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Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

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Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby dickiefunk » Sat May 29, 2021 11:56 am

Hi,

I would like to record both a dry and compressed take using my outboard compressors simultaneously into my DAW. It is possible to set this up doing the following :-

1/ Preamp output > MOTU intput
2/ MOTU output > Compressor input > Compressor output > MOTU input

Using the MOTU DSP mixer, it is possible to then route both the dry and compressed takes into my DAW for simultaneous recording of both signals.
However, will there be any degradation in audio quality recording the compressed track this way instead of just routing Preamp output > Compressor input > Compressor output > MOTU input?
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby Wonks » Sat May 29, 2021 1:59 pm

Provided you are using one of the two front panel inputs, the 828ES has a pre-converter send (for insert processing) on the back panel, so I'd use that to output to the compressor and record back to another input. This avoids an A/D and D/A stage, so the compressed input signal track should be exactly in phase with the straight signal. The pre-amped signal sent will be the same signal that is passed into the unprocessed signal input, so the signal quality the compressor is sent will be exactly the same as the direct recording.

Any noticeable degradation in quality will then purely be down to what the compressor does with the signal.
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby Humble Bee » Sat May 29, 2021 3:35 pm

You can also use a “half-normaled” patchbay and pick up the preamp and compressor outputs separately and route them to two separate inputs on the interface.

I have one of these:

https://www.thomann.de/intl/art_tpatch.htm


and use it for exactly this and to split signals for monitoring purposes.
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby dickiefunk » Sat May 29, 2021 3:51 pm

Wonks wrote:Provided you are using one of the two front panel inputs, the 828ES has a pre-converter send (for insert processing) on the back panel, so I'd use that to output to the compressor and record back to another input. This avoids an A/D and D/A stage, so the compressed input signal track should be exactly in phase with the straight signal. The pre-amped signal sent will be the same signal that is passed into the unprocessed signal input, so the signal quality the compressor is sent will be exactly the same as the direct recording.

Any noticeable degradation in quality will then purely be down to what the compressor does with the signal.

Wow that’s great news! I hadn’t realised this!
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat May 29, 2021 8:06 pm

If the interface has an analogue insert as Wonks suggests, then that would be a bery good way to get a feed for the compressor.

Some preamps have duplicate outputs (often on TRS and XLR) which you could use to feed the interface and compressor, or you could use a splitter cable or, as suggested above, a patchbay with (half-)normalling. I use my beloved ART DTI boxes for this kind of one-off thing.

However you engineer the split, though, life is much easier if you split the analogue preamp output directly so that you don't have any additional converter latency in the compressor signal path.
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby dickiefunk » Sat May 29, 2021 8:25 pm

Thanks Hugh. If I use the analog inserts, would this add any latency if they are pre-converter?
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby Wonks » Sat May 29, 2021 8:42 pm

It’s labelled a ‘send’, rather than an ‘insert’, but it is post-mic pre, but pre-converter, so a purely latency-free analogue signal.

There isn't a dedicated return (from what I could make out from the manual), so you have to use another input for the return signal.

So unless your outboard processor is digital, both the processed and unprocessed signals hit the A/D converters at the same time (give or take a few microseconds).
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby Terrible.dee » Sun May 30, 2021 3:15 am

Just out of curiosity......Why do you want to do this?

What's the end goal here?

Beyond simply having both tracks.
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby sound bites » Sun May 30, 2021 4:16 pm

The easiest way to achieve this is in the DAW by recording through an Aux track with the compressor on an insert. Output using a bus to an audio track. Create a second, clean audio track with input set to the same source as the aux track. Put both audio tracks in record.
Done.
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun May 30, 2021 11:36 pm

Terrible.dee wrote:Just out of curiosity......Why do you want to do this?

What's the end goal here?

Beyond simply having both tracks.
I had the same thought. Why? A great advantage of digital is we DONT have to compress on the way in. What do you think you are gaining by recording the compressed version?
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby dickiefunk » Mon May 31, 2021 8:41 am

Thanks for the posts. Yes I totally agree I don’t “need” to compress on the way in. However, I like the sound and character of my outboard compressors and often prefer recordings where I use subtle amounts of compression whilst tracking.
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby sound bites » Mon May 31, 2021 9:39 pm

There is nothing wrong with committing if you know what you want. Just shows that you have a concept. Anyway, it’s a good exercise in taking decisions. The charm of the modern DAW and the digital world is that you can still have a straight backup easily enough if you want, and why shouldn’t you?
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Re: Recording both dry and compressed signal into DAW simultaneously? MOTU 828ES

Postby Terrible.dee » Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:02 pm

dickiefunk wrote:Thanks for the posts. Yes I totally agree I don’t “need” to compress on the way in. However, I like the sound and character of my outboard compressors and often prefer recordings where I use subtle amounts of compression whilst tracking.

In that case, I suggest you compress on the way in and don't look back.

As another poster said....COMMIT to your work.

Your question leads me to thinking you being sidetracked by having too many options.
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