Multi-tracking the Modular

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

Moderators: Kent, luketeaford, Joe.

Post Reply
mahler007
Common Wiggler
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:19 pm

Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by mahler007 » Mon May 03, 2021 4:04 pm

I have a modular Eurorack setup that I would like to multi-track. I have an NW2S::16o balanced interface that I'm planning on using.

I have determined I have 14 outputs I would like to tap: 12 direct from modules and fx, plus a stereo output from a performance mixer. I'm guessing I need to purchase some mults to put between the module outputs and the inputs to the 16o and my mixer, as the latter does not have direct outs.

Obviously, the 12 module outputs will essentially be "unmixed," but I can use the stereo output from the mixer as a guide when making my final multi-track mix in Pro Tools.

I guess I have 2 questions:

1) Does it really matter if I use active or passive mults in this application? Will I experience any signal degradation with a passive mult?

2) Wow, that's a lot of cabling to/from the mults. What a mess. I realize it kind comes with the territory, but any advice on cable management?

3) Anything else potentially problematic I should look out for in trying this, based on other users' experiences doing similar things?

Thanks for your wisdom!

User avatar
Buttons ARE toys
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 453
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:24 am
Location: Earth

Re: Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by Buttons ARE toys » Mon May 03, 2021 4:19 pm

I don't believe you'll experience any meaningful signal loss using passive mults for audio. A possible solution to your cable management issue would be using stackable cables instead. It would be slightly less cluttered, and save you HP as well.
Astronomical Dusk - a web radio show of synthetic delights and collected oddities. Airs monthly at astronomical dusk.

User avatar
Breezewax
Common Wiggler
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:27 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by Breezewax » Mon May 03, 2021 4:23 pm

Theres definitely quite few threads about this one, the fantastic muffs member Martin Doudoroff put this guide together:

https://doudoroff.com/multitracking/

The NW2S route is the one I would eventually like to get to, as of right now I use an expert sleepers ES6 for 6 tracks in.

For your question #2 I just watched a video by Colin Benders on this topic:


There are a few modules that use ethernet or hdmi cables to reduce clutter over distance, Id been looking at the Doepfer A-180-9 Multicore. Theres more in a thread here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=201110

User avatar
Dave Kendall
Set The Controls . . .
Posts: 1288
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:20 am
Location: England

Re: Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by Dave Kendall » Mon May 03, 2021 4:32 pm

1/ Passive mults are more likely to cause problems, but see points 2 and 3 . . .
2/ See point 3/
3/ Given your stated number of Modular output sources, if you are going to do this more than a handful of times, get a mixer with enough direct outs and/or busses, and wire up its I/O to a small patchbay. This combination is designed to solve this exact problem. Almost anything else will always be a hassle to wire up and use. Small learning curve, and a bunch of initial soldering (which isn't hard - it's just jacks and solder connections to the patchbay, but you won't look back afterwards. You'll be flying)

FWIW, I was a sound engineer for a living since the late 80s, and am now semi-retired. In my experience, once you get past a handful of sources to deal with, anything gets messy and unworkable without the right tools. And worse, you forget your initial idea because you're trying to find a way to record something, instead of just hitting the red button. . .

:)
Want to Buy: KURZWEIL KSP8
Want to Buy: old EFM PCBs

"Everything in moderation, including moderation"

User avatar
scottwilson
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:54 pm

Re: Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by scottwilson » Tue May 04, 2021 6:20 am

> once you get past a handful of sources to deal with

The 'io and the 'o16 really do help with that. Having a dedicated module to patch in for recording is why I designed them in the first place.

As to whether or not you need an active mult... "that depends" - The input impedance of the 'io and 'o16 is about 30kΩ. This is a middle ground impedance and is similar to other high-end studio interfaces like Lynx and Avid. Whether or not you need a mult depends on the output impedance of the module that's driving the mult and the input impedance of any other modules you are multed with.

If you were multiing something like pitch-CV then that will drive you crazy. If you are multing audio, then best case you get a little lower signal level and worst case you get some high end roll-off.

But to quote Peter Schickele quoting someone else... "If it sounds good, it is good".

So I'd say try it and if you don't like it, try something else!

Scott
nw2s.net

User avatar
maudibe
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2785
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:49 am

Re: Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by maudibe » Tue May 04, 2021 6:26 am

Dave Kendall Wrote:

FWIW, I was a sound engineer for a living since the late 80s, and am now semi-retired. In my experience, once you get past a handful of sources to deal with, anything gets messy and unworkable without the right tools. And worse, you forget your initial idea because you're trying to find a way to record something, instead of just hitting the red button.

These are great words of wisdom. I too worked as a sound engineer from the mid 80's through to retirement a couple of years ago, and for sure, you need to get the set-up / gear sorted and then you will live in creative heaven, without worrying about the technicalities (too much).

User avatar
andybizarre
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Switzerland

Re: Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by andybizarre » Tue May 04, 2021 6:51 am

mahler007 wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 4:04 pm
I have a modular Eurorack setup that I would like to multi-track. I have an NW2S::16o balanced interface that I'm planning on using.

I have determined I have 14 outputs I would like to tap: 12 direct from modules and fx, plus a stereo output from a performance mixer. I'm guessing I need to purchase some mults to put between the module outputs and the inputs to the 16o and my mixer, as the latter does not have direct outs.
Is it the WMD performance mixer or just a performance mixer? If so, your route seems like an odd one. If you got the WMD, you could buy the D-Sub expander and safe yourself a lot of VCAs and utilities.

mahler007
Common Wiggler
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:19 pm

Re: Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by mahler007 » Tue May 04, 2021 10:55 am

Thanks for the replies, everyone, and Scott - always nice to hear from the manufacturer himself! All of the signals I will be multing are audio signals.

Dave, Maudibe, and andybizarre, I appreciate your comments. As someone who works professionally in audio myself, I agree with your statements. The issues you articulate are exactly what I am trying to navigate, however, and I have extenuating circumstances that push me in the specific direction I mentioned.

I am using a Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms System Interface mixer as part of my rack. It is kind of a crappy mixer in terms of its audio specs, but it is also extremely powerful in terms of its routing possibilities, especially for its size. The way everything is set up and routed to it — in addition to its ergonomics and physical integration into the rest of the rack — make it an essential part of the sequences I am performing and recording. I simply could not use another mixer to create the piece, since it would completely mess up the tightly programmed choreography of the sequence.

Due to its lack of direct outs, I have to tap the audio signals before they hit the mixer and use a mult. One copy of those mult'd audio signals will feed my balanced patch bays, converters, and DAW via the o16, while the other copy will go directly to the Lifeforms mixer, as currently configured, allowing me to actually monitor and "perform" the sequence in real time.
mod.jpg

R.U.Nuts
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2064
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:43 pm

Re: Multi-tracking the Modular

Post by R.U.Nuts » Tue May 04, 2021 12:03 pm

I only have this setup for a couple of days and I really didn't do anything beyond basic testing if everything works (it does) but I've been contemplating for quite a while about the question how to multitrack my modular. So my setup now is a Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK. This is basically an analog mixing desk with a built in multitrack audio interface that can route all the individual channel strips into your computer (pre fader).
As I mentioned it works flawlessly (as of yet) when hooked up to my shiny new Macintosh laptop. Minimal hassle to set up. You get the ergonomics of a mixing console and the power of a huge audio interface at a price which is way cheaper and more powerful in terms of routing possibilities than any in-rack modular mixing solution.

Post Reply

Return to “Eurorack Modules”