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How to Route External Effects in a DAW?

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How to Route External Effects in a DAW?

Postby paulsmusic » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:09 am

I want to incorporate some external effects into my Cubase Pro 9.5 setup, and am wondering what the best way is to configure the ins/outs so that I can use each effect in different ways, according to what is needed in the project. I have a pair of Warm EQP-WA's (with one I/O on each), a Drawmer 1968 MKII compressor (with 2 channels of I/O, and the ability to link each for stereo operation), and a Lexicon PCM92 (with 2 channels of I/O, and the ability to set up different in/out routings from within the unit, eg as a stereo I/O, mono I/ stereo O etc.).

For example, if I want to use the Drawmer on a mono vocal channel, would I use one channel with a mono in/out from the audio connections setup in my DAW? And if I want to use the Drawmer on the master bus, as a stereo in/out? I have an Apollo Firewire interface, with eight analogue ins/outs available, and have the external effects connected on channels 3-8. Thanks!
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Re: How to Route External Effects in a DAW?

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:21 pm

All you need to do is connect your external devices to available I/O and then declare these designations as 'External Devices' to Cubase - the manual covers it. Once done you simply place them anywhere you'd place a VST plug-in.

Look in the manual around page 31 and it talks you through it.
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Re: How to Route External Effects in a DAW?

Postby paulsmusic » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:08 pm

The Elf wrote:All you need to do is connect your external devices to available I/O and then declare these designations as 'External Devices' to Cubase - the manual covers it. Once done you simply place them anywhere you'd place a VST plug-in.

Look in the manual around page 31 and it talks you through it.

Hi, thanks for the info. I had already looked at the Cubase manual, but it doesn't explain which are the most appropriate I/O routings (from within Cubase) for different scenarios, i.e. if I want to use just the left channel of my compressor on a mono track.

I'm also having problems with a delay on the channel return (I'm getting an echo), despite using the 'Measure Effect’s Loop Delay for Delay Compensation' in the external plug-in window.
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Re: How to Route External Effects in a DAW?

Postby paulsmusic » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:24 pm

Ok, so I've solved the delay problem. I had to mute the input channels in my interface monitoring software!
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Re: How to Route External Effects in a DAW?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:40 pm

The External FX system isn't brilliant in terms of versatility, since (even though you can access individual channels of a stereo Output bus), you can't access individual channels of an External FX plug-in (since you can only have one instance of the plug-in). Between that, the problem with the ping facility not working correctly with anything hooked up to my interface via the ADAT ports, and the fact that the routing info is all permanently lost when I select different audio interface drivers, I pretty much gave up on the External FX system. I've not yet checked to see if this has all been addressed in C10...

The one nugget of advice I can offer if using this is that you can hook eg mic/line preamps and channel strips up as External FX. That way, you can either use them as line-level processors to insert anywhere in your project, or as preamp inputs to your project — to do that, simply insert the External FX plug-in on any Cubase input channel.
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Re: How to Route External Effects in a DAW?

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:15 pm

Mixedup wrote:The External FX system isn't brilliant in terms of versatility, since (even though you can access individual channels of a stereo Output bus), you can't access individual channels of an External FX plug-in.
It was much better when you could assign the same I/O to multiple devices, but (yet again) Steinberg decided to save us from ourselves and removed a useful feature because some people were getting confused (and don't get me started on the removal of feedback loops). Sigh... :roll:

The fudge-around is to use a stereo Group/FX Track and panning, but life is too short IMO...
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