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rcb4t2
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#1
22nd May 2011
Old 22nd May 2011
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Software Monitoring Workflow

Hey all - so I normally use an analog mixer on the front end of my recording rig. Lately though I've been getting more and more jazzed on software monitoring within Logic. I use a pci-e interface and a fast computer - thus far no latency issues. Using plugins that don't add latency (almost all of my waves and almost all of the logic stock), low buffers, and high sample rates I'm getting PTHD-level latencies - 2ms range. More than acceptable. I recently did a drum tracking session and a vocal session, which I imagine are two of the most demanding tasks for software monitoring, with great success. Being able to set up EQs and compressors (not to mention reverbs and delays) was fantastic. Sure a rack full of fancy outboard would be better but as a (semi)responsible business owner that's not in the cards any time soon.

So the way I've been working it is that I send, for example, the drum bus to a separate set of faders on my mixer, so it comes up next to the backing tracks. From there I use my (pre-fader) aux sends on the (physical) mixer to send tracks out to my hearback system.

It's been great because I can use my analog mixer to solo tracks, or set up my own monitor mix for the control room fully separate from the artists' mix. I'm considering going to a control surface system instead, and I'm wondering how folks deal with this stuff?? Specifically, how can I solo tracks while recording without cutting off the rest of the tracks for the performers? I basically can't, right? Or I can't turn the reverb on and off for me only without it cutting off the performers' reverb? Or I can't switch between hearing the raw tracks and the effected tracks without cutting off the performers' effects??

Having trouble wrapping my head around this. I suppose that's why most people prefer analog monitoring lol. But plenty of big studios use something like a C24 or D-command, etc, and manage just fine, so.... any tips folks?
rcb4t2
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22nd May 2011
Old 22nd May 2011
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PS I don't want to use the separate low-latency software mixer that comes with my interface. That would defeat most of the point of software monitoring to me. (plugins, simplification of the monitoring, etc).
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23rd May 2011
Old 23rd May 2011
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rcb4t2
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23rd May 2011
Old 23rd May 2011
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Damn does nobody have any thoughts on this??
#5
23rd May 2011
Old 23rd May 2011
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depends on the DAW, but in Digital Performer if a send is pre-fader then it does not mute when the track is muted. so use sends for creating cue mixes.

use auxes for reverbs, dont use them inline. then use a send on that reverb to feed it to a cue mix. you can mute the track w/out affecting what gets sent to the cue mix.

these all seem like simple answers, but maybe im not understanding the scope of your problem. i have to say, your post was a little confusing.
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24th May 2011
Old 24th May 2011
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Yeah sorry if I'm not being clear. I'll check if pre-fader sends work independently of solo/mute in logic (although I thought they didn't). If so, that would solve some of my problems.

I was a musician at a PTHD session recently - my parts finished, I was hanging in the CR bugging the engineer (lol). During tracking I asked him to solo a part so I could listen more closely for a problem I thought I was hearing. He said I can't it would mess up the cue boxes.

With my current setup, like I mentioned, on my analog mixer I have a) all the pre-converter tracks that I can solo or mix at will without messing anything up downstream (pre-fader direct outs) and b) return from the daw for software monitoring. So, in a vocal session, I have on my board the actual mic pre outputs dry, the existing 2track being overdubbed, the effected (comp, eq) vocal track (being sent pre-fader to the artist), the vocal reverb, the vocal delay, and the already-recorded vocals, all on separate faders. I can solo, mute, and mix these at will for the CR listening without it having any effect whatsoever on the artist's mix. I am trying to understand how to achieve this without an analog mixer using a control surface and the daw. If pre-fader sends are "solo safe" then that may be the answer.
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24th May 2011
Old 24th May 2011
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I should also note that currently I set this up by changing each track's output, rather than sends.

Aka

2-track: output 1-2 mirrored to 9-10 for cue mix
New vocal: output 3 (appearing on mixer pre-fader send to cue box)
Old vocals: output 4 (appearing on mixer pre-fader send to cue box)
Vox verb: output 5 (" ")
Vox dly: output 6 (" ")

I know most people use sends for this so maybe that's where I'm getting off the beaten path.
#8
24th May 2011
Old 24th May 2011
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Does 'solo safe' exist in Logic? I can't remember ... it must do though.
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24th May 2011
Old 24th May 2011
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It sure does, Tim - I will check on that when I get back over there (day off!). Still, how do I hear the track with no plugins? Make a separate bus just for me for the dry tracks? What about a drum session.. Yikes....
#10
24th May 2011
Old 24th May 2011
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Yeah, a separate buss sounds like the way ... bit of a pita

It's easier to do such things in reaper than it is in Logic ... select tracks, hit shortcut key to create muted pre-fx cue buss, hit shortcut key to create post-fx/pre-fader solo-safe cue buss routed to your headphone amp.

Sorry for the OT - I know that doesn't help you out.
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24th May 2011
Old 24th May 2011
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Update: So yeah, the pre-fader sends combined with making the cue outputs solo-safe does function as expected. That should solve most of the potential issues. Still not sure I'm ready to make the leap away from my mixer (not to mention that I'd have to buy like 10 channels of additional outboard pres to make the switch), but I feel more confident about it now. Still seems complicated, but I think I'm just not used to the whole workflow yet.

I'd still love to hear any more tips & tricks for routing / setup while using ITB monitoring. I feel like maybe I'm overcomplicating things - but it boggles my mind a little bit!
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