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Audio routing challenge

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Audio routing challenge

Postby 73737373 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:10 pm

Hi everyone. Long time reader but first time poster!

I’m hoping for some advice on a routing challenge, specifically the best way to connect my Elektron Digitakt, Digitone, and Analog Heat.

Here’s what I would like to do:

- Route the Digitakt and Digitone into the Analog Heat
- Sample the Digitone with the Digitakt via the Analog Heat
- Sample the Digitakt into itself via the Analog Heat
- Avoid anything that could degrade the sound
- Avoid using a computer
- Keep my setup tidy and minimal

I don’t have monitors and currently connect my headphones to the Analog Heat.

Potential solutions:

1. Route the Digitakt into the Digitone, as suggested in the Digitone manual, and route the Digitone into the Analog Heat. Route the Analog Heat back into the Digitakt. My concern with this option is everything would go through the Digitone’s converters, which may have an effect on the sound. That would be an issue, as I often resample audio through the Analog Heat multiple times.

2. Buy a simple mixer to merge the outputs of the Digitakt and Digitone. A simple mixer would work, but I am worried about the effect on the sound.

3. Buy a monitor controller that allows two inputs to be monitored at the same time. The Drawmer CMC2 looks good but is more than I would like to spend, though I will get it if there is no better solution.

Can you think of any other solutions to this challenge? Am I being overly concerned about the Digitone A-D/D-A colouring the sound?

Thanks for your help!

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Re: Audio routing challenge

Postby ef37a » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:17 am

We are talking synths here?
WTGR to all the keyboardists here I don't think a 'one time' re-conversion of a synth waveform is going to be noticeable? I would bet if you set any synth to output a 1kHz sine wave and put that through an analyser there would be a good deal of distortion? I doubt the noise floor would be as good as the -100dBfs we can now expect from quite modest interfaces?

In short, you won't make it any worse!

But if you are worried why not use a passive Monitor Controller? My Mackie BK passive works very well. Yes the CMC2 would be fine but if you don't have monitors and don't intend to get any in the near future, bit of a waste of money.

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Re: Audio routing challenge

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:27 am

73737373 wrote:Hi everyone. Long time reader but first time poster!

I’m hoping for some advice on a routing challenge, specifically the best way to connect my Elektron Digitakt, Digitone, and Analog Heat.

I can't offer specific help to this, but, what I can do having spent 9 days re-planning my live flightcases is tell you that the way to plan is to write out a list of scenarios, pertaining to how you need the kit to perform/functions, and then plan routing by testing each plan against those scenarios.

Many a time I'd build my flightcases, only to realise that I'm 2 busses short with that layout, or I don't have enough outputs for direct outs on FOH etc, etc. When I said 9 days, it really was 9 full days, and I only have 2 flightcases with 8u space in each. Granted, what I do is complicated, but nevertheless even a small setup can be very, very complicated.

Also, and importantly, always plan for when something goes wrong; can you get to the cables, do you need the manuals to be able to re-route/setup the contigency; all of those are as important as the plan/kit itself.
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Re: Audio routing challenge

Postby 73737373 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:34 pm

Many thanks for the responses so far. Some good food for thought.

I found an answer to a similar question on the site. Its covers a slightly different scenario but is a helpful:

SOS Reviews Editor Matt Houghton replies: You are perfectly right in theory: yes, there is some distortion each time audio passes through your interface's A‑D or D‑A converter stages. So, if you're chaining multiple processors in series (say, an EQ and a compressor), then it's better to only pass through one stage of D‑A and A‑D conversion. But that's the theory and (as in all matters audio), in practice, it comes down to what you can hear.

With a good modern interface, like those in Focusrite's Saffire series, you have to go through many stages of conversion before you'll notice any audible degradation. This is especially true if you're using outboard to impart a bit of 'character' or 'flavour'; it's extremely unlikely that a couple of extra stages of conversion will be at all noticeable. If you're a mastering engineer then maybe you have good reason for worrying about this, but then you'd already know enough from listening to the difference that you wouldn't be asking this question! In my opinion, the benefits, in terms of saving time and being able to go with the creative flow of patching in your external effects as if they are DAW plug‑ins, far outweigh any theoretical disadvantage. Just remember to use and trust your ears! ... on-quality
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