audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

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audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by arnoux » Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:12 am

I need your help fellas.

Probably very boring discussion but I try:

Attached you find a picture of my studio.
I'm able to record direct to Logic using the mixer: conversion is 16bit
As you can see there's a DIGI 003, it was from another computer and now I wanted to consolidate everything using the laptop with Logic.
The actual routing goes like this:

modular (Bug > Serge) into 2 channels of the mixer
Cocoquantus > TFPRO dual channel strip > Mutator > 2 channels of the mixer
In the mixer I have BIM and BAM in the AUX and BOUM in the final insert and then everything to speakers and Sound Devices 722
Cool stuff, the thing is that I always have to import in Logic, and for overdubbing (that I always do) this situation is awkward.

I have this option now: if I have to overdub a lot I pull out the other computer (which is getting old), bounce from Logic, do the job on ProTools and reimport to Logic for mixing. But still PITA.

I was looking at some options and I can't decide what would be the best solution:

- Do it with what you have even if it's awkward
- A simple SSL 2+ or something like that to record in my DAW just when needed and keep the luxury 722 recorder and the system above as it is
- Sell the 722 and get a MIX PRE3 to benefit of the instant conversion (and keeping the portability if needed)
- RME UCX and starting thinking about a rerouting to have the OTOs available as a SEND on the DAW (but the UCX is a little short on I/O to have everything available so it will be a UCX / mixer affair compromise, or I have to put BIM and BAM in series in one "AUX")
- Going big with a RME UFX II for maximum flexibility and ditch completely the mixer

I'd love to ear your experience in this topic,

thanks for reading!
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Re: audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by phasebash » Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:31 am

I had a similar dilemma recently in my space, reconciling the need for routing capacity and the reality of what I’d actually use. The choices for me were between mixer into small interface vs big interface and I/O pair per device.

In the end, I chose the latter even though I only record one device to audio at a time, but the flexibility in being able to preview all inputs with their own FX in Ableton during playback is worth the savings in time.

I went UFX II and later scaled up with Pulse 16 for 24 ins and outs. Another plus, all my hardware FX are directly accessible in Live or in TotalMix. This is great most of the time, wet/dry mixing is trivial (even for things that don’t have it). Stacking also possible with bussing or external fx devices, but latency becomes an issue quick.

Before this, I was putting everything into a AH GL 2400. Really loved that setup, analog routing is fun and many creative options become available, but it took up too much space and needed maintenance I could not reasonably do. The difference in recording quality was also staggering.

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Re: audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by arnoux » Thu Apr 22, 2021 4:39 am

Thanks for sharing
phasebash wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:31 am

I'm now strongly considering the UCX as I re-did the maths and looks like the channels are enough (also to say bye bye to the mixer), BIM and BAM in the same "AUX" but is fine for me using them one at the time - BOUM in it's own "bus" and I can use the headphone out to eventually send parts of the mix out to the Mutator or FX pedals.
The 4 front ins are enough, 2 for the modular, the other 2 I switch from mics to other synths according to needs.

Time to download the manual to take a read before pulling the trigger!

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Re: audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by x2mirko » Thu Apr 22, 2021 4:54 am

I was in a similar spot and spent a lot of time looking at different mixer options and getting more and more frustrated with what's available. It all felt like bad compromises for what I really wanted. Especially the conundrum of both wanting to run everything without the computer, but also working with the computer at times - it screws with how you want to setup monitoring and all these things.

I ended up going with the RME UFXII as well. I've added a Ferrofish Pulse16 for more I/O and I'm extremely happy with the setup. It works completely standalone without a computer connected, I have a few preset setups that I can recall even without starting the computer and once I do start the computer, the routing is absurdly flexible. Also, once I do connect the computer, I can multitrack everything, so there's no loss of flexibility anywhere. For me, this is an absolute dream setup. The only downside I see compared to a mixer is the missing hands on experience of riding the faders and the always available EQs for every channel.

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Re: audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by WarpHead » Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:06 am

UCX 2 + Behringer 8200 + TotalMix FX (with Ipad control if desired)

I've tried everything from multi-mixer setups to different interfaces, and I'm convinced the above is the best bang for the buck. The Behringer converters are absolutely fine/adequate for expanding your line ADAC requirements.

UCX 2 should arrive soon.
Depending on budget you could use sth like Ferrofish Pulse 16 instead of Behringer.
I just recently got rid of multiple mixers, including a couple of Mackies. Honestly a relief, after having used them and 3 48ch patchbays for a while....

Kept a couple of small desktop mixers (soundcraft) for general feedback loop and fx routing experiments and will probably be re-installing the Delta DLX somewhere in the near future as the nerve centre (when I want it).

Honestly though, good interface with sufficient I/Os and mixing ITB is such a relief. 3 48ch patchbays with a dozen snakes, bal/unbal cables etc was getting out of hand and was becoming paralyzing.
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Re: audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by toumpouris » Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:47 am

Hey to rme users, how do you route hardware fx in totalmix as sends/ aux? Is it possible?

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Re: audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by metamorphmuses » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:11 am

1. Do not get rid of your mixer.

2. Do you care about having a standalone mode (i.e. computer can be off) with your interface?

I ask because I was not long ago doing a similar evaluation as you are now. I read that the RME Fireface UCX had a standalone mode, so I thought I could use it with a faderbank MIDI controller with the computer off and still control the levels of my input channels, as a substitute for having a full-fledged mixer. Well, tried as I might (manual, forums, support, etc.), I could not get the standalone mode to work, even setting it up ahead of time and then turning off the computer. The UCX would not let me change its channel levels without the computer on. So, I returned it. I'll say this for the UCX: sound quality is excellent.

I ended up getting an Arturia AudioFuse Studio. Its standalone mode is usable without the computer, not with a MIDI faderbank controller, but it has rotary knobs on the front four inputs which is enough physical controls for basic, mixer-less DAWless jamming. But I also have my mixer for the more involved DAWless sessions, involving group and aux busses.

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Re: audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by naturligfunktion » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:28 am

First off all, what a wonderful studio! It looks really nice :tu:

I would get one of the bigger interfaces from RME. I got myself one and they are very flexible, especially the TotalMix. You can probably keep everything like you have it in the studio, but just make everything easier and smoother by including the RME.

So I would vote for that.
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Re: audio interface dilemma and studio routing design

Post by muleskinner » Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:16 am

I don't know if it makes a difference to you but Pulse 16 is not DC coupled. I almost pulled the trigger on one the other day and didn't for this reason. They do do a 'Pulse 16 CV' or something but that only has DC coupled outputs, not inputs.

Motu 828 mk3 gives you 8 channels of 96k Dc coupled ADAT i/o and will run standalone. You can probably buy two of these used for less than the price of the Pulse 16, certainly for less than the CV version. Mine cost me less than £250.

It's a shame as the pulse 16 looks awesome for pure audio use.
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