I’ve come to the conclusion that a computer free environment might be the best solution for me. I want to know if the current setup I have today is possible to replicate using hardware only. Currently I have the Rytm and A4 connected to Ableton using Overbridge and individual tracks. I have a midi controller with a bunch of knobs controlling sidechaining, multiple effects and sends (reverb and delay) on each track. How can this possibly be achieved using a mixer, especially sidechaining/ducking on individual tracks? Any pointers would be much appreciated. I do mainly live performance/jams so anything facilitating that is also appreciated. Specific mixers and gear?
First question is: analog or digital?
With analog you would need A Lot of gear to replace ableton. Every instance of reverb, delay and compression would need a hardware unit pretty much. There are dual engine fx processors and 4 channel compressor rack units, but you get the idea. Big, heavy setup with lots of cables. Enormous fun if you never have to move it though. In digital you could probably do everything using on board processors, but you would need to map your controller to the mixer, because no mixer will is likely to give you enough knobs for the kind of real time stuff you are doing.
Thanks for the reply! I’m willing to compromise so I “only” need one reverb and one delay on send channels or effects internal to the mixer (not multiple effects specifically on each track). The same with sidechaining/ducking; at the moment I have one knob controlling the amount of sidechaining on several tracks at once. Analog or digital is not as important as functionality I guess. Are there digital mixers with sidechaining possiblity built in? Or how would I go about achieving that with an analog mixer?
I love the Allen Heat Qu series of mixers!
No need for a computer at all as it multitrack records to a usb stick.
There are digital mixers with side chaining, not that I could tell which ones off the top of my head.
On an analog you would need to physically patch a direct out from whatever channel trigers your side chain (kick) into the side chain input of the compressor on whatever you want to compress (bass, just as a typical example). You could also patch out of an aux or subgroup, but you might need those for something else. How many compressors do you normally use now?
I have one compressor on a group containing the rest of the seven individual tracks of the Rytm. One compressor on the group of individual tracks from the A4. Both thresholds are set by the same midi control knob so in theory that could be controlled by the same compressor. I do however also have one compressor on the delay send channel and one one the reverb send channel. The thresholds on the two sends are controlled by a second midi control knob. I use this setup as a kind of effect where I for example in a live situation could shape a hard hitting kick and duck most other sounds but keep the effects from them audible and then gradually morph so the effects duck the kick and the sounds reappear. If that makes sense?
IMO yes and it’s only about having the money to spend and the space to set it up.
I would say that the cost between equivalent software and hardware solutions would be at least a ratio of 1:10 if not even more. Hardware is not only more expensive, it also can be used for one task at a time only. A plug-in can be replicated in a project as long as the CPU or the memory doesn’t give up.
This said I can only repeat the advice already given. Consider a digital mixer with sufficiant in/outs, plug-ins, inserts etc, and which might be fully controllable via midi. And you might want to combine this with a decent performance sequencer like the Squarp Pyramid
BTW, why go out-of-the-box at all? You seem to have and want a complex set-up for fx and routing. If the computer doesn’t let you down, why changing horses?
you can also set this up modular with the performance mixer from wmd. you can control the gain of each cannel via cv and therefore use it for ducking.
just put it in a small skiff rag.
Mainly because of Overbridge and glitches/dropouts which drive me nuts.
Ditching Overbridge and using an audio interface with enough inputs is also an option (at least when you have the A4MK2 with individual outs / or use Overbridge for the A4 only).
This is still much more cheaper than going full OTB. A mixer, some good effects, a multitrack recording solution etc.pp. … stuff piles up quite fast. And then there is still a central MIDI sequencer like an Octatrack missing.
IMHO the best solution is a mixed approach. Neither full ITB, nor full OTB. Just combine the best parts of both worlds.
I just added the SSL SiX mixer to my home recording setup and I didn’t totally expect such a great result. It’s so nice for one to not have to turn on computer if I just want to jam with all my gear (guitars, vocals, sub phatty, rev2, rytm and heat). But using available mixer outs into daw and then bringing tracks back out from daw to mixer is also quite wonderful once the routing is figured out.
First of all, sounds like a really cool setup. I never would have thought of setting up in this particular way. For the system you describe, you could get away with just a Mackie 1604, a 4 channel compressor (DBX) and a dual engine fx box (tc m1) or a couple of pedals. You could of course do it with 100% behringer. If you want everything in stereo you will need 2 more channels of compression. Not a huge investment. It will feel and sound different to what you have now. More distortion, more hiss, more phasing, so technically inferior to you daw. Should you want to change your work flow it may not work and you will be buying more gear and more cables. It is however truly knob-per-function and great fun.
Yes, this. And make sure you have a proper audio interface. Which means an RME unless you have more than 2k to spend. They have the best drivers in the business.
Oh, and a capable computer. I do hope you are not trying to use a laptop. You shouldn’t be having audio glitches with proper hardware… and this is both less expensive and more capable than a computer-free solution.