Old 10-01-2014, 11:13 AM   #1
manley
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Default mixdown using hardware console & Reaper

Can anyone give me a heads up here as im kinda stuck

Im using an Allen & heath gsr-24 console & not sure how to best set up Reapers routing for mixdown & mastering

Also im not sure whether to route via Reapers Master/parent send OR the hardware outputs ive been told it's best to turn Master / parent off

for mixdown ive been routing via the console & back into a stereo ch in Reaper with OK results

The problem im finding is that im pegging meters in the analogue chain & anything i place on Reapers Master bus within the project effects the analogue meters in a bad way unless i turn down the mix to a very low level

My mixing levels are not over loud OR ridiculous

Im sure this is just a routing issue that im not getting to grips with

Anyone that can help me here would be much appreciated

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Old 10-01-2014, 12:26 PM   #2
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What's your interface?
Do send out buses only,
or every individual track?

I guess you sum on your analog board?
Disabling parent send for every track you send out makes sense.
And those will be routed to pairs of your interface, 16ch needed for 8 stereo buses out.
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:48 PM   #3
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What's your interface?
Do send out buses only,
or every individual track?

I guess you sum on your analog board?
Disabling parent send for every track you send out makes sense.
And those will be routed to pairs of your interface, 16ch needed for 8 stereo buses out.
Interface meaning console

Allen & heath gsr-24 great hybrid console can't get to grips with Reapers routing though especially for Mastering

everything goes through the console either master buss or valve buss
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:26 PM   #4
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The problem im finding is that im pegging meters in the analogue chain & anything i place on Reapers Master bus within the project effects the analogue meters in a bad way unless i turn down the mix to a very low level

My mixing levels are not over loud OR ridiculous
I do it that way:
- I set up folder tracks (with icons/colour) with the respective hardware outputs - NO master/parent send of course
- I then just drag the tracks that I want to route to e.g. console channel 5-6 into the folder track

I don't understand why levels are culminating that much. What is a "non-ridicoulous" level for you? And what is a "very low level"?

EDIT: why do you place anything at all on Reapers MASTER bus??? Your master is the console's stereo buss!?!?
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:29 PM   #5
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I use my 32 channel desk for analog summing and mixdown. I can tell you what I do but I will say that this is a very personal issue based on one's personal workflow.

I route all audio OUT of the Reaper via the Hardware Outs with the Master/Parent send unchecked on the channels that are hardware out. This allows me to use the console for EQ, Panning, and Summing, but still utilize Reaper for automation. The way that I have my system setup, I route out to desk channels 1-28. Those feed the stereo mains on the console, which feeds an additional channel on the console. This channel is used as an INPUT in Reaper which is monitored and sends to the Master/Parent to the Reaper Master. So on Mixdown, I record the incoming channel as a stereo track.

(I enjoy the opportunity use hardware and software with this arrangement. Some will argue about the hit that I take on conversion. I take that hit gladly because I feel that the benefits of summing and recall abilities outweigh the issue. That's my opinion though.)

Let's say that I have lead vocals, I would uncheck the Master/Parent and send it hardware out to Channel 1.

If I have a group of instruments that I want to buss togther, you can go about it in a variety of ways. I use this setup on drums:
Kick, Snare, Toms, OH, etc... hardware outs to lay across the desk. I do not uncheck the Master/Parent send. Then I take the DRUM buss in Reaper and send it hardware out and uncheck THAT Master/Parent send.

Another option would be to send them to the desk and THEN route the drums to a desk buss. Whatever you need for your project.

You mentioned your gain structure... this is CRITICAL when going in and out of hardware. I check EVERY channel with a tone to line up Reaper's -18dBfs to the hardware 0VU. When mixing, I set my faders to unity and use the Reaper faders to control the output.

I'm not sure what you mean by: "anything i place on Reapers Master bus within the project effects the analogue meters in a bad way unless i turn down the mix to a very low level" Could you explain more?

In my setup above, the only thing hitting the Reaper Master is the single Stereo track from the desk. If I need to make an adjustment to hit -18dBfs on the Reaper Master in order to use some emulation plugins at appropriate levels.

Keep asking questions. I love using Reaper this way.
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by manley View Post
Interface meaning console

Allen & heath gsr-24 great hybrid console can't get to grips with Reapers routing though especially for Mastering

everything goes through the console either master buss or valve buss
Mastering - I would send stereo track hardware out into the console (Master/Parent send unchecked) and then record the console Mains back into Reaper while only monitoring this single track.
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:43 PM   #7
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I do it that way:
- I set up folder tracks (with icons/colour) with the respective hardware outputs - NO master/parent send of course
- I then just drag the tracks that I want to route to e.g. console channel 5-6 into the folder track

I don't understand why levels are culminating that much. What is a "non-ridicoulous" level for you? And what is a "very low level"?

EDIT: "why do you place anything at all on Reapers MASTER bus??? Your master is the console's stereo buss!?!?"
Ive been mixing in the daw & then routing out to the console during mixdown
I have the Klanghelm vumt meter at -18dbfs for mix levels

Ive then summed the mix through the console & back into Reaper with OK results

Ive recently taken up a mastering course which is great BUT can't work out how id process the mix in the daw & master it & configure this in Reaper
I want to use plugins during the mastering process

"why do you place anything at all on Reapers MASTER bus???"

This was during Mastering & experimenting

Im not claiming to be any sort of expert here just looking for help

Im experimenting & getting to grips with everything at the moment

Last edited by manley; 10-01-2014 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:45 PM   #8
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Hello Manley, I've not read the manual for that console, but I reckon the levels will be something like -20 to -16 dB FSD for 0dB on its channels. That might seem low, but it's actually normal levels and you'll actually need some gain on your monitoring to bring that up to a decent sound level.

Given me a little while and I can get on the web and look at the manual for you, but I bet I'm in the ball park.

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Old 10-01-2014, 01:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jpanderson80 View Post




I'm not sure what you mean by: "anything i place on Reapers Master bus within the project effects the analogue meters in a bad way unless i turn down the mix to a very low level" Could you explain more?



Keep asking questions. I love using Reaper this way.
Hi This was happening during my mastering experimenting course i had the parent / send checked & any plugin on the mst bus caused the analogue mast bus to clip hence my confusion as to how id do this

Im kinda pretty confused with it all
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:53 PM   #10
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OK - how hot is the input gain on the console channels? When I am monitoring a close-to-0dbFS limited master, I turn down my gain pots to the minimum. That way the channels won't clip.

If this is what you mean.
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by planetnine View Post
Hello Manley, I've not read the manual for that console, but I reckon the levels will be something like -20 to -16 dB FSD for 0dB on its channels. That might seem low, but it's actually normal levels and you'll actually need some gain on your monitoring to bring that up to a decent sound level.

Given me a little while and I can get on the web and look at the manual for you, but I bet I'm in the ball park.

>
Hi Nathan

Great!! i appreciate that once i get the basic setup i'll be fine,at the moment im going around in circles

wanted to mention that ive been routing my mix through the valve channel on the console with the valve knobs off reason being if i go via the master bus with vu the meters are slamming can O worms & headaches

im waiting for a response from heath regarding another issue but that's another story LOL

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Old 10-01-2014, 01:58 PM   #12
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OK - how hot is the input gain on the console channels? When I am monitoring a close-to-0dbFS limited master, I turn down my gain pots to the minimum. That way the channels won't clip.

If this is what you mean.
Hi

Sorry i don't follow
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:39 PM   #13
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Hi This was happening during my mastering experimenting course i had the parent / send checked & any plugin on the mst bus caused the analogue mast bus to clip hence my confusion as to how id do this

Im kinda pretty confused with it all
So, you are inserting a plugin on the REAPER Master... then the audio is routed out to your console on a channel, say 1-2. And Console Channels 1 & 2, are still routed to the Console Master which is getting slammed. Is that correct?

If so... you are so close to a solution! If the above is correct try this: turn the Reaper MASTER hardware output down to -18dBfs (or whatever you need for your console specs). This will drive Console channels 1 & 2 to 0vu and THEN it will push your Console Mains into the sweet spot at unity as well.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jpanderson80 View Post
So, you are inserting a plugin on the REAPER Master... then the audio is routed out to your console on a channel, say 1-2. And Console Channels 1 & 2, are still routed to the Console Master which is getting slammed. Is that correct?

If so... you are so close to a solution! If the above is correct try this: turn the Reaper MASTER hardware output down to -18dBfs (or whatever you need for your console specs). This will drive Console channels 1 & 2 to 0vu and THEN it will push your Console Mains into the sweet spot at unity as well.
Hi

regarding Mastering i had the stereo mix in reaper which was routed out to the console master buss ch 29/30
Also i had vst plugins on the master bus which made the analogue channel unhappy

I returned the stereo mix back into reaper & noticed clipping noise

so i guess im saying im trying to master my mix which makes the analogue ch unhappy but i need to raise the level to get a decent master but im not sure how configure this yet

Alot of head scratching

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Old 10-01-2014, 11:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by manley View Post
Interface meaning console

Allen & heath gsr-24 great hybrid console can't get to grips with Reapers routing though especially for Mastering

everything goes through the console either master buss or valve buss
Ok, I see. I'm not familiar with such a pro setup
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:45 PM   #16
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A picture of your Routing Matrix is always helpful.

And your actual send levels in dbfs.
Then it's a matter of gain-calibration.
Your analogue out/inn 0dbvu should have an an equal in dbfs digital, stated in the manual.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:13 AM   #17
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Hi

regarding Mastering i had the stereo mix in reaper which was routed out to the console master buss ch 29/30
Also i had vst plugins on the master bus which made the analogue channel unhappy

I returned the stereo mix back into reaper & noticed clipping noise

so i guess im saying im trying to master my mix which makes the analogue ch unhappy but i need to raise the level to get a decent master but im not sure how configure this yet

Alot of head scratching
From what I can tell, your issues are associated with gain staging. The Reaper channel hitting at -18dBfs is roughly equal to 0dBvu on your console. So any plugins that you have on your channel that boost the signal to just under zero dBfs inside Reaper would be likely beyond what the console likes to see. You'll have to set up the send level to take this into consideration.

If you are using hardware in your mastering chain, then the gain staging is worth the battle. If you are only using plugins in your mastering chain, then I recommend staying ITB for the process.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:39 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jpanderson80 View Post

If you are using hardware in your mastering chain, then the gain staging is worth the battle. If you are only using plugins in your mastering chain, then I recommend staying ITB for the process.
Hi

Yes it's a gain staging issue im having trouble with i have no hardware on the analogue chain

So How would you suggest i set up for mastering ITB ?
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:22 AM   #19
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Hi

Yes it's a gain staging issue im having trouble with i have no hardware on the analogue chain

So How would you suggest i set up for mastering ITB ?
I would use the plugins as normal and render mastered files as normal. Any monitoring of REAPER's Master Buss can be done with any of your channels. I send Reaper Master output to channels 31-32 and SOLO those channels on my desk. This allows me to hear Reaper without hearing any console summing (... that is, without sending ch.31-32 through the console mains.)
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:52 PM   #20
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Still trying to read up on that console and all its options, Sean, but you can adjust the gain between REAPER master out and the hardware.

This might help with allowing for the fuller levels required when mastering.

How are you using it for mastering? -are you using the ins and outs for outboard effects and processes?



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Old 10-02-2014, 12:55 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jpanderson80 View Post
I send Reaper Master output to channels 31-32 and SOLO those channels on my desk. This allows me to hear Reaper without hearing any console summing (... that is, without sending ch.31-32 through the console mains.)
That;s the thing though im not sure i can do that with this console hmmm
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:02 PM   #22
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Still trying to read up on that console and all its options, Sean, but you can adjust the gain between REAPER master out and the hardware.

This might help with allowing for the fuller levels required when mastering.

How are you using it for mastering? -are you using the ins and outs for outboard effects and processes?



>
Hi Nathan

basically i have the stereo track sent out to the valve channel in Reaper with eq / comp & limiter

i press I/P daw which sends back to a stereo track in reaper & thats my master

Reapers mst buss has my vumt meter on it

The valve channel doesn't like the level though

perhaps i could not use reapers parent send for the outputs but then i can't use vst's

by the way im using zero outboard during the mastering id like to master ITB & sum somehow for now

Sorry it's abit basic
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Old 10-02-2014, 02:43 PM   #23
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That;s the thing though im not sure i can do that with this console hmmm
How are you listening to Reaper?
Go to that particular OUT and turn it down. That should be all that you need to do.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:59 PM   #24
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How are you listening to Reaper?
Go to that particular OUT and turn it down. That should be all that you need to do.
I see what your saying, i listen Through my console mast buss i'll give that a look
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Old 10-03-2014, 06:05 AM   #25
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I think you need to get familiar with the routing matrix and how it relates to your channels, your sends and hardware outputs. This will help you get a picture in your mind of the routing, and what JP (above) is saying will make perfect sense.

If you're sending a REAPER track directly to a hardware out (eg here your valve channels) you will need to adjust the send levels to their working range. Looking at those in the manual, I would press the AFL (after-fade listen as opposed to pre-fade listen), start with the "level" pot (effectively your fader for this channel) at 0dB and the drive at minimum and slowly bring up the REAPER send until the desk meters are bouncing up to 0dB. With the level pot gain at 0dB, you are effectively trimming the pre-fade level to a 0VU (here 0dBu, I think) nominal.

If the "drive" control on these channels is not gain compensated, you'll have to do the above with the drive knob somewhere in the middle of its range. The valve drive circuit has a green/yellow/red indicator, so you'll know how hard you are hitting it, but I bet AFL with the level pot at 0dB and drive at minimum will give you a 0dBu nominal level (after the channel DAC) into the channel -if the drive light is green we'll presume it's doing nothin to the through channel gain.

Does the actual level increase dramatically as you turn the drive up Sean?

You are having a possibly unfair and rough introduction to the difference between levels used in mixing (esp analogue) and off-the-shelf 0dBFSD-normalised music. That desk will, to a degree, make you work at a much lower digital level than many in-the-box bedroom mixing guys do. It's good practice, but it will mean you need some gain on your monitors and you will get very familiar with that crimson knob on page 26 (CRM LEVEL)

Persevere with it, it's a well thought-out console for REAPER. Before you know it you'll be familiar, and you'll be programming all those knobs and buttons to control your transport and recording.



Edit: I take it you're ok with those ABCD DAW routing buttons?

"The Gain control does not affect the signal if the input is sourced from the DAW interface." Leave it at 0dB anyway, and...

"Drive control characteristics at around +10dBu." Hit AFL and trim from the REAPER hardware sends, aim for anywhere between 0dB and +10dB on the console meters. Use your ears and adust it to taste




>

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Old 10-03-2014, 07:28 AM   #26
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Edit: I take it you're ok with those ABCD DAW routing buttons



>
Yes im good with them

One thing i was noticing was that the valve level knob didn't seem to show unity gain at the zero point

"Does the actual level increase dramatically as you turn the drive up Sean?"

No there not too bad

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Old 10-03-2014, 08:11 AM   #27
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One thing i was noticing was that the valve level knob didn't seem to show unity gain at the zero point
Hm - I think we're talking about "analogue zero" (dBu), not "digital zero" (dBFS). AFAI understand the reference level of your desk is -18dBFS (at +4dB/balanced line level), so try to feed it with a 1kHz sine wave from a generator like JS tonegenerator and match the levels.

planetnine, please correct me, but the sine generator's output would require 3dB less gain, thus -21dBFS, in order to render a technically proper result, right?
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:10 PM   #28
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If the spec is accurate, the level difference between dBFSD in REAPER and analogue dBu on the console should be about 21 dB -ie if you send a steady signal (eg sine wave) that peaks at -10dB in the REAPER channel, it should measure +11dBu unprocessed at the console channel.

If you like you can think of this as the DA Converter sensitivity, 0dB digital in is +21dBu analogue out, -21dB digital in, 0dBu analogue out (I haven't been able to find any figures to the contrary in the manual, though I suppose it could be 20dB for round numbers). Remember the numbers are measuring different things (digital/analogue).

Any valve drive is likely to affect the channel gain (metering is AFL, not PFL), but it should be quite close. If the drive knob doesn't seem to act like a gain knob then I'm presuming it is gain compensated.


In this case, if there us a 20, 21dB difference in the numbers, you have unity gain (gain here is the number of dB added or substracted after adding 21 for DA conversion). The level knob should be reasonably accurate, providing the drive circuit isn't boosting things. You haven't got that "boost" button pressed have you?


beingmf - are you talking about compensation for RMS or are you anticipation pan law here. I was keeping it peak metering all the way as REAPER channel meters are peak and the GSR channel meters are peak (except for the LR VU panel meters).



>

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Old 10-03-2014, 01:18 PM   #29
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beingmf - are you talking about compensation for RMS or are you anticipation pan law here. I was keeping it peak metering all the way as REAPER channel meters are peak and the GSR channel meters are peak (except for the LR VU panel meters).
>
In the case of a sine wave > analogue meters I'm talking about RMS of course

EDIT: sorry, didn't read the "GSR meters are peak" bit. Doesn't matter with a sine wave anyway, does it...
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:31 PM   #30
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In the case of a sine wave > analogue meters I'm talking about RMS of course

EDIT: sorry, didn't read the "GSR meters are peak" bit. Doesn't matter with a sine wave anyway, does it...

For a sine wave the RMS (root-mean-square) is peak * 1/sqrt(2), but it is treated as equal to peak for audio measurement purposes by measurement standard AES-17.

I have to get that in, because in electrical engineering we do it the proper way but it's easier in audio to calibrate meters with a sine wave. My Fluke meter measures dBm RMS as peak -3dB, as AES-17 isn't used in real non-audio engineering. Sorry, I'm a pedantic git

Manley is going to try putting a -20dB gain on any hardware sends with mastered music, as a starting point to bring the levels down to nominal for his console. The digital returns on the GSR drop 0dBFSD≡21dBu levels directly into the signal path of his input channels, so for hot digital signals this is a bit unnerving if you're not used to it.


It's a very nice piece of kit, but it makes you use "proper" mix-levels with sensible headroom. A bit of a trial by fire for the uninitiated


>

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Old 10-04-2014, 02:19 AM   #31
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I read the SOS review for the GSR connsole and it says the converters sensitivity is 0dBFSD≡+18dBu (-18BFSD≡0dBu), although the analogue channels won't clip until +21dBu.


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Old 10-04-2014, 03:04 AM   #32
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I read the SOS review for the GSR connsole and it says the converters sensitivity is 0dBFSD≡+18dBu (-18BFSD≡0dBu), although the analogue channels won't clip until +21dBu.
Isn't analog headroom often +22 to +30dbu for many boxes?
So, technically a standard should be something like -24dbfs = 0dbu
But practically, yes, -18dbfs seem like a good choice (and is somewhat a standard)
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Old 10-04-2014, 02:38 PM   #33
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I think -18dBFSD≡+4dBu is a US "standard" whereas the European equivalent tends to be -20dBFSD≡+4dBu (from memory, I'm at a gig and I can't check it).

A&H tend to do 0dBu desks now, my ML is 0 rather than +4dBu.


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Old 10-05-2014, 02:28 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planetnine View Post
I think -18dBFSD≡+4dBu is a US "standard" whereas the European equivalent tends to be -20dBFSD≡+4dBu (from memory, I'm at a gig and I can't check it).

A&H tend to do 0dBu desks now, my ML is 0 rather than +4dBu.


>
Ok, that seems very resonable.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:44 PM   #35
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If you are using hardware in your mastering chain, then the gain staging is worth the battle. If you are only using plugins in your mastering chain, then I recommend staying ITB for the process.
yes i see im only using plugins for mastering & not hardware for now but hope to use hardware some day

but how do i render mixdown & Master in reaper without going through my console mst buss the console is my interface
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:03 PM   #36
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On the master fader, the SEND will show your Master output (hardware send). I think that on most interfaces, the SEND is defaulted to the 1 & 2 (That may be incorrect, but that's what I experienced. So, if you open a new reaper session you may see the output coming to 1&2 on your console.)

In Reaper, by default, the tracks are routed and summed digitally to the Master Fader. You can set the Master Fader SEND to any hardware channels. So, set your output to whichever channels you want. I use a stereo channel on the console, so that I can control the output with just one console fader and mute button. For Mastering, the SEND level coming out of Reaper will need to be about -18dBfs in order to hit your console at 0dBvu on whichever channels you've chosen. That sound goes through console and out to your monitors. I SOLO my console channel so that I can only hear the REAPER output.

To render the mixdown through the console, you'll have to set up a way to record what happens through the console. As stated in a previous post, I route the Console 2buss back into the console so that I can capture THAT channel into Reaper. (just be sure not to create a feedback loop!!!) It will record as a WAV file just like a normal recording session. If you have plugins on your Master buss as well, then render the MIXDOWN WAV file ITB.

To render during mastering, it'll be all ITB.

I've attached a chart of the workflow that I use for my console. I'm not 100% about your console. This is a personal preference decision AND your console routing.
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File Type: jpg my routing.jpg (31.8 KB, 234 views)
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:27 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by jpanderson80 View Post


To render during mastering, it'll be all ITB.

I've attached a chart of the workflow that I use for my console. I'm not 100% about your console. This is a personal preference decision AND your console routing.
Did you send an attachment?

Aha i see it now

Last edited by manley; 10-06-2014 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:37 PM   #38
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I think your mixer is set up to have main outputs on 31 & 32, but I don't know how REAPER will default -prob outs 1 & 2 as suggested above. Do you know how it is sent?


Everything JP has said seems to be correct for what you're trying to do -mix ITB. For outboard use in mixing you'll have to send to outputs and return on inputs that are set to straddle a console channel's insert and EQ (option-8, A&B selected, page 39). Rendering is then done online in real-time to allow real-time signals to pass through your outboard FX.


Get familiar with that desk's routing and your gain-staging first and mix ITB. You can try the more ambitious tasks when you're more confident -you've got a lot to absorb Sean




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Old 10-07-2014, 12:18 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planetnine View Post
I think your mixer is set up to have main outputs on 31 & 32, but I don't know how REAPER will default -prob outs 1 & 2 as suggested above. Do you know how it is sent?


Get familiar with that desk's routing and your gain-staging first and mix ITB. You can try the more ambitious tasks when you're more confident -you've got a lot to absorb Sean

>
I usually just change the routing on Reapers mst buss & route to where i want then return the ch back into reaper

How do i render ITB without involving the console though??

Ive no problems mixing in Reaper it's the rendering of the stereo mix OR master without involving the console i don't get, The console is my mast buss

Unless that's what JP is explaining...but im not getting it

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Old 10-07-2014, 02:26 AM   #40
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I sent a reply to your PM -should explain how you monitor, render, and the difference between them.

Personally I'd set REAPER's outputs to 31&32 and then save that as a default template -if I wanted any special routing, I'd do it on a track basis using ReaInsert or directly with sends -unhooking any REAPER tracks from its master buss as necessary.


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