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Thread: Synth, recording, and effects set-ups and tips

  1. #1
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Synth, recording, and effects set-ups and tips

    I thought there might be an interest and/or benefit in having a Thread that is focused on the myriad options for setting up oneís synths, effects, and recording systems. I see it as sort of an all-purpose, helpful, stimulating source of possibilities.

    So for me, I am lucky enough to have many older synths...Yamaha, Roland, Kurzweil, etc. I have about 5 or 6 traditional effects, and am hardware-based as far as recording. It is a blessing but with so much gear sometimes it can be rather confusing to keep things function and limit constant re-wiring, patching, etc. In order to maximize flexibility and multiple routing, I have generally used Yamaha boxes like the MJC-8 and the MEP-4 (I have two of both).

    I have several patch bays but they are not currently in use (so many cables needed!).

    In order to try and have any synth ready to be heard or recorded, I have slowly collected several Mackie line level mixers and a medium-size Mackie Mixer. Yes, I would be better off with one large mixer but it isnít currently a possibility to upgrade.

    The parallel to the audio routing is the MIDI routing...it can get rather confusing with so many synths.

    Being able to Easily and quickly use any effect with any synth would be nice...probably the wisest thing would be using the patch bays to facilitate that (so each effect could be routed to be used on any synth).

    I am not so much looking for advice on my set-up (but I would gladly listen). Mostly, Iíd love this to be a place where we all can describe our set-ups, the relative value and negatives of the set-up, and be a place to pose questions. There are so many ways to go...computer based approaches versus my old-fashioned approach would be the biggest main dividing point.


    Have at it!

  2. #2
    Hey hey! Fun idea

    My studio is mostly a boatload of synths, FX and sundry noisemakers.

    For audio...my main mixer is a Presonus 16 channel board with a Firewire option so it can feed directly into my computer without a secondary audio interface. I also have a smaller 16-channel rackmounted line mixer for additional devices where I don't mind the small bit of added "noise" in the signal chain. Some years ago I had a stereo tube preamp to add that little extra bit of "oomph" to the sound as it was recorded...but frankly, I'm more than happy with the sound I'm getting directly through the mixer so it's one less beast in the rack.

    I have a 48-point patchbay I use for nearly everything audio so it's easy to adjust the chains as needed. Several of my pedals are organized into subsets and "frequent" use chains...like, the Meris Ottobit -> Polymoon -> Mercury 7 processing the Deckards Dream. I can use the patchbay to override this and send any input to that particular chain.

    For the Moog Voyager I have an actual pedalboard set up to handle both a few different outboard effects, as well as route a distortion unit to the pre-filter input. Because I love weird little gadgets and because I also love that modular mentality...I also have one of these as part of that pedalboard setup so I can quickly re-route things or add additional players to the mix: https://www.boredbrainmusic.com/prod...chulator-8000/

    No, it isn't essential but good grief does it look cool and make patching kind of fun I also have a Boredbrain Terminal in the system where I might want to add something extra to the signal path.

    Lastly, I also have a dozen or so "floating" pedals, FX units, and noisemakers that aren't immediately setup at all times. The patchbays pretty much allow me to introduce those wherever, and however I want to process them.

    For MIDI, I went with MOTU MIDI express units. Mainly because they are easy to expand: just add a second unit of any size and voila. I also use USB connections as often as possible when the synths support it. I also found the config files for Sonar where I can customize and set the names (and order) of the ports so that the most frequently-used ones are at the top.

    It probably isn't an issue for a ton of other folks but there's one other "intersection" that needs a bit of attention: CV and MIDI. My Eurorack system is purely CV of course, so I have a basic MIDI to CV module and have configured a template in Sonar that allows me to output a clock pulse to MIDI, which the module then converts into a signal for Eurorack to keep everyone purring along happily together.

    The only headache I have these days is with the Haken Continuum/EaganMatrix editor...it doesn't really coexist with a DAW in terms of MIDI. Audio is fine; I can have both programs open no problem. But not for recording a MIDI track. That's hard because the EaganMatrix editor includes visual feedback as to how closely my fingers have landed on/off a particular note, or if I'm skewing sharp or the like. I kind of hope/wish that they would create a VST-style hosted version of the editor so it could incorporate more easily into Sonar or any other DAW.

    Random off-the-top-of-my-head spewings!!
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  3. #3
    I have Mackie CR1604 mixer. Not much effects, only a Akai Digital Reverb.
    I use a combination of hardware and software instruments from Arturia. For those I use the effects in Cubase 8 Pro and in some cases perhaps the effects which are present in several Arturia instruments and a plate reverb I got from Arturia for free.
    Midie-interface is a MOTU Midi-expres 128

  4. #4
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    Hey hey! Fun idea

    My studio is mostly a boatload of synths, FX and sundry noisemakers.

    For audio...my main mixer is a Presonus 16 channel board with a Firewire option so it can feed directly into my computer without a secondary audio interface. I also have a smaller 16-channel rackmounted line mixer for additional devices where I don't mind the small bit of added "noise" in the signal chain. Some years ago I had a stereo tube preamp to add that little extra bit of "oomph" to the sound as it was recorded...but frankly, I'm more than happy with the sound I'm getting directly through the mixer so it's one less beast in the rack.

    I have a 48-point patchbay I use for nearly everything audio so it's easy to adjust the chains as needed. Several of my pedals are organized into subsets and "frequent" use chains...like, the Meris Ottobit -> Polymoon -> Mercury 7 processing the Deckards Dream. I can use the patchbay to override this and send any input to that particular chain.

    For the Moog Voyager I have an actual pedalboard set up to handle both a few different outboard effects, as well as route a distortion unit to the pre-filter input. Because I love weird little gadgets and because I also love that modular mentality...I also have one of these as part of that pedalboard setup so I can quickly re-route things or add additional players to the mix: https://www.boredbrainmusic.com/prod...chulator-8000/

    No, it isn't essential but good grief does it look cool and make patching kind of fun I also have a Boredbrain Terminal in the system where I might want to add something extra to the signal path.

    Lastly, I also have a dozen or so "floating" pedals, FX units, and noisemakers that aren't immediately setup at all times. The patchbays pretty much allow me to introduce those wherever, and however I want to process them.

    For MIDI, I went with MOTU MIDI express units. Mainly because they are easy to expand: just add a second unit of any size and voila. I also use USB connections as often as possible when the synths support it. I also found the config files for Sonar where I can customize and set the names (and order) of the ports so that the most frequently-used ones are at the top.

    It probably isn't an issue for a ton of other folks but there's one other "intersection" that needs a bit of attention: CV and MIDI. My Eurorack system is purely CV of course, so I have a basic MIDI to CV module and have configured a template in Sonar that allows me to output a clock pulse to MIDI, which the module then converts into a signal for Eurorack to keep everyone purring along happily together.

    The only headache I have these days is with the Haken Continuum/EaganMatrix editor...it doesn't really coexist with a DAW in terms of MIDI. Audio is fine; I can have both programs open no problem. But not for recording a MIDI track. That's hard because the EaganMatrix editor includes visual feedback as to how closely my fingers have landed on/off a particular note, or if I'm skewing sharp or the like. I kind of hope/wish that they would create a VST-style hosted version of the editor so it could incorporate more easily into Sonar or any other DAW.

    Random off-the-top-of-my-head spewings!!
    Thanks so much for your rig rundown, John! I know much of your setup but it is great to see all this info. That 48 point patch bay really sounds lie the key to your flexibility.

    And yes, the CV, and CV to MIDI side of things is important t cover.

    The Haken/Eagan issue sounds like a real problem.

    And thanks for piping up with your details, Rarebird!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotron View Post
    Thanks so much for your rig rundown, John! I know much of your setup but it is great to see all this info. That 48 point patch bay really sounds lie the key to your flexibility.

    And yes, the CV, and CV to MIDI side of things is important t cover.

    The Haken/Eagan issue sounds like a real problem.

    And thanks for piping up with your details, Rarebird!
    I still need to look into that. My Arturia keyboard has CV out, which can be connected with my Roland System 100 model 101, but I still don't get the right notes, they are always a few octaves to high. Besides the patch-cords are a bit short. Longer cords with stereo connections are easy to find, but I'm not sure if they would work.

    In the past Cubase had some module, which could be used to save synthesizersounds and change them a bit, but alas my current version doesn't support any of my synthesizers.

  6. #6
    My personal favorite patch cords are the Tiptop Audio Stackcables: http://tiptopaudio.com/stackcable/

    They were inspired by the Buchla systems' cable of choice, come in a wide variety of lengths & colors and essentially bring banana plug capability to normal 3.5" jacks (i.e. you can "stack" cables on top of each other to send to multiple destinations.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  7. #7
    This isn't an electronic aspect to a studio but it's kind of a really handy addition, especially if you start poking around with Eurorack/modular and patchbays:

    https://www.perfectcircuit.com/catal...cable%20hanger

    I have a few different varieties of these mounted on the back of the closet in my studio (don't let this shock you, my studio is just my spare bedroom ). It keeps cables from ending up tangled or crimped, even helps quickly eyeball sizes if that's necessary. Mostly these are used for the 1/8" modular patch cables but I've got hangers for the 1/4" stuff too. It's a fairly small investment that can make life SO much easier.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  8. #8
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    This isn't an electronic aspect to a studio but it's kind of a really handy addition, especially if you start poking around with Eurorack/modular and patchbays:

    https://www.perfectcircuit.com/catal...cable%20hanger

    I have a few different varieties of these mounted on the back of the closet in my studio (don't let this shock you, my studio is just my spare bedroom ). It keeps cables from ending up tangled or crimped, even helps quickly eyeball sizes if that's necessary. Mostly these are used for the 1/8" modular patch cables but I've got hangers for the 1/4" stuff too. It's a fairly small investment that can make life SO much easier.
    They look like very hand products, John! I need a bunch!

    This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to expose in a thread like this; anything that helps manage the set-up (physical or electric) and encourage easier work flow is what I am interested in.

    How about lighting? Do you all do anything unusual? I have a combo of basic task lighting and a few of those battery-operated mini-LED lights that many folks use on instrument stands, etc. I also have some LED strip lighting (multi-color capable) that I plan to put under the various keyboards so that the board or devices below are lit just so. I find that the right color and amount of light make a big difference for me (plenty of light when running cables but low level light when playing and grooving).

  9. #9
    I mostly have just standard lamps but I also added a strip of LED lights on the wall-facing side of a bookshelf for "mood" lighting. You know, for the endless stream of "prog keyboardist" groupies who are always finding their way into my studio...okay fine, just a bunch of dust bunnies I haven't cleaned up yet

    Luckily the studio gets pretty good light coverage so none of my synths needed anything special

    Oh...in terms of similar workflow/organization things, I know this got shared before but it's pretty cool so why not again

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ion-controller

    Great way to share one expression pedal with up to three different targets (pedals, synths, whatever).
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  10. #10
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Wow, some of you guys are seriously complicated. I have an Arturia Keylab 88 MKII that is simply a MIDI controller plugged into my computer via USB. The computer holds everything else. I use an Ableton Live 10 DAW and a bunch of plug-ins, many from Ableton but others like DSK, Kontakt, Melda, MT Power Drums, Spitfire Audio, and more from here and there as I find some other sound I need.

    I have a different question for you, and try as I might I can't figure out how to get my mastering levels up as high as I hear on all those commercial recordings. I use compression and I have a look-ahead limiter on the master channel, but it never sounds as loud on playback as a normal CD. If I try to push things too much they distort, as expected. Is there a secret to this?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    I have a different question for you, and try as I might I can't figure out how to get my mastering levels up as high as I hear on all those commercial recordings. I use compression and I have a look-ahead limiter on the master channel, but it never sounds as loud on playback as a normal CD. If I try to push things too much they distort, as expected. Is there a secret to this?
    Please don't! The loudness wars are finally over, nobody won, and lots of ears got hurt in the process...

    In any case, if you still want to do it (and all joking aside, there are valid reasons for this), this is how I normally approach it.

    First load the reference track into your DAW (this is the commercial recording you want to match). Highlight some loud section of it and use your DAW to figure out what is the RMS value from that track (each DAW is different, but most would have something like this as a standard tool on the audio menu). Then load your own track and do the same. This will give you an idea of how many dB you need to increase you track in order to match the reference.

    Now, let's say it's around 6dB. Using a compression ratio of 2:1 (I wouldn't go higher than that for mastering), if you set your threshold at -12 dB, you can increase your output gain by 6dB and the loudest parts of your audio will reach 0dB. Of course, this simple math is ignoring all the peaks, but this will get you in the ballpark. Some peaks will go higher than 0dB because the compressor will not be fast enough to catch them (you can play with the attack settings to minimize that) and in any case we are using RMS values as reference, which don't really take the peaks into consideration. So whatever you do, you will see some peaks clipping in your output. That's where your limiter will come in. From there you should try to tweak your compressor settings until it sounds good to you.
    Last edited by pmrviana; 08-20-2020 at 05:32 PM.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    I have a different question for you, and try as I might I can't figure out how to get my mastering levels up as high as I hear on all those commercial recordings. I use compression and I have a look-ahead limiter on the master channel, but it never sounds as loud on playback as a normal CD. If I try to push things too much they distort, as expected. Is there a secret to this?
    Oh yay, here's comes a big honking long-winded opinion from that darn crazy contrary guy

    IMHO the secret is, don't master your own music.

    It isn't about volume, it's about the flatness in the room and the inherent acoustic biases in the space, it's about your ears having fatigue and no real subjectivity left after mixing for X amount of time. A quality mastering engineer will take your recording into a flat space that they know by heart and make your songs not necessarily sound loud like a commercial recording, but it will sound excellent on just about any system. They will hear things in frequencies that you don't even realize are there, oftentimes lumps that contribute to that "there's a blanket over my song!" sense that comes from self-mastering. They have EQs, compressors and other tools to add distinct colors and bring out the best in your material.

    There are a wide range of services ranging from online (upload your song and it will be auto-mastered) to engineers. I paid about $300 for my album to be mastered and IMHO it was the BEST spent portion of my entire budget. I've had projects where the mastering hit the quadruple digits but...IMHO that wasn't a great an ROI.

    If you are absolutely set on doing it yourself, get a software package like iZotope Ozone. It isn't cheap but it offers a wide range of tools for mastering a recording, as well as large set of presets to help get you started (find a preset that gets you close, and then tweak a few things to your taste). The newest versions also include tools to help you analyze a recording, even suggest things that may help the mix. I do actually own Ozone and experiment with it for things I don't plan to release all fancy 'n stuff, and depending on the song I've gotten terrific results from Ozone (my track "Return Receipt" on YT was mastered in Ozone). Compared to what came back from the pro mastering done on my album though, there's absolutely a difference.

    Just my $0.02...either way good luck and I hope you share the end results here in due time!
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    Oh yay, here's comes a big honking long-winded opinion from that darn crazy contrary guy

    IMHO the secret is, don't master your own music.

    It isn't about volume, it's about the flatness in the room and the inherent acoustic biases in the space, it's about your ears having fatigue and no real subjectivity left after mixing for X amount of time. A quality mastering engineer will take your recording into a flat space that they know by heart and make your songs not necessarily sound loud like a commercial recording, but it will sound excellent on just about any system. They will hear things in frequencies that you don't even realize are there, oftentimes lumps that contribute to that "there's a blanket over my song!" sense that comes from self-mastering. They have EQs, compressors and other tools to add distinct colors and bring out the best in your material.

    There are a wide range of services ranging from online (upload your song and it will be auto-mastered) to engineers. I paid about $300 for my album to be mastered and IMHO it was the BEST spent portion of my entire budget. I've had projects where the mastering hit the quadruple digits but...IMHO that wasn't a great an ROI.

    If you are absolutely set on doing it yourself, get a software package like iZotope Ozone. It isn't cheap but it offers a wide range of tools for mastering a recording, as well as large set of presets to help get you started (find a preset that gets you close, and then tweak a few things to your taste). The newest versions also include tools to help you analyze a recording, even suggest things that may help the mix. I do actually own Ozone and experiment with it for things I don't plan to release all fancy 'n stuff, and depending on the song I've gotten terrific results from Ozone (my track "Return Receipt" on YT was mastered in Ozone). Compared to what came back from the pro mastering done on my album though, there's absolutely a difference.

    Just my $0.02...either way good luck and I hope you share the end results here in due time!
    I use some cheapish program from Magix, which can be used for all kinds of sound-reworking, like removing record-noises, but it also has a mastering option. I mostly use the classical preset. I have a predecessor of this program:
    https://www.amazon.com/MAGIX-Audio-M.../dp/B01C4F6I1I

  14. #14
    That's cool

    Apologies if I came off as unduly harsh above. I know quite a few folks who use off-the-shelf software solutions for all their mastering and are quite happy. Mastering is something I feel pretty strongly about. It's also where I and many other "DIY" creators have struggled the hardest to achieve satisfactory results. Use a reference track, tune to match and it sounds great on my monitors...take it out to the car and it sounds like ass.

    As creators we don't necessarily hear what's there, certainly not in objective terms. We hear our perception of what's there; some details will appear far more prominent to us than they will to someone else. Those biases color our ability to make the best/ideal sonic choices in these final stages.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    That's cool

    Apologies if I came off as unduly harsh above. I know quite a few folks who use off-the-shelf software solutions for all their mastering and are quite happy. Mastering is something I feel pretty strongly about. It's also where I and many other "DIY" creators have struggled the hardest to achieve satisfactory results. Use a reference track, tune to match and it sounds great on my monitors...take it out to the car and it sounds like ass.

    As creators we don't necessarily hear what's there, certainly not in objective terms. We hear our perception of what's there; some details will appear far more prominent to us than they will to someone else. Those biases color our ability to make the best/ideal sonic choices in these final stages.
    I don't think you came over as harsh. I can understand someone hiring the service of a mastering-company. In the end you get what you pay for. If I had the possibility to make up for the costs, I suppose my first priority would be hiring real musicians, a real studio and real mastering.

    And I agree when you have worked for a long time at creating something you might not hear the things the way a fresh set of ears would hear it. At some point I start getting tired of listening to the same piece, over and over and over again.

  16. #16
    I came across this video about a year ago as I was mulling over options for my last album. The song in question isn't really my cuppa, and I admit to finding the main guy a bit manic for my tastes...but I do think this was a nice, reasonably objective compare/contrast between different modern approaches to mastering:

    (minor edit: video title implies what he considers "real" but it's actually pretty fair to all of them)

    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  17. #17
    Member hFx's Avatar
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    Interesting thread! I recognize most of the issues, virtues and problems described above.

    My background is that I worked quite a lot in mid and major studios in the 80's and 90's, mostly as studio engineer and tech wiz, some as musician. The reason to go go for a personal studio was the DIY opportunities that came with Atari-based sequencers and MIDI. The studio has gone through (voluntary and involuntary) incarnations starting from where it got "serious" in the late 80's. Though I'm a guitarist, synths and MIDI have been the major tools. I recognize most of the equipment, requirements and problems that you've described above.

    The trend has been to go from all analogue experiences in the 80's to gradually invoking ever more digital tools.

    The first "real" personal studio was already a A/D hybrid, as it relied on MIDI, synced to 8-track tape (Fostex 80 R2R) and a large 24 channel Soundcraft desk with 8 channels automated via a weird MIDI-controlled box. Everything were connected to their own channels (up to 10 synths and a few FX units). I avoided daisy chaining MIDI as far as I could, but soon had to move from Atari/Notator/Unitor/MEP-4s to Mac/Performer/MTP's to keep MIDI running smooth. The first digital audio step was mastering to DAT instead of 2-track and stereo audio editing with Sound Designer and Audiomedia cards.

    The next step, as the business grew, was replacing the R2Rs with Fostex ADAT's (choice of brand as they could chase sync to time code) and the bigger Yamaha digital desks and eventually (finally!!) moving to ITB recording (MoTU 828s and beyond) - as a consequence the ADATs and the Yamaha digital desk were replaced with DAW controllers. However, the system for controlling synths, MIDI and outboards remained more or less the same through the 90s. Most of what I produced in the studio was synth based and the guitars became dust collectors.

    Unfortunately the business went south some 15 years ago and I had to start over, literately with just an acoustic guitar I still did some external studio (engineer) gigs and as a consequence, the next incarnation, which I'm still building on, happened when ITB got more serious. I went, via a stint Win/Cubase, back to Mac, now with Logic as core, and focused on "I/O units" to the ITB-system (MIDI Controllers, decent audio interface and monitors). The music is yet again mostly guitar based and except for few synths and outboard FX's, most things are created ITB.

    If I'd go for a more synth centered studio again I would go for a similar multiport solution that you use, though many modern synths come with USB connections. The Prophet 12 and the SE-02 have in my current studio are USB, used both for MIDI and for the Mac editors. I have had no problems with USB MIDI. The e-drums controllers I use (2box) rely on MIDI and also a Fader Controller (Radical SAC-2) works with MIDI only. All in all there are 10+ USB connections active for studio use, but only 2 MIDI-ports. I don't even have a MIDI interface, relying just on the 2 physical ports in the audio interface. Should any more MIDI-only devices be added, I have to rethink my strategy.
    My Progressive Workshop at http://soundcloud.com/hfxx

  18. #18
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    I hear you about the "blanket over the song" thing, some things are clear as day and others just appear muddy. Maybe there's too much going on in those sections.

    I recently have been trying to remaster some stuff I did a while ago and thought it sounded good on my headphones and then tweaked it on my desktop speakers. Then I took it into the car and heard quite a few things, like some parts that just wasn't audible now and needed a boost to bring them into balance with a lead. I thought I had that right, then took it all to my main audio system and made more tweaks, mostly to left-right balance, but overall the level I had to listen at on that main system was 2 clicks higher than I normally listen to music there. Hence my question about relative loudness.

    I'm not looking to make any money on any of this, so I'm not about to go have this professionally mastered, but I will look into some on-line tools (i.e. Bandlab) and try them out to see if there is any difference over what I'm doing myself. Thanks for the advise guys and I do plan on sharing the whole project out by the end of the year.
    Last edited by BobM; 08-22-2020 at 11:17 AM.
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  19. #19
    One problem with USB I encounter is the lack of USB-ports. And often USB-hubs don't solve it, because stuff can't be connected over an USB-hub.

  20. #20
    Member hFx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    One problem with USB I encounter is the lack of USB-ports. And often USB-hubs don't solve it, because stuff can't be connected over an USB-hub.
    Yes USB hubs can be potentially problematic. I got 2 powered hubs with multi speed capability and they work fine with all equipment, even as daisy chained. Do you have any examples of problematic stuff?
    My Progressive Workshop at http://soundcloud.com/hfxx

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by hFx View Post
    Yes USB hubs can be potentially problematic. I got 2 powered hubs with multi speed capability and they work fine with all equipment, even as daisy chained. Do you have any examples of problematic stuff?
    A whole lot of stuff I use seems to function only without USB-hub. And a powered hub, only seems to add problems. Computer-keyboard, mouse and Steinberg key are the only things that are connected to an USB-hub and they don't seem to function with a powered USB-hub.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    Apologies if I came off as unduly harsh above. I know quite a few folks who use off-the-shelf software solutions for all their mastering and are quite happy. Mastering is something I feel pretty strongly about. It's also where I and many other "DIY" creators have struggled the hardest to achieve satisfactory results. Use a reference track, tune to match and it sounds great on my monitors...take it out to the car and it sounds like ass.
    In any case, "have a different person do the mixing and the mastering" is pretty standard, and good, advice.
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  23. #23
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Excellent posts, everybody!

    Please keep it coming.

  24. #24
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    I've been revisiting some things that I've done this year and remixing them, now that I've gotten some experience under my belt. I used to just post the mix version here with mixed results (pun intended). But now I've looked into mastering and decided I just don't have the right tools to do that adequately myself plus there's some magic involved, I'm sure. I found a decent free site called Bandlab and they do a reasonably good job with their automated algorithms, and did I mention it's free. You can hear your original version, a CD version, a bass enhanced version and a clarity version by switching between them, then choose the one you like best and have it saved on their site.

    One thing I've found though is you have to submit your mixed version down about 4-6db or it will come out somewhat hot and sometimes distorted. So I've been using a loudness meter on my master track to adjust this and it's working quite well. Melda Productions has a good one in their toolkit for your DAW and that's free too.

    Of course none of this will sound as good as a real mastering engineer, but that's quite expensive for a hobbyist.
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  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    One thing I've found though is you have to submit your mixed version down about 4-6db or it will come out somewhat hot and sometimes distorted. So I've been using a loudness meter on my master track to adjust this and it's working quite well. Melda Productions has a good one in their toolkit for your DAW and that's free too.
    Oh yeah, definitely. I usually actually aim for about -10db for my pre-mastered average level.

    That's also apparently helpful during mixing as I understand it...I try to get the gain on the raw tracks around -12db or so before feeding into any FX.

    Glad you found a solution that works!!
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
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