Topic: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

Hello,

I am planning on getting SSL X-desk for summing/mixing monitoring purposes.
But my UFX mk1 has only 8 Analog Outputs.

What would be the most cost-effective way to expand my outputs? smile
Would AES/EBU (digital out) unit be no good?


I am wondering how professionals expand their outputs...?

Sorry, never had this kind of issue in my life, but I started to mix my own recently and
I am learning new things almost every day.. and sorry in advance to ask a beginner question.



Thanks in advance! smile

2 (edited by ramses 2021-03-25 10:34:55)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

Why do you actually need the SSL Mixer. That is not yet quite clear to me.  In theorie .. Mixing you do much better and more flexible in the DAW and monitoring in TM FX. The UFX offers enough possibilities for Monitor A/B, 2 Phones, etc..

Or do you work a lot with outboard equipment? But even this you could maybe integrate even better by expanding your setup with an additional AD/DA conver and to connect it through ADAT, see below.

I don't understand how an AES port is supposed to help. With googling you will quickly find that an AES port just like SPDIF has only 2 channels and it is a digital port. With which device you would perform AD/DA then ? Will one more AES port help ? Most likely not. This is not ADAT with 8ch !

So if you really want to have more analog ports in your setup, then you need to add an AD/DA converter via ADAT to your setup. If you want to stay with RME, then that would be for example the ADI-8 DS Mk III
-> https://www.rme-audio.de/de_adi-8-ds-mk-iii.html

But as I said, the setup / your demand is not fully clear to me.
Do you have a drawing of your current and desired setup that you can share with us ?
And maybe describe how your workflow is and what signal flow you desire ?

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

3 (edited by waedi 2021-03-25 13:56:00)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

From the SSL website :
SuperAnalogue™ - analogue purity at the highest level

There is a bunch of D-sub connectors on the backside.
for the speakers it has XLR connectors thanksfully.

The UFX has adat. Therefor I would hook up an adat converter, a ADI-8-QS.
This has D-sub connectors that allows you to connect to the SSL directly with one D-sub cable 8 channels analog audio at once.

To answer your questions :
What would be the most cost-effective way to expand my outputs?
ADI 8 DS MKIII plus one D-sub cable
The ADI-8-DS has the same connections as the QS, it is cheaper. the differences are small.
There are solutions more cheap out there, Behringer ADA8200, no D-sub, you have to connect an XLR cable for each channel.
It would work but you will miss the RME quality, so I would not say it is the most effective solution, only cheap.
Your interface has only adat (multichannel for expanding) and adat is limited 8 channels.
The ADI-8-DS lll is the latest 8 channel adat converter and has the suitable D-sub connector, this is my tip for most cost-effective solution.

Would AES/EBU (digital out) unit be no good?
Yes, it is no good in your case because the SSL unit has no digital connection.

I am wondering how professionals expand their outputs...?
What is professional ?
As you already have an RME audio interface and it gets expansion by RME converters, to me this is total professional.

You can get a new interface UFX+ with madi and connect a M-32 / M-16 DA this would be latest super technology and much more expensive. Can you handle it ?
The professional studio is as professional as the engineer is able to work with.
I hope it helps you a little.
Feel free to ask everything, especially before you buy expensive stuff with preprogrammed issues.


Edit :
I am forced to write some additional words.
First of all
Thank you Ramses for pointing out something I kept back because I didn't want to destroy the romantic analog-mixing dream.
I didn't see Ramses respond when I uploaded mine.
The first thing came to my mind was too rude to write.
The question was for professional integration of non-professional units.
There is people who want to try analog mixing retro analog vintag enthusistic.
Learning by doing is a good way. no problem with that.
They will find out mixing in the DAW is faster and better.
That SSL toy is not bad. It is a honest piece, it says from the beginning, I'm analog only.
No fake digital stuff Bluetooth madi and what ever pops up on the market.
And after all it is for music. No rules everything is possible.

M1-BigSur, Madiface Pro, Digiface USB, Babyface silver

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

waedi wrote:

From the SSL website :
SuperAnalogue™ - analogue purity at the highest level

There is a bunch of D-sub connectors on the backside.
for the speakers it has XLR connectors thanksfully.

The UFX has adat. Therefor I would hook up an adat converter, a ADI-8-QS.
This has D-sub connectors that allows you to connect to the SSL directly with one D-sub cable 8 channels analog audio at once.

To answer your questions :
What would be the most cost-effective way to expand my outputs?
ADI 8 DS MKIII plus one D-sub cable
The ADI-8-DS has the same connections as the QS, it is cheaper. the differences are small.
There are solutions more cheap out there, Behringer ADA8200, no D-sub, you have to connect an XLR cable for each channel.
It would work but you will miss the RME quality, so I would not say it is the most effective solution, only cheap.
Your interface has only adat (multichannel for expanding) and adat is limited 8 channels.
The ADI-8-DS lll is the latest 8 channel adat converter and has the suitable D-sub connector, this is my tip for most cost-effective solution.

Would AES/EBU (digital out) unit be no good?
Yes, it is no good in your case because the SSL unit has no digital connection.

I am wondering how professionals expand their outputs...?
What is professional ?
As you already have an RME audio interface and it gets expansion by RME converters, to me this is total professional.

You can get a new interface UFX+ with madi and connect a M-32 / M-16 DA this would be latest super technology and much more expensive. Can you handle it ?
The professional studio is as professional as the engineer is able to work with.
I hope it helps you a little.
Feel free to ask everything, especially before you buy expensive stuff with preprogrammed issues.


Edit :
I am forced to write some additional words.
First of all
Thank you Ramses for pointing out something I kept back because I didn't want to destroy the romantic analog-mixing dream.
I didn't see Ramses respond when I uploaded mine.
The first thing came to my mind was too rude to write.
The question was for professional integration of non-professional units.
There is people who want to try analog mixing retro analog vintag enthusistic.
Learning by doing is a good way. no problem with that.
They will find out mixing in the DAW is faster and better.
That SSL toy is not bad. It is a honest piece, it says from the beginning, I'm analog only.
No fake digital stuff Bluetooth madi and what ever pops up on the market.
And after all it is for music. No rules everything is possible.

Dear, Waedi,
I think you have understood 'exactly' what I meant and I tried to achieve smile
I am a huge fan of 'clean' & 'supreme' converter of RME since day one.
But I genuinely want to try something new in my music career.
That is doing hybrid mixing/summing!
And after having thorough research, I did find SSL X-Desk to fit in my current setup (to kick off my digital/analog hybrid setup)!

It is a good little unit to start my analog summing, 'but' I do not want to ditch or compromise the
power of UFX.
So, I posted this question here smile

Because, expanding outputs without compromising DA quality of UFX is something I am not clear of.
(*I have not studied Audio Engineering professionally so bear that in mind!)

So long story short!
I want to utilize my UFX to the max!! smile
And I was looking for a good analog summing box that can do the last 10% for my personal mixes u know smile
So I was searching and searching,
drawing down to some candidates including,
- neve 5060
- SSL X-desk
- a few other summing units without faders

And SSL X-desk seems a good starting option for me, and by doing that,
I am planning on building my own, 500 series rack, so basically
I am planning on building my own 'mini' SSL analog console smile

To some, this may sound waste of money, to Digital ITB mixing engineers, this may sound insane,
but this is something that inspire me! smile
To get the best from the both world!

Amazing conversion capability from RME!
Amazing analog glueing mojo from SSL!

So, yes.

To conclude, first thing first, I had to find the right answer to expand my channel out
'without' compromising the DA conversion quality from my RME UFX mk1.


So yes, thanks again, but um, I happened to read about 'flowfish'...unit? that can expand extra 16 channel outputs?

(*Because actually, SSL X-desk can hold up to 16 channels~ 20 channels, so I actually need, 8 or.. a few more.. for monitor out...?)

Yea, I am trying to get the numbers right! and find the best solution!
as long as output expansion does not degrade the DA unit, then it should be fine,
but as you mentioned, if the behringer model degrades the sonic conversion quality of my UFX,
then I'd say no to that..


Thank you so much smile

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

ramses wrote:

Why do you actually need the SSL Mixer. That is not yet quite clear to me.  In theorie .. Mixing you do much better and more flexible in the DAW and monitoring in TM FX. The UFX offers enough possibilities for Monitor A/B, 2 Phones, etc..

Or do you work a lot with outboard equipment? But even this you could maybe integrate even better by expanding your setup with an additional AD/DA conver and to connect it through ADAT, see below.

I don't understand how an AES port is supposed to help. With googling you will quickly find that an AES port just like SPDIF has only 2 channels and it is a digital port. With which device you would perform AD/DA then ? Will one more AES port help ? Most likely not. This is not ADAT with 8ch !

So if you really want to have more analog ports in your setup, then you need to add an AD/DA converter via ADAT to your setup. If you want to stay with RME, then that would be for example the ADI-8 DS Mk III
-> https://www.rme-audio.de/de_adi-8-ds-mk-iii.html

But as I said, the setup / your demand is not fully clear to me.
Do you have a drawing of your current and desired setup that you can share with us ?
And maybe describe how your workflow is and what signal flow you desire ?

Hello, Ramses,
I am trying to achieve hybrid setup for analog summing 'with' my UFX smile
I put all the detail down on another reply thanks!

6 (edited by waedi 2021-03-26 05:40:18)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

Ah I see.
But there is one thing that you have to keep in mind,
you say you want to keep the superb converters of the UFX.
Adding extra analog channels is not possible on those converters,
The expansion unit is a own DAC.
8 channels is possible, but a few more is not possible (additional channels).
You can get 8 additional channels and the already existing analog outputs of the UFX.
Ferrofish has 16 and 32 channel converters, they are not useful in your case.
It comes all back to what Ramses recommended, ADI-8-DS mklll !
This is the best quality RME converters and has exactly the connections that fit into your set.
The adat to connect to the UFX and the D-sub for the SSL.
Keep in mind that cabling is a huge mess and expensive part.
SSL are not stupid, they fitted D-sub connectors to the unit for reasons.

M1-BigSur, Madiface Pro, Digiface USB, Babyface silver

7 (edited by ramses 2021-03-26 08:20:20)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

How many analog channels are needed in total?

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

ramses wrote:

How many analog channels are needed in total?

So, if I re-summarize my status,
nothing has been fixed smile

So, I was posting as 'what if' situation.
"what if I want to connect SSL X-desk to my current setup...? for analog summing / mixing?"

um, so Ramses, SSL X-desk can get up to a total of 20 line-level channels max.
oh boy... I am indeed getting into a serious situation here haha

I never thought of expanding channel outputs because I've been working totally in-the-box.
But, since I am now looking for an analog summing mixer (and most summing mixer can take
more than 8 channels), I just want something to expand channel outs from my UFX.

And as you have mentioned I think... ADI-8 seems the best option for me.

I am also surprised, that there aren't many options for expanding... I basically need another DA converter..
And that is a sad part, because, most UFX-grade DA converters cost 'very' much...
which means I may need to spend as much as getting 'X-desk' haha...

I am looking for the best option ^_^
Thanks again for your thorough explanation smile

The reason why I am being so careful is, I do not want to compromise any audio sonic greatness of
- UFX
- SSL X-desk


I just need a good 'bridging' unit!

OR... maybe I can just use 8 channel outs from UFX... haha this can be my alternative option.
(this means I cannot utilize the remaining channel ins of X-desk summing mixer)

or.. I was thinking...
maybe what if I get a unit such as Cranborne ADAT500 unit,
it is a ADAT unit that has 8 channel direct outs, and it is DA unit so...
maybe I can connect this unit to expand the channel outs...?

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

waedi wrote:

Ah I see.
But there is one thing that you have to keep in mind,
you say you want to keep the superb converters of the UFX.
Adding extra analog channels is not possible on those converters,
The expansion unit is a own DAC.
8 channels is possible, but a few more is not possible (additional channels).
You can get 8 additional channels and the already existing analog outputs of the UFX.
Ferrofish has 16 and 32 channel converters, they are not useful in your case.
It comes all back to what Ramses recommended, ADI-8-DS mklll !
This is the best quality RME converters and has exactly the connections that fit into your set.
The adat to connect to the UFX and the D-sub for the SSL.
Keep in mind that cabling is a huge mess and expensive part.
SSL are not stupid, they fitted D-sub connectors to the unit for reasons.

True, true!
um, I was thinking of this option too, what if,
I get a unit such as 'Cranborne ADAT 500'?
this unit is ADAT unit that holds 8 slots of 500 series (I am also planning on getting into 500 series to upgrade my custom signal chains).

So, 8 outs from UFX, and additional 8 outs from Cranbrone ADAT (*that gets signal from UFX digitally)
would it work for my setup...? smile


Thanks, man. Much appreciated, learnt so much from your explanation smile

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

I asked how many channels you need to get an idea how you could expand your current solution.

As you might know, 1 ADAT port can carry
- 8 channels at single speed (44.1/48 kHz)
- 4 channels at double speed (88.2/96 kHz)
- 2 channels at quad speed (176.4/192 kHz)

The UFX has two ADAT ports, so you could theoretically even connect two ADI-8-DS mklll.
Then you would have 6 (2 you need for monitors) + 8 + 8 = 22 channels
But everything at single speed.

If you would like to perform projects at double speed (88.2/96 kHz)
then you would have 6 (2 you need for monitors) + 8 = 14 channels
But then you could only onnect one ADI-8-DS mklll as you need the two ADAT ports towards the one ADI-8 DS...

I you should need a certain channel reserve, then you could also think about selling the UFX
and upgrading to an UFX+, by this you would have MADI.
MADI has the advantage to offer to you
- 64 channels at single speed (44.1/48 kHz)
- 32 channels at double speed (88.2/96 kHz)
- 16 channels at quad speed (176.4/192 kHz)

So even when recording in higher quality at double speed you would still have the
6 analog ports of your UFX+ and
up to 32 channels (in and out of course) for an additional AD/DA converter.

Then you could think of connecting either an ADI-8 QS (which has MADI) or other RME AD/DA converters.
You could also connect MIC preamps...
Or 3rd party products if this should be required for budget reasons.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

11 (edited by RMEfanboy 2021-03-27 04:01:44)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

ramses wrote:

I asked how many channels you need to get an idea how you could expand your current solution.

As you might know, 1 ADAT port can carry
- 8 channels at single speed (44.1/48 kHz)
- 4 channels at double speed (88.2/96 kHz)
- 2 channels at quad speed (176.4/192 kHz)

The UFX has two ADAT ports, so you could theoretically even connect two ADI-8-DS mklll.
Then you would have 6 (2 you need for monitors) + 8 + 8 = 22 channels
But everything at single speed.

If you would like to perform projects at double speed (88.2/96 kHz)
then you would have 6 (2 you need for monitors) + 8 = 14 channels
But then you could only onnect one ADI-8-DS mklll as you need the two ADAT ports towards the one ADI-8 DS...

I you should need a certain channel reserve, then you could also think about selling the UFX
and upgrading to an UFX+, by this you would have MADI.
MADI has the advantage to offer to you
- 64 channels at single speed (44.1/48 kHz)
- 32 channels at double speed (88.2/96 kHz)
- 16 channels at quad speed (176.4/192 kHz)

So even when recording in higher quality at double speed you would still have the
6 analog ports of your UFX+ and
up to 32 channels (in and out of course) for an additional AD/DA converter.

Then you could think of connecting either an ADI-8 QS (which has MADI) or other RME AD/DA converters.
You could also connect MIC preamps...
Or 3rd party products if this should be required for budget reasons.

Thank you so much, Ramses and I was totally wrong about all of it.
What I did not know:
- ADAT units do not use UFX DA converter, it use their own.
- There is no way I can extend the use of my 'UFX' DA conversion, basically I need a seperate additional DA units for extra outputs for multi-channel summing or analog console integration.


ah...
Now I sort of got it...
hmm. It seems to me, I need much more saving for it.

(And probably, ADI-8 DS Mk3 have better conversion chip than my old UFX mk1... haha)

Ooh, I need spend more, thanks for clarification.
Your reply really cleared everything.
This was not as easy/simple as I thought.

It could be smarter to replace my centre converter just like you said (UFX with UFX+ or UFX2)...
or my other budget friendly/compromised option could be, get 8-channel summing box and at most,
use 8 outs from my UFX.

you are right, if I really want to go there, and execute analog console integration,
it is time for me to go for 'MADI' connection...

So, it is not true, that ADAT units always use their own DA converter correct...? (even it is connected via UFX)

And one more thing, if connected via ADAT, does it degrade conversion or it totally depends on the quality of the DA conversion of 'that' specific unit? (ADI-8 DS mk3 must be supreme)

Also, ADI-8 DS mk3 could be a good option 'but' I do not need 8 inputs... I only need 8 outputs..
*one thing to correct myself, UFX can have max 12 outputs with 2 headphone outs as 2 stereo outs smile

12 (edited by ramses 2021-03-27 16:08:17)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

RMEfanboy wrote:

Thank you so much, Ramses and I was totally wrong about all of it.

You're welcome. It makes sense to ask what someone wants to do and finally it is also also interesting for me, because I also wanted to see whether something like such a mix desk would be useful or to discuss pros and cons.

After putting much time now into it I tend to say that I wouldn't like such a solution. And currently I even do not see the advantages for you. Even if you would connect external preamps or would use a mixbus then I have doubts whether this is the way to go, because if I look at technical specs, they are relatively low compared to RME equipment.

Maybe explainable for an analog Mixing Desk .. But if I see the flexibility of TM FX routing and e.g. also the very comfortably handling of external devices even in Cubase, then I tend to say "save the money for this" and rather than that try to connect such devices as close as possible to the digitally connected devices with superb converter chips.

I personally would consequently spend the money more for such things:

  • get an ARC USB to be able to work very comfortably with the TM FX control room

  • get an ADI-2 Pro FS R BE to get the most out of your monitors and phones and having very useful features on top, that no other device can give you on the market for that price

  • while talking about monitors and phones .. I would not add analog signal paths, I would optimize the equipment in terms of signal flows and useability and more think about investing into maybe even better monitors,  room acoustic, phones. I think this gives you more total quality than simply thinking to have a summing console alone give you more quality / mojo, in fact it results in worse SNR/THD values, thats all I can see ..

RMEfanboy wrote:

What I did not know:
- ADAT units do not use UFX DA converter, it use their own.
- There is no way I can extend the use of my 'UFX' DA conversion, basically I need a seperate additional DA units for extra outputs for multi-channel summing or analog console integration.

Audio signals need to be converted to digital, before they can be processed digital (be it for routing or transport).
Therefore you will see in every technical manual from RME about mic preamps and converters a section about A/D and sometimes also D/A (for phones or appropriate outputs in case of a converter). Check the RME manuals and you will see.

RMEfanboy wrote:

ah...
Now I sort of got it...
hmm. It seems to me, I need much more saving for it.

I am not sure ... later you say you need only 8 outputs ... if it is only like that .. why MADI ?

RMEfanboy wrote:

(And probably, ADI-8 DS Mk3 have better conversion chip than my old UFX mk1... haha)

You can check the RME manuals yourself at any time on your own to get more clarity ... Every manual has the chapters
- "Technical Specification" and
- "Latency and Monitoring"

The 1st gives you not only SNR and THD, but also information about the different input sensitivities and output levels (reference levels) that the device supports for AD and DA. This is interesting information in terms of how good this matches to your other equipment with the goal to get optimum SNR values.

The latter gives you information about how fast the AD and DA converters are at different sample rates. The newer converters are usually faster resulting in even less latency (for routing on the device to phones or between analog inputs and outputs).

RMEfanboy wrote:

Ooh, I need spend more, thanks for clarification.
Your reply really cleared everything.
This was not as easy/simple as I thought.

You're welcome. And still it stays interesting if you need only 8 analog outputs .. see below.

RMEfanboy wrote:

It could be smarter to replace my centre converter just like you said (UFX with UFX+ or UFX2)...
or my other budget friendly/compromised option could be, get 8-channel summing box and at most,
use 8 outs from my UFX.

Careful an UFX II would not help. Why ? It has the same channel layout as the UFX.

RMEfanboy wrote:

you are right, if I really want to go there, and execute analog console integration,
it is time for me to go for 'MADI' connection...

If you only need 8 Analog output channels and fewer input channels then you do not need MADI.

RMEfanboy wrote:

So, it is not true, that ADAT units always use their own DA converter correct...? (even it is connected via UFX)

Get a piece of paper. Draw two boxes. Recording interface and AD/DA converter. Draw one bigger line between them to represent digital transfer of 8 ch at single speed. Draw the ports for analog inputs and outputs on the converter. On the inputs write "A/D". On the output write "D/A". Between those two boxes (UFX and ADDA converter) we have digital transfer of audio data. Inside of the UFX we have digital transfer of audio data (the routing matrix / TotalMix FX). Inside of the AD/DA converter we have digital transfer of data when routing audio to a phones output.

RMEfanboy wrote:

And one more thing, if connected via ADAT, does it degrade conversion or it totally depends on the quality of the DA conversion of 'that' specific unit? (ADI-8 DS mk3 must be supreme)

Digital data transfer is lossless. What counts:
- quality of AD/DA conversion
- jitter free transport.
RME is in both cases excallent and in terms of jitter elemination you should make yourself familiar with the concept of Steady Clock, thats an invention from RME. More information about this interesting topic you can get here on youtube. Last recently Matthias releases very valuable information what it brings to you ... in short, a lot !
Please see here: https://www.rme-audio.de/steadyclock-fs.html

RMEs philosophy here is to make a very accurate conversion from analog to digital and digital to analog. Without adding any "mojo". Your true analog audio signal is being converted to digital "as best as possible. And once it is digital, then digital processing like routing or transport between devices through ADAT, SPDIF, AES, MADI, AVB, .. is possible without any loss.

RMEfanboy wrote:

Also, ADI-8 DS mk3 could be a good option 'but' I do not need 8 inputs... I only need 8 outputs..
*one thing to correct myself, UFX can have max 12 outputs with 2 headphone outs as 2 stereo outs smile

After reading the manuals of the SSL summing system it appears to me that you need 8 analog inputs and outputs and best is if your devices have DB-25 plugs according to the Tascam standard.

Please check yourself the specification and different use cases as described in the installation manual for the SSL device.
https://www.solidstatelogic.com/assets/ … _Guide.pdf

Based on the Example 4 in this manual I think that 8 inputs and outputs should be sufficient.

But from the technical specification I am not so impressed, so that I would try to avoid using such a console and as I mentioned I would put the money into other improvements. But thats my view on things, your mileage may vary.


So find below the Drawing from SSL and my comments to it.


https://www.dropbox.com/s/dxp79inh83m7kti/SSL%20Mix%20Desk%20-%2001%20-%20Fully%20Connected.jpg?dl=1



I collected and put together technical Specs for comparison. I think you are better off connecting all straight to RME devices and then work with TM FX in terms of routing. And as I said, Cubase has meanwhile nice comfortably handling of external devices including something like a "ping" to measure the delay by this ...


https://www.dropbox.com/s/4hsr6swwgsdjrfb/SSL%20Mix%20Desk%20-%2002%20-%20Comparison%20Tech%20Specs.jpg?dl=1



Here different scenarios .. I still need time to make the final drawing for you which I would go for.
But maybe this highlights to you the different possibilities ..


https://www.dropbox.com/s/yhenrardt4fdc1h/SSL%20Mix%20Desk%20-%2003%20-%20Proposal.jpg?dl=1


So please wait for my final drawing it needs still some time...

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

13 (edited by ramses 2021-03-27 23:47:19)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

Your mileage may vary, but I like this solution most for reasons explained above.

Fewer devices, better quality in terms of SNR, etc .. more flexibility
Additional possibilities by TM FX routing ...

You can also use the UFX for that, but I would choose UFX+ because it has
- a little bit quicker converters
- two different options to connect to the PC (USB3 / Thunderbolt, also USB2 is possible for 30ch mode without MADI)
- uses the newer MADIface driver which allows for a lower ASIO buffersize of 32 samples (UFX: 48)
- lowest latencies over Thunderbolt
- overhauled analog section
- overhauled DURec and Real Time Clock for timestamps
- fully operateable through DISPLAY in stand-alone mode
- USB port for using ARC USB in stand-alone mode

Instead of two Mastering Chains you can also use one chain for mixing and the other for mastering.
You could also use a patch bay to be able to quickly change your chains of devices.
You can also add even more devices through the remaining Analog Ports and by connecting external
AD/DA converter by usigng 2xADAT (up to double speed) and MADI (up to quad speed).


https://www.dropbox.com/s/you0zou8ykbsyez/SSL%20Mix%20Desk%20-%2004%20-%20Best%20Solution.jpg?dl=1


Best / compact / most flexible solution. You won't need anything better for many many years.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

ramses wrote:

Your mileage may vary, but I like this solution most for reasons explained above.

Fewer devices, better quality in terms of SNR, etc .. more flexibility
Additional possibilities by TM FX routing ...

You can also use the UFX for that, but I would choose UFX+ because it has
- a little bit quicker converters
- two different options to connect to the PC (USB3 / Thunderbolt, also USB2 is possible for 30ch mode without MADI)
- uses the newer MADIface driver which allows for a lower ASIO buffersize of 32 samples (UFX: 48)
- lowest latencies over Thunderbolt
- overhauled analog section
- overhauled DURec and Real Time Clock for timestamps
- fully operateable through DISPLAY in stand-alone mode
- USB port for using ARC USB in stand-alone mode

Instead of two Mastering Chains you can also use one chain for mixing and the other for mastering.
You could also use a patch bay to be able to quickly change your chains of devices.
You can also add even more devices through the remaining Analog Ports and by connecting external
AD/DA converter by usigng 2xADAT (up to double speed) and MADI (up to quad speed).


https://www.dropbox.com/s/you0zou8ykbsyez/SSL%20Mix%20Desk%20-%2004%20-%20Best%20Solution.jpg?dl=1


Best / compact / most flexible solution. You won't need anything better for many many years.


Wow... Mr.Ramses, thanks for amazing guideline.
I am super overwhelmed and it will take some time for me to digest.
So much appreciated.

I just want to ask you, from your personal taste,
if you'd integrate 'any' analog mixing console for 'analog' summing,
could you recommend any summing mixer/device that you believe it will be a 'plus' rather than 'minus'?!

I totally respect your view on integrating SSL X-desk or any other, may degrade in conversion,
but let's say, you want to integrate analog mixer to your ITB workflow,

what would it be?

I am really curious.
Are you totally working in the box...?

I am also working in the box except stem mixing and tracking I use hardware pre + compressor + eq.
(I am not sure if this workflow can be seen as 100% ITB but yeah..)

What analog outboard gears would suffice you?

Thanks so much!

15 (edited by ramses 2021-03-29 15:19:07)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

I used to work with a Tascam M-30 console and recording interface (pure AD/DA). But I would not call myself a "connoisseur"  of this matter (analog consoles, summing). I have tried to collect a few facts to bring a little light into the darkness, how to wire the device probably best to bring more security into the RME device selection.

In the process, I just stumbled across a few things, so that I have considered this afterwards also for me personally from the point of view of whether I would like something like that and what might be advantages or disadvantages.

You should better talk to people who mainly rely on analog equipment.

Here, however, I have the suspicion based on a reader review that this SSL console does not play in the league of the big consoles and that it will probably bring you nothing in terms of "Mojo". It's only there for summing and I don't really want any change in the sound (EDIT: at this point). If there is (EDIT: or should be) mojo somewhere, then IMHO it is [/ or should be in mic preamps, old HW EQs, channel strips of large consoles. But I think that's exactly what the device (EDIT) does not seem to deliver according to review and comment of the reader.

You have to connect also external device here ... and then I think that you connect external devices better more close to the digital world with lossless transfer to keep analog ways short.

I would now always prefer a lean setup and if you already work mainly with digital technology (DAW ...) then I would also always be careful to use the digital / lossless signal chain as long as possible and subsequent analog signal paths do not become too long to draw the maximum possible sound from both.

That the SSL console should or would deliver any great mojo would not be a good idea in my opinion. The mojo you might want to achieve with mic preamps or channel strips or with any hardware devices. This console should simply sum the signals as unchanged as possible and not color them in any way.

I also took a look at a review on Amazon to get a feel for how others rate the console:
https://www.amazona.de/test-ssl-x-desk/

The tester writes there about the sound: "In keeping with SSL's philosophy regarding sound neutrality, the X-Desk doesn't put an extreme personal stamp on the sound, but instead uses SSL's SuperAnalogue technology - which is also built into SSL's large consoles - to provide a very balanced clarity with present bass, midrange and treble, thanks in part to the large headroom."

So I guess you just put too much expectation into things like this, and think that you're still getting a whiff of the old big famous consoles here. One reader comment summed it up like this:

"But the x-desk is not the sonic nonplus ultra either. It can't keep up with an SSL9000J/K, just like an SSL Duality, by the way. There is also at SSL now simply too much attention to energy efficiency and cost."

Comment from the test: "What's missing there is the possibility to also monitor the stereo cue as a monitor source; if you want to do that, you have to redirect the output via the Ext Source Input - a bit awkward."

Conclusion of the Amazon test / 4 minus points
- Talkback sound
- headphone amplifier
- no D-Sub cables included
- no master fader

Talk to other people, try to look at such a setup beforehand. So €2700 or later street price of €2400 is already a house number.

Thats all that I can contribute to it.

I would stay with the UFX .. create a mixing or mastering chain and connect this to the UFX and check how this feels.
You might want to try an ARC USB for a little more comfort.

This is the least expensive way to get either acquainted with such a setup or not.

Later you can add to this as you want
- patchbay for the devices
- UFX II or UFX+ to have latest / fastest converter
- Maybe UFX+ to be able to have lowest RTL (Round Trip Latency) by thunderbolt
- Maybe ADI-2 Pro to enhance monitoring section by the unique features of this device ...
- or maybe more analog stuff

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

ramses wrote:

I used to work with a Tascam M-30 console and recording interface (pure AD/DA). But I would not call myself a "connoisseur"  of this matter (analog consoles, summing). I have tried to collect a few facts to bring a little light into the darkness, how to wire the device probably best to bring more security into the RME device selection.

In the process, I just stumbled across a few things, so that I have considered this afterwards also for me personally from the point of view of whether I would like something like that and what might be advantages or disadvantages.

You should better talk to people who mainly rely on analog equipment.

Here, however, I have the suspicion based on a reader review that this SSL console does not play in the league of the big consoles and that it will probably bring you nothing in terms of "Mojo". It's only there for summing and I don't really want any change in the sound. If there is mojo somewhere, then it is in mic preamps, old HW EQs, channel strips of large consoles. But that's exactly what the device does not deliver.

You have to connect also external device here ... and then I think that you connect external devices better more close to the digital world with lossless transfer to keep analog ways short.

I would now always prefer a lean setup and if you already work mainly with digital technology (DAW ...) then I would also always be careful to use the digital / lossless signal chain as long as possible and subsequent analog signal paths do not become too long to draw the maximum possible sound from both.

That the SSL console should or would deliver any great mojo would not be a good idea in my opinion. The mojo you might want to achieve with mic preamps or channel strips or with any hardware devices. This console should simply sum the signals as unchanged as possible and not color them in any way.

I also took a look at a review on Amazon to get a feel for how others rate the console:
https://www.amazona.de/test-ssl-x-desk/

The tester writes there about the sound: "In keeping with SSL's philosophy regarding sound neutrality, the X-Desk doesn't put an extreme personal stamp on the sound, but instead uses SSL's SuperAnalogue technology - which is also built into SSL's large consoles - to provide a very balanced clarity with present bass, midrange and treble, thanks in part to the large headroom."

So I guess you just put too much expectation into things like this, and think that you're still getting a whiff of the old big famous consoles here. One reader comment summed it up like this:

"But the x-desk is not the sonic nonplus ultra either. It can't keep up with an SSL9000J/K, just like an SSL Duality, by the way. There is also at SSL now simply too much attention to energy efficiency and cost."

Comment from the test: "What's missing there is the possibility to also monitor the stereo cue as a monitor source; if you want to do that, you have to redirect the output via the Ext Source Input - a bit awkward."

Conclusion of the Amazon test / 4 minus points
- Talkback sound
- headphone amplifier
- no D-Sub cables included
- no master fader

Talk to other people, try to look at such a setup beforehand. So €2700 or later street price of €2400 is already a house number.

That's all that I can contribute to it.

I would stay with the UFX .. create a mixing or mastering chain and connect this to the UFX and check how this feels.
You might want to try an ARC USB for a little more comfort.

This is the least expensive way to get either acquainted with such a setup or not.

Later you can add to this as you want
- patchbay for the devices
- UFX II or UFX+ to have latest / fastest converter
- Maybe UFX+ to be able to have lowest RTL (Round Trip Latency) by thunderbolt
- Maybe ADI-2 Pro to enhance monitoring section by the unique features of this device ...
- or maybe more analog stuff

Thanks!
Wow, thank you so much for your explanation and direction!
Well understood smile
Oh, actually, if I may, I would like to give you my personal setup:
- Mac mini
- UFX mk1
- Grace Design 101 (pre)
- DBX 160a (for bass/drum compression mostly)
- Avalon 747sp (Vocal light compression/stem re-tracking (lightly)) <-- mostly I use this as main
- BSS DPR-402 (Also other buss compression sometimes, I find this a bit harsh, so not so often used)
- Behringer px3000 patchbay
- I do not own UFX ARC USB but I do own ARC first version with 6 buttons on top and this thing is really handy! (I did customized all my preference here)
- Monitors: Fostex PM-1 (mk1) and other cheap HiFi speakers for a/b comparison
- Yamaha MG124cx for synths/hardware instruments routing and recording

um, the reason I was planning on getting some other outboard hardware gear was mainly because, I really enjoy recording and re-tracking on Avalon 747sp unit (maybe it is personal taste, but 747 unit really gives me the sound that I want, and it never fails, something that my plugins cannot do... so analog 'mojo' I was referring was maybe more to do with hardware 'compression' and 'eq' smile)

So yeah, basically I just wanted to expand.
Because for now, digital gears, I am really satisfied.
No complaining with my daw, Cubase Pro 11.
Mac osx is crashless.
Waves, Softube, all my plugins do provide a good sonic result smile

But I found myself, really becoming more intuitive and the result was somehow better, after changing my workflow with an additional Daw Controller. That was Avid Artist Mix.

So I realized, 'maybe I am the type who likes working with faders and touching EQ knobs and really work with ears rather than mouse..'

So that drove me to look for a summing/mixing hardware fader unit and colorization unit.
Those two are: SSL X-desk + Cranborne Audio 500ADAT

But with all that being put out,
your last reply got me to reconsider. And really, thoroughly check what would be beneficial for my workflow smile

But I guess, I need to compromise 'some' to gain 'some'.
I think any increase in AD/DA traveling will little by little degrade sonic quality.


I will thoroughly check myself and balance it out.
Thank you, Ramses smile

Much appreciated.
(Sorry for my language, English is not my native smile)

17 (edited by ramses 2021-03-29 16:04:27)

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

RMEfanboy wrote:

Thanks! Wow, thank you so much for your explanation and direction!
Well understood smile

Thanks, am glad that you liked it, tried my best.

RMEfanboy wrote:

Oh, actually, if I may, I would like to give you my personal setup:
- Mac mini
- UFX mk1
- Grace Design 101 (pre)
- DBX 160a (for bass/drum compression mostly)
- Avalon 747sp (Vocal light compression/stem re-tracking (lightly)) <-- mostly I use this as main
- BSS DPR-402 (Also other buss compression sometimes, I find this a bit harsh, so not so often used)
- Behringer px3000 patchbay
- I do not own UFX ARC USB but I do own ARC first version with 6 buttons on top and this thing is really handy! (I did customized all my preference here)
- Monitors: Fostex PM-1 (mk1) and other cheap HiFi speakers for a/b comparison
- Yamaha MG124cx for synths/hardware instruments routing and recording

Interesting collection, well you have many HW effects. For me its the opposite wink
As guitarrist I am still using a G-Major 2 and Lexicon MX200 but not more.
The rest I do in the box with Lexicon Effects, Fabfilter, etc and some VSTi.

RMEfanboy wrote:

um, the reason I was planning on getting some other outboard hardware gear was mainly because, I really enjoy recording and re-tracking on Avalon 747sp unit (maybe it is personal taste, but 747 unit really gives me the sound that I want, and it never fails, something that my plugins cannot do... so analog 'mojo' I was referring was maybe more to do with hardware 'compression' and 'eq' smile)

Sure, if you have the feeling you need those faders, I am not fully against it wink

But now think how much all this would have cost if you had really invested in such expensive extensions ... SSL €2400, ADI-8 DS MkIII €1500, cables ... That's almost €4500. For MADI even more: UFX+ €2200, M-1610 Pro €2600, SSL €2400, cable, that's around €7500+.

If I saw correctly, your active monitors cost just around €200 each.

I would perhaps stay with the UFX for now and do something to the active monitors and maybe the headphones (and possibly room acoustics). I think this is more important to get a good balance here and most important are monitors .. they create the sound with which you want to work. They create the soundstage ("3D Stage").

I would probably look around and check whether you also like the nearfield monitors build according to coaxial design which usually create a phantastic stage.
I am e.g. very impressed by the Geithain RL906 which are very unproblematic in the near field. "The RL906 is a compact two-way loudspeaker consequently optimised for usage as a near-field monitor. Either in an outside broadcasting van, on top of the meter bridge or in the home studio and even as an precious hi-fi monitor it is more than convincing." It plays wonderful together with UFX, UFX+, ADI-2 Pro.

Finally, maybe even refine the UFX with an ADI-2 Pro FS R BE and the new ARC USB (more features, not so expensive).

> Sorry for my language, English is not my native

No problem ;-) Whats your native language ?

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

ramses wrote:
RMEfanboy wrote:

Thanks! Wow, thank you so much for your explanation and direction!
Well understood smile

Thanks, am glad that you liked it, tried my best.

RMEfanboy wrote:

Oh, actually, if I may, I would like to give you my personal setup:
- Mac mini
- UFX mk1
- Grace Design 101 (pre)
- DBX 160a (for bass/drum compression mostly)
- Avalon 747sp (Vocal light compression/stem re-tracking (lightly)) <-- mostly I use this as main
- BSS DPR-402 (Also other buss compression sometimes, I find this a bit harsh, so not so often used)
- Behringer px3000 patchbay
- I do not own UFX ARC USB but I do own ARC first version with 6 buttons on top and this thing is really handy! (I did customized all my preference here)
- Monitors: Fostex PM-1 (mk1) and other cheap HiFi speakers for a/b comparison
- Yamaha MG124cx for synths/hardware instruments routing and recording

Interesting collection, well you have many HW effects. For me its the opposite wink
As guitarrist I am still using a G-Major 2 and Lexicon MX200 but not more.
The rest I do in the box with Lexicon Effects, Fabfilter, etc and some VSTi.

RMEfanboy wrote:

um, the reason I was planning on getting some other outboard hardware gear was mainly because, I really enjoy recording and re-tracking on Avalon 747sp unit (maybe it is personal taste, but 747 unit really gives me the sound that I want, and it never fails, something that my plugins cannot do... so analog 'mojo' I was referring was maybe more to do with hardware 'compression' and 'eq' smile)

Sure, if you have the feeling you need those faders, I am not fully against it wink

But now think how much all this would have cost if you had really invested in such expensive extensions ... SSL €2400, ADI-8 DS MkIII €1500, cables ... That's almost €4500. For MADI even more: UFX+ €2200, M-1610 Pro €2600, SSL €2400, cable, that's around €7500+.

If I saw correctly, your active monitors cost just around €200 each.

I would perhaps stay with the UFX for now and do something to the active monitors and maybe the headphones (and possibly room acoustics). I think this is more important to get a good balance here and most important are monitors .. they create the sound with which you want to work. They create the soundstage ("3D Stage").

I would probably look around and check whether you also like the nearfield monitors build according to coaxial design which usually create a phantastic stage.
I am e.g. very impressed by the Geithain RL906 which are very unproblematic in the near field. "The RL906 is a compact two-way loudspeaker consequently optimised for usage as a near-field monitor. Either in an outside broadcasting van, on top of the meter bridge or in the home studio and even as an precious hi-fi monitor it is more than convincing." It plays wonderful together with UFX, UFX+, ADI-2 Pro.

Finally, maybe even refine the UFX with an ADI-2 Pro FS R BE and the new ARC USB (more features, not so expensive).

> Sorry for my language, English is not my native

No problem ;-) Whats your native language ?

Awsome!!
Oh, yes! definitely, Monitor speakers are my very first priority (just that I did not mention it here)
*I bought mine almost 15 years ago, been working with these budget monitors but somehow, my hearing was well grown with it (?) so I just kept on using it. I wonder if I make sense. (So, Fostex PM-1, if I mix with these, I get fairly transparent result from other environments e.g. Inside car, with other hifi speakers and so on)

But yes. I am planning on upgrading my monitors first smile Also interested in Avantone's mid-range monitors too.
Your recommendation monitors looking hella supreme! Just read the review on Sound on Sound. Must be superb.

But my budget for monitors would be around 1k.. so I will see.

The reason is, of course, budget-friendly moves are fine but I have finally decided to mix my own and also create my own beats too (I've been collaborating with other beatmakers but now I have decided to do it all 'DIY' except mastering).

So that is why I've been researching hard to maximize and prepare for the most efficient and well-treated home studio for myself smile

*Oh! my parents are from Asia smile so English is my 3rd language.

Got things all ticked.

For now, it is hard to fully acoustically treat my working space but I try my best to set diffusers and carpets (nothing on the ceiling unfortunately yet...)

But yeah. Thanks for your suggestion.
I do not think USB ARC (latest model) is not compatible with my UFX mk1 is it?! I am not so sure if I would get much more advantages from it because I am really satisfied with curremt blue ARC mk1 unit smile

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

RMEfanboy wrote:

I do not think USB ARC (latest model) is not compatible with my UFX mk1 is it?! I am not so sure if I would get much more advantages from it because I am really satisfied with curremt blue ARC mk1 unit smile

It's even better wink RME has made it possible for TotalMix FX to play the proxy between the recording interface and the ARC USB. This means you only need to connect the ARC USB via USB to your PC and you can use it with any recording interface that supports TotalMix FX. So now all RME recording interfaces back to ~2001 have support for ARC USB at once, even if originally no remote was planned for them.

You are absolutely right, for stand-alone operation you need a port for ARC USB and only the latest flagship interfaces UFX II and UFX+ have it. But I think you also work more via the PC, right? And otherwise you can still keep the old ARC for such cases.

You should have a look at the ARC USB and its possibilities. It offers much more buttons and functions and even allows the connection of a footswitch. I think someday I will use it to control the recording function of DURec.

What is also very nice, you now have direct access to the 8 TM FX snapshots and can easily switch between 2 different routings / monitors.

I think the ARC USB is very well done, has a solid alu case and worth a look or even try. The price is fair for what you get...

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: How to expand Channel Outputs for Summing mixer connection?

ramses wrote:
RMEfanboy wrote:

I do not think USB ARC (latest model) is not compatible with my UFX mk1 is it?! I am not so sure if I would get much more advantages from it because I am really satisfied with curremt blue ARC mk1 unit smile

It's even better wink RME has made it possible for TotalMix FX to play the proxy between the recording interface and the ARC USB. This means you only need to connect the ARC USB via USB to your PC and you can use it with any recording interface that supports TotalMix FX. So now all RME recording interfaces back to ~2001 have support for ARC USB at once, even if originally no remote was planned for them.

You are absolutely right, for stand-alone operation you need a port for ARC USB and only the latest flagship interfaces UFX II and UFX+ have it. But I think you also work more via the PC, right? And otherwise you can still keep the old ARC for such cases.

You should have a look at the ARC USB and its possibilities. It offers much more buttons and functions and even allows the connection of a footswitch. I think someday I will use it to control the recording function of DURec.

What is also very nice, you now have direct access to the 8 TM FX snapshots and can easily switch between 2 different routings / monitors.

I think the ARC USB is very well done, has a solid alu case and worth a look or even try. The price is fair for what you get...

Thanks! I will definitely check it out.
Um, the monitor speakers you have recommended, are 'way' out of my budget haha
I am actually looking around 1k USD (new or used) haha
Most likely I am going for Genelec or Adam.

Hopefully I upgrade to Barefoot small ones sooooon smile