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Mackie 1604VLZ4 Direct outputs issue
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Author Mackie 1604VLZ4 Direct outputs issue
Oasis_Pyramid
wondering if anyone can help me with an issue im having with the new Mackie 1604VLZ4 Mixing desk.

Im trying to use the 8 Direct outputs for the mixer, at the moment I have each channel plugged into 8 channels on my motu 828mk2 with balanced cables, with my monitors coming from the 828 outputs, and im getting sound through, and the channel fader works, along with the EQ, but the aux sends and returns are not, in the manual it states the direct outs are post fader, so it should work, the aux sends and returns are putting out signal and reciving it, its just not effecting the channel, almost like its bypassed somehow? I have the aux send and return master levels all at unity levels so its not that. also its bypassing the master level on the desk also, which im not sure it should be doing?

when i go back to just using just the master outputs into the 828, everything works fine again.

can anyone shed any light?

thanks!
khakifridge
The aux sends are feeding a different bus - not the channels. And the returns are separate too. So you'll only hear what's on your aux feed when it's mixed back into the master. It's long since left your channel strip.

I don't have this specific mixer, but my ancient CR1604 came with an architecture diagram which shows clearly how the channel strips and various buses are connected. I guess you'd find something similar at Mackie online?
Oasis_Pyramid
khakifridge wrote:
The aux sends are feeding a different bus - not the channels. And the returns are separate too. So you'll only hear what's on your aux feed when it's mixed back into the master. It's long since left your channel strip.

I don't have this specific mixer, but my ancient CR1604 came with an architecture diagram which shows clearly how the channel strips and various buses are connected. I guess you'd find something similar at Mackie online?


ah that makes sense, ill check the manual and see if thats the issue, cheers!
mousegarden
Yeah, you'll just have to feed the returns from your aux's back into spare channels, then route those to your Motu. Or take all the aux outputs into your Motu as well, this is where a mixer with group outputs comes in handy, you can sub-group all your FX returns into a couple of channels, and control the FX mix via your aux returns, but this demands complex routing, FX return switchable to channel/groups/master, this is only found on more complex, expensive mixers. Ironically, my old cheap secondhand Studiomaster had all this!
Kent
If you can read a block diagram, your answers are in the manual.
mousegarden
Kent wrote:
If you can read a block diagram, your answers are in the manual.


What a suggestion! RTFM! Sacrilege!

hihi hihi
m127
Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
but the aux sends and returns are not


wait...



.
m127
Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
but the aux sends and returns are not


You are outputting each individual channel, post-fader, into your 828. The 828 is not receiving any aux wet signals. Conceptually, it should not have to.

If you want the aux wet signal you will have to find a way to split the aux device returns into the mixer and then into the 828, but then you will have to sacrifice an 828 input for that. Only then you will hear the aux returns from your 828 main outputs.

I would be surprised any *direct out* in any mixer can deliver the wet signal from an *aux* returns; kinda weird.



.
Oasis_Pyramid
m127 wrote:
Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
but the aux sends and returns are not


You are outputting each individual channel, post-fader, into your 828. The 828 is not receiving any aux wet signals. Conceptually, it should not have to.

If you want the aux wet signal you will have to find a way to split the aux device returns into the mixer and then into the 828, but then you will have to sacrifice an 828 input for that. Only then you will hear the aux returns from your 828 main outputs.

I would be surprised any *direct out* in any mixer can deliver the wet signal from an *aux* returns; kinda weird.



.


Ah i see, its a shame, i had to really think hard to cut down to 8 channels with all gear to be able to multitrack! only thing i was thinking was running the master outputs into the 2 mic inputs on the front of the 828, they are only spare inputs, but id imagine id have to monitor from something other than the master outs from the 828
SmokyClap
Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
m127 wrote:
Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
but the aux sends and returns are not


You are outputting each individual channel, post-fader, into your 828. The 828 is not receiving any aux wet signals. Conceptually, it should not have to.

If you want the aux wet signal you will have to find a way to split the aux device returns into the mixer and then into the 828, but then you will have to sacrifice an 828 input for that. Only then you will hear the aux returns from your 828 main outputs.

I would be surprised any *direct out* in any mixer can deliver the wet signal from an *aux* returns; kinda weird.



.


Ah i see, its a shame, i had to really think hard to cut down to 8 channels with all gear to be able to multitrack! only thing i was thinking was running the master outputs into the 2 mic inputs on the front of the 828, they are only spare inputs, but id imagine id have to monitor from something other than the master outs from the 828


Why don’t you monitor from the mixer itself?
mousegarden
I never monitor from my Motu, the only time I ever hear the Motu is on playback. I always "direct monitor" through my mixer using the control room out. This is fine if you don't want to overdub, and monitor recorded tracks. I just have one stereo channel on my mixer connected to the stereo out of my Motu and this is alaways routed to the CR monitor out on my mixer.
I really don't understand this need to use direct outs "and" the Motu, you may as well go straight into the Motu as the direct outs aern't going to give you anything useful, in this case you don't really need a mixer at all.
As I said, if you want to work with a hardware mixer get one with enough subgroups and take those to your Motu, you'll then have all the benefits of using a hardware mixer,
DGTom
Using the direct outs has a couple of advantages over subgroups or going direct to the interface. Sends, EQs, faders & the OP already has a desk which will do the work. Even with a desk with 8 subgroups, these would just be an unnecessary gain stage & would add noise + potential clipping.

Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
only thing i was thinking was running the master outputs into the 2 mic inputs on the front of the 828, they are only spare inputs, but id imagine id have to monitor from something other than the master outs from the 828


So, this is how I have my desk & interface set up;

Monitor from the C/R outputs of the desk, this way the C/R volume is controlled by an actual knob you can grab quickly which is right there with all the rest of the controls.

Connect the Main L/R outs of the desk into the "Return" inputs on the back of the 828, these bypass the mic pres & are just balanced line inputs.

Connect the "Main" outs of the 828 to the "Tape In" on the desk.

This way you can monitor "off disk" or hear what is / has been recorded to the computer by selecting "Tape" as the C/R source.

Now you can record your Aux return / FX mix as a stereo track alongside your separate tracks. This is fun because you get a wet only audio track to mess with in your DAW.

The only thing that bugs me with this config is the RCA tape ins....
PISS.EXE
mousegarden wrote:
I never monitor from my Motu, the only time I ever hear the Motu is on playback. I always "direct monitor" through my mixer using the control room out. This is fine if you don't want to overdub, and monitor recorded tracks. I just have one stereo channel on my mixer connected to the stereo out of my Motu and this is alaways routed to the CR monitor out on my mixer.
I really don't understand this need to use direct outs "and" the Motu, you may as well go straight into the Motu as the direct outs aern't going to give you anything useful, in this case you don't really need a mixer at all.
As I said, if you want to work with a hardware mixer get one with enough subgroups and take those to your Motu, you'll then have all the benefits of using a hardware mixer,



Thanks for posting this as I was going to ask if I was missing anything by not running the interface back into the mixer. But I also use the CR out and don't do overdubbing...? So I guess i'm not missing out on anything this way.

I dont really do overdubs often but on the occasions I have i used direct monitoring out of the interface to hear what was being recorded and coming out of the computer at the same time. However I guess this feature of modern interfaces negates the need to run the signal back through the mixer.
mousegarden
DGTom wrote:
Using the direct outs has a couple of advantages over subgroups or going direct to the interface. Sends, EQs, faders & the OP already has a desk which will do the work. Even with a desk with 8 subgroups, these would just be an unnecessary gain stage & would add noise + potential clipping.

Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
only thing i was thinking was running the master outputs into the 2 mic inputs on the front of the 828, they are only spare inputs, but id imagine id have to monitor from something other than the master outs from the 828


So, this is how I have my desk & interface set up;

Monitor from the C/R outputs of the desk, this way the C/R volume is controlled by an actual knob you can grab quickly which is right there with all the rest of the controls.

Connect the Main L/R outs of the desk into the "Return" inputs on the back of the 828, these bypass the mic pres & are just balanced line inputs.

Connect the "Main" outs of the 828 to the "Tape In" on the desk.

This way you can monitor "off disk" or hear what is / has been recorded to the computer by selecting "Tape" as the C/R source.

Now you can record your Aux return / FX mix as a stereo track alongside your separate tracks. This is fun because you get a wet only audio track to mess with in your DAW.

The only thing that bugs me with this config is the RCA tape ins....


Indeed a pain, the tape phono plug inputs, but it's a good way of saving a couple of channel inputs though.
calaveras
I've run both of those units together for many years. So I think I can kind of speak on this.

If you want to have effects send and return on the stuff coming out of the direct outs you have to use the inserts. Utilising an insert 'Y' cable to send and return the signal through your effect. Though honestly most of the time this is only useful for putting compression or a limiter on a fierce signal.

The 828MKII is a mixer itself. It does not incur latency since it is done in DSP. You can open up Cuemix and manage levels, mute, change -10/+4 etc.
But that is kind of tedious when you are feeling the music.

So we pipe it through a 1604 to get tactile instant control over volume level for each instrument, as well as master level. Having effects on your apreggios and shit is just a bonus.

Assuming in your case that you are using all 8 input channels. The problem is either to get the effects into the 828MKII, or get the output of the mixer into your monitors.

So as stated above you can move your monitors from the 828 MKII to the main outs on the Mackie. Or you can cheat to get your effects into the 828MKI.

Some effects units have toslink or S/PDIF outputs. You can try this, but you can run into clocking problems that may leave you syncing your DAW to a Quadraverb?

The other avenue is to pipe the effects outputs through to the 828MKII using the mic/inst inputs on the front. They can take effects box level no problem. As most effects units don't pipe out very strong levels.

I eventually ditched my 1604. After a while I realized I could hear the difference between piping my gear straight into the 828 and doing a round trip through the Mackie.
Mackie mixers smear the sound a little bit. They add noise, and the EQ on them is just shrill garbage.

It was a no brainer to dump the Mackie for $300 and pick up a second 828MKII.
Now I build an effects send in cuemix. Piping out of outputs 3 and 4 then bringing it back on the 2nd MOTU unit (that way it can't accidentally feedback).
Then I end up having to S/PDIF from one unit to the 1st so my monitors can hear all 16 inputs of my MOTUS.
This is not as complicated or as difficult as it sounds. Most of the time I am using the same drum machine, synths and effects. The only thing that really changes drastically are the volume levels of certain synths (resonance!).

The cool thing about the MOTU 828MKII units, which is why I am still on them, is that they are not dependent on my computer to do any of this. It's easier to set things up in cuemix from my Mac. But the MOTUs still pipe sound with the Mac powered down.
m127
Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
m127 wrote:
Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
but the aux sends and returns are not


You are outputting each individual channel, post-fader, into your 828. The 828 is not receiving any aux wet signals. Conceptually, it should not have to.

If you want the aux wet signal you will have to find a way to split the aux device returns into the mixer and then into the 828, but then you will have to sacrifice an 828 input for that. Only then you will hear the aux returns from your 828 main outputs.

I would be surprised any *direct out* in any mixer can deliver the wet signal from an *aux* returns; kinda weird.



.


i was thinking was running the master outputs into the 2 mic inputs on the front of the 828, they are only spare inputs, but id imagine id have to monitor from something other than the master outs from the 828


That might work actually. Now, since you are saying "front inputs", I see you are talking about an 828 mk2 or mk3 (not the same things AT ALL) (btw don't forget to turn them to "line level" though), in which case you have indeed more possibilities, particularly in terms of monitoring. The 828 original can only directly-monitor 1 input at a time (I paid 1k for one of those in the early 2000s, fvck!). You won't get any feedback unless you send any bus into itself, so you don't need to worry about that. Watch your master level while setting up, so you don't end up killing your speakers.

As my setup expanded, I learned to create and draw complex signal topology schemes, which not only proved efficient in real terms, but helped me make the very most of my gear within the given variables.

Grab a piece of paper, abstract your gear down shytless with utmost simplicity and connect the dots. It's actually fun.


.
Oasis_Pyramid
thanks for the input everyone, much appreciated, alot to get my head around, but some great info.
Oasis_Pyramid
calaveras wrote:
I've run both of those units together for many years. So I think I can kind of speak on this.

If you want to have effects send and return on the stuff coming out of the direct outs you have to use the inserts. Utilising an insert 'Y' cable to send and return the signal through your effect. Though honestly most of the time this is only useful for putting compression or a limiter on a fierce signal.

The 828MKII is a mixer itself. It does not incur latency since it is done in DSP. You can open up Cuemix and manage levels, mute, change -10/+4 etc.
But that is kind of tedious when you are feeling the music.

So we pipe it through a 1604 to get tactile instant control over volume level for each instrument, as well as master level. Having effects on your apreggios and shit is just a bonus.

Assuming in your case that you are using all 8 input channels. The problem is either to get the effects into the 828MKII, or get the output of the mixer into your monitors.

So as stated above you can move your monitors from the 828 MKII to the main outs on the Mackie. Or you can cheat to get your effects into the 828MKI.

Some effects units have toslink or S/PDIF outputs. You can try this, but you can run into clocking problems that may leave you syncing your DAW to a Quadraverb?

The other avenue is to pipe the effects outputs through to the 828MKII using the mic/inst inputs on the front. They can take effects box level no problem. As most effects units don't pipe out very strong levels.

I eventually ditched my 1604. After a while I realized I could hear the difference between piping my gear straight into the 828 and doing a round trip through the Mackie.
Mackie mixers smear the sound a little bit. They add noise, and the EQ on them is just shrill garbage.

It was a no brainer to dump the Mackie for $300 and pick up a second 828MKII.
Now I build an effects send in cuemix. Piping out of outputs 3 and 4 then bringing it back on the 2nd MOTU unit (that way it can't accidentally feedback).
Then I end up having to S/PDIF from one unit to the 1st so my monitors can hear all 16 inputs of my MOTUS.
This is not as complicated or as difficult as it sounds. Most of the time I am using the same drum machine, synths and effects. The only thing that really changes drastically are the volume levels of certain synths (resonance!).

The cool thing about the MOTU 828MKII units, which is why I am still on them, is that they are not dependent on my computer to do any of this. It's easier to set things up in cuemix from my Mac. But the MOTUs still pipe sound with the Mac powered down.


thanks for the info, so yea at the moment im using all 8 channels available for gear, so i need a way to get the effects (4-6 effects pedals from the 6 aux sends on the mackie, 4 into aux returns and 2 returning too two channels currently not included in the 8 that have direct returns)

so how would I get those effects into the two front panel inputs on the MOTU 828? could i run all the effects returns into their own channel
then group them down to 2?

also at this stage im not fussed about syncing with DAW etc, eveything is clocked outside the DAW, and played live, at this stage I just want to have everything recorded onto its own channel so i can mix down properly and remove or change tracks if needed.

sorry in advance if im asking obvious or stupid questions, my knowlege on the technical stuff if still pretty basic
Oasis_Pyramid
thinking an easy workaround might be to get a patch bay?

then after recording the 8 tracks into ableton, patch the effects into the 828mkII and add the effects on each track on a second pass?
calaveras
Honestly I thought the same thing about patchbays myself at one point. There are only two things that patchbays are good for.
Multing signals so you can do parallel processing, ducking or keyed processing.
Having the ability to change the input arrangement of your rig without reaching behind shit.

What the OP is talking about is a real conundrum. I was trying to do something similar a while back. I had a table full of pedals, drum machines and desktop noisemakers. Using CV gate and MIDI to tie it together.
I could perform like this no problem. I was also playing bass and doing vocoded vocals!
But man, trying to record that stuff ended up being too complicated for my rig at the time. Not too long ago I was going through the sessions I recorded, and it's well nigh impossible to mix them. I had recorded many things with effects that sounded great coming out of the PA, but were too much as a direct signal.
Also due to limited inputs I compromised and combined inputs. So I had a dark energy coming in to the aux input of my X0Xbox for example.
This kind of approach quickly gets very non-linear!

Honestly my guy, I'd advise you to get a 2nd MOTU identical to your current one. You don't even have to sync them by wordclock. And firewire 828MKIIs are old tech. They are frequently going for under $200.
Oasis_Pyramid
calaveras wrote:
Honestly I thought the same thing about patchbays myself at one point. There are only two things that patchbays are good for.
Multing signals so you can do parallel processing, ducking or keyed processing.
Having the ability to change the input arrangement of your rig without reaching behind shit.

What the OP is talking about is a real conundrum. I was trying to do something similar a while back. I had a table full of pedals, drum machines and desktop noisemakers. Using CV gate and MIDI to tie it together.
I could perform like this no problem. I was also playing bass and doing vocoded vocals!
But man, trying to record that stuff ended up being too complicated for my rig at the time. Not too long ago I was going through the sessions I recorded, and it's well nigh impossible to mix them. I had recorded many things with effects that sounded great coming out of the PA, but were too much as a direct signal.
Also due to limited inputs I compromised and combined inputs. So I had a dark energy coming in to the aux input of my X0Xbox for example.
This kind of approach quickly gets very non-linear!

Honestly my guy, I'd advise you to get a 2nd MOTU identical to your current one. You don't even have to sync them by wordclock. And firewire 828MKIIs are old tech. They are frequently going for under $200.


yea thats exactly the position i was in too, yea i think im going go down that route, getting another 828mkII, i didnt realise they could be linked that way, then i could either run the effects channels to them, or run the effects directly into 2nd interface and apply them to each channel in the DAW which i like the idea of
calaveras
I'm not gonna lie, the MOTU 828MKII is not the most shiny perfect pristine ADDA converter. The stock MOTU conversion from that era is a bit cloudy and midrange focussed. So you end up EQ-ing stuff a lot and getting frustrated. Though I have to admit my most cherished tracks came through those converters. Maybe because I worked extra hard?

Both my units have the Black Lion Audio upgrade now, so they sound a lot tighter in the bass and treble, and are less cloudy. The BLA mod replaces the analog opamp chips with better chips. And they used to have a clocking mod which upgraded the clock.
One of mine has the clocking upgrade as well, I didn't pay for that. I bought it that way off CL.
The BLA thing does make a difference, but it's pricey. And for the cost of a Craigslist 828MKII plus the BLA mod has you possibly in the neighborhood of a better converter. Actually I don't know if they still offer it for the 828 MKII?
But if you see a an 828MKII with the BLA mod for sale, it is worth it. Just don't pay too much more for that over a stock unit.

If you need any pointers on getting it all hooked up let me know.
Oasis_Pyramid
calaveras wrote:
I'm not gonna lie, the MOTU 828MKII is not the most shiny perfect pristine ADDA converter. The stock MOTU conversion from that era is a bit cloudy and midrange focussed. So you end up EQ-ing stuff a lot and getting frustrated. Though I have to admit my most cherished tracks came through those converters. Maybe because I worked extra hard?

Both my units have the Black Lion Audio upgrade now, so they sound a lot tighter in the bass and treble, and are less cloudy. The BLA mod replaces the analog opamp chips with better chips. And they used to have a clocking mod which upgraded the clock.
One of mine has the clocking upgrade as well, I didn't pay for that. I bought it that way off CL.
The BLA thing does make a difference, but it's pricey. And for the cost of a Craigslist 828MKII plus the BLA mod has you possibly in the neighborhood of a better converter. Actually I don't know if they still offer it for the 828 MKII?
But if you see a an 828MKII with the BLA mod for sale, it is worth it. Just don't pay too much more for that over a stock unit.

If you need any pointers on getting it all hooked up let me know.


thanks much appreciated! will keep that in mind, managed to find a cheap second 828mkII, so going that route, if i just want to use it for more inputs and outputs am i right in thinking all I will need to do is link them via firewire?
m127
Oasis_Pyramid wrote:
calaveras wrote:
I'm not gonna lie, the MOTU 828MKII is not the most shiny perfect pristine ADDA converter. The stock MOTU conversion from that era is a bit cloudy and midrange focussed. So you end up EQ-ing stuff a lot and getting frustrated. Though I have to admit my most cherished tracks came through those converters. Maybe because I worked extra hard?

Both my units have the Black Lion Audio upgrade now, so they sound a lot tighter in the bass and treble, and are less cloudy. The BLA mod replaces the analog opamp chips with better chips. And they used to have a clocking mod which upgraded the clock.
One of mine has the clocking upgrade as well, I didn't pay for that. I bought it that way off CL.
The BLA thing does make a difference, but it's pricey. And for the cost of a Craigslist 828MKII plus the BLA mod has you possibly in the neighborhood of a better converter. Actually I don't know if they still offer it for the 828 MKII?
But if you see a an 828MKII with the BLA mod for sale, it is worth it. Just don't pay too much more for that over a stock unit.

If you need any pointers on getting it all hooked up let me know.


thanks much appreciated! will keep that in mind, managed to find a cheap second 828mkII, so going that route, if i just want to use it for more inputs and outputs am i right in thinking all I will need to do is link them via firewire?


Firewire might or might not work due to computer specs variables.
Nonetheless, you will still be able to add the additional IOs via lightpipe if all else fails.






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