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Home production studio: Confusion about where to go from here.
Old 17th January 2014
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Home production studio: Confusion about where to go from here.

Hi all, long time lurker, first time posting. I've been plagued with obscurity in which direction to lead with my home studio build. Finding my work flow has hindered me in deciding which angle i want to approach this from, and i think its time to reach out of my small circle of like minded friends...

Basically, im a pro bass player who loves to write, record and produce anything from rock, to jazz, to metal, to fusion...with a lion's share being electronic based. I have a rack full of gear, and i use Ableton for production mostly, and ProTools for tracking. I know how to use all my gear (mostly at least) and how to route it to do the things i want....but, never all at once. I find im always switching something around. main questions arise right here.

I do NOT want my monitors to only play the output from my Motu. So, as of now, 4 of my 12 mixer channels are playback channels. 2 from the Motu, 2 from my DJ gear. These both go to master out , and can be heard.

The other 8 Ins of the Motu, go to the patch bay.
The other 8 Outs of the Motu go to the patch bay.
The first 8 Ins of the Mixer go to the patch bay.
The first 8 inserts go to the patch bay.

ALL of the rack gear also gets routed through the patch bays, for ultimate control....but it too much? Synths go to patch bays to mixer ins. Recording is done either through insert channels, or by swapping cables to the bus outputs of the mixer.

The mixer is the limitation here i think....first of all because it is finally dying and needs to be replaced, but im not sure which direction to go. Im about to add more synths and samplers to this equation. Here are my questions:

1. Id like it to be smaller than what i have, and maybe rack mountable like a line mixer. Would that make sense to stack a few line mixers? What about losing the buses?

2. Time to go digital? If so, how? I happen to have two ADAT machines...can i run analog in to them, and lightpipe out to a digital mixer? Or would it be the other way around?

3. Am i looking at this totally wrong?

My budget is as small as anyone else's, but ultimately i dont want to buy the wrong thing, so i wont limit your answers based on price. If its going to cost $5k over the next year or so to build things in the right direction, so be it. Right now, im looking in the used market, and have about $1000 put away.

Thanks in advance.
Old 19th January 2014
Gear addict
danly's Avatar


You didn't mention a stage snake. Maybe that is something to consider buying and putting on the patchbay.

Also, most people won't agree with me, but I'm on an ADAT kick right now.. I'm awaiting 5 hhb s-vhs tapes coming to me in the mail! So I would recommend going with them. It's not the most 'modern' or 'versatile' recording medium, however, I think it will help you to focus on the music more.

Abelteon can be used like any other synth. think of your computer and the motu as just a drum machine or sampler. It's good that you already have the motu analog i/o on the patchbay.

Next, I would recommend keeping the carvin and using it for the preamps and eq's, then add a line mixer for tape returns. Rane makes a decent line mixer that isn't too expensive.

Also, I don't remember what you mentioned you are doing for headphones.
One thing that is very important to me in my studio, is that I want to be able to plug in a mic and hear it right away, even before it goes to the recorder. (Then you would also be able to hook up a big power amp to bus 3-4 of the carvin and use it as a PA as well.. or a headphone mixer while doing basics).

So the way I would do it is
Stage box to patch bay
full normalled to carvin mic inputs

carvin inserts (dir outs)
to adat or motu inputs

recorder outputs
line mixer in

carvin bus outs patchable to line mixer aux returns in order to blend input monitoring with tape returns for overdubs.

(maybe a little overly-complicated, but that's the way I do stuff.)
Old 19th January 2014
Gear addict
danly's Avatar

Actually, you don't even have to buy another mixer, you can lightpipe the adats into your motu and mix in the box, using your daw as a digital mixer for tape returns.
Old 21st January 2014
Gear interested

Thread Starter
This isnt a bad idea...but forgive the silly questions....why use adats at all then, and not just get a converter?

Also, pretty sure the Motu doesnt have lightpipe. Bonus of being small, but i lose some add'l features.

Wrench in the works...i really want SOME kinds of hands on mixing. Im not opposed to going digital with motorized faders, but ive never worked that way and its all new to me.

Stage snake is brilliant. Derp.

Thanks so much for your tips so far.
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