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TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

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TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:15 pm

Hi,

I asked a few weeks ago about a way to record on location and I was advised the MixPre6, which is indeed ticking all the boxes.

However, I have a TouchMix 8, which I use when the venue we play doesn't have a PA, and I realized it can be used for recording. So I took a little 250Gb SSD, uploaded the guide track (L/R) on the first two channel, armed the third and voila' - recording is possible.

I wonder if it's possible to record more than one track in the same session from the same channel? The mixer has 8 preamps, and takes in these sessions are seldom more than three or four, so I could just move the mic to a new channel, or store several sessions with the same first two tracks, but obviously some "virtual track" functionality would be great.

I'm not that hopeful since the target application of the touchmix isn't really that, but anyone as has a clue if it's possible (or not)?
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:06 pm

The TouchMix is great for tracking live performances and I’ve used it for that many times, but I’ve never tried to use it the way you suggest. Sounds possible, but the I’m not sure how the tracks are tagged on a timeline for import.

Best thing to do would be to run some trials......

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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:30 pm

I did, and it works fine.

QSC's made an utility which exports WAVs to a Touchmix session (splitting stereo files on two channels) and/or allows to import the session as WAVs. I always export and playback/record from zero time, so alignment comes by itself so long the sample rate is correct. I've reimported WAVs into the DAW with no problems, so basically the touchmix + hard disk (I use a 250Gb Samsung T5 which is extremely small, fits in a shirt pocket) becomes a mini recording console. The only issue is that the drive needs to be FAT32 to be recognized and Windows 10 can't format a 250Gb drive with FAT32, but I've formatted the SSD using the free GuiFormat (http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index. ... format.htm) and that worked perfectly.

What I haven't yet found is whether or not it is possible to record on the same track without overwriting it (in a manner similar to other portastudio-like "virtual tracks", when you can create multiple recordings tracks over a channel without changing gain settings or channel, but simply selecting another "virtual track").

I honestly don't think it's possible since as you say the TouchMix use case is quite different than a portastudio's, and didn't find anything on a quick search.

As I wrote, I can achieve the same result by preparing 3 or 4 identical sessions with a guide track and then switch between them while recording. It puts an upper limit on the number of takes - but when I record on location I very seldom do more than these. Another option is to switch channel, but with condenser and phantom power I don't like that so much - easy to forget to switch it off and on.

Still, great preamps, control room, super-compact and no computer required, so I'm gonna use the system in anger next week. The biggest thing to carry in addition to the Touchmix carry case are the two headphones :D
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:56 pm

Sounds like a promising solution! :)
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Dave B » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:09 pm

FYI: If your Touchmix can't format it's own hard disk, then you need to update the firmware. That got sorted a long time ago. And the update has handy features back ported from the 30channel version.
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:08 pm

Dave B wrote:FYI: If your Touchmix can't format it's own hard disk, then you need to update the firmware. That got sorted a long time ago. And the update has handy features back ported from the 30channel version.

Yup! Although I've now sold my Touchmix, that firmware upgrade was very significant. Introduced lots of new features and better screen layouts too. Virtually a complete relaunch.
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:37 am

Thx guys, was thinking of checking it out but couldn't be bother to dig up the USB to USB cable this afternoon. Now I know it's worth doing :)
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:07 am

Yes the firmware update is excellent!

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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby CS70 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:34 am

A followup on this one, since a couple weeks ago I did use the Touchmix in anger instead of the laptop+interface combo.

Used a Samsung T5 USB3.0 250Gb solid state drive, which is so small you can literally put in your shirt pocket (which would help if I used shirts with pockets). The drive was formatted to exFAT32.

Lugging the kit around was a bit easier - I could have shoved everything in a backpack, but decided to carry the mixer in its little luggage instead, which fits the disk as well. It's very light tough and that left lots of space in the backpack for a choice of mics and a couple cables.

The job was tracking vocals over a backing track, and the vocalist felt comfortable to play at her home, and she had a couple mic stands, which is a blessing as they have become by far the biggest element in my setup. :)

I had prepared 4 "projects" in the touchmix with the backing track L/R on tracks 1 and 2, leaving 6 channels for new recording on each project.. the idea was to keep the selected mic in channel 3 and have space for 4 takes. If we felt more were needed, I would move the mic to another channel (but since that implies turning on/off phantom power it's a bit boring). In the end 4 takes were more than enough - she's a good singer.

Setup was a breeze, much nicer than with PC+interface (less stuff to put up, less sockets required, less buttons to push and boot times to wait and no DAW channels to set up with the laptop touchpad).. the Touchmix interface is very intuitive and basically it's just recall the project and go (I had armed track 3 already).

Used both the headphones output and the AUX output to get headphones cues for both me and her so we could select the mic, hear levels, check positions etc together. In the heat of the moment I forgot how to set reverb :D (I dont used the mixer much) but luckily she didn't seem to need it. Also by mistake one of the headphones I'd picked up were open back :-D so I decided to disconnect them just before recording (I was in the mic null, but better safe than sorry), but no big deal. Only mild annoyance is that the procedure for setting headphone levels is a bit cumbersome. In all, still much easier than with laptop+DAW+interface.

We had only one hiccup - on the first take, the Touchmix stopped playing midway in the track. I was surprised (the T5 drive is on the mixer's approved list). The track had several breaks in the middle so we agreed with the singer to record the first take in two passes, just in case.. so we did and project 1/track 3 was done.

We took another take the same way, and for the third we agree to try to do it in one pass. The Touchmix behaved well and so, reassured, we did the 4th take (more because I wanted to try again than for the actual need - the girl can sing!) which also went smoothly.

Back in the studio, I simply plugged the SSD in the PC and used the DAW utility to extract the files from the mixer - voila.

Note to self: look up how to set effects on the headphone out; remember to look at the headphones when picking them up :D

In conclusion: the hiccup was unexpected and would have thrown a non-vocal session, when you don't have anywhere to break (or doing so is unnatural). It took a couple tries to reassure ourselves that it wasn't happening again.

Not sure why it stopped the first time around. Still have to look at the firmware thing. The disk was completely virgin when we recorded (just formatted and literally never used before, other than for transferring the backing tracks ) so it could be that. Don't know.

As of flexibility, I do like the DAW better: infinite takes and no preparation and once done, the tracks are there in the right place and ready to mix. The logistics of using the Touchmix are better tough - can bring more mics with little effort and it's faster to set up on location, which is where really you want to be efficient.

So all in all a positive DAWless experience and I'll try again next time. Have to check the hiccup thing tough, will try to record a few quick acoustic guitar takes to see if it happens again. I don't think I pushed the stop button inadvertently (it' be actually hard on the TouchMix) but you never know..
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Dave B » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:25 pm

I've had a few glitches with the TouchMix and recording. I've changed drives once to a Lacie Rugged and that's still a physical disk rather than SSD and it's happy. But the thing to watch out for is the USB3 cables - we tend to buy cheap ones and they don't survive being coiled and uncoiled and stuffed into bags, etc. if they are cheaply made. I've gone for tougher, braided cables and haven't had a problem (touch wood) since. It's worth spending a couple of quid extra in my book....

Effects can be routed to the auxes that you are using to drive the headphones / cue mix. It's a doddle to do :)
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby CS70 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:05 pm

Dave B wrote:I've had a few glitches with the TouchMix and recording. I've changed drives once to a Lacie Rugged and that's still a physical disk rather than SSD and it's happy. But the thing to watch out for is the USB3 cables - we tend to buy cheap ones and they don't survive being coiled and uncoiled and stuffed into bags, etc. if they are cheaply made. I've gone for tougher, braided cables and haven't had a problem (touch wood) since. It's worth spending a couple of quid extra in my book....

Effects can be routed to the auxes that you are using to drive the headphones / cue mix. It's a doddle to do :)

Interesting, thanks. I've used the USB cable provided with the SSD but I'll get a better one (besides, it's too bloody short) and see, and move to a Lacie Rugged if the problem occurs again, good tip.

Yeah I figured it's easy and I remember doing it other times but so far I had used the mixer only the few times we (the band) had to bring our own PA so most of the times it's been just sleeping in its case..

Thx!
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Dave B » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:04 pm

The Lacie Rugged is a funny one - it makes perfect sense when it has a spinning platter, but it next to pointless for an SSD. Yet I think that the current models have SSDs! Presumably this design and padding is to stop the electrons from being bounced around and skipping ...

If anyone comes across serious, heavy duty USB3 leads then please shout. I went for something better than normal and I now can find braided ones, but ideally I'd like something quite rugged...
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:24 pm

Quick question about setting the preamps on the Touchmix (I'm thinking of getting a mixer/recorder jobby like this as my wife's band will be needing a mixer soon and I've always much liked hardware rather than computers for onsite recording). From the pictures it has a separate physical trim knob for each preamp. If I were using it with an ambisonic mic, where the input level of all four channels have to match exactly, could I achieve this? I.e. can you set the level digitally for each channel or at least get a digital readout of each level?

TIA

CC
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Dave B » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:15 pm

I don’t think that you can do this unless you set them all to either max or min. It’s one of the few flaws - I’d love to have stepped knobs for stereo level matching, but that’s not an option. And (afaik) Ambisonic does need proper level matching to work right. I think you’d be looking for a mixer with digitally controlled mic pres for that.
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:30 pm

Dave B wrote: And (afaik) Ambisonic does need proper level matching to work right. I think you’d be looking for a mixer with digitally controlled mic pres for that.

That's my understanding too. Thanks for that, Dave. I don't yet have an ambisonics mic but that's such a significant part of the next year's plan that it knocks the TouchMix right out of contention, it ticked every other box nicely otherwise.

Cheers,

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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:58 pm

I think you'd need something like a Zoom F4 (I love mine!) to do this. You can digitally gang all four channels (or combination thereof) to one gain control. I regularly gang two adjacent channels for accurate stereo levels.

I presume the F8 has a similar function...

Both F4 and F8 prices have taken a tumble recently...
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:03 pm

Yes Dave has it right, you have to set the channel gains with the physical knobs, and yes, it’s the only downside of this otherwise very good mixer. Also frustrating when operating it remotely from an iPad and you want to tweak the channel gain.

How about the Zoom Live track?

(Edit: realised you’d have the same problem :headbang:)

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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:06 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:I think you'd need something like a Zoom F4 (I love mine!) to do this. You can digitally gang all four channels (or combination thereof) to one gain control. I regularly gang two adjacent channels for accurate stereo levels.

I presume the F8 has a similar function...

Both F4 and F8 prices have taken a tumble recently...

I'll have a look, though they aren't mixers. The Livetraks have been taking my interest because of the good reviews and the fact that Sam (I think it was) reckoned that setting the gain to minimum would work well with the NT-SF1.

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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:22 pm

Sorry CC; missed the bit about needing a physical mixer...
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Re: TouchMix - multiple recording tracks per channel?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:31 pm

It's partly because I'm going to need a mixer anyway and it would be nice to combine it with a recorder, and partly because as you know I always liked the Korg D888 and only gave it up because it's limited to 16 bit recording. Anyway, here's what Sam said:

Sam Inglis wrote:The Elf is right -- however... I did successfully use the L-20 quite a bit with the Rode NT-SF1 while I was reviewing that, without needing to do any lining up of gains. The NT-SF1 has a pretty hot output, and if you're recording at 24-bit, you can often get away with simply setting the mic preamps to their lowest (fixed) gain setting -- the recorded level is still perfectly workable. In fact for use as a drum overhead I had to do this and engage the pads too!

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