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  #1  
Old 06.20.09, 6:26 PM
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Mixing and Midi Control

So.. Most Midi Keyboards these days have faders and pads and rotary controls, etc, which can be assigned to various mixing functions..

But these controls are not motorised. Which means that they can only be used to write once; so say you're writing automation on a track using a fader, then you could only fine edit that with a mouse - using the fader again would screw up the earlier automation.

I guess what I'm asking is do people use external controllers for mixing? If so, are any of these motorised? And generally do you guys have any experience/opinion of the following? (in particular the last 2 options)

The best motorised options are pretty expensive http://www.dv247.com/invt/48196/ http://www.dv247.com/invt/30083/

But then there's also the Behringer option: http://www.dv247.com/invt/21929/..

And a very interesting portable option.. http://www.dv247.com/invt/60673/
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  #2  
Old 06.20.09, 8:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarose View Post
But these controls are not motorised.
True.

Quote:
Which means that they can only be used to write once; so say you're writing automation on a track using a fader, then you could only fine edit that with a mouse - using the fader again would screw up the earlier automation.
Not true! (Well: to a point at least)

The smart guys who make this stuff have already thought of this. There's two places where this is dealt with: in the software that you're automating and in the hardware you're sending the messages with.

In my M-Audio Axiom keyboard I have a Mute button that mutes the MIDI output and allows me to set the controls to the values on screen without actually sending any data. So I can set up the faders and what not and basically recall the scene. PIA: you bet! But it's better than nothing and it's what I did for a long time (more on that statement in a second).

In software, specifically in Logic 8, you can use Latch mode or Touch mode to trigger automation writing and essentially do "punch in"'s on your automation data. Use this with a combination and your hardware mute button and you're not dead in the water.

But yea: it's labour intensive.

Quote:
I guess what I'm asking is do people use external controllers for mixing?
Yes.

Quote:
If so, are any of these motorised?
Yes.

Quote:
And generally do you guys have any experience/opinion of the following? (in particular the last 2 options)
Going in to the RPM Challenge this year I "treated" myself to a motorized DAW control unit. I tried out the Presonus FaderPort and the Frontier AlphaTrack and ended up buying the AlphaTrack.

Was it the revolutionary unit that changed the way I mix?

No.

I still do most of my curve writing by hand. It isn't that the AlphaTrack doesn't help make this easy, it's that even with the motorized fader jumping to a point I still prefer a mouse-created curve most of the time. I can't do a great logarithm fade by hand. But I can draw one with Logic's automation curve tool.

Where I really like the AlphaTrack is for tracking and moving around in the editor window. The touch strip, mute, arm, play, stop buttons are awesome and far easier to use than keyboard shortcuts. The touch strip in particular is pretty powerful. You can jog or jump between markers depending on whether you use one or two fingers on the strip.

I picked up the AlphaTrack used for less than CAD$150 IIRC. It came it it's original box but it didn't have that stupid little carrying bag.
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  #3  
Old 06.20.09, 8:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
PIA: you bet! But it's better than nothing and it's what I did for a long time (more on that statement in a second).

In software, specifically in Logic 8, you can use Latch mode or Touch mode to trigger automation writing and essentially do "punch in"'s on your automation data. Use this with a combination and your hardware mute button and you're not dead in the water.

But yea: it's labour intensive.
I thought something like this must be possible, but therein lies my issue - PIA. I see using external controllers as a method to speed up workflow when using a mouse gets tedious: that kinda thing sounds pretty tedious! I've basically started working with samples a fair bit more, and want to be able to edit them and fade in/out much quicker than I currently do.

Though since you mention it, could you give me a brief explanation on the diff between write, latch and touch?


Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
ended up buying the AlphaTrack.

Was it the revolutionary unit that changed the way I mix?

No.

I still do most of my curve writing by hand. It isn't that the AlphaTrack doesn't help make this easy, it's that even with the motorized fader jumping to a point I still prefer a mouse-created curve most of the time. I can't do a great logarithm fade by hand. But I can draw one with Logic's automation curve tool.
*sigh* and can you explain the automation curve tool too? sounds handy..

Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
Where I really like the AlphaTrack is for tracking and moving around in the editor window. The touch strip, mute, arm, play, stop buttons are awesome and far easier to use than keyboard shortcuts. The touch strip in particular is pretty powerful. You can jog or jump between markers depending on whether you use one or two fingers on the strip.
I'm thinking of getting it anyway for all those advantages, but do you not then find the motorised fader of much use when mixing? And is the single track at a time a limitation (because if so the ridiculously priced behringer comes to mind)? Do you still use the stuff built into the Axiom? I ask because I actually bought an edirol pcr300, which is covered in knobs and faders, but i'm now thinking a better setup may be something motorised for a controller, and a hammer-action for a keyboard (though never proficient, I played piano as a kid and am just used to that response)

Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
I picked up the AlphaTrack used for less than CAD$150 IIRC. It came it it's original box
I wish I'd looked into this before my recent trip to the states. Ah well, crappy UK prices. I may look into a used one if I go with it.

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Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
but it didn't have that stupid little carrying bag.
Come on... that stupid little carrying bag is so cute
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For Sale/trade, PM for info:
Quote:
Originally posted by DAVIDCOUPE
Guitarose has had one for sale in his sig since i joined this ****ing site. Somebody just buy it!
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  #4  
Old 06.20.09, 8:54 PM
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Oh. And thanks for your input - I was hoping/semi-expecting something useful from you: much appreciated.
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For Sale/trade, PM for info:
Quote:
Originally posted by DAVIDCOUPE
Guitarose has had one for sale in his sig since i joined this ****ing site. Somebody just buy it!
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  #5  
Old 06.21.09, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarose View Post
Though since you mention it, could you give me a brief explanation on the diff between write, latch and touch?
Automation modes in Logic:

Write - replaces anything that was on the track and records anything new you happen to do.
Latch - Begins replacing automation on the track when you move an automated control. Keeps recording the automation changes until the end of the song or stop is pressed.
Touch - Begins recording automation on the track when you touch a control. Stops recording automation on the track when you stop touching the control.

Quote:
*sigh* and can you explain the automation curve tool too? sounds handy..
The Automation Select Tool is an arrow icon with a solid black head and a squiggly tail. It lets you select and manipulate existing automation curves. The Automation Curve Tool is an arrow icon with a hollow black head and a squiggly tail. It lets draw automation curves, including nice sine waves and logarithmic fade ins and outs. In Curve mode you grab an automation line between any two points and start "bending" it -- Logic will flip through the different options (convex, concave, S-curve) depending on the points. If you grab after the last point on the automation line it'll let you choose log fade outs and so on.

Quote:
I'm thinking of getting it anyway for all those advantages, but do you not then find the motorised fader of much use when mixing?
It's okay. The fact that there's only one means you're doing a lot of back and forth. It's cool to use the fader for other things -- parameter automation in VSTi's and what not. It's certainly helpful, but not revolutionary. I didn't start making better mixes because I had a motorized fader. I still suck at mixing. It's better for sure, but not revolutionary. I still think it's the transport control keys and touch strip that made it worth the money for me. Those are real time savers.

Quote:
And is the single track at a time a limitation (because if so the ridiculously priced behringer comes to mind)?
It would certainly be nice to have one of those Euphonix boards but the reality is I wouldn't use for 1/10th of its real potential. The AlphaTrack, with it's handy display and touch strip, are great.

Quote:
Do you still use the stuff built into the Axiom? I ask because I actually bought an edirol pcr300, which is covered in knobs and faders, but i'm now thinking a better setup may be something motorised for a controller, and a hammer-action for a keyboard (though never proficient, I played piano as a kid and am just used to that response)
I do but not for DAW control. I use them for VSTi control. If I'm recording I'll sometimes use the start/stop/rew/record keys on the Axiom because my hands are on the controller and they're right there. But that's convenience. Once I'm done tracking the key stuff I usually disconnect the Axiom to free up desk space.

Quote:
I wish I'd looked into this before my recent trip to the states. Ah well, crappy UK prices. I may look into a used one if I go with it.
That price is pretty on par with what I was seeing for them new, here in Canaduh. IIRC I got mine of a dude on TGP from the US. Keep an eye out. People with big dreams buy them, thinking they'll turn into the next Dust Brother or something now that they've got a motorized fader and then flip 'em cheap after they realize it actually requires talent and an ear to mix. (ouch, where'd that bitter tirade come from?)

Quote:
Come on... that stupid little carrying bag is so cute
Uh huh.
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  #6  
Old 06.21.09, 1:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
Automation modes in Logic:

Write - replaces anything that was on the track and records anything new you happen to do.
Latch - Begins replacing automation on the track when you move an automated control. Keeps recording the automation changes until the end of the song or stop is pressed.
Touch - Begins recording automation on the track when you touch a control. Stops recording automation on the track when you stop touching the control.
Interesting - thanks for that. So touch would be the most useful thing in this context - especially with non-motorised stuff? And latch would be useful with a motorised control?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
The Automation Select Tool is an arrow icon with a solid black head and a squiggly tail. It lets you select and manipulate existing automation curves. The Automation Curve Tool is an arrow icon with a hollow black head and a squiggly tail. It lets draw automation curves, including nice sine waves and logarithmic fade ins and outs. In Curve mode you grab an automation line between any two points and start "bending" it -- Logic will flip through the different options (convex, concave, S-curve) depending on the points. If you grab after the last point on the automation line it'll let you choose log fade outs and so on.
Awesome - I think this sounds very useful. I prob need to learn more about Logic's internal functions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
I still suck at mixing. It's better for sure, but not revolutionary. I still think it's the transport control keys and touch strip that made it worth the money for me. Those are real time savers.
So given I'm working off a macbook, being able to scroll across with 2 fingers on the trackpad, would the touch strip make a difference? Or is it's functionality better?

I'm not going after this stuff for anything other than an improved workflow - i'm not expecting it to make me 'better'; just to speed up and improve my workflow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
It would certainly be nice to have one of those Euphonix boards but the reality is I wouldn't use for 1/10th of its real potential. The AlphaTrack, with it's handy display and touch strip, are great.
I guess this is why I'm asking what you think of the Behringer, given that it's so much cheaper (unlike the Euphonix, which is some serious cash).

Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
That price is pretty on par with what I was seeing for them new, here in Canaduh. IIRC I got mine of a dude on TGP from the US. Keep an eye out. People with big dreams buy them, thinking they'll turn into the next Dust Brother or something now that they've got a motorized fader and then flip 'em cheap after they realize it actually requires talent and an ear to mix. (ouch, where'd that bitter tirade come from?)
(whats IIRC?) Hehe - so you think I suck? ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by iaresee View Post
Uh huh.
yea
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For Sale/trade, PM for info:
Quote:
Originally posted by DAVIDCOUPE
Guitarose has had one for sale in his sig since i joined this ****ing site. Somebody just buy it!
...
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  #7  
Old 06.21.09, 2:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarose View Post
Interesting - thanks for that. So touch would be the most useful thing in this context - especially with non-motorised stuff? And latch would be useful with a motorised control?
Yea, that seems about right. I don't ever really use this stuff myself. I tend to write a curve and then edit it manually.

Quote:
So given I'm working off a macbook, being able to scroll across with 2 fingers on the trackpad, would the touch strip make a difference? Or is it's functionality better?
Good question and one I have no answer to. I'm on an iMac with no touch pad so the strip is brilliant for me. I still think you'd like the arm/disarm/stop/start/rec buttons more than keyboard short cuts. They're easier to hit, easier to remember, etc.

Quote:
I guess this is why I'm asking what you think of the Behringer, given that it's so much cheaper (unlike the Euphonix, which is some serious cash).
There's go to be a reason all the other motorized stuff costs so much for so little in comparison to the Behringer stuff. I know that the AlphaTrack's fader is really long -- which is handy if you need accuracy. And they've got a good guarantee on how long it'll last.


Quote:
(whats IIRC?)
If I Recall Correctly

Quote:
Hehe - so you think I suck? ..
Not at all. I think people who turn gear like this over think it'll make the mix masters but it doesn't.
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  #8  
Old 06.21.09, 7:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarose View Post
So.. Most Midi Keyboards these days have faders and pads and rotary controls, etc, which can be assigned to various mixing functions..

But these controls are not motorised. Which means that they can only be used to write once; so say you're writing automation on a track using a fader, then you could only fine edit that with a mouse - using the fader again would screw up the earlier automation.

I guess what I'm asking is do people use external controllers for mixing? If so, are any of these motorised? And generally do you guys have any experience/opinion of the following? (in particular the last 2 options)

The best motorised options are pretty expensive http://www.dv247.com/invt/48196/ http://www.dv247.com/invt/30083/

But then there's also the Behringer option: http://www.dv247.com/invt/21929/..

And a very interesting portable option.. http://www.dv247.com/invt/60673/
i don't encounter this problem. logic has different ways for inputing automastion - off is off, read reads, latch and write both write, so whilst in this mode, anything i do is written, then i set to read and i can 'test' roatry pot eithout overwriting data

imho moterised fadars are a gimic - if you're doing everything in the box, why have midi fadars jiving around? for live recording to dat or something archaic like that, it'd be needed i see that. otherwise, we've evolved past it.

my 2 cents
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