the new (old) DAW pt 3

preparation for OSCPGH 2016 has become a good bit of source material (read: motivation) to stay in the trenches on the new playflow.

OSCPGH is a synth meetup and I build synths. It’s a demo gig for me. 

The next two weeks of posts will be equally divided between prep for the meetup and current production technique. In addition to dumping the DAW, I decided to go minimal on sources:

Studio Electronics Boomstar 4075
Waldor Blofeld Desktop
Eurorack Modular (just the 9U demo rig for now)

All three synths will be used to make rhythm and melodic parts (I suspect the modular will do most of the rhythm work).

here’s my first pass at a demo rig:

Basic objective is get as much Livewire in the box as possible while still leaving room for whatever makes it function as an instrument. After yesterday’s exploration, it definitely needs another oscillator (AFG).

Week one summary:

First pass at signal routing made it possible to put things together quickly, without the typical frustrations that come with doing things a new way.

 Current config:

AD1: Waldorf Blofeld L
AD2: Waldorf Blofeld R
AD3: SE Boomstar 4075
AD4: Modular Demo rig 1
AD5: Modular Demo rig 2
AD6: Eventide H9 Return
AD7: Eventide H9 Return
AD8: Ibanez AD200 Return

I have an additional 16 inputs via MY8AT cards. I’m only using one of the MY8ATs with a Presonus DigiMaxLT (the only thing connected is a Shure KSM27).

RECORDER inputs change based on the track. Tracks 1 – 4 are usually recorded from input 4 (or 5 if I want parts of a patch recorded separately).

The modular demo rig got most of the set up attention, but there were a couple of “deep” features on the AW that needed to be set up:

I installed a Pittsburgh Modular MIDI3 module into the demo rig specifically because it converts, and even divides, incoming MIDI clock. The AW has a dedicated port for MTC but I used the MIDI CLOCK sent via the MIDI OUT port.

Some may not consider these deep, but my definition of deep (in the mixer section) is anything beyond the IN/OUT and MONITOR controls. My OMNI assigns are:

OMNI A: Aux 1 – sends to Eventide H9 L
OMNI B: Aux 2 – sends to Eventide H9 R
OMNI C: Aux 3 – sends to Ibanez AD200 (nice and gritty analog delay)
OMNI D: Aux 4 – send to anything I connect (re-amp, pedal effects, etc)

All the returns come back via input channels.

Getting down to work:

Everything starts with the modular.
The newly configured case is the starting point based on some preconceptions and I start patching with those in mind – especially building patches around clocked elements. Before I can use the AW to clock the modular I have to set a tempo is and the AW has to be playing. Until I’m at a point where I can make that decision, I rely on clock signals generated by the modules (gates from Chaos Computer, squares from Vulcan Modulator or AFG). Once I get something I’m ready to work with, I do some calculations and set the AW tempo.

Week one recap:

overall audio quality (running 48k 24bit)
overall better summing (part of “overall audio quality” but mentioned because of how quickly mixes happen)
(even though expectations were lowered) faster results from being forced to “make decisions”

exporting/sharing finished mixes and clips less convenient that simply rendering a .wav file

Handling the final mixes was the first thing I considered before making the decision to transition back to the AW. At the moment this only becomes an issue when wanting to share samples/clips of ongoing work. I could easily put a computer in the studio and send a feed of the ST track (mixdown) to it (via ADAT) and defeat the point getting all the computers out, but that’ll take a couple of weeks to get over my purism.

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