'N00b' needs help/advice on sfp vs xtc and cubase mixing!!

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PoGGiE
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'N00b' needs help/advice on sfp vs xtc and cubase mixing!!

Post by PoGGiE » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:00 am

Hi guys,

apologies in advance if these questions have been asked before (as I'm sure many of them have!). But I'm hoping you will humour me and save me a lot of time/to begin acquiring knowledge in a helpful way so that I can order what I need/start producing music again asap! apologies if some of my description below is slightly vague as I'm trying to get to grips again after 4 years of inactivity!

Essentially I'm not a new creamware user. I'm a guitar player who bought creamware lunar with the luna 2496 box about 10 years ago and found this a good system for recording myself and bandmates into cubase at practice sessions etc. What I did back then was to use the 2496 for my inputs, and record and mix in Cubase, using VSTis etc. I did not use XTC mode. I ran the sfp mixer outputs direct to the lunar stereo audio outs and then used a mini jack from that output into my soundcard line-in. Soundcard line in then ran to my hifi. Obviously this was unsatisfactory, at the very least it would have been nicer to directly use the soundcard in in the sfp software but this never worked for me. I always found this setup slightly unsatisfactory: as you can see I never used the creamware for FX etc. because the mixing was done in cubase so any creamware fx were being applied after the signal had left cubase and so would not be recorded to disk! See, I told you I am a n00b! but seriously, I bought a second pulsar card second hand and linked these together as I planned to overcome this problem which I believe means I had 6 dsps. However, at that point music took a back-seat to the dayjob; now I'm unemployed with money in the bank I'm reconsidering everything about my life but at the very least I plan to make music an important part of my life again because I need to express myself! otherwise I seriously will go mad as I have been suppressing myself for corporate bs and money and that is not what life is about! or if it is then screw it. /rant over!

getting back to topic: what I would like to do:

(i) I want to record audio from at least 2 guitars, vocals, bass and have flexibility for more; I recall I did manage to find the 8 2496 in/outs limitting. I believe to mix each track individually I probably want an in/out for every track? so e.g. for playback of 32 tracks of audio/pre-recorded audio I will need 32 i/os? or 2 A16 boxes? I could start with 1 A16 box combined with my 2496 to give me 24 tracks? is it possible to get one s/h? or use a different brand with my platform? how much would it cost? and where should I look! the A16 ultra is very expensive!!
(ii) I will want to use FX in theory on every channel and will want to use VSTi instruments as well as some of the fantastic synths on the creamware platform although I will not be writing electronic music. I'll certainly be using orchestral and other sample packs (e.g. grand pianos, drumkit from hell/bfd/artist drums). I want to apply FX permanently to recorded audio only at the last possible mix-down stage if possible. I'll want to combined the great FX in the scope platform with vst fx in cubase and I'll want to be able to do any automation of sfp fx too where necessary (not something I have much experience of at this stage!).
(iii) Midi/samples. I have a fatar controller master keyboard, a vdrums electronic kit, a phatboy midi controller, a little 2m midi-merger unit, and various external digital fx (quadraverb GT, digitech RP 20) and midi-capable amps (marshall jmp1, marshall 6100). I'm probably going to use the digitech mostly as a midi controller as its useful for potential live use and it has an expression pedal; I think many of the FX on scope/vst platform are likely to be superior and more flexible and the rp20 is only 16 bit and I noticed the impact it made on the guitar signal and did not like it! (probably just poor internal adc/dac or whatever). And it lagged lol, especially on harmonizer.
(iv) Its quite conceivable that I'll want to do all of the above in real time. Like, a band practice: drummer on vdrums, 2 guitar players and vocals, possibly keyboards but at the least pre-recorded keyboard parts doing playback.
(v) I'm currently on sfp 3.1. Should I buy the upgrade for v? I have a deal at the moment, for 150 pounds I can buy the scope 4 and 5 platforms with some synths and fx and mixing as well as a 3rd pulsar card which I think would bring the dsps in my system to 10? This seems like a good deal although I'll need another cable to link the 3rd card in (where can I get this? is it standard or is it expensive?) What do you think? presumably 10 dsps is a good number for what I want to do (probably overkill even?) But I have to upgrade to 5 if I want to be future proof (windows 7)?
(vi) Does XTC now work under scope 5? should I be using sfp platform anyway? (should I sell all my creamware stuff? from what I've read I really don't think so! but am I wrong?)
(vii) I plan to use an HP xw6400x with dualcore Xeon 2.66 ghz processor wihch I already have. I noticed someone was having a problem with sfp and dualcore. Is this going to be an issue? there was mention of a patch. Alternatively I could use my 2 ghz single core AMD system but it seems the Xeon is 4x as fast and cubase 5 (my version) can make use of the fact its dualcore; I think I'm going to need that power fully and the cpu of the PC could be one of the limiting factors in my system? again, creamware could be very useful in taking load off the CPU? My samples will be a real memory/hard disk hog; I have 3 pcs, 2 of these (including the planned music PC) have 4gb of ram and I may have to ultimately run one as an external sampler? I have 2 external hard disks and 4 internal ones so I am hoping too much disk thrashing will not be a limitation? I don't have anything scsi, think they are all 7200 rpm. The hard disk in my music pc is 7200 rpm.
(viii) This may sound weird but I plan to use sibelius to write music. Although I can play by ear on guitar and can get by on piano, I find the moment I make a note I lose whatever is in my head! or most of it is lost. Unless its a noodle/band improve. When I have an idea I want to get it down like putting a pen to paper; I used to be able to do that when I was 14 (although I always struggle with rhythm notation; need to practice that!) Can always refine it later! I'd like to integrate sibelius with my sampler for the best piano/other sound; probably will want to trigger vstis with it too using midi! might even wish to use it as a performance tool! not sure whether it exports performance midi.
(ix) any other questions I haven't asked that I should have!

Thanks to any who can help me! apologies again for being such a n00b. Figured better to provide too much info than too little! I hope I've not forgotten anything important.

w_ellis
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Re: 'N00b' needs help/advice on sfp vs xtc and cubase mixing

Post by w_ellis » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:31 am

Hi,

I'll try to help with as much as I can, although obviously there's a lot of questions! By the way, Files > Projects was probably a bad choice of forum to post this into. Problem Solving or General Scope Discussion would have been better. I had to split this into two posts as I was getting some forums errors otherwise.

i) I have a Behringer ADA8000, which is a good alternative to A16 Ultra (or similar) if you want to keep the budget down. You can get them for around £150 new (e.g. ADA8000). Obviously the quality won't be equivalent, but then again, nor is the price!

ii) Use of the ASIO modules in Scope sounds like it would do what you need. The original recordings in Cubase would be dry and effects would get applied on the way out of Cubase into Scope and within Scope. Then you can use one of the mixers with Aux outputs (e.g. STM2448 or 1632) to route back into Cubase to record multi-track or mix-downs. There's a simple tutorial on this here: http://www.hitfoundry.com/issue_01/cubase.htm

iii) It should be straightforward to integrate external effects using the ADA8000 via the ADAT in/out, so you can still use the outboard that you have. Midi control is better in some Scope devices than others and if you are looking to do more complex automation of mixers, you might want to look at the Spacef (http://www.spacef-devices.com/) mixers or the Wolf Audio (http://wolf-audio.com/wad/news/news.html) ones, which I understand support multiple midi channels (unlike the STM mixers). Any midi control automation can easily be recorded in Cubase to allow non-destructive control.

w_ellis
Posts: 425
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2001 4:00 pm
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Re: 'N00b' needs help/advice on sfp vs xtc and cubase mixing

Post by w_ellis » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:31 am

iv) All depends how many effects you're using in Scope and Cubase, but no reason that this isn't possible even with limited DSP. Probably just worth experimenting with projects and see how much you can get out of it.

v) Buying a card with Scope 4.5/5 is usually a good value way of getting the upgrade, but I'd suggest looking for a Pulsar II (6 dsp) instead of another Pulsar I, as I think there are problems hooking up more than 2 Pulsar I's in relation to latency and PCI bus utilisation (although happy to be told I'm wrong on that one!). Even without, the upgrade is a bargain give you get one of two massive plugin bundles, each currently retailing at a lot more than the upgrade. For your use, I'd have thought the Mix and Master pack would be more useful.

vi) I'm not a big fan of the XTC concept, but I know other people swear by it. Depends on how your mind works I think, but things are a bit more obvious for me in Scope mode and there are certainly some limitations in XTC mode.

vii) I'd just give it a go on the Xeon, as it's obviously simpler the more you can do on the one box. I thought the issues were with Cubase, not Scope, but I could be wrong again on that one.

viii) Quick google for sibelius scope turns up this: http://www.sibelius.com/cgi-bin/helpcen ... 3&&guest=1. Looks like people are doing it. No idea how successfully though!

ix) I'm sure they'll come up as you start playing!

Good luck with getting up and running and I'm sure you'll appreciate using the Scope stuff again!

Cheers,
Will

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dante
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Re: 'N00b' needs help/advice on sfp vs xtc and cubase mixing

Post by dante » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:38 pm

http://www.hitfoundry.com/issue_01/cubase.htm is for classic mode, not XTC. I probably need to extend it a bit, it shows how to setup the I/O's for mixing back to Cubase but doesnt show the Cubase operation of actually mixing down. Although this would be something like:

1) Simply add a new stereo audio track in Cubase and call the track the name of the song.
2) Set the input of this new track to the 'MIX' input shown in the Cubase I/O setup.
3) Mindful to set its output to 'no output' to avoid a feedback loop.
4) Arm the track for record.
5) Check incoming levels by selecting the small 'monitor' speaker icon on the cubase track and pressing play in the middle of the song where the levels are at a high point.
6) Bring transport back to start of song and hit 'record' on the transport.

All Cubase tracks & FX, Scope channels & FX then go to mixdown 8)

PoGGiE
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Re: 'N00b' needs help/advice on sfp vs xtc and cubase mixing

Post by PoGGiE » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:23 pm

Hey,

thanks guys! some really useful info there.

I'll repost my question to the forums you suggested but I think you have already got me started on the main issues. I'll look at Behringer/equivalent units too.

On the pulsar1 card, I'll have a look into pulsar 2 but I haven't seen much creamware stuff for sale at all and sounds like I should just go for this upgrade. I'll look here and google to see whether others have had this issue with two pulsar ones ... as you know, my config would be lunar + pulsar 1 + pulsar 1.

Best,

Carl

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