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General Usability of Hardware Sends / Cuemixes Issue Tools
issueid=961 08-15-2009 07:15 AM
Human being with feelings
General Usability of Hardware Sends / Cuemixes
Describing the current problems with hardware sends and cuemix workflow

Discussion thread: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=101235

It seems clear that at least initially REAPER was designed with solo home recordists in mind as the I/O paradigm for dealing with cues and such are missing some things. I think there are multiple things that could be addressed to make it better in a studio environment. This FR/Overview will be long so bear with me.

Below is a graphic of a basic song with sends feeding another track, which itself feeds to a hardware output pair.

The first issue here is that you need a group channel to represent the hardware output where there should be hardware channels like the master to represent those, and who can take sends in that manner. Anyway, all is well above with a normal cue mix going to my hardware output pair 5-6.

The second problem comes when you solo any of those audio channels, the hardware audio mimics the solo bus instead of acting independently through the master bus. Solo should optionally not affect pre-fader sends.


The next problem is how to solo the cue mix channel when building it? Obviously this channel has to be out of the master bus or those signals would duplicate. But when you solo it, as you would do when building the cue mix, you can't hear it. I'm sure there are some routing matrix workarounds but this should happen right on the mixer.

Obviously if you don't use a pre-group channel like this for your cue sends you're faced with a similar issue... how to solo the hardware output pair without jumping through hoops.

My suggestion is that if you "tag" a channel as a hardware output somehow, perhaps by having the first send slot going to hardware, then a solo *toggles* the Master L/R assignment. In other words as soon as you solo that faux hardware channel it's LR assignment comes on so you can actually hear it in the control room speakers without doing anything else.

==================== WORKFLOW

The next issue is what happens when actually building cue mixes. You need to be in the dialog to get to the pans (no other way). The send dialog follows the channel selection which is great, you can move through the sends and adjust your cue mix having only called the window once. The problem is that the window doesn't remember it's position as you move through the sends so it moves and obstructs the next channel send, hindering the workflow.

So I call it here...

... and I manually move it here so as not to obstruct the other sends. The idea is to have it stay there as I click through each send and adjust it's level and pan...

... now when I click the send on track 2 it goes back to the previous position, obstructing the other sends. It kind of defeats the purpose of having the window follow if it blocks the next 4 sends in sequence...

This happens no matter what slot the send is in. That window should remember it's manual position.

I'll compare all of this in a subsequent post to the Cubase aux send method.
Issue Details
Issue Type Feature Request
Project Deprecated REAPER issue tracker
Category Arcana
Status Suggested
Priority 5 - Medium
Suggested Version 3.101
Implemented Version (none)
Users who would use this feature 37
Users who would not use this feature 2
Assigned Users (none)
Tags (none)

08-15-2009 08:03 AM
Human being with feelings
In contrast (for those who don't have experience with it) the Cubase Control Room mixer is designed specifically for those engineer / studio situations.

The graphic is pretty self-explanatory. Soloing channels doesn't interrupt the cue mix and on top of that as you can see there are things there that engineers managing tracking sessions need that simply can't be as easily done in Reaper if at all. You don't have to assign cue sends to hardware outs, you just turn them on. Same with clicks and talkback feeds... just switch them on and the levels are right there to be adjusted.

Point being that when you start dealing with hardware outputs in the context of managing multiple cue mixes, and the other things involved in that, it goes beyond what a typical solo home recordist would need.

P.S. All of those source assignments in the CR Mixer are independent of each other and all insert slots are post-channel. You can insert a protection limiter here on the monitor bus and it won't get printed.

08-15-2009 08:21 AM
Human being with feelings
So in summary: (I didn't want to put all of that in one post)

People recording their own songs and maybe recording a solo musician or two are not going to be faced with the same challenges as people running studios with discreet rooms, speaker sets, etc, etc. When you go in the box completely the daw has to be able to handle the job of a hardware mixer, including typical master section functions.

Looking at the CR mixer above it answers some questions that some people may never ask like how do you talk to certain musicians only without the others hearing with talkback. Or how do you easily switch between 3-4 different cue mixes in the main monitors without jumping through hoops. Or how do you mute your powered monitors and only listen breifly through phones.

These are the kinds of questions the devs need to be asking themselves when (if) they sit down to design a better hardware output / cuemix interface.

08-15-2009 09:22 AM
Human being with feelings
There are some functions related to cue mixes that I left out. Below I'm about to build discreet cue mixes for each performer.

Each function requires a menu click. There may be situations where you don't want the pans, just a mono cue mix. But you have to click each menu item to get each thing... Levels | Pan | Enable

... and the *settings of selected mixer channels only* are copied to the cue send. You can see how the channel settings and pans match exactly. From there I'd tweak for whatever cue mix this was. Bassist? More bass and kick drum. By the same token you can disable them all at once when you're done the same way.

Bottom line is that you don't even have to manually assign the cue sends it does it by itself.

... after the function(s)...

So that was only for Studio 1. If I wanted a different set of sends for the Studio 2 phones (Drums, Bass (no piano maybe), I'd select those tracks, right click on the Studio 2 bus in the CR mixer and do it again.

... which results in these assignments for those 3 selected channels...

Lastly, you can trim/gain the send levels for each studio send as a group...

So this was obviously designed with the professional engineer in mind. Using these tools I can set up four independent cue mixes in a matter of seconds. It certainly offers workflow advantages in those circumstances and I hope to see Reaper taking these kinds of things into account in future design choices.

This is kind of why I bristle when people (who apparently don't know) talk about things being much the same between daws. It depends on what you use and need. For a tracking session with multiple cans mixes this puts me way ahead of the game time wise than if I were doing the same thing in Reaper.

Software is supposed to make things easier... no?
08-15-2009 03:24 PM
Human being with feelings
Also discussed here http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.p...729#post358729 and http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=40963

One workaround is that you can remove the hardware output on the master and create a direct hardware output on the track you want to solo.

PS: thank you Lawrence for this great report
08-16-2009 07:32 PM
Human being with feelings
08-20-2009 04:00 AM
Human being with feelings
to quote above: My suggestion is that if you "tag" a channel as a hardware output somehow, perhaps by having the first send slot going to hardware, then a solo *toggles* the Master L/R assignment. In other words as soon as you solo that faux hardware channel it's LR assignment comes on so you can actually hear it in the control room speakers without doing anything else.

look at my reply on the post made here:

just as you say later, we need a 'listen' bus.

however, we CAN do this now, it just requires setting an extra send slider (send to another channel strip, pre or post fader/fx, with its own hardware out) and set them to unity and use shift click for enable/disable. my only beef is i have to use 2 hands every time.
10-05-2009 05:50 AM
Human being with feelings
we need a second solo button called 'l' for 'listen' that goes out to a different-than-master hardware out, just like cubendo.

or an alt click changes solo to new colour to do the same...
10-05-2009 05:48 PM
Human being with feelings
I was going to make a similar FR but this is by far better a presentation than the one I was going to do. Thanks Lawrence!

I'm building a studio which is going to have capacity for live recordings and I would like to suggest Reaper to the owners. I've been thinking about the cue mixes and I don't see it clear. Maybe they'll have to set up maybe 7 mixes and it has to be plain simple and quick for them.

In addition to what Lawrence said I would like to add I would like to have full mixers (at least pan/faders) in a normal way (horizontal). Just like a Yamaha01 for example. Of course with options to copy from the main mixer, other cue mixes, presets, etc. And the option to remove those sends from the main mixer, so you don't see all 7 cue sends there, you only see the effect sends if you want to.
10-13-2009 09:24 AM
Human being with feelings
You probably remember this thread:
and this feature request in the tracker from the dark ages:

It seems that similar soloing, CR monitoring and headphone monitoring issues
are becoming more and more talked about as Reaper becomes more accepted by the industry as a serious competitor to the mainstream DAW apps available.

Most of them seem to boil down to one major issue.
In many circunstances a control room engineer needs to pull an audio stream from somewhere in the routing of the DAW with complete transparency, without interupting the operation of the DAW at all.

This inevitably points to the concept of a mixer module which sits between the outputs of Reaper and the soundcard, almost like another instance of Reapers MCP, but of course this can't be because it would have to have access to the same ASIO driver.

It seems to me that the Master channel was really designed as a MASTER OUTPUT, not a MONITOR module.

It works very well for 1 person working in most situations, but comprehensive control room multi-monitoring and foldback mixes simply will not work seamlessly in a recording situation without some kind of master control panel.

I really hope that the devs have a serious look at this.
So many people evolve to require:

un-interupted headphone monitoring
individual adjustable outputs for several pairs of control room monitors
Monitor output analysis (plugins)
Headphone to CR monitoring
Dim function

These are the essentials that make a session comfortable for both operators and their clients.

PLEEEEEESE Dev's try working a recording session with just a soundcard and a headphone amp, NO mixing desk. All of the issues above will become painfully clear.

You have my +1 on this and all related issues.

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