Old 06-11-2020, 08:47 AM   #1
Karma180
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Default Outboard Mixer for Reaper

Hi,

I'd really like to get some kind of outboard mixer to be able to control levels and maybe EQ with a physical fader, but I don't know where to start. Typically my mixes have 24 tracks.

Can this be done?

If so, what do I need to do it?

Thanks,

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Old 06-11-2020, 11:35 AM   #2
valy
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I recommend a control surface rather than an analog mixer because it's a lot more versatile. This is what I use:

https://www.presonus.com/products/FaderPort-16

I regularly mix songs with 50+ tracks and 16 faders is enough. You can just bank through or else scroll one track at a time if you need to.


Of course, if money was no object...I'd probably have this. Lol

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ording-console
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Old 06-11-2020, 11:48 AM   #3
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You can invest in a whole bunch of AD/DA converters and physically route all your channels in and out of the console like that. This essentially treats the computer like an old tape deck. The console benefits from being an "inline monitor" style where it essentially has two inputs. One mic in for the microphones, and another line in from the tape deck (reaper in this case).

You record your mics using the console pre's with eq and whatever and each channel sends to a track in reaper. Then you press the "line" button on each channel then reaper is playing back through the desk. You can mix things down using EQ, Comp, and Gates if the console has them, plus any inserts you physically patch in to the desk channels. THis can all be mixed down to the master fader which gets re-recorded in Reaper. There's your mix.


OR you can buy a controller which mimics this setup but is in reality all down inside reaper.
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Old 06-11-2020, 01:42 PM   #4
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Unless you have really good converters, don't bother with an outboard mixer.
Get a decent control surface instead and keep your audio in the box.
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Old 07-05-2020, 05:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valy View Post
... Of course, if money was no object...I'd probably have this. Lol

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ording-console
for now at least, you could use this:

https://stash.reaper.fm/theme/1024/a...4%20R2%20part1

.
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Old 07-06-2020, 12:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SonicAxiom View Post
for now at least, you could use this:

https://stash.reaper.fm/theme/1024/a...4%20R2%20part1

.
Haha, I certainly wouldn't be getting the hardware for its looks xD
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:39 AM   #7
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I use a 12 channel analog mixer (RAMSA WR-4412) to feed a 16 channel interface that cost $300. 24 channel versions of it are currently on Ebay for $500. Each channel has a direct out feeding the interface, so I basically use it as 12 clean preamps on the input side. Feed it 4 outputs for 2 sets of monitors. Headphone outs are run direct to a 4 channel headphone amp.

Setup for recording is far faster than crawling around the rack to plug in stuff, and setting record and monitor levels is a cinch. If it died I'd buy another immediately. I also like having a quick way to mute all the outputs should some hugely loud noise happen.
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:46 AM   #8
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Do people actually get “full channel strip” functionality from hardware controllers easily? I see the faderport only has one slider and some buttons per channel. Heck my nanokontrol has a Pan knob for each at least. But what if you also want even a 3 band eq? Which controller has that many knobs, and what kind of a mess is it going to be to get that all hooked up to control plugins on each track?!?

I have to say I’m not really arguing FOR the hardware mixer. I see it as working backwards, but I can see the appeal of just grabbing the EQ knob, and my experience with hardware controllers trying to do that kind of thing have been...frustrating...
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Old 07-07-2020, 09:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
Do people actually get “full channel strip” functionality from hardware controllers easily? I see the faderport only has one slider and some buttons per channel. Heck my nanokontrol has a Pan knob for each at least. But what if you also want even a 3 band eq? Which controller has that many knobs, and what kind of a mess is it going to be to get that all hooked up to control plugins on each track?!?

I have to say I’m not really arguing FOR the hardware mixer. I see it as working backwards, but I can see the appeal of just grabbing the EQ knob, and my experience with hardware controllers trying to do that kind of thing have been...frustrating...
I don't think it's worth it to control most plugins with most fader control surfaces like a Faderport 16. I use mine for levels, panning, and writing automation mostly. It's great, particularly when I have the screen off and want to adjust something while listening.

For controlling plugins, I would get something that just has rotary knobs and/or buttons. You can use CSI to map the plugin parameters, but it's not so simple as plug it in and start controlling everything. It takes some setup.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:07 AM   #10
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Yeah that's the thing about that. I have a pair of NanoKontrols.



One is enabled for control and I can use it for the basic V/P/M/S stuff. I think I could even control transport there, but I never stopped to set that up. It works great right up until you start trying to use folders as buses and want to mix those folder parents while leaving the children alone. You end up with a bunch of useless faders and have to remember which ones to skip and if there's enough children, you can't even get two parents on the same "page" of 8 faders. I'm thinking about trying to use a bank of VCAs to get around this, but that feels kind of clunky too.



The other is enabled just as a Midi input, and I route it directly to tracks where I can use MIDI Link to control parameters. It's relatively quick and easy when I really know I want to "play" a knob or two. But it takes about the same amount of time to set that up as it would to just change the parameter or draw a curve with a mouse, so it only gets used on special occasions. I think FX Chains and/or Presets which include the MIDI mappings could help this, but...
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Old 07-08-2020, 04:41 AM   #11
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Yeah that's the thing about that. I have a pair of NanoKontrols.



One is enabled for control and I can use it for the basic V/P/M/S stuff. I think I could even control transport there, but I never stopped to set that up. It works great right up until you start trying to use folders as buses and want to mix those folder parents while leaving the children alone. You end up with a bunch of useless faders and have to remember which ones to skip and if there's enough children, you can't even get two parents on the same "page" of 8 faders. I'm thinking about trying to use a bank of VCAs to get around this, but that feels kind of clunky too.



The other is enabled just as a Midi input, and I route it directly to tracks where I can use MIDI Link to control parameters. It's relatively quick and easy when I really know I want to "play" a knob or two. But it takes about the same amount of time to set that up as it would to just change the parameter or draw a curve with a mouse, so it only gets used on special occasions. I think FX Chains and/or Presets which include the MIDI mappings could help this, but...
I know what you mean about the folder thing. I wish there was a way to hide them from the control surface. I only use folders now for my main stems (percussion, guitars, vocals, etc.) and the pre-master-fader mix bus folder that contains everything, then activate that feature that throws them all to the far left of the mixer. I just use sends for everything else.

I'm still debating getting a MidiFighter Twister once they come back in stock. I'll probably only use it for the initial "channel strip" plugins, like the analog EQ and compressor combo that I use on most mixes. It would be nice to run through the tracks with it, since they all would have the same EQ and comp. I don't know if it's worth trying to control a bunch of widly different plugins in the same mix, though. I know it's possible with CSI, but I would spend half the time trying to remember which knob did what. That wouldn't be a problem on the initial EQ and comp, because once you do one or two tracks you kinda get a temporary feel for what controls what on the controller.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:18 AM   #12
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here's an example of my "mock analog" workflow that may be relative and useful as an idea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRU6hBRXnUQ
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:38 PM   #13
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An analogue mixer can be a weak point in yuour audio setup if it isn't of decent quality. But having a mixer doeas have advantages. A lot of people here will let you beleive that the pre's are crap and that you will introduce noise etc etc.
You can achieve great results with a mixer.

In the control room i have a Allen & Heath GL2800 32 channel mixer, i can create up to 8 headphone mixes for people rfec ording, i use the 9/10 stereo aux for the monitors. I use matrix 1/ for the live room monitors, i then have tape decks and other stuff that goes in. It's like a massive patchbay.
The pre's are great and can compete with any 4 to 500 euro pre's of any audio device, so anybody that says the contrary has never used a good mixer. There are 2 ways to record with a mixer, you can use the Direct out if the mixer has them or the insert way. I go to the audio device via the Direct Out.

I also have a Behringher MX9000 in the live room and that's used for quick demo's, it's a 24/24 ch mixer and contrary to common believe the pre's sound quite good!
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Old 07-18-2020, 01:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardplay View Post
An analogue mixer can be a weak point in yuour audio setup if it isn't of decent quality. But having a mixer doeas have advantages. A lot of people here will let you beleive that the pre's are crap and that you will introduce noise etc etc.
You can achieve great results with a mixer.

In the control room i have a Allen & Heath GL2800 32 channel mixer, i can create up to 8 headphone mixes for people rfec ording, i use the 9/10 stereo aux for the monitors. I use matrix 1/ for the live room monitors, i then have tape decks and other stuff that goes in. It's like a massive patchbay.
The pre's are great and can compete with any 4 to 500 euro pre's of any audio device, so anybody that says the contrary has never used a good mixer. There are 2 ways to record with a mixer, you can use the Direct out if the mixer has them or the insert way. I go to the audio device via the Direct Out.

I also have a Behringher MX9000 in the live room and that's used for quick demo's, it's a 24/24 ch mixer and contrary to common believe the pre's sound quite good!
Of course using a good mixer isn't a problem...don't think anyone made that claim. The problem is that most people use budget mixers, and yes, the pres and signal flow are crap in those most of the time.
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:28 AM   #15
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The problem is that most people use budget mixers, and yes, the pres and signal flow are crap in those most of the time.
I did mention that a mixer can be a weak point
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:04 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
I can see the appeal of just grabbing the EQ knob, and my experience with hardware controllers trying to do that kind of thing have been...frustrating...
I've spend the last week trying to get my X-touch Mini to control FX parameters in REAPER.

I'm about a day away from throwing the thing against the wall.

Why isn't parameter control part of the control surface protocol? I'm surprised that after all these years, the norm is still a single knob for panning.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:37 AM   #17
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Why isn't parameter control part of the control surface protocol?
Because the protocol that comes with the hardware is not designed for the DAW. Reaper, in this case. Each DAW has to implement a system to interface with the controller. Not the other way round. Some controllers use MCU[Mackie Control Universal] protocol. This will interface, by default, with Cubase and Logic mainly, giving FX parameter control and lots of other goodies. Best is in Logic as the MCU was developed originally for Logic by Emagic. Other DAW's, Live, Reaper, Samplitude, etc, have to use their own system designed by their dev's based around either Cubase or Logic MCU protocol templates that are baked, hardwired, into the controllers.

Your controller does use MCU protocol which will work with some DAW's, sort of, as far as I know. Reaper's native MCU is a bit of a threadbear wasteland, no FX, no sends, not much really. However, Klinke's .dll does do FX very well and is totally customisable and loads of other nice stuff. Also Geoff's CSI is another option, tho I know nothing about that.

The main problem with controllers like yours is that there is no LCD/Head Up Display so you have no way of seeing what's doing what and why. That is, which fader, pot is controlling whatever parameter in the DAW and when. Unless you use a virtual LCD/HUD in software. Which is a pain and leads to insanity.

ns

Last edited by nightscope; 08-02-2020 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:31 AM   #18
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Some controllers use MCU[Mackie Control Universal] protocol. This will interface, by default, with Cubase and Logic mainly, giving FX parameter control and lots of other goodies
Ah - thanks for this - I haven't done the deepest dive into the control surface universe yet, though it seems you're suggesting that there are MCU control surfaces that are designed support parameter control? All the "advertising copy" I see seems to thin out after descriptions of the faders and pan pot.

I have similar dreams as OP, in regards to being able to thoughtlessly hit a button to add ReaEQ, then grab a knob adjust parameters.

I've not actually been using the MCU mode on the X-TouchMini, but manually mapping using ReaLearn. It keeps almost working. I'll look into Klinke's .dll (though, .dll suggests non-MacOS compatibility?)

To loop the conversation back to OPs, there seem to be a million different control surface products, scripts, options. Is there one control surface specifically that people might recommend to bridge to gap between "mouse and keyboard" mixing, & a more full "digital mixing console" experience?

To your point regarding LCDs. I daydream about buying something like the Behringer Wing and having the scribble strips above "custom controls" reflect parameters I'm adjusting. I've just assumed the technology isn't there (would be wonderful to hear otherwise).

Last edited by oldmanstan; 08-02-2020 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:40 AM   #19
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I daydream about buying something like the Behringer Wing and having the scribble strips above "custom controls" reflect parameters I'm adjusting. I've just assumed the technology isn't there (would be wonderful to hear otherwise).
I have what yer on about with a Mackie Control Universal. Whatever your controlling is shown in the LCD. But, big but, plugin control is handled by Klinke's .dll which is Win only.

Geoff's CSI is on mac. I know nothing about it but you should check it out.

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=183143

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Old 08-06-2020, 07:36 AM   #20
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I'll say it again, all of this can be done. Here are some real life examples I use every day with multiple surfaces, plugin control, send control, automation, you name it...and I challenge you to find any other DAW setup that has this much control, functionality, and versatility.

CSI is really the way to go if you want full control and customization, almost without limitations....almost.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v9dTa17s_w&t=843s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRU6hBRXnUQ
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