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Computer producer who wants to move into using hardware effects units, how?
Old 5th March 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Computer producer who wants to move into using hardware effects units, how?

Let me explain, I know next to nothing about hardware equipment.. but from what i'm guessing I need to buy an interface such as the DIGI-003, use that as my interface through my software then plug hardware units into that.. So how does the process work in terms of putting analogue effects on a digital signal, will I get a higher noise floor in the conversion process to and forth unless I set levels properly?

Can I send one particular sound in the mix to this unit? And adjust while the rest of the song plays?

Yours sincerely,

Hardware ultranoob
Old 6th March 2014
  #2
RiF
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🎧 10 years
Here's an example of using a hardware unit in Pro Tools, assuming you have a multi-i/o audio interface like the Digi 003 or anything similar (e.g. Profire 2626, Focusrite Saffire etc.):
- Connect output 3 from the Digi 003 to the input of your hardware unit.
- Connect input 3 (must be the same # as the output) to the output of your hardware unit
- Make sure you have delay compensation enabled to compensate for the added delay that is induced by the audio roundtrip out of the interface and back in
- In Pro Tools, go to the mixer window and use the right-click menu over an insert slot just like you would when you want to insert a plugin on the track. Instead of selecting a plugin, select input/output 3 from the dropdown menu under "i/o" instead.
Play the track, tweak the knobs :-).

Same for units like reverbs or delays, that you want to use as an aux/send effect:
- Setup an Aux track just like you would to add a reverb plugin to your mix
- Insert the hardware on the Aux track just like you would insert a plugin. It works for stereo units as well by using two adjacent i/o's on a stereo aux track.

In the end, just record the mix to a new audio track for the final mixdown of the whole thing. Or record a single track to a new track to "print" the effect and free it for use on another track.

Noise floor:
To reduce the noise from analog gear, make sure you're running the analog units at the optimal level. To do this, make sure the level that is going out through the hardware insert is around -18 dBFS, which equals to 0 dbVU in the analog world. But yes, if an analog unit is noisy, you'll get that noise.
The conversion process itself does not add noticable levels of noise, because most AD/DA-converters have a very low noise floor (sth like -100 dB or so).

I hope that helps.
Old 9th March 2014 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF ➑️
Here's an example of using a hardware unit in Pro Tools, assuming you have a multi-i/o audio interface like the Digi 003 or anything similar (e.g. Profire 2626, Focusrite Saffire etc.):
- Connect output 3 from the Digi 003 to the input of your hardware unit.
- Connect input 3 (must be the same # as the output) to the output of your hardware unit
- Make sure you have delay compensation enabled to compensate for the added delay that is induced by the audio roundtrip out of the interface and back in
- In Pro Tools, go to the mixer window and use the right-click menu over an insert slot just like you would when you want to insert a plugin on the track. Instead of selecting a plugin, select input/output 3 from the dropdown menu under "i/o" instead.
Play the track, tweak the knobs :-).

Same for units like reverbs or delays, that you want to use as an aux/send effect:
- Setup an Aux track just like you would to add a reverb plugin to your mix
- Insert the hardware on the Aux track just like you would insert a plugin. It works for stereo units as well by using two adjacent i/o's on a stereo aux track.

In the end, just record the mix to a new audio track for the final mixdown of the whole thing. Or record a single track to a new track to "print" the effect and free it for use on another track.

Noise floor:
To reduce the noise from analog gear, make sure you're running the analog units at the optimal level. To do this, make sure the level that is going out through the hardware insert is around -18 dBFS, which equals to 0 dbVU in the analog world. But yes, if an analog unit is noisy, you'll get that noise.
The conversion process itself does not add noticable levels of noise, because most AD/DA-converters have a very low noise floor (sth like -100 dB or so).

I hope that helps.
Wow, that was beautiful in terms of what I wanted to know! Thank you!

What are the absolute best bargains out there in terms of interfaces? I am looking just to have an interface which allows for around four effects units to be plugged in at once, that's all I require past the essentials such as decent D/A A/D conversion etc.
Old 9th March 2014
  #4
RiF
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🎧 10 years
Thanx for the kind words, I am glad that it helped you.

It depends on the money that you want to spend, but as you said "best bargains", I'd suggest to look into the Focusrite Saffire interfaces. I have an M-Audio Profire 2626 that I really like and would recommend as well. The Digi 002 (which I had before) and 003 are said to have inferior converters, so I'd stay away from those.
Old 10th March 2014
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Would the Saffire PRO 24 work as you described? It has 6 line outputs on the back, two of which will be used for monitors with a separate switcher attached so I can switch between my monitors .. but will the other 4 line inputs/outputs work with external units?

Old 10th March 2014
  #6
RiF
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🎧 10 years
The Saffire Pro 24 has only 4 inputs and 6 outputs. If you want to connect 4 hardware units, you're running out of inputs. Pro Tools for example needs the hardware to be connected pair of i/o (if the output is #3, the input needs to be #3 as well), which does not allow you to use the inputs 1+2 for inserting hw. But you know better how many i/o you need for your hw.
Other options would be the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 or the Saffire Pro 40
Old 10th March 2014
  #7
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mike vee's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
if you REALLY wanna do it good, get the Lynx AES16e with and use FX units with AES connectivity. No loss from AD/DA and a lot faster loop, too.
Old 10th March 2014
  #8
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Miiko's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The correct answer is piles and piles of money.
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