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Setting up surround monitoring from an UAD Apollo X8P

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Setting up surround monitoring from an UAD Apollo X8P

Postby Bendico » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:37 am

I'm in the process of reworking my home studio for 7.1 surround production. I have started with acquiring an UAD Apollo x8p interface and I'm planning to expand my monitor collection with 5 more Genelec 8030 APM, which support AES/EBU digital input. And a Genelec Sub also with AES/EBU.

Question 1: Will it be feasible to connect all the monitors directly (more or less) and digitally? If I understand this correctly, I need to convert from ADAT out from the x8p to 8 AES channels to feed the monitors and sub. If this is a way to go, I plan to buy the RME ADI-4 DD converter. (Any other recommendations most welcome.) And if it's doable, is it recommendable? Will I get sufficient control over the output levels through the UAD Console on my Mac?

Question 2: If option 1 is not recommendable or even doable, what would be the recommended solution? Can I go the pure digital path or is it better to use the 25 pin d-sub analog out and buy a surround monitor controller?

I should probably mention that I am using the Nuendo DAW and mainly work with sample libraries, VST synths, etc. Recording of live instruments is only in stereo, at least for the time being...

Any hints and help much appreciated!
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Re: Setting up surround monitoring from an UAD Apollo X8P

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:51 am

Bendico wrote:If I understand this correctly, I need to convert from ADAT out from the x8p to 8 AES channels to feed the monitors and sub. If this is a way to go, I plan to buy the RME ADI-4 DD converter. (Any other recommendations most welcome.)

The ADI-4DD is great as a simple 8-channel ADAT to AES format converter. I use one here and it's very solid and reliable.

I'm afraid I have no practical experience of the Apollo in terms of generating and controlling multichannel monitoring, so I can't help you there. Nuendo can do it, of course, so you could use the Nuendo monitor controller and just use the Apollo to pass on the outputs.

...or is it better to use the 25 pin d-sub analog out and buy a surround monitor controller?

I'm old school... and that's the way I'd do it. I know a lot of people use, and are happy with, digital monitor control directly from their DAW or interface. But over the years I've seen too many systems lock up, lose control and make very loud nasty noises... so I feel much more comfortable knowing there's a big physical volume knob and mute button that will always work and I can reach without needing a mouse! :-)
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Re: Setting up surround monitoring from an UAD Apollo X8P

Postby The Red Bladder » Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:41 pm

I use a 24:10 Soundcraft 'Delta' monitor mixer feeding Genelecs and twin subs. I bought it used on eBay for £250 with flightcase and twin PSUs. Editing and mixing happen in Reaper which of course can be configured to any wild and whacky multichannel format.

We have two video editing desks, one is Premier and the other is Vegas. Recording happens on a 5.1/7.1 60-frame desk from Amek.

I'm with Hugh here - digital control would be difficult-to-impossible, esp. for those odd jobs like pulling a BluRay mix apart made elsewhere. For example - most 5.1 live concert mixes do NOT comply with standard movie mix-down protocol. The centre is often either not used or is where the bass gets hidden and the surround channels are merely added on to a bog-standard stereo mix L&R.

I am seeing (or perhaps that should be hearing!) more and more movies on DVD/BR that are like that - the menu leaves out a 5.1 option because the surround is always there as it is just bolted onto the stereo mix and the C channel is either ignored or kept down. (No studio would tolerate that kind of sloppy work for a DCP, but it seems that OK for home viewing!)

Having an analogue desk that can send any part of a mix to anywhere means I can pull out each part of a mix and hear where, when and how it is going wrong - or right!

Are you also doing BluRay authoring?
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Re: Setting up surround monitoring from an UAD Apollo X8P

Postby Bendico » Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:25 am

Wow, that was quick, very much appreciated Hugh and TRB :thumbup:!

No, I’m not doing any BluRay. I am a composer and currently doing work for radio and television. So the surround setup is more a case of preparing for future projects, and learning the technology. I’m looking for a simple (relatively) setup that will enable me to compose with surround in mind. Quite a few of my sample libraries and VST synths support surround and I’m keen on experimenting with this, I want to develop my skills.

I think I will start with the ADI 4DD direct to AES solution and try that first. As my skills get better, and when (if) surround projects come up, I can notch up the gear to get more control. And, I guess, if a large project eventually becomes a reality, it will probably be post produced in a larger, better equipped studio.

Thank you so much for your input, I will let you know in this thread how it goes!
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