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Auto-input monitoring on a DAW... am I just confused??
Old 11th May 2006
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Auto-input monitoring on a DAW... am I just confused??

So I've been pondering for quite some time now about the best way to enable auto-input monitoring on a DAW without an external console, such that it behaves like a real tape machine. I'm interested in RME's Fireface and have toyed around with their TotalMix software, but it still doesn't seem apparent to me how to make the system behave just like a real console and tape.

Also, I use DP 4.6 at work, and would like to continue using it outside of my dayjob (an 02R takes care of cue here)... I have PTLE at home and don't care for it much.

So, assuming I'm using Digital Performer and a Fireface with Totalmix... this is what I've come up with, at the risk of sounding ignorant...

In DP, make ins/outs 1:1 (track one uses input 1 and goes out output 1). In Totalmix, set up the desired cue mix on the 'hardware inputs', and then copy the same mix to the 'software outputs'. In DP 4.6, set input monitoring to only when armed and recording. Maybe this isn't working as it should, but it seems that when 'monitoring input', DP doesn't pass any signal anywhere. Thus, for a punch, the tracks can be played back through the 'software output' channels in totalmix, but as soon as "record" is enabled for the punch, any armed track will cease to play previous material back, and totalmix has still been passing the input channel into the cue mix... It's not exactly like tape because the input channel is still routed to the cue mix during playback.

It seems this method would prevent be from doing "ITB" mixing in performer, but rather can only use Totalmix for my control room ST-mix during the recording process, since DP's channel outputs must be 1:1 back out for Totalmix to preserve seperate cue mixes on playback.

I think I just confused myself more than I was before. So what's up? How does everyone else do it?


Looking forward to everyone's thoughts and ideas,
Ethan
Old 11th May 2006
  #2
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Or rather...

Or rather... I guess what I'd like to happen is for Totalmix to use a single Cue mix for a given hardware output, and to automatically know when to use either an input or a playback channel.... i.e., inputs for all armed tracks when not playing, playback on all channels when playing, and when recording, input on armed tracks and playback on unarmed tracks. Just like a tape machine, right?

It seems to me that except for a PT HD system, there's no way for the host's "tape machine" software and a hardware interface's internal mixer to communicate this information. It would seem that the only information that an interface mix controller like RME's Totalmix would need is the arm status of every channel, and to know whether the host daw is recording, playing, or neither.

Is there some obvious solution I'm missing?
Old 12th May 2006
  #3
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nikki-k's Avatar
 

Hi!
Not 100% positive, as my Nuendo/Cubase experience is limited, but (other than PT HD), for near-zero latency, Cub/Nue have a feature one can enable, with hardware that properly supports it (ala Lynx, RME, etc), where when one chooses to monitor a live input, the app itself (Cub/Nue, for instance) will work with the hardware driver/cue-ing software to allow an unbuffered signal to pass (no effects, etc). Thus, one is "bussing thru" the signal at the hardware input directly to the hardware output. This is all done right in the DAW app itself, rather than requiring one to open extra software panels (such as CueMix and the like). I forget what the feature name is in Nuendo/Cubase, and forget the name of the driver/hardware capability required...class?

Only latency would be ADC and DAC. The buffer the mix playing back from within the DAW would be victim to should then simply provide a slight delay in "hit play to audio" time. In other words, as soon as the buffers fill, audio streams and the live hardware signal is *aligned* with it: no latency for the live signal, except for the ADC/DAC conversion (very, very low with good converters).

I am sure other apps have something similar, and I am sure someone else could have explained better, and with terms proper for those DAWs.

Last edited by nikki-k; 12th May 2006 at 02:17 AM..
Old 12th May 2006
  #4
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Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EthanM
Maybe this isn't working as it should, but it seems that when 'monitoring input', DP doesn't pass any signal anywhere. Thus, for a punch, the tracks can be played back through the 'software output' channels in totalmix, but as soon as "record" is enabled for the punch, any armed track will cease to play previous material back, and totalmix has still been passing the input channel into the cue mix... It's not exactly like tape because the input channel is still routed to the cue mix during playback.
I think 'audio patch thru' is set to off I you don't hear any signal from armed tracks.

I am doing more or less the same thing as you do, but I don't setup 'input' at all, just untick the the audio patch thru. I think this was also designed with an external mixer in mind, and basically that's the role Totalmix is dealing with now.

It's a bit of a hassle to copy the input channels from totalmix to DP, but this only when dealing with a lot of signals, like drums or complete band, for overdubs my channels are usually at unity gain anyway, but it works perfectly.

Like Nikki said, in Cubase/Nuendo on the PC there is an option to link the app to the hardware, making it behave like a tape deck, but I thought that is not an option on Mac, because of Core Audio, on the PC hardware and software is linked with the ASIO driver.
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