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5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby JMengz » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:45 am

Hello!

So I am planning to upgrade my home studio into a 5.1 surround setup. I've recently acquired a set of studio monitors, and the Mackie Big Knob Studio+. As a new to this surround practice, I am having trouble setting up the outputs. I have:

Mac OS Yosemite 10.10
Pro Tools version 11.3.2
Avid HD Omni
Mackie Big Knob Studio +

Can anyone help me with the proper set up and routing with these? It would really be a big help. Thanks in advance!
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby Luke W » Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:51 am

The Mackie unit is going to be your issue here as it’s stereo only, so you wont be able to run a surround setup through it at all.

You don’t mention what monitors you’re using, that will determine what you need in terms of cables to hook up to the outputs of the Omni. It will be a D-Sub on one end, but what goes on the other depends on what connection your monitors/amps require.

But, if you were looking to integrate a controller, the Mackie is not the one for this particular setup I’m afraid.
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby JMengz » Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:18 am

Hey Luke! I really appreciate your response.

Btw, I have Yamaha HS7 Powered studio monitors as my LCRLsRs and a Yamaha HS8 powered subwoofer.

Do you recommend anything for my set up? I hope that there's something that is not pricey.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:18 am

Installing a stereo monitor controller is quite obviously not appropriate for a surround monitoring system.

So... you have two choices.

1. Sell the BK+ and buy a proper physical surround monitor controller -- SPL, Coleman, Dangerous Audio, Audient, Cranesong, Crookwood... and more all make them-- certainly loads to choose from. Obviously, surround monitor controllers are inevitably more expensive than a stereo controller.

Or, 2. Ditch the monitor controller completely and drive the speakers directly from the interface in combination with a virtual software monitor control in your DAW. I'm not sure about what the different versions of PT offer in this respect, but I know other DAWs have reasonable capabilities.

That said, I'm not personally a huge fan of working this way as very nasty things can happen if the computer or DAW has a hissy-fit -- I like a physical and independent device with a big mute button for saving both the speakers and my ears when calamity or idiocy strikes! But plenty of people seem to find this a satisfactory solution. A separate controller also makes it possible to audition other external sources without needing to boot the computer of course.
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:39 am

Or...

Buy a 5.1 AV amp with discrete 5.1 inputs. That was my path and I'm glad I did it. 95% of the time I'm working through my main stereo speakers (or headphones) for the critical stuff and I just flip over to the 5.1 system for the surround balancing part of the mix.

My audio interface has plenty of I/O, so I dedicate outputs just to drive the 5.1 amp. In Cubase I can declare which outputs are for which monitor configuration and flip between them at will.
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:42 am

The Mackie has 6 inputs and outputs though, so with careful use of input levels you could presumably run a 5.1 signal through, it no?
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:45 am

The Elf wrote:Buy a 5.1 AV amp with discrete 5.1 inputs.

Good idea... but increasingly rare these days. Most current AV amps only have HDMI inputs for the surround sources. :-(
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:49 am

blinddrew wrote:The Mackie has 6 inputs and outputs though, so with careful use of input levels you could presumably run a 5.1 signal through, it no?

No. There is only a stereo signal path through the machine and only a stereo volume control. Which means you can only select one of the (stereo) inputs to feed one of the (stereo) outputs at a time.
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:50 am

I'm seeing my Yamaha RX-V650 on eBay for pocket money prices. Grab one!
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:24 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
blinddrew wrote:The Mackie has 6 inputs and outputs though, so with careful use of input levels you could presumably run a 5.1 signal through, it no?

No. There is only a stereo signal path through the machine and only a stereo volume control. Which means you can only select one of the (stereo) inputs to feed one of the (stereo) outputs at a time.
Ah, my bad, I had a quick squiz at the manual and I thought it said you could run all inputs and all outputs at the same time.
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:45 pm

blinddrew wrote:Ah, my bad, I had a quick squiz at the manual and I thought it said you could run all inputs and all outputs at the same time.

You can... all three stereo inputs can be mixed together into a stereo mix, and the output of that stereo mix controlled by the stereo volume control can be sent to all three sets of stereo speakers simultaneously... should you really want to.

And while that could be arranged to feed a 5.1 array of speakers, it's not exactly going to meet the requirements of a true discrete-channel 5.1 monitoring system! :-D
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:47 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
blinddrew wrote:Ah, my bad, I had a quick squiz at the manual and I thought it said you could run all inputs and all outputs at the same time.

You can... all three stereo inputs can be mixed together into a stereo mix, and the output of that stereo mix controlled by the stereo volume control can be sent to all three sets of stereo speakers simultaneously... should you really want to.

And while that could be arranged to feed a 5.1 array of speakers, it's not exactly going to meet the requirements of a true discrete-channel 5.1 monitoring system! :-D
Doh! Of course. It's not a 1:1, everything is being bussed to a stereo mix that is then being distributed to the three outputs. :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:
I blame insufficient caffeine. :shifty:
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Re: 5.1 Setup using Pro Tools, Mackie Big Knob

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:08 pm

:D
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