Topic: TM FX: Complete Re-build of settings, Steps
For a long time, I've wanted to set up my TotalMix FX configuration from scratch, starting from factory settings. A lot has changed in the setup over the years, I got new ideas for the setup and was actually just waiting for the right time to set it up again.
This moment has now come because I switched my recording setup for guitar from mono to stereo after buying external effects devices (Lexicon PCM 81/91) that work best in stereo because they have been designed for stereo operation. In addition, a 2nd amp and 2 more microphones for the right stereo channel.
The general structure of emulating a parallel effect loop for the Marshall combo amp using UFX+ has proven itself and can also be retained in the stereo setup. The few samples of converter latency of the UFX+ are not noticeable here.
Not too time-consuming
First things first, I was surprised at how quickly everything went. Just to be safe, a few notes on paper for a few channels with more specific reference level and volume settings. After approx. 2 hours, most was done, then another 2 hours for fine-tuning. It definitely helps if you are familiar with TM FX.
My main goals were to get all fader settings of all submixes to zero and only set up the routings that were really needed. Then some layout presets: required / all channels and inputs from 12Mic and Octamic XTC.
Please note: in the screenshot below, the submix for HW Output AN1 towards effect pedal / amp is selected.
With the new layout preset, which only shows the channels that are in use, I also have a much better overview in the matrix view. All channels fit in the window, I don't have to scroll horizontally or vertically. This is very useful.
In the screenshot below, the matrix view shows the routing of the selected snapshot.
Please note: cells with blue background are muted, green = at 0dB.
Order of steps under Windows Environment
I hope I didn't forget anything, so … from memory … proceed with fingers crossed … no guarantee:
Make a backup of your PC first(Macrium Reflect Home, …). It's better to be on the very safe side.
Ensure that you have a backup of TotalMix FX settings (TM FX: File -> Save Workspace As …).
1. Turn off the recording interface and close TotalMix FX.
The quickest way to create a backup of the TM FX files is to rename the profile folder:
2. Switch on the recording interface, TotalMix FX will start automatically. If you are asked whether you want to use the settings from the computer, say no. The folder C:\Users\<yourname>\AppData\Local\TotalMixFX should be recreated by TM FX and be populated with files with default settings: All channels available, same width, standard names, no channel is collapsed. No saved snapshots, etc. In other words, all your customizations are gone (as we need for a new configuration start).
3. I saved this in TM FX as the 6th layout preset, “Factory”.
4. Configure useful/proven TotalMix Preferences:
— Snapshots do not load “---”
— [x] Always init DSP devices with TotalMix FX settings
5. Delete all volume settings for all channels in the matrix view. The fastest way is to double-click on the individual entries.
6. With “Assign” carry out the assignments for Main Out, Main Out B, Phones 1…4. Main Out: ADAT1/2, Main Out B: ADAT 9/10, Phones1 (UFX+): AN9/10, Phones2 (UFX+): AN11/12. Phones3 (XTC): MADI 1/2, Phones4 (XTC): MADI 3/4. For my 5th phones output on 12Mic I will simply use MADI 5/6, I can't assign them to the TM FX control room, as there is no Phones5.
7. Name all channels in TM FX (HW inputs, SW playbacks, HW outputs) by double clicking the channel name. I only add the channel number if there is enough space left. If you want to see the original name of a channel (according to driver) you can toggle it by clicking to "Show Names" at the right side of TM FX in the blue area.
For the SW Playback Channels, you should choose as many channels as needed to divide Audio from PC. I choosed an order that supports my workflow from often to less often needed. This makes it possible to create optimum submixes for each HW output individually. You can also prepare for different audio flows from your DAW to be able to create an optimum submix for vocalist, drummer, guitarist and so on. As everybody has his own preference how loud the other band members should become in his phones submix.
Important: if you use external HW then you need to reserve/use SW playback channels for them so that you can route audio in your DAW to those external devices.
8. Then create (in addition "to factory") additional layout presets to get a better view and workflow to see only those channels that you need to see. In TotalMix FX -> Channel Layout you can hide channels and then save it to a Layout Preset. My Layout Presets are: "Used Ch" for the channels that I use every day and then 12Mic and XTC to see only the channels of the Preamps and channels in the TM FX control room. Factory to see all channels.
9. To be on the safe side, I always mute inputs that are not wired (or currently not in use). The reason is, not to induce any noise from an input which is in an undefined state (which is the case when no cable is connected).
10. Now select the layout preset that includes only the channels you need, in my case “Used Ch”.
11. Configuration of reference levels for inputs and outputs
12. Configuration of Instr inputs and known gain settings for mic and instr inputs. Enable Phantom Power for condenser Mics, that are permanently plugged. Otherwise, keep it better disabled to ensure, that plugging/unplugging does not cause issues.
13. Configure mono inputs and outputs as mono as needed.
14. Click on each stereo output in the HW outputs (bottom row) and proactively pan all mono HW inputs to center for this particular HW Output (aka “submix”). I only do it here in this layout preset “Used Ch”, for all channels it would be too much effort, and it would not be needed.
15. Now you can – preferably in submix mode – configure the desired submix for each HW output.
If you can now get a basic routing that covers most of your cases, then you've already won.
16. Add 1-2 HW Outputs (from the hidden ones) to be able to create special submixes, to record them with DURec. In my case MADI 61+62 for recording the original Backing track from MusicBee or DAW. MADI 63+64 to create something like a "pre-mix" with backing track and guitars, using TotalMix FX's EQ to clean up the frequencies of the recorded amp signal. Loopback on those HW Outputs is only required if you record with the DAW. If you record with DURec you only need to add those outputs in the Record View.
17. Enter Record view and configure ports to be recorded by DURec.
18. Now save your first routing to monitors to Snapshot 1 as “Monitors” or “Main Out”, as you like
19. Create more snapshots as you require, e.g., for sending Audio to a 2nd ADI-2 Pro in front of the HiFi etc.
20. Snapshot 8 is “OFF-Silence”, this you can use to interrupt a feedback loop, you have to mute every output to monitors, maybe best also to phones and other equipment where you think it would be worth it.
21. Now it's about the time to make a backup of TM FX workspace to a backup folder on your computer !!!!!!
22. Additionally, save this workspace to e.g., “Workspace Quick Select” Slot -1, this creates a file:
23. Now exit TM FX application entirely, right-click the icon in the Windows notification area -> “Exit TotalMix FX”
24. If you have a FX chip in your recording interface and if you had FX settings, then you can copy them from your backup
Copy all lines and replace the default settings in the Quick Workplace select file at the proper position
and without violating (!!!) the XML structure (I use notepad++ for this purpose):
25. After saving the file you can restart TotalMix FX (C:\Windows\System32\TotalMixFX.exe), I created a shortcut on my Desktop for it.
26. Now you can restore your FX settings for every channel where you need them.
27. Careful, the LC settings of EQ are not stored/restored, these you have to review manually.
28. For this review purpose, I loaded an old Workspace file containing all the old settings and created a quick workspace select entry #5 old settings
29. Now, you can quickly jump between these two settings (old / new) by pressing ALT-1 and ALT-5.
Review and make changes as needed.
Make a backup of your PC first(Macrium Reflect Home, …). It's better to be on the very safe side.
Always remember to save the latest settings by
— Saving the Workspace to a backup folder on PC: TM FX -> File -> Save Workspace As …
— Saving the Workspace to your Workspace Quick Select Slot.
You can also use another unused Workspace Quick Select Slot to make a backup
I would prefer to use Slot 1…9 for frequently used settings, as you can restore them easily with ALT 1…9.
The last slots I use for backup settings, where you want to keep / retain older settings, in case you require them later.
Well, this was more or less the process … I hope I didn't forget anything.
Take a sheet of paper and write down your order of steps / strategy as a To-do list.
If something fails, learn from it, refine the procedure on paper and restart the process.
Make TM FX backups (Save the workspace) whenever you require, e.g., if you configured many steps or reached a milestone.
Stationary and mobile recording environment:
PC---- ARC USB
UFX+ (CM)-----ADAT1-----> ADI-2 Pro FS R BE (CS) +---------------------> Monitors
| | | +---------------------> Phones
| | +---------ADAT2-----> ADI-2 Pro FS R BE (CS)------Optosel 4:1---> HiFi
| | BluRay+/
| (MADI) TV+/
| + Octamic XTC (CS)
+--+ 12Mic (CS) [ CM = Clock Master, CS = Clock Slave ]
AN1 In.................from Effect Send of Amp (L)
AN1 Out...............to Pedal -> Amp (L) Input
AN2 Out...............to Rack Tuner
AN3+4 Out...........to Amps, Effect Return
AN5+6 Out+In......to/from Ext FX #1
AN7+8 Out+In......to/from Ext FX #2
Inst 9 In................from Guitar (Humbucker)
Inst 10 In..............from Guitar (Single Coil)
To highlight some more features of this setup
1. Monitors: Main Out (ADAT1 OUT) - to ADI-2 Pro FS R BE for active monitors and phones selectable at ADI-2 Pro (key remapping)
2. HiFi: Main Out B (ADAT2 OUT) - to ADI-2 Pro FS R BE in front of the HiFi
3.-5. PCM81 -8db - -10dB: Routing guitar through PCM81 (100% wet), 3 different effect intensities (no audio interruption when changing between the 3 snapshots)
5. PCM91 -4db: Routing guitar through PCM91 (100% wet), one effect intensity (it's fine, no more needed).
7. PCM4DAW: Routing for the two ("all") external FX so that I can use them both in the DAW as external device. I only have to change the routing here, that audio from the DAW will be routed to the HW outputs towards Lexicon, not the Effect Send from the Amp.
8. OFF-Silence: Mute all Outputs to Monitors, Phones, external FX, in case of trouble
Plugging guitar into Instr inputs allows recording of the dry signal coming directly from the guitar, e.g., for reamping.
Inst 9 IN: for guitars with humbuckers.
Inst 10 IN: for guitars with single coil pickups, +2dB more gain to compensate lower output volume of single coils PUs.
Lo Gain Setting for AN 5-8 IN:
Some effects of the external FX deliver a higher output level. This reference level lowers the sensitivity for those analog inputs and thus enables for higher input signals.
Switch more comfortably between TM FX snapshots.
Either as backup in parallel to DAW recording or to record in stand-alone mode USB stick.
Your feedback is welcome. If you see any bug, then please tell me and I will correct it, thanks.