16 INPUT SOUNDCARD / MIXING DESK HYBRID SETUP.
February 5, 2022 § Leave a comment
As a self-taught producer, I’ve often had to wade through tons of information on the internet to understand how to meet my needs as both my approach and gear expanded. I am really happy with my latest setup, so want to share it in case it is of inspiration or help to anyone: 2 Focusrite soundcards (the latest Clarett +8 pre connected via ADAT to my older Scarlett 18i20 1st gen) + Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK mixing desk.
The 2 soundcards total 16 inputs, so I can send every single output of every piece of gear to its own input on the soundcards, enabling me to 1) have a separate recording for each piece of gear, allowing for more mixing and panning possibilities (crucial if you use few pieces of gear) 2) send signals live or prerecorded from my DAW (Acid) to another piece of gear via the 3 buses created in the DAW.
I use 3 outputs from the Clarett to physically send the bus signals to the first 3 channel strips on the desk. Without a desk, you could just connect the cables from the Clarett outputs straight into the gear input of your choice, but the advantage of a desk with 3 Auxes is that each strip allows you to send the bussed signal to 3 different pieces of gear at once. All my Auxes are set Pre Fader and go into my most used units (top right section of the desk): the Space Echo in AUX2, the MF-104M delay in AUX3, with either the Grandmother or a Moogerfooger occupying AUX1.
You can share “sending” duties between the desk and direct input on the units themselves. A concrete example with “Hidden in the Current” as a starting point: the Reface YC organ (which is the only instrument I connect directly on the desk) is sent into the Grandmother via AUX1 on its own strip. The Grandmother return is bussed into CH1 and sent into the MF-104M via AUX3. I end up with 4 tracks in my DAW: the Reface YC (muted), the Grandmother, and the MF-104M Mix and Delay outputs.
If I wanted to add drum machine and send it into the Space Echo, I would send the Elka Drummer One via BUS B to CH2 on the desk and into the Space Echo via AUX2. To further process anything else live, I’d use BUS C into CH3 or direct input on the unit of my choice.