Studio setup with mixer or DAW only

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clapclap
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Studio setup with mixer or DAW only

Post by clapclap » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:31 am

I have a little issue I'm trying to solve. An issue recently happened with my mixer and have since been on the fence if it's really necessary in my setup any longer. I was running most of my instruments through my mixer and occasionally using my 10 channels in my DAW. Now I'm considering just plugging everything straight through my DAW and recording that way. I ocassional use my FMR compressor with the mixer but have considered just using all plug-ins in my DAW and forget about all this external hardware.

The one major drawback is that if I just want to open up my studio and want to play some music I have to also set up my computer since everything is running through the RME Babyface and Behringer ADA 8200 ins.

If anyone has came across a similar studio crossroad and has any advice or suggestions I would appreciate it.

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Post by calaveras » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:44 am

A few years ago I needed my Mackie mixer for our rehearsal studio. So I unplugged it and just ran all my hardware straight into my interface.
That was with a MOTU 828MKII. Which functions as a mixer, and passes audio even with no computer connected.
I was surprised to find that the result was much clearer audio. Even with my not so special Alesis monitors I could hear a huge difference with the mixer gone. And frankly the Mackie did not really bring much to the table at mixdown.
Does the RME not support standalone use?

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Post by oisin » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:53 am

in my last few recent studio setups i was happy to not have a mixer; taking up too much space and adding unwanted noise and coloring. my motu ultralite and a patchbay allow for plenty of felixibility. and i can always drag out a little mackie if needed.

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Post by TechForze » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:59 am

I multi track in DAW. Key is to setup a default project (all ins and out set) with a simple MIDI controller. Each track have a simple filter and EQ mapped. Set your computer to open your DAW direct after start or logon. With one press I can play. Starting my interface and Mac take same time, so none is lost.

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Post by IR » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:12 pm

I think there are some digital mixers you can record directly into and you don't really need a computer except for maybe to mix down to.

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Post by smetak » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:50 pm

A Motu Ultralite can handle this - lately, I've been using a Zoom R8 bought very cheap - no computer, nothing really necessary - plug& play - though limited inputs. But there's the R16 with a good deal of options and a number of inputs. And very good pricewise.

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Post by rean1mator » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:20 pm

i went "mixerless" over the past year by going with a Motu 16A and happy with the results. Added an 8a connected over ethernet for more io. with routing flexibility in both the motu routing matrix and my DAW routing, i can still run my outboard compressor and delay and any other outboard processing.

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Post by Ramases » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:46 pm

After a few years of using a Mackie Onyx mixer/interface I went to a mixerless setup with a Fireface 800 and Behringer ADA8200.
I've not missed the mixer element of the Mackie at all as I really was using it as an audio interface first and foremost.

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Post by clapclap » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:00 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses. If I can figure out how to use the Babyface in standalone mode that will also work with my ADA 8200 I think I may go this way. I may need some plugin advice for compressors and reverb/delay once I go all ITB for mixing. If anyone has any experience using the Babyface in standalone mode please let me know!

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Post by thisoldhouse » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:06 pm

I really enjoy the hardware controls of real pots and faders. I picked up a used Tascam m2600 mixing board for $500 about 6 years ago. Direct accesss to 2 parametric eqs and two shelving eqs as well as 8 auxes on every channel allows me to play the mixer. Just making a two bar sequence with whatever 6, 8, 16 tracks i really enjoying making a song by bringing the parts in and out and throwing the sends and tweaking the eqs. I have euphonix controllers for my daw but it's not even close in th experience of live mix down.

I use an Allen & heath ICE 16 to record to. It's always hooked up to the direct outs of the mixer with a 480 GB SSD drive connected to it. No need to to turn on the computer. Inspiration hit and I just hit record. It records 16 channels at once. I can load to daw later for further editing if desired. You can also use the ice16 as interface for daw.

It definitely a very personal choice for everyone though. And you have to try it to find what brings you the most satisfaction or what sacrifices you begin to really miss. Maybe you have conditions that force one approach more like space! And for me repetitive stress injuries from constant computer for many years made me have to find other ways. My music as result is different now than was 15 years ago because I can no longer tediously edit away and construct but I can say I really really love the way I connect with the music when working a good sounding board.

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Post by tehyar » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:24 pm

I went mixerless years ago, and now the Behringer X-Touch solves my tactile needs. Best of both worlds. And because it's not an actual mixer with tons of i/o hooked up, I keep it on a small mobile mixer stand and move it around. That way I can shove it out of the way when I don't need it.

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Post by rowsbywoof » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:57 pm

I hook my synths up to a Roland OctaCapture that doesn't need the computer on to pipe sound out to the monitors. Can flip the computer on and start Live if I want to record, or just mess around with the computer off and only the Octa and keyboards/synths on, instead.

Effect routing is the only thing I can't do outside of Ableton, but then I'm not usually too worried about that if I'm just practicing/messing around, anyway.

I do have a stereo out/in taken up on the Octa for external effects, though, and use them as a send in Live.

Going all in with a ADAC/DAW and skipping the mixer completely has made things so much easier to work with for me, but it really does depend on your setup and what you're looking to accomplish. I definitely hear you, though, about not always wanting to start up the DAW to mess around, and luckily my ADAC supports that just fine.

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Re: Studio setup with mixer or DAW only

Post by Sinamsis » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:20 pm

clapclap wrote:I have a little issue I'm trying to solve. An issue recently happened with my mixer and have since been on the fence if it's really necessary in my setup any longer. I was running most of my instruments through my mixer and occasionally using my 10 channels in my DAW. Now I'm considering just plugging everything straight through my DAW and recording that way. I ocassional use my FMR compressor with the mixer but have considered just using all plug-ins in my DAW and forget about all this external hardware.

The one major drawback is that if I just want to open up my studio and want to play some music I have to also set up my computer since everything is running through the RME Babyface and Behringer ADA 8200 ins.

If anyone has came across a similar studio crossroad and has any advice or suggestions I would appreciate it.

That's pretty much my setup. I do use a mixer these days (Soundcraft Signature MTK 22) for the modular. But I have two UAD Apollos both with ADDA. I don't need the computer to monitor channels that are not muted. I also have some sends and returns set up for outboard gear. It's an expensive and possibly wasteful way to set stuff up, but for me offers maximum flexibility.

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Post by smithknows » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:33 pm

I don’t know about the baby face. But, my RME fireface remembers whatever mixer settings I last had in the software mixer. It works without a computer for monitoring. Try it out.
http://www.TheRealCharlieSmith.com/
http://www.StudioNels.com/
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Post by tuj » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:40 pm

something about a mix down on analogue console always sounds better to my ears than the digital equivalent. But the equipment is pricey or sizable or both.

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Post by Sinamsis » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:50 pm

tuj wrote:something about a mix down on analogue console always sounds better to my ears than the digital equivalent. But the equipment is pricey or sizable or both.
Analog summing, however, doesn't have to be done with a mixer, and it doesn't preclude recording everything direct initially. Also, that can be done elsewhere at another studio should you decide to go that route.

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Post by clapclap » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:16 pm

I've been in a real get rid of some things mode recently, not just in the studio but in the apartment as well. I feel like my setup feels a little more functional without the mixer right now. Less clutter, less wires, feels like a better environment to work in. I figured out the RME Babyface/Behringer 8200 ADA to play without the computer. However I can't get the 2 RME inputs to get any sound. Also, all of my instruments are panned either hard right or left. I would rather just play everything mono. If anyone has any insight to TotalMix or Babyface it would be helpful.

Thanks everyone again!

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