Help with sending my DAW tracks to a desk. What interface??

Discussion in 'Computing' started by NinjaPower, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. NinjaPower

    NinjaPower Guest

    Hi all, this is my first post (probably of many!) so please go easy on me!

    I read quite a bit on this forum over the last few days so i thought I had best join up and start asking stupid questions... Gotta start somewhere I suppose!

    My situation is this: I'm in the UK and I have been building up a nice selection of equipment (hardware synths, midi keyboard etc) for 12 months now and also taught myself Ableton Live 8 for building my tracks in.
    I have an EMU audio/midi interface to use with the synths and keyboard.

    I have been a club DJ for 10 years and always wanted to try to make my own Funky House and House tracks, so this is what I am now doing :

    I have found myself teaming up with a good friend who I used to DJ House with, and he used to actually produce and sell house records comercially in the 1990's and now after doing nothing for about 11 years he has rebuilt a studio and we are working together.

    It's been a big learning curve for both of us because his experience is purely analog... loads of synths, samplers and other stuff all connected by midi into an old Atari sequencer and ran right into a big 24 channel Mackie desk with meter bridge for mixing/recording.
    Whereas I have purely learnt building tracks using audio samples and loops inside Ableton and then mixing 'in the box' and burning right to a CD.

    I'll get to the point now: he still has his desk and thousands of £ worth of outboard hardware gear (compressors, effects units,etc) we have both come to the conclusion after a couple of weeks of clicking the mouse and peering at a screen that we would both be much happier building the tracks inside Ableton as normal but then sending all the seperate tracks out onto the desk for EQing and mixing, plus giving it a bit of a warmer sound with some bits of vintage gear on the way.

    How can we do this? And do it in a cost effective way? We are running out of money! Ha ha!

    I presume I need a new audio interface with a heap of analog outputs on it? It's a 24 channel desk so anything with 18-24 channels of 'out' would be good but there are so many to choose from I don't know where to start!
    Plus, a lot of them seem to have a maximum of 8-10 outs on them. My current EMU only has 2 channels of out.

    How do the people in 'proper' studios do it, when you see them making a track on Logic/Ableton etc but them mixing it on a big desk?

    Also I presume most DAW's like Ableton will support all these Outs when it 'detects' a big audio interface?

    Thanks in advance for your help, and I'm sorry to go on for ages but i though it would be a good introduction from me!

  2. Zeppe

    Zeppe Guest

    I can only answer one question here. The 'proper' studios multiple large audio interfaces. Most of the bigger audio interfaces with more than 10 channels are run off PCI cards instead of firewire. These interfaces have no pre-amps and act only as A/D converters. (Digidesign 96 I/O, MOTU 24I/O, Apogee 16X) These interfaces are expensive so unfortunately 'cost effective' will not work here.

  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    One cost-effective way to do this is to use an Alesis HD24XR hard disc recorder as the D/A (and A/D) converters, as the ones in this unit are top-class. You don't need to use the disc recording function, but it is there if you need it. However, you would need to interface the unit to the computer, either using a multi-ADAT FireWire device such as the M-Audio ProFire Lightbridge or the Presonus FireStudio Lightpipe. Alternatively, you could get an RME FireFace800 and take lightpipes from it to the Alesis for 16 of the channels, and use the 10 more native channels available in the RME.

    Unfortunately, it has become difficult to get new HD24XRs, but they come up second-hand fairly regularly.
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