Need some advice with audio path


I do live shows mostly and work in my home studio. I rarely use Daw… maybe just to record… or slice sounds… most of final recordings are recorded on a taskam field recorder… or a marantz reel to reel machine.

I’m not new to electron… but I’m new to the octatrack… The gear I use are the following… electric guitars… esq 1 synth… yamaha dx7… microbrute… model samples… digitone… sp404… mpc500… zoom multistomp pedal… pod 500 and of course the octatrack… I dont necsecaeryly use all this gear at once… but I often 3 or 4 pieces of it at time…

I have everything going to my mixer except the octatrack and the sp404. I then have my mixer go to inputs of the octatrack… then the octatrack goes to my sp404.

I get dogged on other sites all the time… this forum seems to more mature and helpful… everyone says can the mixer cause it’s the worse electronics in the signal chain… I have a Mackie mixer… a proffesional mixer is not in my game plan for a few years… should I can the mixer? is there a better way I should be chaining my audio signal together? on reddit it’s all negative no one can be any advice… curios what you folk think?

sorry for typos I dont like cellphones:)


Using mixer is ok. But i think octatrack should be placed at the end of the chain. Why sp404 is there, just curiously


I used it for alot of my longer sampler recordings… and some of the effects it has to offer can not be matched by any of my other gear… that’s why I have everything going to my octatrack then the octatrack track sends everything I want to sp for recording and effects… unless you can think up a better way to do this… I’ve wrapped my brain around it now for a week… I cant think or troubleshoot something better that would work that way? essentially the octatrack is 2nd last in the chain… do you have any solutions:(?

I could put the octatrack last… but then the octatrack couldn’t use the effects of the sp?


Wow that’s interesting. I, too, love the 404 and its unmatched fx, so I get where you’re coming from. Have you considered putting the 404 in the chain as an Aux send? There are videos floating around on how to set up the Octa with an external pedal for Aux send.


So if I were you I would get two stereo quarter to rca cables. Stereo quarter out into rca in of 404, rca out into stereo quarter in of Octa.

Unless you’re using 404 for filter sweeps and such in which case you’re probably right about having it at the end of your chain… Though in that case I would make do with T8 set to master and filter sweeping from there


interesting suggestion… I dont have a foot switch… what would be the advantage to setup… like I said I thought for weeks on how to set this up… my brained is overloaded:)

I do use fx send on mixer for my pedals… mind you the way I’m setup that way I cant use pedal with the octatrack or sp


dont worry too much. Provided you gainstage everything properly going into the mackie, I doubt any serious sound degredation will happen. But do explore the various routings you could utilize, like using aux sends for going into gear which has an input (OT / 404).


there is no hum… but I do notice a small hum if I hit receive button on my sp404… I believe it’s the receive external source button…


That hum sounds like a potential ground loop issue to me. Are all your electronic plugs connected to the same wall socket? Try rearranging the sockets if not, ideally you should get one large power strip to power all your devices that are connected to the same audio “circuit” (as in, all their audio outputs are combined at a singular point).

Another possible source for this hum could be an incorrectly gainstaged channel on the mixer… but usually in those cases one also experiences increased background noise…

Ah, almost forgot. One possible source of hum can also be a faulty rca cable. rca cables are notorious for developing “issues”, especially the cheaper ones…


currently I have two power bars… each of the power 2 bars are plug into a different wall socket. So I try plugging both bars into the same circuit?

Also back to my first question… is this you guys are referring too? Use the sp404 as a return fx and route it through the Octatrack cue outs. U need to turn on external source.

The only cheap rca cable I’m using is from my sp to my speakers lol


try plugging the two power bars to the same wall outlet point and see if that improves matters.

The cable going into your speakers is probably fine if the hum only occurs when you activate input monitoring on the SP404. Fault is somewhere else.


If you could specify which mixer that would be useful for routing help.


my mixer is


btw thank you everyone:)


ah, I see. Well, with that mixer having only one unbalanced aux send, no wonder you need to chain your inputs like that.

so, your synths connect to the mixer, the output of that mixer goes into your OT inputs, filling two inputs on the OT. You then use the cue bus on the OT for sending stuff into the 404? and back to the OT on a separate input pair? And speakers are connected to OT outputs?

Can you listen to the OT cue out with your headphones, to check if the ground loop hum is audible already when sounds hit the OT? If the OT cue bus sounds coean but the 404 input sounds the hum, then I suspect the ground loop is manifested by connecting the 404 to the OT. If this is the case, a cheap rca galvanic isolator might eliminate The ground loop hum…


that way is probably better… currently I’m sending mixer to input on the octatrack… then outputs on octatrack to the sp… then the outs on the sp to my speakers… my digitone is going directly to the OT I’m out town cant check for sure but I’m 100 percent sure the digitone is going straight into the OT…

the cue outs for the sp is probably a better solution? I’m just not familiar with the cue outs and the manual doesn’t mention them much:( so I’m a liitle lost:)

not sure if I have enough balance in on that mixer to send the digitone and fx send pedal on it … I think that’s why I have the digi going to the ot


I’m not sure if this normal lol but I’m actually loosing sleep over this hookup thing the past few weeks lol


I understand now why other people online consider your mixer inadequate for the job. All this would be much simpler if you could just utilize a mixer for all your channels, and use the mixers sends for dealing with inputting audio to your gear that needs it.

There are some very cost-effective mixer solutions available these days. This is just one example of a pretty decent mixer that sells for less than 200:

But if a new mixer is not an option for you right now, you gotta make do with what you got. So check that OT cue bus to see if its clean first, and continue isolating the cause of the hum from there.

And hey, dont stress it! All these probs can usually be solved eventually :wink:


this mixer was used for a 3 piece punk band I had… I never intended using it this way it just happened;) I out of town right now midweek I’ll be back and will try to isolate my noise and figure out this cue thing… when I get back if I have any issues should I start a new thread or use this one?

If I do remember the buzz kinda flickers on and off if I lean on my studio table where all the gear is… my mixer isnt on that table though… it’s one big mess of audio and midi cables lol

anywhere I can find some better documentation on the cue?


using cue couldnt be simpler - select a track, then while holding down the CUE button, turn the level encoder to set the cue out volume for that particular track.

If the hum/buzz is intermittent and you can affect it like that, its a ground contact or an interference prob, most likely. Could also be caused by some power cables or wall warts being too close to audio cables. Having neat cables which are not too long nor short, with audio cables crossing power cables at 90 degree angles, would be ideal. Also, keep power supply wall wart boxes away from audio cables if at all possible. PSUs tend to create interference which can leak into a nearby audio cable.

and please dont start a new thread when resuming this troubleshooting. Easier for everyone to follow things when its all in the same thread.


thanks everyone I’ll give this a go let you guys no how it goes mid next week