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> Moving Up, 10 ins/outs
Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 3 2008, 05:49 PM
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I recently upgraded my studio by buying one of these babies:

Attached Image

Its an 8in/8out AtoD/DtoA converter. It takes standard optical toslinks in and out and breaks out 8 outputs and 8 inputs. Since my audio card (EMU 1212m) has toslink input and outputs, this allows me to add to my previous 2 ins and outs on the card itself to get a total of 10 inputs and outputs.

Now Behringer is a cheap and cheerful make, good valkue for money but not always the best quality, but I wanted to explain some of the benefits of doing this. In particular, in cheap gear such as this, the A/D converters and also the microphone amplifiers always cause quality concerns, but with some care you can get a lot of benefits without compromising overall recording quality.

You may be asking why do I need more than 2 inputs, or ouputs? Well here are some of the things I can now do. Bear in mind that my original 2 outputs are dedicated to my monitor amp and speakers so I can't free them up to do anything else.

1. If needed I can now record up to 10 channels simultaneously - this means I can record jam sessions with buddies if necessary. Recording a drum kit would be a bit of a stretch as you can easily use 10 mics just for this (although you can get away with 2) - but if I added another 8 outputs I would be in that territory. (To do this I would need to dump my original card as it is now maxed out, but I could buy something like a Motu mkIII for $800, and reuse the behringer, along with another behringer for a total of 24 ins and outs). When recording my 10 simultaneous tracks, I would dedicate my high quality 1212m inputs and higher end microphone amps (I have a Focusrite Twintrak Pro) to the most important stuff, such as vocals and acoustic instruments. Electric instruments often have effects slathered on them so are less critical, and don't use the mic inputs anyway so can work fine with the behringer

2. Monitor mix routing. In the old days of real recording desks, you were able to use one or more of the busses to setup monitor mixes for musicians who were recording vocals or lead. Again, for an alectric instrument this isn't much of a concern, as these are typically recorded in the control room, using the main speakers to play against. When recording anything acoustic, you need headphones and a quiet room (I am building a vocal booth as well). When recording a vocalist, they often have preferences over what they hear - more piano for pitching, less drum as it is distracting. Meanwhile, the engineer needs to hear the whole mix to make sure it all fits together. For this reaosn, the vocalist gets his own mix specifically to his headphones - not possible with only one pair of outputs. What I can now do in reaper is make a monitor channel, route its output to 2 of the behringers new outputs (so its stereo) and make up a dedicated mix for the vocalist, while I still listen to the master mix through my headphones. To do this I added a headphone amplifier and connected it up to 2 of the behringers outputs. This is an important thing to have when moving from a basic home studio to a more capable semi-pro setup. Again, this is only a monitor mix, so using the lower quality behringer outputs makes no difference to the recorded quality, as I am actually recording the vocal through my tube mic, into the twintrak and then on to the high quality 1212m inputs.

3. Reamping. In the digital world, when recoriding lead, I record the lead dry (with no effects) and put the effects in afterwards, usually using Line 6's Gearbox plugin. This is a very convenient way of working since I can tweak effects afterwards. When I am woirking with my tube amp however, this isn't possible, as I mic up the sound and record it with the specific settings I had on that day. Wait a minute though, I can use the old practice of reamping now I have more outputs! When I record the guitar the first time, I can split the signal before the amp input and record a dry version, as well as the miced up version. If I don't like the settings, I can re-amp. To do this, I take the dry signal I recorded, and send it to one of the behringer outputs, and feed it from there into the guitar amplifier, and record it again with altered settings through the twintrak/1212m - a great way of getting the tube amp sound without the disadvantages of recording with effects on.

4. Finally, back with recording vocalists. Again, in the old days, people used big recording desks, and one feature they had was "talkback". This enabled the engineer to talk to the performer through a mic built into the desk - you know, "That sucked sing it louder", "wow great take, next time try to sing it in tune" etc ... the talkback mic needs to be routed to the vocalists headphones but not appear on the recording. Now I am building a vocal room, my singer won't be able to hear me make those pithy comments. Enter the Behringer! I dedicated one of its inputs to talkback. I hooked up an old microphone, and added a channel in reaper to monitor that specific input and route it to the monitor mix I described earlier. It also goes to the master mix so I can hear it in my own phones. Next I added a noise gate so that in normal operation it is completely quiet (since I am working with phones in the control room). However, if I need to speak, I do so, the noise gate automatically cuts out, and the vocalist can hear my motivational comments and take the appropriate action. Once again, the fact that I am using cheap mic amps and A/D in no way impacts the recording quality as I am using it just for talkback, and once again the vocalist is using the better quality twintrak/1212m inputs.

Ok, that's it - there are many other uses for additional ins and outs, these are a few that I thought I'd share - these kinds of facilities are the difference between a home setup and a more serious setup, and the behringer cost very little considering all the things it can do (less than $250). Bear in mind that not every soundcard can take one of these - you need toslink ins and outs (often called ADAT light pipes), but I hope this has given you a flavor of my excitement at getting one of these !


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Apr 3 2008, 08:46 PM
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wow...Spock this is great man...
question.....if I decide to by one of this....would it be a problem with 0404 PCI...or it would be the same as on 1212?
thanks...smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Apr 3 2008, 09:59 PM
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Great explanation Andrew smile.gif.

I'm also pretty convinced that with rise in use of stem and track lane recording that your reason 2 will again come more to the fore.

Personally I've always liked, and have never had any problems with, Behringer - like you've said they do good value for money kit. WRT the quality of ADC - until you get up to the semi pro end (say ADC/RME/Apogee) at @ 1-3000 USD then I think the Behringer here will more then hold its own. If the mic preamps are the same as they use in the Eurodesk then again they're good for the price range.

Anyway - great, informative post and hope you have lots of fun with it.

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Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 3 2008, 10:10 PM
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QUOTE (Nemanja @ Apr 3 2008, 03:46 PM) *
wow...Spock this is great man...
question.....if I decide to by one of this....would it be a problem with 0404 PCI...or it would be the same as on 1212?
thanks... smile.gif


Glad you liked it smile.gif

As far as I can tell, the 0404 only has SP/DIF ins and outs, no ADAT lightpipe, so I don't think this would work for you, sorry sad.gif


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Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 3 2008, 10:11 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Apr 3 2008, 04:59 PM) *
Personally I've always liked, and have never had any problems with, Behringer - like you've said they do good value for money kit. WRT the quality of ADC - until you get up to the semi pro end (say ADC/RME/Apogee) at @ 1-3000 USD then I think the Behringer here will more then hold its own. If the mic preamps are the same as they use in the Eurodesk then again they're good for the price range.



Cool, that makes me feel even better about it - thanks!


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DeepRoots
post Apr 3 2008, 10:34 PM
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I thought i'd sit and have a read of this- though im several years away from having enough space for my own home studio. This was a great post- often i see people say "look at what i have", leaving me with the question "But why?", this answers alot of questions and is something i'll keep in mind when im setting up my own little corner of paradise rolleyes.gif

Thanks again Andrew smile.gif
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Apr 4 2008, 12:34 AM
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I was just looking a while ago for what this device can be used and it sure is great. Thanks for clarifying it Andrew smile.gif


Also on the topic I've bought this device recently:



and will do a full review soon. Price is very small and the device is working very nice. Behringer is a good company for the bucks I agree with TonyMiro and you Andrew.

This post has been edited by Milenkovic Ivan: Apr 4 2008, 12:35 AM


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Trond Vold
post Apr 4 2008, 12:41 AM
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A friend of mine got that same Ultragain Pro-8 in his studio. It's definetly a good and useful piece of equipment, especially considering it's pricetag.


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Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 4 2008, 12:57 AM
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QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Apr 3 2008, 07:34 PM) *
Also on the topic I've bought this device recently:


No way! When I referred to the headphone amplifier in my earlier post, sure enough, its that exact same model Ivan! I can only say that you have impeccable taste in hardware smile.gif


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Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 4 2008, 12:59 AM
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QUOTE (DeepRoots @ Apr 3 2008, 05:34 PM) *
Thanks again Andrew smile.gif


No problem - I kinda hoped it might get a few peoiple thinking past the basic 2 in 2 out system smile.gif


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Apr 4 2008, 08:42 AM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Apr 3 2008, 11:10 PM) *
Glad you liked it smile.gif

As far as I can tell, the 0404 only has SP/DIF ins and outs, no ADAT lightpipe, so I don't think this would work for you, sorry sad.gif

thanks Andrew...well I have to wait for it...but I plan on buying RME on the future,and for shore OI have this device in mind...thanks again for the review..smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Apr 4 2008, 11:38 AM
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QUOTE (Nemanja @ Apr 4 2008, 07:42 AM) *
...but I plan on buying RME on the future...


Have to say that I love RME Nemanja - part of our set up here includes a

Attached Image

and two

Attached Image

The ADI2 is mainly an ADC for a

Rupert Neve mic pre:


Attached Image

Whilst the two RME5032 cards take the digital from the ADI2 and our mixing desks and other outboard. We are however thinking about RME MADI as a future upgrade (OK I'm thinking about it - haven't told the wife yet laugh.gif ) . The RME AD/DA conversion is really good imo, very clean and transparent.

Sorry Andrew - a bit OT.

Cheers,
Tony


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Andrew Cockburn
post Apr 4 2008, 01:10 PM
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Ahhh, too highend for my current budget, but I can dream smile.gif


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Apr 4 2008, 04:51 PM
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wow Tony...that Rupert's preamp i beautiful..and every thing you got is so good..ah one day rolleyes.gif
thanks for sharing this with us Tony ...


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Apr 4 2008, 07:17 PM
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Excellent gear Tony! smile.gif

PS Maybe we should create some topics on the subject of our home studio gear, where we can post pictures, some info and advices on how to use these devices. I think it would be very interesting for members. What do you think?


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Bogdan Radovic
post Apr 4 2008, 11:08 PM
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Congrats Andrew, and thanks for all the info! smile.gif

This post has been edited by Bogdan: Apr 4 2008, 11:08 PM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Apr 4 2008, 11:40 PM
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QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Apr 4 2008, 06:17 PM) *
Excellent gear Tony! smile.gif

PS Maybe we should create some topics on the subject of our home studio gear, where we can post pictures, some info and advices on how to use these devices. I think it would be very interesting for members. What do you think?


Sounds like a great idea Ivan smile.gif

What we have, why, what we do, waat and want to do, what works and doesn't - what mistakes not to make rolleyes.gif (I have loads of those) - that sort of thing?

Cheers,
Tony


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Apr 5 2008, 10:26 AM
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I think it would be most welcome and most desireable. smile.gif


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Apr 5 2008, 11:49 AM
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Great idea guys... that kind of information would be great and useful...smile.gif


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