Using guitar fx pedals/stompboxes with DAWs


Drench Audio
VIP Junglist
One of my mates is migrating, so is in the process of getting rid of most of his unwanted and bulky possessions.

He's giving me a load of guitar pedals that are too knacked to sell but still work, distortion, phase, compression etc.

I wanna test them out with Ableton, as I don't really play guitar anymore.

What's the best way of doing this?

My interface is an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra, which has lots of inputs/outputs (most of mine don't work as I bought it dirt cheap), it also has 'inserts' but I think they only affect signal between the input and the ADC.

The way I was planning was to have a signal running out of outputs 3/4 (1/2 are connected to my monitors) and then from the output through the pedals back into inputs on the interface for Ableton to record from, with monitoring off, so no feedback.

Is there a more efficient way of doing this with send and returns, as I've only used outboard effects with mixing desks that do this with auxs and S/R.

Any tips would be great

VIP Junglist
I use inserts just for that. Sampler outs and interface outs go into mixer channels and I can choose which channel to distort with the pedal by plugging in the insert cable to the corresponding channel. I have my main outs going to the monitors and a 'group out' going to interface for recording. The second output has a separate volume control, and I can route any channel to the 'group out' with a switch on the channel strips. I'm not sure on your audio interface but you should definately check all it's options.

I just have to mute the incoming channel in the DAW to prevent feedback. This way I can't listen exactly how loud its coming in, but recording at 24 bits it's not a big deal as you can just watch from the DAW meters that it doesn't clip and adjust volume afterwards.