Incorporating External Processing Hardware into your Production Setup

xiris

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I'm looking for advice on what I/O box to purchase, what you guys use, or any tips people who've already got a setup like this going for themselves could offer, and if my understanding of how this is all supposed to work even makes sense in the first place.

I've recently come across some old hardware EQs [and some other gear] and would like to incorporate it into my production setup. I'm guessing I'll need to acquire a multi-channel I/O box [Tascam 16x08, M-Audio ProFire2626, or something like that] to route my audio from any given channel out to my hardware rack, through the hardware, and then back in through an input?

[lets assume we're working stereo here, and that outputs1+2 are my main monitor outs]

Say I have a channel strip with Serum booted into it,
1. i'd route its output to "outputs 3&4" on my audio interface,
2. route that cable into my hardware EQ's inputs
3. take the EQ's outputs and plug them into "Inputs 3&4" in the interface,
4. create a second [stereo, audio] channel in my DAW that receives "inputs 3&4" and plays them back in my DAW
5. Record-enable stereo Channel 2, play back the Serum track

.. the hardware-processed sound would be recorded in real-time to the 2nd channel.. yeah?
 

BetaFlex

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what you are looking for are good a/d and d/a converters. it will do you some good to read about it as they change quite a bit. this is really what is going to change your sound. audio interfaces are dime a dozen these days. they are all going to have subtle differences. I have been eyeing apogee for some time now.
 

xiris

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what you are looking for are good a/d and d/a converters. it will do you some good to read about it as they change quite a bit. this is really what is going to change your sound. audio interfaces are dime a dozen these days. they are all going to have subtle differences. I have been eyeing apogee for some time now.
Thank you for your reply. I checked out the Apogee website, and noticed that almost all of their products are mac-compatible only.
I'm currently building a windows-based system, as my mac is coming into its 7th year of existence, and producing music with 2GB of RAM is starting to get a tad frustrating. Do you have any brand suggestions that would work w/ a windows system?
 

BetaFlex

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I didnt know that. I use motu, but I havent looked in years. motu was superior but that was 8 years ago. native instruments and cubase make interfaces now havent read into them. there are so many now.
 

-agu-

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I've been planning to do the same thing at some point. Found this video while doing some research on the matter. It's for Logic but doesn't really matter.


So it's just like you said.
 

Howitzer

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What DAW are you in?
Ableton has an "External Audio Effect" device which is designed for this. I havent had a whole lot of luck using it though, mainly down to my soundcard, it doesnt support Insert loops.
You might need to invest in quite a high end soundcard to properly route your audio, my personal choice (when I have the cash) will be the Apollo Twin Duo USB 3. The audio routing you can do with those cards is impressive!

You may also want to invest in a rack, a patch bay and a bunch of reasonable TRS cables. You can never have too many cables.
 

xiris

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Thanks for your reply! I'm currently in Logic X, but i'm torn for what DAW to use when i go to Windows.. Bitwig vs Ableton is my main debate, though by no means am i locked into picking between just those two. ...part of me wants to have a Hackintosh system on this new machine, but i havent had time to reaearch whats required to do that yet.

Ive got a rack and have thought about a patch bay, but tbh i only have 3 things in that rack right now, so for the moment i could leave the effects routed directly to my i/o box, as long as i have enough ins and outs.. but in the long run i think it will be inevitable.. that may be a couple years down the road though.

Iv heard great things about the Apollo units, ill take a proper look at them now.

Cheers!
 

scrTchs

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The apollo twin is an awesome piece of gear. You could do what your saying and run it back through uad plugins with practically zero latency. Your limited to two audio inputs but that can be upgraded in the future if you want.
 
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