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Running Out Of Inputs - What would YOU do?
Old 13th March 2014
  #1
Deleted 80b9b09
Guest
Running Out Of Inputs - What would YOU do?

Hi All

I'm about to get a few new pieces of equipment taking my overall analog synth collection to several jacks more than I have the inputs for.

I'm currently using a Steinberg MR816 (which I absolutely love). This goes into my little Genelec monitors, so nothing too high brow.

I have stuff like a Juno, a 909, VIRUS, lots and lots of guitar pedals, Moog, Moogerfoogers, Nord, and other bits n bobs.

What I'd like to hear is everyone's opinion on the best way to expand my inputs so I can cater for all my gear at once.

I do have an old Mackie 1202 VLZ I bought back in 1996, and it's sat gathering dust.

My choices are as follows:
  • Focusrite OctoPre to utilise the ADAT inputs on the MR816
  • Pick up a decent little desk (with sliders) a la A&H or the Yamaha MG series
  • Use the Mackie which I already have (though doesn't satisfy the GAS)
  • Hunt down a cheap second hand MR816 and link them

I'm about to get a Strymon BigSky and a few other pedals. I already have absolutely loads and generally plug them in direct as oppose to routing through send/returns.

Any opinions would be very much appreciated from you knowledgeable bunch.
Old 13th March 2014
  #2
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BTByrd's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you do a lot of multitrack recording and mixing in a DAW, I'd go for the ADAT expander solution so that you can track as many sources as possible to different channels within the computer. If you typically record only a few tracks at a time, you can get away with using a mixer instead (but it's always better to have the option to record each sound source on its own channel). If you plan on mixing or using a lot of effects sends/returns outside the box (which it doesn't sound like you are, since you record mostly direct) then a mixer is the best choice... and you've already got one, which is a bonus.

If it was me, I'd pick up the OctoPre and see if I could somehow work the Mackie into the setup (perhaps to mix the drums on the 909?).
Old 13th March 2014
  #3
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blinky909's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
patchbay
Old 13th March 2014
  #4
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lain2097's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'd agree with expanding your inputs via ADAT, MR816 has ADAT and WC so it should be easy to expand. Unless you like the sound of mackie sub-mixing and that workflow, I'd reccomend more inputs rather than studio sprawl. But eh that's me.

sez the guy who recorded & mixed two albums on 4-track cassette.
Old 13th March 2014
  #5
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d1rtynyc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Like BTBird, I would suggest the "Focusrite OctoPre to utilise the ADAT inputs on the MR816".

My buddy has a RME Babyface and is very critical of converters and knows good sound and he loves his OctoPre.

Also, as the Birdman said... Dust off that Mackie and put it to work.

You can use it for a live mutes, cuts and getting tweaky with the FX auxes. Plus, you can use the inserts on it to route direct into your FX (using the wet/dry knobs on the FX, compressors and EQs. Great fun for drums and Mono synths.

Go for the OctoPre Dynamic for even more control on your inputs.
Old 13th March 2014
  #6
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
option 1 ADAT
Old 13th March 2014
  #7
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Seccione's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
+1 for ADAT, but if you record > 48kHz you'll gain just 4 inputs.

Patchbay would be the real solution, but OP stated "...so I can cater for all my gear at once."
Old 13th March 2014
  #8
Deleted 80b9b09
Guest
That's why I love this place... Always gives me.a perspective I wouldn't have thought of...

That and for the Aira thread.

ADAT is probably the way to go!

And the 909 through the Mackie is instant Flux Trax if anyone remembers those compilations.

Really appreciate the opinions. Thank you.
Old 13th March 2014 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
junipersuction's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutilatedlip ➑️
That's why I love this place... Always gives me.a perspective I wouldn't have thought of...

That and for the Aira thread.

ADAT is probably the way to go!

And the 909 through the Mackie is instant Flux Trax if anyone remembers those compilations.

Really appreciate the opinions. Thank you.
Ah! I loved those Flux Trax compliations. The one with the brown cover was great...
Old 13th March 2014
  #10
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Johnny Wrong's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
i have an MR816 hooked up to a UR824 with ADAT, works really well, but, you have to make sure the clock settings for each unit are identical, or no audio!
Old 13th March 2014 | Show parent
  #11
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adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Wrong ➑️
i have an MR816 hooked up to a UR824 with ADAT, works really well, but, you have to make sure the clock settings for each unit are identical, or no audio!
If you're running two things connected together via ADAT, you shouldn't just be setting identical clock settings on the two, you should be setting one of them to slave itself to the other.

If you don't have the two synced up properly like that, but it's working anyway, that's more by good luck than good management.
Old 13th March 2014 | Show parent
  #12
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seccione ➑️
+1 for ADAT, but if you record > 48kHz you'll gain just 4 inputs"
If you record at 48k you still get 8 ins/outs.
It's not until you go to 88 or 96k that channels drop to 4 as you have to use 2 channels for that amount of data.
Old 13th March 2014 | Show parent
  #13
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Seccione's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Mitch ➑️
If you record at 48k you still get 8 ins/outs.
It's not until you go to 88 or 96k that channels drop to 4 as you have to use 2 channels for that amount of data.
Yes, that's why ">", as "greater than".
Old 13th March 2014
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
You lose ADAT input channels when going over 48k (i.e. Single Speed) but that doesn't switch off your analogue inputs for direct monitoring or routing etc.

Also, with RME's TotalMix there's nothing to stop you from mixing/summing 2 stereo ADC input pairs into 1 ADAT input pair, or panning multiple mono inputs into 1 stereo ADAT input pair.

Of course, you'll lose the ability to process those inputs individually, but it can still be useful (if your interface's DSP mixer allows).
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #15
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Johnny Wrong's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww ➑️
If you're running two things connected together via ADAT, you shouldn't just be setting identical clock settings on the two, you should be setting one of them to slave itself to the other.

If you don't have the two synced up properly like that, but it's working anyway, that's more by good luck than good management.
You may well be correct about other pieces of equipment, but Steinberg gear works (or doesn't) by different rules.
Old 14th March 2014
  #16
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NWSooner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Line mixer. I run all my synths/drum machines into a pair of 32x4 line mixers (Speck X.Sums) but there's plenty of reasonably priced 8 and 12 input 1U line mixers out there at reasonable prices. (Behringer, Alesis, Rane, etc.)
Old 14th March 2014
  #17
Gear Nut
 
ynohtna's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
What do I do when I run out of inputs on my various mixers and audio interfaces?

I simply wait a week for some of my sound sources to malfunction.
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
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adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Wrong ➑️
You may well be correct about other pieces of equipment, but Steinberg gear works (or doesn't) by different rules.
Er...no it doesn't. Unless we're talking about some kind of dual-unit operation with both devices connected to the computer simultaneously (i.e. not via ADAT), the fact that you can get away with running them out of sync just by setting both to the same sample rate is purely a stroke of luck. That they're both made by the same manufacturer and most of the internals (including the clock circuits) are likely to be virtually identical probably helps, but there still isn't any guarantee that the two clocks will stay completely in sync all of the time. Even identical clocks drift unless something is keeping them in sync and ensuring that both are ticking at exactly the same time.

When dealing with devices connected via ADAT or other digital protocols, the only way to be absolutely certain that your clocks will stay in sync (and, thus, that you won't end up with digital clicks, pops and other sample errors) is to ensure that the various clocks are locked together somehow - whether that's clock sync via the digital audio stream itself (ADAT, SPDIF, etc.) or a separate, dedicated wordclock connection. Like taking off and nuking the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure...
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