Dynamic EQ / Recording / Getting Creative Outside The DAW / Sync


I’m trying to add a bit of functionality to my setup and I would appreciate your thoughts / advice!

I have a Digitakt (mostly drums), Digitone (mostly melody), Octatrack Mk2 (mostly bass) and Analog Four Mk2 (mostly melody). All of this goes into a Mackie 1202 VLZ4 with the main outs of the mixer going into a Zoom H6. I take the stereo audio file from my H6 into Live to limit, etc. I’m not strictly DAW-less by any means. I just find I enjoy making music outside of my DAW and I like the Elektron workflow, in particular.

I don’t do much live type stuff aside from the cross fader on the OT. I program patterns and let the machines play once I’ve programmed things.

What I’m missing is the ability to do is add some dynamic EQ between, say the drums and bass…have the bass duck a bit when the kick hits. I was thinking I could record each machine separately then use Pro-Q for dynamic EQ between tracks once they’re in Live. I was looking at hardware solutions, but they’re pretty pricey and would involve a decent amount of plugging and unplugging boxes. But open to that too if I’ve missed something!

So, I was thinking I would have Ableton as the clock so I don’t have to muck about with lining tracks up after the fact. I could trigger my Elektron boxes – even use Overbridge on DT, DN, A4 if I like – and then do some work in Live after the fact. Where I’m not quite sure is MIDI. I don’t have a separate MIDI interface to connect Live to by external gear. I was thinking I could connect, say my Digitakt via USB and then use MIDI thru to the rest of my boxes to get clock and transport signals. But I don’t think that can be set up (USB > DIN). At least not for the OT? Is there a way to connect Ableton to my Elektron boxes, so everything is in sync? Or do I need to buy a MIDI box?

What about the Overbridge Hub? If I connected that to my computer…would Live see all of my Elektron boxes and be able to send MIDI to them all for syncing? I know the OT doesn’t do MIDI over USB, so I could connect that one machine to one of the other boxes via DIN?

I thought, since I was going down this route, and if I can get it to work, I could maybe pick up an Analog Heat too and run audio through it to Live, on the way in…mess with things a bit.

Anyway, if anyone has a similar set up, I would appreciate hearing how you’re handling this. I will experiment and see what I can come up with and report back as I make progress.

Yeah it’s totally possible… I don’t believe you need any usb hub because all your boxes are the newer boxes. But your computer will need to have 3 free usb slots, one for each of your OB devices. Then you’ll go from the Midi out of any of the OB boxes (say digitakt) into the midi in of the Octatrack, set digitakt to send clock and transport and set octatrack to receive clock and transport. You’d also want to run Octatrack’s main outs into one of your OB devices inputs. then you can setup ableton to have an audio track each for all the individual tracks of each of your OB devices (8+4+4) as well as an audio track for the Octatracks mains

it wouldn’t be usb > din technically, because you can’t use THRU for this… but yeah it works with OUT. the USB devices can get clock over USB from Ableton, and send clock over their MIDI din OUT

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Not ideal in that I can’t set it for when my computer is off (using THRU) and when it’s on and using Overbridge…but I can handle a bi of change when I’m going to record. Sweet.

I think I understand! I’ll go try this out. Thank you for your response!

in that case,

  1. plug all 3 OB devices into computer using USB
  2. choose a “master OB” device - this device will be slaved to OB when the computer is on, and be master clock for all other devices when computer is off. for this example let’s say you choose Digitakt to be the master.
  3. midi out from Digitakt, into midi in of Digitone, midi out of digitone into midi in of Analog 4, midi out of A4 into Octatrack. Still we are not using any THRUs, just daisy chaining with OUT instead.
  4. when you’re setting up the OB plugins, only the Digitakt should have “Sync + Transport” in the plugin menu. for the other 2 devices, Overbridge shouldn’t do clock or transport, just set it to off; they’ll receive clock and transport from din midi instead.
  5. plug Octatrack’s mains into one of the OB devices inputs.

so this will still give you 17 audio tracks- 8 for DT + 4 for DN + 4 for A4 and a stereo track for Octatrack’s mains. and you’ll still be able to use the setup with the computer off, without having to swap any cables.

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Deadly. I didn’t think chaining MIDI out would work like that. I will play with it for sure! Thank you for your help!

A lot of work just to add some dynamics to the eq of a sound if you ask me. Want do you want to achieve? Kick and bass muddy? Need more room eq wise? More groove/pumping.
I suggest trying plocking or clocked lfo track/sample eq or volume first. You can achive a lot of pseudo side chain compression or dynamic eq if you tell the sequencer to act dynamic on these destinations.

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It’s not that much work once it’s done. I set it up last night and everything is good to go. I hear what you’re saying, though. Sequencing dynamics is more work to me, if I’m honest. I like looser drums and I don’t do 4 on the floor…trying to figure out the dynamics and program it is intense…and if I vary the drum programming, I have to adjust the dynamics…no thanks! But I appreciate what you’re saying and will keep it in mind. Thank you!

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glad you got it working!

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Yeah, it worked great! Thanks again! And it’s set up to work without the computer and with. I’m very happy with the flexibility I have.

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If it ain’t four to the floor I totally understand. If you can find a good workflow with hardware and daw’s you get the best of both worlds.

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If you do want to stay in hardware, you could look at either the Poly Beebo or a Mod Duo X with an external USB audio interface for more channels (although support for this is still experimental). If you wanted to, you could even replace your mixer entirely, at least with the latter (the Beebo only does four channels).

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I will check both out! I had looked at the Mod Duo but didn’t really spend enough time with it to understand it. Thank you!

If you’ve never used a command line before, I wouldn’t recommend trying to get an additional audio interface working with it yet — hopefully it should be properly supported some time in the next few months. Other than that, they’re solid devices, they just don’t have the input counts you’d need to mix down ~8 channels of audio.

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