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Noob Recording Modular and Effects Questions
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Noob Recording Modular and Effects Questions
h1d3m3
Home setup, basic stuff for personal use. I have a eurorack rig that goes directly into an A&H Zed-14. From there, its USB into a PC which is recording using Audacity (all live). Its been working fine, but have a few questions:

- Is this a decent pipeline for general recording? The quality of what comes out of Audacity seems ok, but I feel like it could be better. I don't know if I need some kind of EQ or compression, a better codec or if there is a different way to get the modular signal recorded for a higher quality sound. The sound off the board via headphones generally sounds better than what is coming out of Audacity (wav files).

- I have an Eventide Space pedal which has two ins. The Zed-14 has an insert for each channel, but I end up using the board Left and Right inserts which means every channel goes through the effect. Is there a way to get 3 or 4 channels "inserted" into the pedal? Ideally, some kind of way to choose which channels can be sent into pedal two inputs (i.e. channels 1-4) but leave the remaining channels from the board untouched. Seems like a hub or something might help?

Thanks.
Muzone
For the fx it's typical to use the aux sends rather than channel inserts - this lets you dial in each channels to the fx and return it to the mixer via the aux return or another channel.

From the manual
"Auxes 3 & 4
These are post-fade sends, which means that the signals are affected by the
channel fader. Primarily used for effects sends, the aux signal will reduce if
the fader is pulled down so keeping the correct proportion of the effect."

also see the diagram on page 26 which shows how to best wire up fx smile

http://www.allen-heath.com/media/AP6822_5+ZED14_18_24UG.pdf
Klangzaun
+1 for using 2 aux busses.

If you want more options for editing your recording you may check some multitrack recording software like cubase, studio one, ableton, reaper, logic, garageband.
h1d3m3
Muzone wrote:
For the fx it's typical to use the aux sends rather than channel inserts - this lets you dial in each channels to the fx and return it to the mixer via the aux return or another channel.

From the manual
"Auxes 3 & 4
These are post-fade sends, which means that the signals are affected by the
channel fader. Primarily used for effects sends, the aux signal will reduce if
the fader is pulled down so keeping the correct proportion of the effect."

also see the diagram on page 26 which shows how to best wire up fx smile

http://www.allen-heath.com/media/AP6822_5+ZED14_18_24UG.pdf


Hey, thanks for the reply.

Yeah, I actually did read the manual and saw that. I also read up on the difference between aux send and insert. If I use aux send, the original signal comes out as well as the effect signal. Is there a way to get a bus that acts more like an insert? I feel like I'm thinking about this wrong.
h1d3m3
Klangzaun wrote:
+1 for using 2 aux busses.

If you want more options for editing your recording you may check some multitrack recording software like cubase, studio one, ableton, reaper, logic, garageband.


I also use reaper and ableton, but mostly just audacity because I don't do much multi-track with modular.

Is using the USB out direct from the mixer to recording in software typical?
Muzone
h1d3m3 wrote:


Yeah, I actually did read the manual and saw that. I also read up on the difference between aux send and insert. If I use aux send, the original signal comes out as well as the effect signal. Is there a way to get a bus that acts more like an insert? I feel like I'm thinking about this wrong.


Yes, I wasn't trying to be a joker and just say RTFM, but I looked it up to check if what I was saying was correct wink

I'm also a bit of a novice mix wise, but as I see it inserts add fx before the signal reaches the channel, typically used for compressors ~ you then eq after the effect.

Aux sends signals after eq and fader (or before if in this case you use aux 1/2) so you can adjust the sound before the fx, if the fx is set at 100% wet then the returned signal is all fx'd and you can eq it again on the return channel.

If you then only want the fx'd sound to go to the usb put for recording you usually send it to aux 1/2 and (if the mixer allows) route aux 1/2 to main outs

Using aux send to fx gives you more control over the sound.

One last thought, it's worth checking what the headphone out is actually monitoring, it may not be the same signal path as the USB out, that could explain the difference.

Oh, and yes, USB to PC is pretty standard but on lower price mixers sometimes audio out via a dedicated USB interface gives better quality and the ability to direct monitor the signal going to the PC, anyway enough rambling.....

I'm sure someone can explain this better.
h1d3m3
Muzone wrote:

Yes, I wasn't trying to be a joker and just say RTFM, but I looked it up to check if what I was saying was correct wink


And I do appreciate the reference. Thank you.


Muzone wrote:

I'm also a bit of a novice mix wise, but as I see it inserts add fx before the signal reaches the channel, typically used for compressors ~ you then eq after the effect.
Aux sends signals after eq and fader (or before if in this case you use aux 1/2) so you can adjust the sound before the fx, if the fx is set at 100% wet then the returned signal is all fx'd and you can eq it again on the return channel.
If you then only want the fx'd sound to go to the usb put for recording you usually send it to aux 1/2 and (if the mixer allows) route aux 1/2 to main outs
Using aux send to fx gives you more control over the sound.


I get it. The AUX 1 and 2 act as a pre-fade bus. AUX 2 and 3 are post fade. The AUX outs for these can be controlled via pots and/or faders, sent to the FX chain and the sent back to a different channel. Now it's starting to make sense.

Muzone wrote:

One last thought, it's worth checking what the headphone out is actually monitoring, it may not be the same signal path as the USB out, that could explain the difference.

Good thought. I think it is monitoring the right path but will double check.

Do people typically get a special audio card or have to configure something else on the compter / daw side to make sure the USB / input codec is recording with the highest quality?
Muzone
h1d3m3 wrote:

Do people typically get a special audio card or have to configure something else on the compter / daw side to make sure the USB / input codec is recording with the highest quality?


I know very little about this I'm afraid - I record straight to my laptop using a zoom h5 recorder as a usb interface and the standard Reaper settings, it sounds OK so I haven't dabbled any deeper.
noisejockey
Always record to 24 or 32 bit, and whatever sample rate you like (44.1kHz or higher), to .wav files. Not much else to it, in terms of digital file formats. If you're going direct via USB from that mixer, can't really get much simpler.

From where you're at, I'd say optimize your gain staging into your mixer (maximizing signal:noise ratios), really focus on honing your mixing and EQ chops (really sculpt each layer to fit into the mix), and do any compression and limiting in the computer (if any; if you actually release music, a local mastering engineer). Using a real time spectrum analyzer (the free Voxengo SPAN is a great VST/AU plugin) will teach you SCADS about your mixes and recordings.

If you really want control, yes, as others have said, look into multitrack recording. Some dig it, some loathe it. Depends on what stimulates you creatively.

There are ALWAYS better converters, preamps, audio interfaces, and so on. Don't let perfect be the enemy of done. There's always better gear. Just don't let that chasing get in the way of making music you love.
Scories
noisejockey wrote:
There are ALWAYS better converters, preamps, audio interfaces, and so on. Don't let perfect be the enemy of done. There's always better gear. Just don't let that chasing get in the way of making music you love.


Right on.
h1d3m3
noisejockey wrote:
Always record to 24 or 32 bit, and whatever sample rate you like (44.1kHz or higher), to .wav files. Not much else to it, in terms of digital file formats. If you're going direct via USB from that mixer, can't really get much simpler.


I was a little fearful that it was too simple :-). But it sounds like its generally the right way.

noisejockey wrote:

From where you're at, I'd say optimize your gain staging into your mixer (maximizing signal:noise ratios), really focus on honing your mixing and EQ chops (really sculpt each layer to fit into the mix), and do any compression and limiting in the computer (if any; if you actually release music, a local mastering engineer). Using a real time spectrum analyzer (the free Voxengo SPAN is a great VST/AU plugin) will teach you SCADS about your mixes and recordings.


Ah. This is great. I know very little about this part of the recording process. I agree, for my purposes at least, it may be an extra mile and not strictly required, but I think it will help produce a better quality recording.

noisejockey wrote:

If you really want control, yes, as others have said, look into multitrack recording. Some dig it, some loathe it. Depends on what stimulates you creatively.
There are ALWAYS better converters, preamps, audio interfaces, and so on. Don't let perfect be the enemy of done. There's always better gear. Just don't let that chasing get in the way of making music you love.


Not going to chase that rabbit too far. My motivation is that since I have spent the time creating the work, I want to make sure it gets recorded/preserved in the best way I know how (and can afford :-)
Since a modular piece for me is mostly a one time then its gone kind of thing, getting the results well captured is key.
noisejockey
Well, good on ya, man. Sounds like your head is in the right place.

There are scads and scads of resources online for how to mix better, and even if it focuses on traditional bands, it's all applicable. Have your friends listen, and see how your mixes or recordings translate onto other systems. It'll come.
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