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Old 03-26-2023, 09:10 AM   #1
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Default Custom mix combining live sound output and guitar input


After lots of script writing, messing around and actually having fun, I've come up with a live guitar rig I quite like with Reaper, Live Configs and a battery of IK Multimedia effects. I've learned a lot and was generally happy with the results when used live for the first time.

The band I'm playing with right now is practicing with highly isolated IEMs and monitoring through the board. I'm not familiar with the mixer itself, it has an on screen interface, is made by digitech and is a little older. The way it's setup doesn't allow for custom mixes for each musician. I'm new to this group and I'm not in a hurry to rock the boat, but I did have a little bit of a hard time hearing myself last time.

The following idea is full of potential issues, but I'd like to try it: Take the board feed into my audio interface on one channel, put that and my guitar output on their own bus so that's routed to a different output than what feeds the live sound rig, and basically use my input to augment myself in the mix. The obvious issue is latency, as the audio from the board would be re-encoded adding latency to the guitar input which will likely create an audible echo. How significant? I'm not sure, I'd like to think it would only add about 5ms which might not be that big a deal, but if it is an issue, is there a plugin that basically adds an adjustable output lag on a per channel basis?

Basically, on whatever channel I send my guitar output to for the purposes of my monitoring mix, is there an effect I can add there to allow me to dial in a little lag to try to match the latency added by the encoding of the live sound so that I don't get my guitar quite as doubled up? Obviously, I could introduce phase cancellation and all sorts of undesirable effects, but I'd like to try it.

Thoughts are welcomed and appreciated!
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Old 03-26-2023, 02:12 PM   #2
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Do I understand correctly that you get the general sum signal to your IEM.

Now you want to sent the IEM signal to an A/D input add the Guitar before sending it to your personal IEM to hear yourself better.

I think this should work. Maybe trying phase invert and delay might improve the result.


Last edited by mschnell; 03-26-2023 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 03-26-2023, 06:38 PM   #3
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Precisely right. I just tried it at home running a backing track from my main daw setup with me looped in to that from the output of my live setup. It is playable, though the latency creates a little bit of an 80s delay kind of sound. The issue is compounded by the fact that on my test setup, there's a second stage of A/D - D/A as I'm taking the output of one interface and feeding another and then back again. From the analog mixer, this should halve the delay more or less as my latency on the workstation and my pedal board setup are fairly comparable around 5ms. You're suggestion about inverting the phase is a great one, I'm going to try that with some sort of delay plugin to see if I can get a better sort of "sync."

The interface on my pedal board setup is a TC Helicon GO Twin. Not particularly good or bad, but it was $30.00 on sale at amazon recently and it's compact and light. Unfortunately, the headphone output on it is A) not very good, and B) can not be separated from the "main" outputs. Not a huge deal as I'm sending my signal to the board as mono. I'm taking a send from my guitar's post fx output channel and sending it to a dedicated monitor mix stereo channel which I'm summing to mono in software and routing it only to output 2 and then combining it to mono on the headphone amp. I route the guitar to the left channel of said track and the board feed to the right. I can then use the balance control to set how much of "me" I get in the mix.

The major issue right now is I'm using a garbage $15.00 headphone amp that was used in a streaming setup as a cheap option to boost headphone input. Splitting the mono output from the interface and running it off of usb bus power is creating a hideous whine. I now have to debate the purchases to follow this up or what to make to improve the situation.

While it's pretty crappy the headphone amp on the TC Helicon is vastly superior to this mystery box I'm using as I sit here typing this. I'm thinking I could take a 1/8" stereo cable and bridge the ring and tip to remove the full blast me that's coming out of channel 1. It will of course, halve the impedance presented to the one channel of the headphone amp, but this isn't exactly an audiophile grade experience as far as the monitoring goes. Provided I don't nuke the headphone amp in the TC Helicon by running a lower impedance load at a reasonably high volume, it should work, or kinda-work.

On the other hand, there's a cheap Behringer headphone amp that has 2 inputs and can be made mono with flip of a switch. I could just send channel 2 of my pedal board to that as a copy of my main feed and take the feed from the monitor setup as the other. It's battery powered which is nice and despite being relatively affordable, it seems to have good reviews.

One of the downside is everything is (unfortunately) unbalanced in my setup and the Behringer has XLR inputs for both channels, so with the adapters and 2 wires, it's getting a little bulky. One thing that's so cool about the Reaper pedal board setup is there's only the mains power cable, the guitar in and system out right now (aside from whatever I do with the monitoring). If I stick with the software mixer approach, I have just one wire going to my IEMs vs this kind of fiddly thing with a bunch of cables coming out of it.

Decisions, decisions!
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