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Latency! Which Interface or iO For Logic Pro With DTXplorer Drums?
Old 14th October 2013
Here for the gear

Latency! Which Interface or iO For Logic Pro With DTXplorer Drums?

I really appreciate the help and attention, first of all so thanks in advance for it!

I have just purchased Logic Pro X and am using an iMac with 12 Gigs of Ram and 3.06 processor. The kind of drums I use are DTXplorer by Yamaha.

My question is how to best avoid latency when playing/monitoring the drums using internal samples from the drum library or VST plug-in on Logic?

I have been looking at the Alesis iO Drum Trigger Midi unit for around $140. The salesperson on the phone at Sweetwater warned me there is a possible latency problem. I just need to be able to plug the drums in and access the samples on the Logic program, track the drums. I play my own drums mostly on my demos and am switching over to doing them for my published recordings but compared to serious pro drummers have relatively simplistic response needs. As long as it triggers fairly well and I can hear it in real time with no or very very little latency I will be extremely satisfied. I am a bit nervous about spending money before I know which interface will work the best for me.

Do I need a MIDI interface on top of the iO to avoid latency like the Sweetwater guy was saying? Will the Alesis do the trick with no extra interface without latency? Will a different MIDI interface connected directly to the XPlorer's module work fine? If so which Interface can I expect to work well?

What about the little M-Audio sport ones for $70. I cannot spend hundreds and hundreds on a fancier higher end Focusrite or Protools interface. I would be best under $200 if possible and closer to $150 if I have the chance. My entire studio is pretty much set to go if I can lick this issue. I may also want to plug a MIDI keyboard controller in at some point down the road but am not too concerned about that because I am not doing advanced keyboard parts at all but really, really seriously need drums right away.

Again, thanks for the help!

Old 14th October 2013
Lives for gear
I would recommend and interface that has 2 line inputs, and midi.

Track the L/R audio out Into interface line ins tracks 1/2 while also tracking the midi out on a 3rd midi track.

Once you have the midi track done, then you can assign any sounds you want to the midi track afterwards when making mixing decisions.
Or use the audio tracks or blend audio tracks with the midi/vst samples you chose.
Old 14th October 2013
Here for the gear

Forgive me if I'm a little redundant or confused here but I want to make sure I get what you are saying.

I put the L/R outs from my module into Focusrite and track that into Logic. That way I can hear in real time what I am doing. At the same time, I record the MIDI information into Logic that can afterward be modified into whatever drum sounds I need to register for the parts. Then I can either mix the recorded tracks or delete, do whatever sounds right but I have bypassed latency issues?

The Focusrite Saffire 6 is definitely within a good price range so that would be great.

Thanks very much for your help.
Old 14th October 2013
Lives for gear
Logic should have no issues. When you track you use low latency mode and or use a very low buffer size like 32 or 64, then when mixing bump the buffer up to 512 or 1024 when ready to mix. I have a 2.93 i7 IMac, 12gb ram and have actually forgot my buffer was at 32 when mixing several tracks and it handled it pretty well.
I use an external drive for audio streaming and playback.

What I do is after getting a midi file is to copy it and paste copies into like 4 more tracks. Then edit midi tracks so only kick hits on one track, snare on another, toms on third, cymbals on 4th. then I mute and hide original track in case I need it later.

Then you have more control to compress, EQ and balance each element of the kit separately and sent all kit tracks to one stereo drum bus to control overall vol of kit with one fader once mixed how you like.
Old 14th October 2013
Here for the gear

Wow, great tip. I think I get it now.
Ok, so I'll scrap the Alesis idea and get the Focusrite. That will make it easier when it comes time to plug in a midi controller keyboard also since it will be useful from the same interface.
That is a wonderful sounding idea for mixing the drum tracks separately? I bet you get some kick ass drums that way. That's a lot more like a real studio drum session that way.
Ok killer, thanks.
Old 14th October 2013
Lives for gear
I've also after editing my kick track to only contain the kick notes, copy it to another midi track or 2. Select different kick samples on 2 or more kick tracks and blend them. Say one track with a kick that's very deep and the second kick sample with a clearer click. EQ them separate and blend.
Old 14th October 2013
Lives for gear
Check out this band. I recorded the 1st song live (I wanna new drug)
I blended a sampled kick with his kick. Notice the kick sound and power compared to the 2,3,4th songs that They did themselves with the same kit/kick but it's only his real kick sound.

I also recorded live and mixed the last 3 songs....Relax, Rio, and Der Kommissar. (It's obvious that the songs I did for them are louder.
I'm no expert but have more experience mixing then the guy in the band that did the rest of the mixes)
Old 15th October 2013
Here for the gear

Ya that's really cool. I am a big Huey Lewis and The News Fan so that was fun! I hear the quality of the drums and the differences mentioned.

I was just pricing units and doing a bit more research before buying one and was wondering what you think of Presonus? There's one called PreSonus AudioBox USB 2X2 USB Recording System and that has a free software package for recording that a partner in one of my bands could really use. Do you think this unit would do as good a job as the Saffire 6?
Old 16th October 2013
Here for the gear

Also, what about this Mackie Spike? This has basically the same features (2 inputs, headphones, monitoring, MIDI, 24 bit) but comes with Traktion that I could give to a friend and it's way way cheaper (at least on one auction Ebay- the other one shows it at $300?!).. I just need something that works - nothing fancy. I can use whatever money I save for more equipment!
Old 16th October 2013
Lives for gear
Not a fan of audiobox. It has instrument inputs but not made for line level inputs for keys or drum machine. You need LINE inputs.
Old 16th October 2013
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johnnyv's Avatar
I have the Yamaha DXT kit and I use the USB for MIDI output. Not sure if your model has the same, but it eliminates the need for a MIDI input device in the path.
No matter what the set up , drivers, software and interface there will be a touch of latency when triggering internal soft synth drum samples. This will vary depending on many factors. Sometimes it's just barley noticeable but still can through off your "feel".

So the advice from Manfrens... is solid. Always track listening to the brain directly. And that is how I have it set up as well. The output is always patched to my interface so I can use the blend control to set up a good headphone mix.

I do record the full performance first and might go back and cheat a little and play one part if I wasn't happy ( I'm not a good drummer)

I then separate the midi track into parts like Kick, snare, hats, cymbals and toms.

What you'll also find is some samples do not respond to controller info properly so you need to find samples that react like the brain did, Example variations on the Hi hat open close. I use Session drummer3 and SFX samples.

I often record the audio output of the brain if that sound suited the song. This is super easy to do because the audio is always patched in.

One thing that bugs me about lower end Yamaha drums and keyboards is they give you only the headphone output, no 1/4" pair. I found use for an old insert cable I had, TRS y's to 2x TS.
Old 16th October 2013
Here for the gear

I don't think my Xplorer has a USB out. If I have to I can get that focusrite. It's within range.
Old 18th October 2013
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johnnyv's Avatar
No known difference between USB or standard MIDI connection to a computer. The USB just eliminates the need for your interface to have MIDI ports, but most good interfaces seem to have them so all is good.

For me it means I don't have to switch the MIDI input to use my Keyboard controller which is only a standard MIDI connection.
Old 18th October 2013
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johnnyv's Avatar
You should make a list of what you are needing and choose a interface based on the features as they can vary from brand to brand. Some brands are also known to have sketchy ASIO drivers so do a little reading on the forums first.

A list might look like this for you

1 or 2 XLR inputs for mikes
Stereo pair line level inputs for my DTX - some units have one line level and one instrument input so cannot be used for a stereo input that is matched.
Some units the XLR inputs are combo jacks that will work for all inputs.

MIDI in and out
SPDIF in and out ?
Blend control on front panel for direct monitoring control.
AC power or USB power - USB power sometimes does not work well with mikes requiring phantom power.
Some units come with software which can be a good value added bonus if the software is something you can use. But most times it's just a LE version. Focusrite are well respected units so are all the RME products. They have very good ASIO drivers.
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