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Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

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Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby siderealxxx » Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:12 pm

Hi - long time SOS, hope you're well!

So I'm stuck with a routing question which seems simple but is proving difficult!

I have a Hexe Revolver guitar pedal (its a glitchy phrase sampler) with mono in/out. I also use Logic Pro with a RME Fireface 800 and Totalmix routing.

I want to be able to send any audio stream from my computer (be it from Logic, Finder, Spotify etc) to the pedal, capture the sample, play with it, then record it back to audio in Logic - all on the fly.

This sounds simple but actually getting this set up so that I can hear the original audio stream, capture what I want, then only hear the wet signal back, all whilst recording and not creating feedback loops is causing me a headache!

Also I have to factor in going from stereo to mono (for the pedal) and from line level to inst level.

Can anyone clarify how I would set up the RME Totalmix and Logics ins/outs to accommodate this? I'm getting tied in knots and had a few nasty feedback loops so don't want to blow anything up!

Happy to provide more info. Thanks in advance - CHEERS!
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:33 pm

I am curious about this too. I have a similar set-up. TotalMix confuses me although I have managed to set up a reamp situation once using a reamp box.
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby James Perrett » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:21 pm

Hire the Elf for an hour or two to take you through it.
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby siderealxxx » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:31 pm

James Perrett wrote:Hire the Elf for an hour or two to take you through it.

I wouldn't rule that out...

I've done re-amping and re-routing before but something about this isn't working right and it's difficult to test without getting into trouble with feedback loops!
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby CS70 » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:58 pm

TotalMix seems odd until you understand one simple thing (that nobody in the videos at RME seems to ever say.. it's so obvious to them).

You always start from the hardware outputs. Set them to "mono" (with a mono effect) so you have access to the individual mono input.

Then you begin by you clicking on the output you want to use (i.e. the pedal return for you). It will get a slightly lighter shade of gray.

Now all the software playback and inputs faders tell you what is routed to that output.

That's the thing that really had me stuck at the start. What you see at any given moment is only the configuration of that specific output which is selected. Click another output, the faders will change to show you what's routed to that output. But since it's just a slightly different shade of gray, I hadn't even noticed!

What you can route? Both hardware inputs and software playbacks. Hardware inputs are obviously signals generated by external sources; software playbacks are what is seen and sent by, for example, a DAW. The "normal" Windows software playbacks are usually the 1/2.

So select the various outputs one at a time and put all software playback and input fades all the way down. That means that nothing is routed to any output.

All will be quiet.

(Note: for the "main" out (often analog 1/2, I relabel them in TotalMix) you want probably to have the first software stereo playback faders up so you can hear the stereo mix from the pc from the main speaker).

Then select the hardware output where you expect your processed signal to go back into the pc.

Then, keeping that output selected, you raise up the hardware or software input fader for the input you want to use (i.e. the physical input to which the pedal is attached). If you play something, you will se the meter bar rising - that's the one.

Obviously if you create a loop, you'll have feedback howl rounds - which is why is always good start all faders down, and methodically select the output you need and creating the routing for that output only. Hows sounds are always created because you have inadvertently left some input fader up, that is fed by some other output (typically a software one).

For the "mains" routing, depending on whether or not you want to monitor the input.. with the "mains" output selected,, you can decide to raise the specific input or not.

It's rather simple to show in front of the PC, and maybe you knew all already, but hope it helps.
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby The Elf » Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:13 pm

Get an ART Cleanbox Pro - that will sort out the physical interfacing.

Then grasp the concept of TotalMix's basic structure:
Hardware inputs on the top row.
Hardware outputs on the bottom row.
Software outputs on the middle row.

Click on any output on the bottom row to see the sub-mix assigned to it from the upper and middle rows.

This should be enough to understand how to create the routing you need without getting feedback loops!
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:22 pm

I'm a newbie to RME's TotalMix utility as well (only had it around a week now), and as others have said it can be quite daunting initially, so thanks to both CS70 and The Elf for those experienced user insights :thumbup:


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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby siderealxxx » Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:48 am

Thanks, although Totalmix is confusing, I do understand the principle of how it works.

Can I use DI boxes (which I have) instead of the Art Cleanbox? Otherwise I have the Orchid re-amper.

And how to deal with stereo to mono? Pan both channels in Totalmix to one side?
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby The Elf » Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:51 am

siderealxxx wrote:And how to deal with stereo to mono? Pan both channels in Totalmix to one side?
No need. Panning in TotalMix only affects monitoring. It is irrelevant to what you record. If you only need to record mono then handle that in your DAW by either only recording one channel, or recording both and combining them.

siderealxxx wrote:Can I use DI boxes (which I have) instead of the Art Cleanbox? Otherwise I have the Orchid re-amper.
Put the DI between the pedal and the interface's input. Put the re-amper between the interface and the pedal's input.

siderealxxx wrote:Thanks, although Totalmix is confusing, I do understand the principle of how it works.
I think TotalMix can be overwhelming at first, but once the penny drops it's actually fairly basic. Understanding the three rows is THE critical piece of the jigsaw.
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby Mixedup » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:33 pm

Totalmix is only daunting in the way an analogue console is daunting really — it's a simple structure but with lots of channels.

There are two views: the usual mixer view, and matrix view.

The former presents by default with three rows, like Elf says: top is physical inputs, middle is software (DAW) outputs, bottom is physical outputs. The faders set the level of each one going to the channel that's listed at the bottom of the faders. Click on that channel to change view. (So you can create many different cuemixes in that way, for example...)

The latter is just a grid mapping inputs to outputs — like a pin matrix. Click on a square to route things. The numbers in the squares are level meters. Again, visually busy but conceptually about as simple as it's possible to be.

There are a few other useful facilities, but that's all you really need to know to get started.
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby Mixedup » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:34 pm

Btw, I used to use my FF800's headphone outputs and a Y cable for hooking up guitar pedals. The outputs are unbalanced, and the physical level control often came in handy. It's a tiny bit noisier than the other outs, but you don't generally go out the DAW to pedals looking for 'pristine and clean' :headbang: I'd feed the pedals into an amp and mic that up. Plenty of vibe that way, and no external boxes required...
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:48 pm

The Elf wrote:
siderealxxx wrote:And how to deal with stereo to mono? Pan both channels in Totalmix to one side?
No need. Panning in TotalMix only affects monitoring. It is irrelevant to what you record. If you only need to record mono then handle that in your DAW by either only recording one channel, or recording both and combining them.

What I'm already liking is that if you click the 'spanner' (settings) on the topmost hardware inputs row you reveal Stereo and Phase buttons. Switching to Mono here splits a single stereo input into two mono ones, each with a single meter, which you can also name with its intended input signal once you click on Show Names in the Routing Mode (bottom right on the top row of TotalMix.

This is a great way to label inputs as stereo or mono and give them meaningful names relating to the hardware plugged into them. I'm really liking TotalMix thus far! 8-)


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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby OneWorld » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:31 pm

Mixedup wrote:Totalmix is only daunting in the way an analogue console is daunting really — it's a simple structure but with lots of channels.

There are two views: the usual mixer view, and matrix view.

The former presents by default with three rows, like Elf says: top is physical inputs, middle is software (DAW) outputs, bottom is physical outputs. The faders set the level of each one going to the channel that's listed at the bottom of the faders. Click on that channel to change view. (So you can create many different cuemixes in that way, for example...)

The latter is just a grid mapping inputs to outputs — like a pin matrix. Click on a square to route things. The numbers in the squares are level meters. Again, visually busy but conceptually about as simple as it's possible to be.

There are a few other useful facilities, but that's all you really need to know to get started.

So essentially we have.....

[Hardware - Out] => [FF880 Hard Inputs Section]

[Softsynth - Out] => [FF800 Software Inputs Section]

[[Hardware - Out] + [Softsynth - Out]] => [FF800 Outputs] => Outside world
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby Mixedup » Wed Dec 18, 2019 3:37 pm

I actually prefer the old Totalmix — before Totalmix FX came along. The change was necessary to accommodate the new interfaces with onboard DSP effects... but neither my Fireface 800 nor my MADIFace USB have any... and the old screen was way less cluttered. Still, there's nothing better out there that I'm aware of, and the narrow channel view is handy with the MADIFace!

The only thing that trips me up from time to time is that I have the wrong outputs selected when tweaking faders!
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Re: Routing (RME FF800) audio to pedal and back

Postby The Elf » Wed Dec 18, 2019 3:55 pm

Martin Walker wrote:I'm really liking TotalMix thus far! 8-)
Hark! Is that a convert I hear in the distance?! :wink:
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