All of the following refers only to STEREO mixing.
Also, if I use the term “2.1” I’m referring to stereo plus monoized sub. It should be noted that in reality, “real” 2.1 is actually more complicated than that. Real 2.1 decodes the source material in more sophisticated ways, depending on the material. But for our purposes, 2.1 means left plus right plus a monoized bass signal.
Here are some main points.
- Powered monitors that have individual volume controls are a pain cuz they need to be calibrated unless you leave them all the way up, which is a different pain (turning on/off or noise when unplugging etc).
- Powered moniters kind of suck because when one goes out, youre out the whole setup, which is why I’ve decided it’s better to use an amp and 2 passive speakers
- No matter what, you’re blind if you don’t have a subwoofer.
- I can defintely say that 8 inch speakers sound more real than 5 inch
- I can definitely say that not having a sub is worse than anything
- the second area where you’re most likely to be blind, is the crisp/shrill (i’d say everything above 5 or 8k) area of highs, followed by the muddy area of low mids (i’d say between 150 and 300) (maybe why 8s are better than 5s)
- 2-way speakers are definately more reliable than 3-ways or 4-ways… One low driver and one tweeter. If there was such a thing as a driver that could reproduce everthing from ~100hz all the way up to ~12kHz or higher, that’d be the way to go. Basically, monitors have “crossovers” which send highs to the tweeter and lows to the woofer. The crossovers are never perfect so the fewer crossovers the better.
- I’ve found that “coaxial” 2-ways are better than the typical setup where the tweeter is above the woofer. I think I can detect the difference in location so if the tweeter is in the middle of the woofer, it seems to all be coming from one place. Unfortunately, not many manufacturers make inexpensive coaxial monitors.
- it’s important to remember that the room you’re in has almost as much to do with what you hear as the speakers. REALLY.
- amplifier quality is pretty much a non-issue nowadays. Even very cheap amps are very faithful, especially when considering how volatile the speakers and room are as factors.
- Powered speakers that have their own USB digital to analogue converter: why deal with another layer of bullshit? The mac you’re using has a great sound card! Switching audio outputs in system prefs and in program prefs is a workflow bitch when going from speakers to headphones Etc. Plus, latency! Whenever possible, use the computer soundcard, unless you have some sort of interface that has less latency, which I doubt you do.
- The fewer components to hook up the better
If money was no object:
- a good room
- 2 coaxial 2-way speakers L and R
- 2 subs L and R
- Amps for each speaker
- Crossover adjustment for the subs
Since money is an object
- A monoized signal for the sub-bass is an ok compromise, since it is true that it’s nearly impossible to tell where the hell in your room the sub is, AND a lot, if not most audio material is mastered to have a monoized low end and since we’re cheap bastards, whom may want to skimp on mastering costs, it may even be smart to just work under the pretense that sub-bass is mono or at least ‘mono-compatible’ meaning there’s no significant phase cancellation in the low end that will cause volume changes when the low end is monoized by someone else’s stupid 2.1 setup.
- So this means what we’re after on a budget is a 2.1 system. The single sub takes the left and right signal and actively mixes them together (actively as in via a mixer, not a y-cable)
My setup is 2 speakers, mixer, L/R amp, powered Sub.
- soundcard to mixer.
- mixer L and R to amp for L/R monitors
- Mixer mono post-fader send out to powered Sub (post fader so channel volume effects L, R and Sub… In reality, there’s a thing called the “Fletcher-Munsen Curves” which means that bass is not proportianal to highs the same way at every volume level, but for practical purposes, within a typical listening range, I can calibrate the bass to the L/R once and go a little louder or quieter without being too far off) …So I have one volume level which controls everything.
Problem with my setup: Too many components!
If I was going to start over and keep it cheap, I’d buy a consumer-grade 2.1 system and toss the L/R speakers that came with it and instead, use my high-end coaxial 2-ways for the L/R. The 2.1 system would have a sub crossover frequency adjustment and a sub volume and a master volume. Then I’d have:
- 3 pieces: sub containing all three amps, a Left passive monitor, a Right passive Monitor
- one stereo mini going from the computer to the sub, where the L/R amps and the Sub amp is housed, and 2 speaker wires going to my L/R monitors.
- NOTE: The L/R Monitors are where the money is spent! If the 2.1 Amp/Sub bullshit dies, toss it and get a new one.
I really think you should have at LEAST a hundred watts of power for the sub!! Meanwhile I think you can get away with far less for L/R… Maybe even as low as Twenty Watts! But it also depends on how efficient the amplifiers are… And since we’re trying to get all three amps and a sub in one unit, we’re essentially shopping for bass power. The L/R will be plenty.
Been frustrated that Propellerhead Reason’s Meters and Faders do not use the standard dB measurement. Instead the faders are just 0-127 (likely an artifact of MIDI), and the meters are just color-coded.
The following is something I found here after some digging. It wasn’t easy to find so I’m re-posting it here. This is plagiarism. But I’m stealing bread to feed you hungry fellow frustrated and confused music producers out there.
I haven’t completely fact-checked this. I’ll update in the next few weeks if I find this info to be inaccurate.
WARNING: too much information mode = ON
(do I have a lot of time on my hands or what?!?)
Mixer Faders (and Master Fader) are Unity at 100 (or -7dB from clipping)
Mixer Fader (1-127) levels to dB:
127 = 0dB
123 = -1dB
119 = -2dB
115 = -3dB
111 = -4dB
106 = -5dB
104 = -6dB
100 = -7dB
97 = -8dB
93 = -9dB
83 = -12dB
72 = -15dB
64 = -18dB
What’s weird is that the NN-19 sampler levels don’t match these. They are:
127 = 0dB
123 = -3dB
112 = -6dB
100 = -9dB
Mixer Sends are Unity at:
Mono send = 79
Stereo send = 100
(since sereo aux sends follow channel panning, when panned hard left or right unity is at a send level of 79)
Mixer Meters: (from top to bottom)
(all levels rounded to nearest 0.5dB)
Top ‘LED’ (orange) = -1dB
2nd (orange) = -3.5dB
3rd (orange) = -6.0dB
4th (orange) = -8.5dB
5th (yellow) = -10.5dB
6th (yellow) = -13.0dB
7th (yellow) = -15.5dB
8th (yellow) = -17.5dB
9th (green) = -20.0dB
10th (green) = -22.5dB
11th (green) = -25.0dB
12th (green) = -27.3dB
13th (green) = -29.5dB
14th (green) = -32.0dB
15th (green) = -34.5dB
16th (green) = -36.5dB
17th (green) = -38.5dB
18th (green) = -41.5dB
19th (green) = -44.0dB
20th (green) = -45.5dB
First of all, I have an Effectron II ADM 1024 and it sounds Amazing, particularly the way it clips. I am on the hunt to figure out, if possible, how to retrofit these to slave to an external MIDI clock, or otherwise sync to a DAW.
I’m posting this because this has been quite a research project and if you’re trying to do the same thing, maybe you’ll have an easier time.
I got mine completely dead for ten bucks from a friend, popped the top off and got it to power up (I think it was a fuse… I’ll confirm that and update this)
Mine had dirty pots which I WD-40’ed and now sound pretty much perfect. I think my input gain still crackles from time to time but I don’t ever need to adjust that after getting the primary level. I also had to replace one Potentiometer since the knob shaft was broken off. I was able to do that easily.
Some stuff I learned:
- The only place to get a schematic for the ADM 1024, unless DeltaLab writes me back with a copy, is HERE. For the sake of attribution, I’m going to leave this as an external link, but I have the files from that site saved and if that site ever goes down, I’ll upload them to my own site. The schematics are pretty hard to read and I think there are some holes in the scans. Better than nothing.
- As far as I can tell, it’s totally possible and relatively easy to increase the maximum sample/delay length in these things just by adding a resistor or two and some inexpensive ram chips. See HERE. On that page the author increases an ADM 1020’s max memory from around one second to around two seconds by adding three additional chips. What I’m not sure of is if you can up it to four seconds by adding nine. The RAM, I’m pretty sure, is MK4564-20. There are some on eBay right now for about two dollars each. Found an Allegedly identical part for around eleven dollars each, so maybe they no longer get made.
[quote from same site:] DeltaLab used a special type of Adaptive Delta Modulation (ADM), which they continuously improoved over the years. You might take a look at US-Patents #31720, #4190801, 4254502, #4305050, #4313204 and #4462106. This is much more sophisticated than the cheap ADM projects that were published in various magazines as musical diy projects. (Elrad Delta-Delay, and others) The great thing is that the patent text even has component values shown !
- I’m currently in discussion with someone over at Molten Voltage about whether or not one of their PedalSync products can be used to make my ADM 1024 slave to MIDI Clock from my computer. Probably their MV-64. I will update this if I get anywhere.
- I’m also currently talking to some nice stranger via the diystompboxes.com forums about the same thing.
[On that forum “q_u_e_s_t said:]…the clock comes out on pin6 of IC38 (4528B) [see above schematic link]. it is a 0 to 12v digital signal varying from 250kHz to 1MHz. it has a fixed pulse width of 0.5?s for the high period, and the low period varies in length to make up the remaining time… [and]…the way this delay pedal works is very similar to BBD. basically, BBD is a long line of buckets that hold an analog voltage level. but, in this device, its a long line of buckets that hold a digital voltage level. as a result, it needs to be clocked faster, as 1 bit of data (1 logic level) doesnt carry as much information as 1 analog bucket. so you need a bunch of digital buckets to get read in the same amount of time. so, what this means for their kit, is wether or not it can clock fast enough. ask them what the highest clock rate on the kit is. it needs to go to 1MHz…
Here’s what I did that finally solved this problem after 2 full days of suffering and searching for answers.
- I uninstalled the DP software reverse-incrementally, starting with 5.13 in UNINSTALL mode, then DP 5.1 and finally the original DP 5 Installer on the CD.
- I repeated the same process AGAIN, but this time selected “MyHardDrive” rather than the “Applications Folder” as the target install directory, again selecting UNINSTALL rather than Easy Install
- I Manually deleted all remaining Plug-Ins that came with DP from username/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/MAS/
- I manually moved my remaining [dot-bundle] .bundle files (other MAS plugins that didn’t come with DP) from my user directory to my hard-drive directory. Originally, some were at UserName/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/MAS/ and I moved all those files to HardDriveName/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/MAS/
- I manually deleted the folder called MAS from username/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/
- I manually I deleted all files from both the user and hard-drive versions of Library/Preferences/ that had “motu” in their names, all “.plist” files
- I manually Deleted a folder called “Digital Performer™” from UserName/Library/Preferences/
- I manually Deleted HardDrive/Library/Audio/presets/Digital Performer/
- I manually Deleted the Auth-DigitalPerformer 5.0 file from my hard-drive via the Terminal (it’s an invisible file)
- I manually deleted any/all extra/unnecessary MOTU apps/utilities from my Applications Folder… I had some out-dated FireWire Audio shit and some Un-Needed PCI shit.
- I re-booted from MAC OSX CD and REPAIRED PERMISSIONS (which incidentally were all good)
- After rebooting, I re-installed MOTU DP5, which does not run on my Leopard machine as version 5.0 (Unexpectedly Quits Etc)
- Installed the MOTU 5.1 Update
- Installed the MOTU 5.13 Update
- My Equalizer Plugins are back.
- Repaired Permissions (and the plugins are still back) DP is back to normal, at least for now.
Let me know if this solution doesn’t work for you. I deleted so much shit manually that I may have left something out. 48 Hours of this kind of hell will do that to a guy.
NOTE: the following refers to DP 5.1 on a Mac with OS 10.4.11… If you have a different version of OS X or if you’re running an older version of DP, things might be a little different
After cloning my drive with Carbon Copy Cloner and migrating to the clone, I found that Digital Performer wasn’t able to save files! Error Says:
An Error occurred while writing to the disk. The file [name] was not saved. This file was created in a later version of Digital Performer and cannot be opened in this version. Try to save your file on another disk or folder, or with a different name.
A little digging found me these Instructions from MOTU but they are slightly incorrect, at least they were for me.
The fix is to delete an invisible file called Auth-DigitalPerformer 5.0 from your Hard Drive’s root directory.
If you’re not comfortable doing things in the Terminal, File Buddy is a great app for this sort of thing. It’s like a souped-up Finder allows you to work with invisible files and do all kinds of other advanced things with the stuff on your Mac. It’s a very useful program but it does cost like $40 bucks.
A free Applications that will get the job done just as well is called Visibility and it’s made by a company called Zevrix Solutions. Download it, install it, launch it, click on Show Invisible Files, the Finder will relaunch, then you will see the file called Auth-DigitalPerformer 5.0 in your Root directory. Trash it and DP should be happy again. Afterward you can use Visibility to put the Finder back to normal.
Do be really careful not to move or delete any of the other invisible files. They’re hidden from you for a reason.
HEY! Did this post help you? Did it save your life? Did it save you time? If so, please consider donating to me. I need the money and every little bit helps. No donation is too small! Thanks.