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You know what sucks? Audio Interfaces
Old 18th May 2017
  #31
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Old 18th May 2017
  #32
Lives for gear
 

Rich feature set is always kind of double edged sword.. One can praise that, other can say, it's too complicated.
It's always matter of balance and of course it can be debatable.

TotalMix packs lot functionality under its hood and offers flexibility, which isn't available with other interfaces. To me it's very logically organized, for instance every setting related to channel always under wrench icon, which unfolds all of its properties. It may look as a cumbersome additional step, but lot of those UI decisions starts to make sense, when you realize there's limited amount of screen estate and there's necessary to fit many input and output channels there. Their interfaces can have many channels and it's very handy to have the option to have some channels unfolded (say for active microphone inputs) and some channels folded, maybe some line ins ganged to stereo pair under one fader, because you can simply fit more channels to single screen.
On top of that all of that is possible to save to appropriate presets for quick recall (which I wholeheartedly recommend).
Similarly there is great flexibility with physical output assignment to monitoring section for volume control, mute, A/B speakers.. Basically any analog or digital output can be assigned there.. Again one might say, why that another step, give me the knob, which will control first stereo output, like on other interfaces.
That's not RME approach, because that would be limiting.. You can get another pair of speakers later and this will allow you to balance its levels and use common control for that, or you will buy some fancier stereo DAC with digital input, no problemo.. just assign digital AES output there.
Another thing, all physical outputs has its own mixbus.. well at first it seems confusing, but you can make individual mix to each single physical output.. No more limitation for say 2 or 4 AUXes like with other products.. Not everyone appreciate that, but if you're doing CUE mixes there, you can simply get additional ADAT converter and create individual mix for every band member together with feed to external hardware reverb for instance and handle talkbacks duties as well.
All those features makes those interfaces great backbones of modern smaller studios.
From operational standpoint, I don't see any major difference in terms of accessibility between TM and say newer MOTU, which is one of few vendors, who offers the similar functionality at their AVB lineup and they have 48 input mixer there with lot of options. Both are powerful and requires some active attitude to understanding of its technical concepts.. creative part comes after you set up your gear..

So to sum it up, TM is logical and simple (in the context of its features), when you get grasp about its basic concepts. Those videos are very good to watch.. (personally I'd say, it should be kind of homework after someone puts RME interface into e-shop basket and waiting for package delivery )
I agree, their documentation is mostly technical, although you'll find all the features here.. It's not task oriented user guide (how to setup TM.. when I'm doing CUE mix, when I'm connecting analog outboard, when I'm having two sets of speakers), but rather reference guide.
I thought about writing some thread dedicated to those.. but haven't really found time for that yet.

I personally like reference guides, but I'm primarily an engineer (and different things are difficult to me), so I'm bit bored to read explanation for hundred time, like what's mix bus good for... I like to see some block diagram and then use ctrl+f in PDF, when I'm looking for the particular feature, but I see there is lot of different users there.
This can be difficult especially for artists, but I always tell them (friends, colleagues etc.), some things in the process requires to employ also different part of brain This is just inevitable part of doing everything at their own.. both artistic and engineering part of the job. So it's not really necessary to get emotional about that. Most of operations with unfriendly device (can be TM as easily as some DAW or notation software) can be smoothed out with presets for particular task, if they are able to tell me their intended workflow or goals.

Btw. If you have something specific related to TM, don't hesitate to ask of course.

Michal
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