Recording Modular Music: How do you do it?

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Recording Modular Music: How do you do it?

Post by spew_boi » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:09 am

What's everyones process of recording modular music?

What DAW, post processing, automation, plugins, interfaces do we use for the best result of music thats a single stereo instrument?
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Post by VM » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:54 am

I take the output of the WMD performance mixer via a DB25 snake to get 6 separate tracks into my interface (focusrite 18i8 mk3), one per voice. All effects are hardware and applied in the rack.

I record using Reaper, and the only studio trickery is some master bus compression for glue. Can't think of anything more of a buzzkill than making modular music that requires extensive time with the computer, so my workflow reflects that.
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Post by naturligfunktion » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:13 am

I multitrack everything into Ableton via a soundcraft signature MTK12. I use channel 6 for delay, 7/8 for my turntables, 9/10 for reverb and 11/12 for monitoring. The other channels are for the modular, drum machine and what not.

It is of highest importance that the levels are correct, so it is really good to use channel 11/12 for monitoring. After I have recorded I do all the post-processing in Ableton. I group things in Ableton and send them out to the various channels of the mixing desk. Channel 7/8 is usually for drums, and 11/12 is for FX e.g. When the song is done, I make a print of the track by recording channel 13/14 (the master out). Then I listen to it on other speakers, make adjustments, make several other prints until it sounds good. Then it is done. If I release the music, I let a professional master it.
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Post by BenA718 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:08 am

VM wrote:I take the output of the WMD performance mixer via a DB25 snake to get 6 separate tracks into my interface (focusrite 18i8 mk3), one per voice. All effects are hardware and applied in the rack.

I record using Reaper, and the only studio trickery is some master bus compression for glue.
My method is both similar and different to this. If I am stemming out from my modular, it’s usually module > Focusrite OctoPre/18i20 combo. I usually track with effects. If I am capturing the entire modular, it’s eurorack mixer > output module > stereo out > interface.

Post effects are usually of the ‘clean ‘em up’ variety, maybe some corrective EQ, but essentially it’s not very different from the live sound.

I use several sub buses in my mix template split by frequency band, and a bit of mid-side EQ on my 2-bus along with my multimeter (true peak, rms, lufs, rta).

If I am doing a full mix, not just a capture for demoing, I will employ sub mixing, aux send for layered reverbs and volume rides.

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Post by SB-SIX » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:24 am

Multitracking into motu828 with behringer 8200 adat, straight from the VCA's or fx modules
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Post by coolshirtdotjpg » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:44 pm

I multitrack using the 8 outs in my system (Meng Qi please exist 1,Mannequins RIP, and Happy Nerding Isolator) I like the "Iron Sound" of transformers, plus they are fun to DIY, most of them are passive, and they can boost up low signal levels if you use them in reverse. Depending on how much material I have to record I try and get a dry/effect signal separately from my system.

I use tons of in the box effects, reverbs, etc. Especially the valhalla stuff, but Waves, etc. as well. My workstation is a hackintosh that was powerful 5 years ago when I got it (3.5 GHZ quad core), but less impressive now. I'm actually dreading upgrading. As much as I can, I prefer to get my sound fixed before recording, but inevitably things sound different the next day, or I want to add something else and that means EQing after the fact. I also like automating volume in the box, because I find it much easier/less risky than programming this with a sequencer or doing it by hand.

Sometimes I just let everything run free, especially if I'm using some weird method of composition, but more often I find myself tuning to A440, and using a set tempo that I save in the filename. That way I can sequence more material later, if I want to.

This is a deliberate break from my earlier practice where I would just take a stereo or mono out of my system and use whatever came out. There are so many neat tracks that I lost that way, usually by mixing some annoying sound way too high in the mix, or not paying enough attention and recording something out of tune with the other tracks, etc. I just got to a point where I made it really easy to have multiple outs. For me this is the perfect middle ground between where I was previously (endlessly messing around inside the DAW, very little happening synchronously or in real time) and what the modular has brought to my process (spontaneity, fast synchronous development of multiple sounds/musical ideas). I'm personally very happy with my process, but I'm still ironing things out. I would really like to have an accurate CV to MIDI system so that everything I wrote on my ER-101 can be used on the other instruments in my studio.
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Post by peripatitis » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:02 am

I try to make sort, focused recordings and as time passes by, I catch myself getting rid of the purism of the past and axiomatic notions and consider bringing back midi and sync from the pc.

I used to record long, mostly monophonic passages, if not performances so I have a huge drive filled with these. However it is very rarely that these recordings are useful for material. Most often than not, they stand alone....

Btw I have a 6-9u system mostly focused on soundesign and modules that I find to sound "special" instead of a system with x-number of voices, that are flexible enough to do one thing and then another and eventually compose with them.

So i rarely have more than 2 things happening together, in order to multitrack.

In terms of daw, I've gone thru many, currently using reaper and before that renoise and sequoia. Renoise has many flaws but allowing you to edit before saving is very convenient for me. Alas reaper brings so many good things with it, it becomes indispensable.

No special signal chain, straight to my Steinberg firewire interface and then to my rme digiface thru adat which I found as a good rescue plan in this post-firewire world, for my not at all bad sounding interfaces :)

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Post by hlprmnky » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:28 am

I record from my WMD Pro Output to a Zoom recorder, then pull the .wav file off the SD card into Audioshare on my iPad Pro, where I master it in Cubasis using FabFilter plugins. Record in one take, listen, try my hand at improving the sound with mastering techniques, listen again, tear down patch, move on to the next thing.
This is all just for my own entertainment of course, but being as I do software stuff for a career I decided that the computer is Not Permitted to be part of my music hobby. If for some unforeseeable reason I ever wanted to make a “real track”, I would do much the same thing I do now to capture the output of my rack, but would send the .wav file to a professional for mastering.

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Post by jtregoat » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:39 pm

mixing on an SSL X Desk + X Panda, nw2s io db25 goes right into the mixer. I have an intellijel 7u with 4x lineouts I send to another patchback connected to t he mixer. I record the master with all the living mixing, as well as pre fade tracks, into ableton via the focusrite 4848 - best deal i've ever gotten on a solid interface btw, and also uses DB25!

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Post by XXXEsq » Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:36 pm

16 channels (2xSteinberg MR816CSX @ 96k/32bit) into Cubase 10. A few external effects, but mostly ITB with a Slate Raven control surface.
Sometimes I sequence with a Social Entropy Engine (locked to Cubase), sync up my RYTM Mk II, and direct multitrack in as a single pass. But most of the time, I build my compositions a few tracks at a time and sync everything with midi control (Encore Expressionist and Kenton Pro Solo).
Cubase has extremely tight midi and effectively no jitter.
I also have Ableton Live, but I only use it when friends come by and they have been working in Ableton. I don't find its midi as tight and I really do believe that Cubase is better sound wise as well.
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Post by spilthyfred » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:50 pm

I multitrack and also use a stereo master track of my performances for reference.

WMD Performance Mixer > DB25 > RME audio interface > Ableton.

And also Ableton > ES3 > Modular.

I like to feel like I have a closed loop to compose and record in.

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Post by a773 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:25 am

I multi track in reaper through my soundcraft signature mtk22. Individual sounds are pulled directly from the appropriate output, be it vca, percussion module, effect, or "voice". In reaper I don't restrict myself, but it usually stops after eq, compression and a bit of reverb, maybe a touch of gain automation to even out a part that went out of control.

It sounds like this:
Last edited by a773 on Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by spilthyfred » Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:40 pm

atte wrote:I multi track in reaper through my soundcraft signature mtk22. Individual sounds are pulled directly from the appropriate output, be it vca, percussion module, effect, or "voice". In reaper I don't restrict myself, but it usually stops after eq, compression and a bit of reverb, maybe a touch of gain automation to even out a part that went out of control.

It sounds like this:
[video][/video]
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Post by ZLAL » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:45 pm

Another Soundtrack MTK22 user here. 5 channels are hardwired from my modular but I run everything through a patchbay for versatility/getting my less frequently used gear into the box.

I track w Ableton. Don't do a lot of post-processing. I have a rack of hardware effects and tend to process before it goes to tape. I'll compress and maybe add a bit of reverb ITB.

I was strictly hardware for ~15 years so I appreciate dealing with levels on a physical mixer + not needing to run everything through a computer if I'm just practicing or playing, but I can set up channels on the fly if I decided that I want to track what I'm working on.
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Post by galaxie » Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:28 am

I use DB25 to send balanced outs to the audio interface X8P, then into the DAW

Mixer 1: WMD Performance DB25
Mixer 2: Intellijel DubMix --> nw2s I/O

I am a bit picky so I use Mogami cables to ensure optimal captures. But frankly for modular sounds recording, best sound quality is not most important.

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Re: Recording Modular Music: How do you do it?

Post by IP » Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:03 am

Hi guys!
I see lot of you are using the MTK series ...
How happy you are with the drivers and A/D quality?
Also how it handles your modular levels?
Should the modular lvels and mtk gain be almost closed to avoid clipping? no pad i see.
how it records? totally Post? inc mutes/fadels etc? or pre-fader/mutes (just after gain)

the last 2 years i record a stereo channel from a big system out to a revox 2ch reel machine but very often i miss the multi rec option and digital storage. the tape is expensive and a pain to use for listening back your stuff. i need speed and MTK with a computer may be what im looking for.

thanks

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Re: Recording Modular Music: How do you do it?

Post by slumberjack » Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:14 pm

when doing modular only recordings i usually do simple one-after-another recordings of each voice/track.
mostly not even synced. here is an example:

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4 track mind

Post by ege.gonul » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:23 pm

is everything

Kick
Drums (stereo)
Bass

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Re: Recording Modular Music: How do you do it?

Post by a773 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:04 pm

IP wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:03 am
Hi guys!
I see lot of you are using the MTK series ...
How happy you are with the drivers and A/D quality?
Also how it handles your modular levels?
Should the modular lvels and mtk gain be almost closed to avoid clipping? no pad i see.
how it records? totally Post? inc mutes/fadels etc? or pre-fader/mutes (just after gain)

the last 2 years i record a stereo channel from a big system out to a revox 2ch reel machine but very often i miss the multi rec option and digital storage. the tape is expensive and a pain to use for listening back your stuff. i need speed and MTK with a computer may be what im looking for.

thanks
If by "drivers" you mean the drivers on your computer to make it work, I'm really happy. I'm running linux, and I just plugged it in and that's is. It's totally class compliant.

And sound quality is great, it's clean, open and crisp and still warm.

No problem what so ever with modular levels, I patch directly from any random module in my system to the ins all the time, never had a problem. Just went and checked, the patch I'm running now has gains between 10 o'clock and 3 o'clock, so it's almost like it's expecting modular levels.

I'm pretty sure it records pre everything (except gain), but to be honest, I'm not sure. I do all levels and EQ in reaper... One odd thing is that track 23+24 is always master, and that's at least post faders, I think in fact it's just *exactly* what's on the master (so post everything). I still record the master just in case, but I can't remember the last time I listened to it, and pretty soon in the mixing process I throw them away...

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Re: Recording Modular Music: How do you do it?

Post by naturligfunktion » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:24 pm

IP wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:03 am
Hi guys!
I see lot of you are using the MTK series ...
How happy you are with the drivers and A/D quality?
Also how it handles your modular levels?
Should the modular lvels and mtk gain be almost closed to avoid clipping? no pad i see.
how it records? totally Post? inc mutes/fadels etc? or pre-fader/mutes (just after gain)

the last 2 years i record a stereo channel from a big system out to a revox 2ch reel machine but very often i miss the multi rec option and digital storage. the tape is expensive and a pain to use for listening back your stuff. i need speed and MTK with a computer may be what im looking for.

thanks
The drivers are great but my friend, who borrowed my mixer for 6 months, experienced problems with Logic. I have had no issues other than the latency (more on that later...). Im no expert in A/D quality but when I record stuff straight into the mixer it sounds great. It also handles modular levels without any problems.

The thing with this mixer is the feature "USB Return" (making it into an audio interface). Say that you hook up 6 channels, dont engage usb return, adjust your levels and play to your speakers. If you record this, enable usb return and listen to what you just recorded, the volume is substantially lower. I don't understand why this is, but it is a thing (making it difficult to record to hot if you do not engage usb return in the "jam"-phase). It also makes it difficult / harder to monitor how the mix sounds, so I usually use channel 11/12 to monitor the entire mix.

A huge benefit with this is the ability to multitrack and edit in post. However, you will never record the changes you do on each individual channel (unless you record the master out...). But you can jam and record cool aux send delay spacey dub sounds things (which is nice).

However, when you have recorded a bunch of stuff, and started to organize everything in the box, you will probably route the channels in your DAW out to the mixer. Say that you have your vocals on channel 9/10. The main vocal is there, nice, want to add some more. Usually, I would just make another track on channel 9/10, group it, monitor, press record but enter a world of pain. The latency is horrendus. It feels like you have a delay on the voice, making it very difficult to hear what you actually are singing.

You can walk around this problem by disengageing the usb return. Back to no latency. But then you will not hear any instrument that you have grouped to channel 9/10. And the volume on the vocal is roughly 8 db higher than everything else in the mix. So now you only hear what you are singing, and there is no way to lower the volume other than turning down the gain on the vocal.

Soundwise, it does great. I agree with a773 on that point.

Overall, I love this mixer. But after several years use I seriously consider getting a solid audio interface, record everything into that, and send it from the DAW through the soundcraft and then to tape (well record the master out I dont have a tape machine :waah: ). But I still highly recommend it.

Btw, check out the thread about the series in the general gear section. I learned a bunch about the mixer there :)
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Re: Recording Modular Music: How do you do it?

Post by ZargZorg » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:15 pm

90% of the time, split into 4 tracks straight to the computer with the ES 8 the other 10% I record everything separate in multiple takes.
I record into Ableton, edit process there, then export and mix in Logic.

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Re: Recording Modular Music: How do you do it?

Post by thermisonic » Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:18 am

Soundcraft MTK12

Though all the multitracks are pre fader, so you lose your balance and EQ (unless you are 100% happy with the stereo mix you did) which sometimes is hard to restore

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