You are here

Outboard Compressor Connection?

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby JRocker » Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:08 pm

I like to know how to connect an outboard compressor to my DAW so that I can use it not for tracking but for adding the compressor on playback of a track I have recorded in my DAW.
JRocker
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:42 am

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:13 pm

Simple connect a spare line output on your interface to the compressor input, and return the compressor output to a spare line input of the interface.

You then configure your DAW to send the appropriate signal that needs to be compressed to the relevant interface output, and route the corresponding interface input back into your DAW signal path as necessary.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 25823
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:31 pm

Besides the "direct route" described by Hugh, many DAWs offer an "external hardware" plugin that allows you to set up the external hardware as if it were a plugin - so you don't need to create a separate track.

You still connect to one in/out on the interface (or two if the effect is stereo) but then you place the "external hardware" plugin and you configure this one - it simply sends the signal to the out you've configured and picks it up from the in you've also configured, usually calculating the turnaround delay and allowing the DAW to compensate for that.

Obviously for most hardware, there's no recall at all :-D - once you have settings you like I advise simply tasking a phone picture of the position of your knobs and dropping it into the project folder for future reference.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4782
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby JRocker » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:27 am

Followed through the instructions, but seem to have a problem...

This is what I have done.

I have 4 audio outs and 4 audio inserts on back of AKAI EIE Pro. Audio outs 1 & 2 are taken up by my studio monitors.So I used Audio out 3 for Compressor connection which went into INPUT of Behringer Autocom Pro Compressor. I took the OUTPUT Compressor and connected it to Audio INSERT 1 of Interface. When I try to configure connection inside DAW, I cannot find it anywhere nor know how to it, can somebody help please? Hopefully I've done everything correctly so far....
JRocker
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:42 am

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:14 am

JRocker wrote:Followed through the instructions, but seem to have a problem...

This is what I have done.

I have 4 audio outs and 4 audio inserts on back of AKAI EIE Pro.

Checking the manual I see that the EIE Pro has insert points in hardware, as you mentioned:

Image

These insert sockets are each inputs and outputs at the same time and are designed to be used with a 1/4" TRS insert cable, which looks like this:

Image

The TRS plug (which looks exactly the same as a 1/4" stereo jack) plugs into the insert point and then the two mono jacks at the other end of the cable plug into the input and output of the external FX unit.

This inserts the external FX unit into the signal path. In the case of the EIE the manual states:

"The signal will be taken after the channel's gain control and returned before the channel's USB audio is sent to the computer."

This may achieve what you want, though because the FX unit is hardwired into the signal path of the EIE you have no control over that in the DAW.

If you want to do it from the DAW ...

JRocker wrote:Audio out 3 for Compressor connection which went into INPUT of Behringer Autocom Pro Compressor. I took the OUTPUT Compressor and connected it to Audio INSERT 1 of Interface

... modify the above so that the output from the FX unit goes into a spare input on the Akai, not an insert point. You should then be able to access the processed signal as if it was another instrument or other sound source (which it is, of course)!

As you're hooking a compressor up to it, you should ensure that you only hear the processed signal in the resulting mix; you almost certainly don't want to hear both the original and compressed signals together.
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3314
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works.
Please consider supporting the SOS Forum Album project.
 

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby JRocker » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:18 am

Thanks Eddy. Damn, I need to purchase that cable. I have heaps of different cables lying around here but not those! Buying now....
JRocker
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:42 am

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:29 am

JRocker wrote:I like to know how to connect an outboard compressor to my DAW so that I can use it not for tracking but for adding the compressor on playback of a track I have recorded in my DAW.

My emphasis. The insert cable isn't be the best way to do this but ...

JRocker wrote:Thanks Eddy. Damn, I need to purchase that cable. I have heaps of different cables lying around here but not those! Buying now....

... if you simply change the cabling you already have such that output from the compressor connects to an input on the EIE instead of the insert point, then you should be good to go as you can then route any track(s) you like to it during playback.
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3314
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works.
Please consider supporting the SOS Forum Album project.
 

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:30 am

JRocker wrote:I like to know how to connect an outboard compressor to my DAW so that I can use it not for tracking but for adding the compressor on playback of a track I have recorded in my DAW.

If you check out the block diagram in the manual for your interface, you'll see where the insert points are in the signal path... Any Insert Return signal would appear in the DAW as the corresponding interface input channel.

EIE block.jpg


But as you can see, the inserts are placed at the end of the interface input channels' signal paths, such that you can process an analogue input just before it's sent off to the DAW over the USB connection -- so it's really intended for tracking with an effect.

Now, you can certainly use the Insert Return for the output of your compressor, and for that you would need the Insert/splitter cable you've ordered...

But it's an unbalanced insert so you could find you have trouble with ground-loops, and you have no channel gain control available to optimise signal levels going back into the computer...

So instead, rather than connect the output of the compressor into the Insert socket, all you actually had to do is connect it back into any convenient front panel TRS input, exactly as I described above. No special cables needed...
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 25823
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby JRocker » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:52 am

Thanks Hugh and Eddy. Will do.
JRocker
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:42 am

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby JRocker » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:58 pm

Hi Hugh, See pics to make sure I got it connected right. You mentioned line out on AKAI, I assume you mean the Audio Output on back (see photo)

Back of Compressor connections: https://ibb.co/xGnJhf1
Back of AKAI: https://ibb.co/bPVswry
Front of AKAI: https://ibb.co/0rh5gpB
JRocker
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:42 am

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:54 am

Looks good to me.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 25823
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby JRocker » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:30 am

Thanks Hugh. My next question is, I opened my DAW (Cubase) and cannot for life of me find the outboard compressor in my audio connections. How do I do this. I have no idea how to actually add an outboard Compressor inside my DAW,so would appreciate some help.
JRocker
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:42 am

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:57 am

JRocker wrote:... I opened my DAW (Cubase) and cannot for life of me find the outboard compressor in my audio connections. How do I do this. I have no idea how to actually add an outboard Compressor inside my DAW,so would appreciate some help.

You won't see the compressor in the DAW as such as it's all about routing.

JRocker wrote:... I used Audio out 3 for Compressor connection which went into INPUT of Behringer Autocom Pro Compressor. I took the OUTPUT Compressor and connected it to ...

... a spare input. From your pictures, it looks like you're sending output 4 to the compressor and receiving on input 4 from the compressor.

If that's the case, in Cubase route the channel(s) you want to compress to output 4 of the Akai and then create a channel with an input coming from input 4 of the Akai. You should hear the compressed signal when you monitor/record that latter channel.

I don't use Cubase myself so I can't give you a step by step on how to set up the routing as I describe but if you have difficulty I'm sure someone will be able to; a lot of folks here use it.
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3314
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works.
Please consider supporting the SOS Forum Album project.
 

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby JRocker » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:40 am

I'm using Cubase AI and cannot seem to route an external hardware compressor. Usually you click on VST Instruments and there should be an option to add external hardware so I can route it, but cannot find it or do it. Help much appreciated.
JRocker
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:42 am

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:31 pm

JRocker wrote:I'm using Cubase AI and cannot seem to route an external hardware compressor. Usually you click on VST Instruments and there should be an option to add external hardware so I can route it, but cannot find it or do it. Help much appreciated.

I was hoping someone who knows more about Cubase than I do would come along (and they still may well do so!) but in the meantime you can achieve the necessary routing without having to do anything involving 'external hardware' as Cubase sees it.

Cubase, being a DAW, supports multiple audio inputs and multiple audio outputs. As you already have the cabling set up correctly, it's really just a question of routing one or more tracks to physical output 4 of the Akai, and setting up a track to receive from audio input 4 of the Akai.

Once you have done this, the track(s) that are routed to physical output 4 will be removed from the mix present on the L/R master buss. Instead, the audio will be emitted from output 4 on the Akai where it will then be received by the compressor, processed, and returned on input 4 of the Akai.

At that point all you have to do is record/monitor the track receiving the signal from input 4 on the Akai in order to hear the processed sound.

I don't use Cubase as I said, but it should be able to do the above without any requirement for finding references to external hardware. There may be inbuilt support in Cubase for doing this in a 'one click' operation, I have no idea, but in the absence of someone with more experience sharing that info, the routing I describe above should work fine!
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3314
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works.
Please consider supporting the SOS Forum Album project.
 

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby JRocker » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:14 pm

Thanks Eddy, Hopefully someone on this forum who uses Cubase will be able to guide me through the routing process.
JRocker
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:42 am

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:22 pm

There are decades of free-to-view articles in the SOS archives covering every aspect of working with DAWs in general, and Cubase in particular. This one might be of interest...

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... board-gear
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 25823
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:45 pm

If you use cubase AI, you don’t have the external hardware instrument .

Either you use a routing to another track, or download cakewalk and you have all the pro features you need.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4782
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:49 pm

For the routing option, this might help: https://steinberg.help/cubase_ai/v10/en ... _up_t.html
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3314
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works.
Please consider supporting the SOS Forum Album project.
 

Re: Outboard Compressor Connection?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:55 pm

As a long-time Cubase user I'm afraid I've never used Cubase AI.

This has nothing to do with 'External Instruments'. The dialogue you are looking for is the 'External FX' tab under the 'Audio Connections' window. It is here that you define the I/O ports for such as a compressor, so that Cubase knows where it is. If you have it in your version of Cubase it will look something like this:
Image
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13459
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Next