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Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby JRocker » Thu Dec 24, 2020 6:16 am

OK, have some confusion to using my compressor with my DAW. I can't seem to get it working. I think I may have connected something wrong in the chain. So I will explain my routing and hope someone can help me work it out.

I am using a ESU1808 as my main interface and have added a dbx266 Compressor to my outboard chain. I am using Cubase AI 8.

The connections so far. I have plugged my OUT of my Compressor into the INPUT 9 of my ESU. I have plugged the IN of my Compressor into the OUTPUT 3 of my ESU.

In my VST Connections tab in Cubase I have added INPUT BUS to 9 and the OUTPUT BUS 3 and named them both Compressor.

In the Inspector window tab (left hand side) I have routed the input and out to Compressor.

Yet when I play back a track I get no sound coming out nor is the Compressor being applied. What have I done wrong?
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby Mixedup » Thu Dec 24, 2020 8:00 am

Hard to say from that description without seeing screens.

In the Inspector, are you talking about the input and output on the same track? If so, that won't work: you need a signal to go to the output of one track, to the compressor, and back to the input of another track. And IIRC (it's a LONG time since I used AI; I use Cubase Pro which has dedicated External FX routing) you'll need to enable monitoring on the return track.

First things first though... can you route a sound to the compressor and see its meters moving on the hardware?
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby JRocker » Thu Dec 24, 2020 9:32 am

Here is a screenshot of both the INPUT and OUTPUT BUS connections and the Inspector Window IN/OUT.

https:*?*?*/02QDFjt

Hopefully this explains my problem clearer.
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby Mixedup » Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:03 pm

Ok. So as per my previous post you cannot do it this way -- ie all on one track -- in AI. You start with a sound you want to route to the compressor on one track. Set its output to go to the compressor's input. Then create another track. Set its input source as the compressor's output. Put the track into input monitoring mode.
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby JRocker » Sat Dec 26, 2020 6:19 am

Mixedup wrote:Ok. So as per my previous post you cannot do it this way -- ie all on one track -- in AI. You start with a sound you want to route to the compressor on one track. Set its output to go to the compressor's input. Then create another track. Set its input source as the compressor's output. Put the track into input monitoring mode.

Thank you Mixedup for your help, this has solved my issue. Need to add, if I wanted to add the same Compressor to another track for example, do I follow the same routing?

And if I wanted to add say an outboard EQ, is the routing the same too except obviously for the IN/OUT of the ESU?
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby Mixedup » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:58 am

Hurrah!

Yes, I think that's how you'd do ut -- like I sau, it's a long time since I used AI, so it's hard to remember its routing limitations. If you get into using lots of hardware it might be worth looking at upgrading your software to a version that includes External FX routing. Then you just insert an External FX plugin on the track you want to process.
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby CS70 » Sat Dec 26, 2020 3:18 pm

JRocker wrote:OK, have some confusion to using my compressor with my DAW. I can't seem to get it working. I think I may have connected something wrong in the chain. So I will explain my routing and hope someone can help me work it out.

I am using a ESU1808 as my main interface and have added a dbx266 Compressor to my outboard chain. I am using Cubase AI 8.

The connections so far. I have plugged my OUT of my Compressor into the INPUT 9 of my ESU. I have plugged the IN of my Compressor into the OUTPUT 3 of my ESU.

In my VST Connections tab in Cubase I have added INPUT BUS to 9 and the OUTPUT BUS 3 and named them both Compressor.

In the Inspector window tab (left hand side) I have routed the input and out to Compressor.

Yet when I play back a track I get no sound coming out nor is the Compressor being applied. What have I done wrong?


Looks like you're getting already the help you need and it may differ between DAWs, but in general it's worth remembering that the DAW, by default (i.e. when playing the tracks) does not read and play back any signal from the hardware inputs unless you explicitly tell them to do so.

So unless you enable the monitoring of the input to which the compressor output is attached, you will send the signal to the compressor alright but you won't hear anything out of it.

With many DAW and interfaces you cannot simply enable the monitoring of an input "in general" but you need to have a specific destination - i.e. a track - whose input is set to the input you want to monitor and where you push the "monitor" button, and you won't capture the output unless you explicitly record it. That's why you normally need a special "external hardware" plugin to treat the hardware as normal send/return from a track, but I seem to remember we had a dialog (with you or someone else) where we discovered that functionality does not exist in the lightweight versions of Cubase.

Some other times you monitor the result directly with the interface's routing, for example with RME's TotalMix. With Total Mix, if the input fader is up (in the "main" or "phone" mix), the sound from the hardware will be present in direct monitoring so you will be able to listen to it (but in addition to the original track in the DAW of course, uness you have its fader down and the send to the compressor is pre-fader).

In other words, without that "external hardware" plugin, it gets a bit messy.
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby Mixedup » Sat Dec 26, 2020 7:28 pm

Mixedup wrote:Hurrah!

Yes, I think that's how you'd do ut -- like I sau, it's a long time since I used AI, so it's hard to remember its routing limitations. If you get into using lots of hardware it might be worth looking at upgrading your software to a version that includes External FX routing. Then you just insert an External FX plugin on the track you want to process.

I see autocorrect didn't kick in. :blush: In my defence, my fingers are far too fat for this phone screen!!!
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby JRocker » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:53 pm

CS70: Is it possible to install a third party 'external hardware plugin' to do this in my Cubase A1 and if so, can you recommend any?
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby CS70 » Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:12 pm

JRocker wrote:CS70: Is it possible to install a third party 'external hardware plugin' to do this in my Cubase A1 and if so, can you recommend any?

You know what? I don't know... not sure that it is, as the plugin must basically wire the internals of the DAW as when it is in "recording armed" in a track (i.e. capturing the output) , which sounds like something fairly DAW specific. A quick search finds none and seems to confirm the idea (but due to Christmas not really able to look that hard).

If you want to do this a lot, it might be worth looking at the bigger versions of Cubase.
Or switch DAW - Cakewalk is fairly similar and includes the plugin and it's free - I use the external hardware integration all the times.
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Re: Hardware Compressor Issue

Postby James Perrett » Sun Dec 27, 2020 1:54 am

CS70 wrote:If you want to do this a lot, it might be worth looking at the bigger versions of Cubase.
Or switch DAW - Cakewalk is fairly similar and includes the plugin and it's free - I use the external hardware integration all the times.

Another budget alternative is Reaper which has the ReaInsert plug-in. It is free until February but they've been extending the free offer for people working from home for the last few months so may remain free for longer. If they don't extend the offer then it is very reasonably priced anyway but doesn't come with much in the way of soft synths.
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