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Old 06-05-2024, 09:54 PM   #1
ssimlai
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Default Recording MIDI Tracks to Audio using External Mixing Console

Hello everyone,

Sorry if I sound noobish (which I really am) but I do have a lurking question my mind since a few days.

I believe that most folks who use external mixers, know how to deal with MIDI tracks rendered to audio inside a DAW to be returned themto the console to mix them outside the computer for further processing.

I tried reading up relevant parts of the Reaper manual and it appears that the rendering is done inside the DAW (I guess they call it In the Box ITB these days!).

So far so good.

Now that the audio tracks containing all parameters that were originally assigned during MIDI recording are available, how would I tweak these manually on my mixer if I wanted to, so that I could route those tracks back to the inputs on my console, do whatever I want to do including applying effects and dynamics and finally mixdown to two track for mastering?

Besides, a few questions that come to mind are:

1. By routing audio - that's already been rendered from MIDI within the DAW - through an external mixer. processing them and recording the processed tracks, would this not create double the number of tracks for each audio track? How to deal with resource hogging issues if at all?

2. Is there any way to directly record audio from the external synths (and may be software synths too) to record the MIDI tracks to audio, routed through the console?

3. If so, how do I replicate the MIDI parameters that were painfully programmed while originally sequencing the tracks, while recording audio this way? Am I missing any technical point here?

4. How do folks who use external mixers, do this thing so easily? I have seen tons of videos but no one speaks about recording MIDI to audio using external mixers.

Regards
Sumit
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Old 06-07-2024, 02:02 AM   #2
Stella645
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It's a fairly broad subject and there's many different ways to go depending on what equipment you own or are willing to purchase.

If you have a limited amount of ins and outs then you are restricted in what you can do and may have to record one thing at a time back to the DAW.
If you have multitrack capable interface and or mixer then you can start actually mixing on the mixer if that's what you want to do. You can record that mix to the stereo final mix or you can use a combination of recording tracks back to the PC.

To specifically answer your bullet points:

1. Yes recording processed audio back to the computer creates extra tracks but once you do you can disable the original track as you don't want that and the replacement running together.......you could delete/remove the track if you're sure you don't want to go back but safest just to disable so not using any cpu and hide it in a folder or something

2. Yes, if your hardware is plugged into the mixer and the mixer plugged into the computer you are recording the hardware through the mixer. With vsts you could use something like reainsert to treat the mixer channel a bit like a plugin on the vsti track.

3. Whatever you programmed into your midi is played and recorded, once recorded those things are baked into the file.....there is no need to replicate them.

4. It really depends what you want from this...I keep things simple, I only run hardware synths live through the mixer and towards end project I record them to audio in one pass as I have a multitrack capable mixer. I don't run vsts out to the mixer and back again. I have everything I need ITB already.
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Old Yesterday, 01:24 AM   #3
SonicAxiom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssimlai View Post
Hello everyone,

Sorry if I sound noobish (which I really am) but I do have a lurking question my mind since a few days.

I believe that most folks who use external mixers, know how to deal with MIDI tracks rendered to audio inside a DAW to be returned themto the console to mix them outside the computer for further processing.

I tried reading up relevant parts of the Reaper manual and it appears that the rendering is done inside the DAW (I guess they call it In the Box ITB these days!).

So far so good.

Now that the audio tracks containing all parameters that were originally assigned during MIDI recording are available, how would I tweak these manually on my mixer if I wanted to, so that I could route those tracks back to the inputs on my console, do whatever I want to do including applying effects and dynamics and finally mixdown to two track for mastering?

Besides, a few questions that come to mind are:

1. By routing audio - that's already been rendered from MIDI within the DAW - through an external mixer. processing them and recording the processed tracks, would this not create double the number of tracks for each audio track? How to deal with resource hogging issues if at all?

2. Is there any way to directly record audio from the external synths (and may be software synths too) to record the MIDI tracks to audio, routed through the console?

3. If so, how do I replicate the MIDI parameters that were painfully programmed while originally sequencing the tracks, while recording audio this way? Am I missing any technical point here?

4. How do folks who use external mixers, do this thing so easily? I have seen tons of videos but no one speaks about recording MIDI to audio using external mixers.

Regards
Sumit
Can you specify what equipment you are using (audio interface, hardware console, MIDI devices)? This would help understanding what is possible in your environment.

I do recommend running signals from VST instrument tracks and MIDI hardware through decent analog hardware separately, printing the resulting signals as new tracks, then muting the original tracks and doing the final mix in the DAW. I would not recommend to send out multiple tracks or stems into an analog console for mixing. Use the analog hardware during tracking and tweaking but do the mix in the computer unless you have a high-end analog mixing console available. This simplifies and speeds up the process a lot and avoids having to care about how to properly recall your analog mixes.

I'm actually mixing analog (depending on the importance and quality requirements for the projects). I'm using 2 cascaded SSL SiX's and other analog high-end gear. The SSL consoles are always set up exactly the same way so that I don't have to keep track of settings regardless the project I'm mixing or re-mixing. The consoles' channel EQs and comps as well as both consoles' bus compressors are set to very subtle settings, providing only a minimal sonic impact, yet enough to add a little bit of pro sound which is hard to get from plugins.

Before starting mixing, I'm running separate tracks (also VSTi's) through specific analog gear one after the other and print the results. I never change processing settings on the consoles since this would require making the effort to keep track of those setting in case I need to re-visit mixes which happens fairly often.

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Old Yesterday, 09:28 AM   #4
ssimlai
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Originally Posted by Stella645 View Post
2. Yes, if your hardware is plugged into the mixer and the mixer plugged into the computer you are recording the hardware through the mixer. With vsts you could use something like reainsert to treat the mixer channel a bit like a plugin on the vsti track.

4. It really depends what you want from this...I keep things simple, I only run hardware synths live through the mixer and towards end project I record them to audio in one pass as I have a multitrack capable mixer. I don't run vsts out to the mixer and back again. I have everything I need ITB already.
Thank you for your detailed response. My confusion still hasn’t gone away very much though.

My mixing console and my audio interface have a good number of inputs - I can record 16 tracks via direct outs from the console, into 16 inputs of my audio interface, though the number of input mono channels on my mixer, including the left stereo channels is 32. (I must admit here that I’m using cascaded mixers to achieve these number of inputs.)

I did originally plan to record everything - hardware synths and VST synths along with any live instruments and mic, through my console into the DAW, using those Direct Outs.

But, as things turn out, I find that I actually do not have sufficient inputs (even 16 is now less) to record all my hard and soft MIDI and live instruments in one pass, what with the stereo outputs taking away much of the input channels.

This means a compromise will have to be made I’ll have to be content with keeping the VSTs in the digital domain while the hardware synths, Drum synths and live instruments and mics will pass through the mixer. Out of these, only the live audio stuff will be recorded through the audio interface into the DAW as digital audio at this stage, while the hardware MIDI instruments’ audio outs will only be used for monitoring. No audio recording yet for these.

So, all MIDI recordings, whether external or VST, will remain as MIDI because I want to be able to go back at any time to make changes. Except, that the recorded MIDI tracks are not yet balanced / panned, not yet applied any MIDI parameters to alter the sound, and not bounced or sub-mixed.

And similarly all live audio parts as digital audio.

So far so good.

Let’s say the total tracks count to 32. Now I want to mix everything on my console. Let’s say that’s the way I want to work, for now.

Here’s where I will need some understanding.

I would want to route those RAW MIDI tracks from the DAW, to flow back into the analogue mixer, but without any IN THE BOX conversion to audio within the DAW before it leaves the AI. I would like that any conversion of these MIDI tracks to digital audio should be done AFTER passing the audio through the mixing console and out through the Direct Outputs from Mixer into Audio Interface.

I got a feeling from your response to my point 4, that even you seem to be doing something similar. but I may be wrong again. Therefore, I’ll be grateful if you can help me with a technical understanding of when you say "and towards end project I record them to audio in one pass as I have a multitrack capable mixer". How exactly are you routing a MIDI track which is only messages, into and through an audio mixer?

This seems to me a technical issue that I’m completely blank about.

Last edited by ssimlai; Yesterday at 10:50 AM.
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