audio stuff. I know... it's bad. But who else is going to do it if we don't? There are plenty of husbands out there that have no interest in audio whatsoever.

You might even be able to recommend a few? I'm looking. I can come with a big truck...quite easily. I just purchased a new battery for it the other day and it was $202.95. Who needs a popper? I need a sugar daddy. And I want him to ride with me in my nice big truck. Either in the cab or in the control room I don't care. I liked the Sphere better, because it had a flat response. The Neve rolls off and so do we laughing onto the floor.

I might have to go back to a console that's more fun?
Mx. Remy Ann David

mcolquitt Sun, 02/24/2013 - 09:17
All I can say is wow. Thanks, Remy for taking such time and care in sharing with me the many different options I have. You have helped me more than I had ever expected when I first posted this question here. Thank you for everything you have shared with me; it is so much more than I had even hoped for. I am taking today to work on some material and am going to be using your advice as a sort of textbook as I work. I sincerely can not thank you enough for your time as well as your insight. I will most certainly let you know how this all works for me today.

Warm regards,