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Software Monitoring anyone?


denhammatt

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I am running Logic Express 8 on my macbook with a Presonus Firestudio Project as my interface. Right now I am learning about recording audio and am unsure if I should use software monitoring or not, and what exactly it is. When I have my tracked record enabled and software monitoring is off, I can hear my voice, and when I turn it on, I can hear my voice, only its significantly louder.

 

My interface does have a software mixer called "Firecontrol", and i'm not sure what purpose it serves as the actual interface itself has volume faders right on it. The book i'm reading says that you should turn software monitoring off if you are using a hardware mixer or if your interface has a software mixer. So what purpose does this "Firecontrol" serve and what should I do about software monitoring? Thanks.

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With software monitoring you will always hear whatever you're monitoring a little bit late. Some people say they don't notice it, others are significantly bothered by it (after all, if you're performing, you wouldn't want to hear your self slapping back in your headphones, but that's a common occurrence).

 

If I'm not mistaken, the Firecontrol is exactly the kind of software mixer as described in the book you're reading. I'd suggest using that rather than Logic's software monitoring in a heartbeat!

 

The 'upside' to using Logic's software monitoring is that you can use plugs on your input channels (EQ, whatever). But if you find that you're experiencing undesirable monitoring latency without the use of plugs, the latency could be even worse if the plugs you choose add their own latency. And that kind of negates the whole 'upside'.

 

So sure, try out Logic's software monitoring. But if it proves to be too annoying to listen to, turn it off and use the Firecontrol software exclusively for live monitoring.

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Making it simple so you can understand this thing.

 

Software monitoring means that your audio signal goes - through your Firestudio interface - to Logic, pass through Logic and then goes back to your interface - and to you - via Firestudio outputs.

This way you can use - and listen - to Logic's effect plug-ins while recording. This is good if your are using a guitar amp simulator, such as Guitar Amp Pro.

 

When you turn off software monitoring in Logic and use the interface software mixer as a monitoring mixer, your mic or instrument audio signal does not go to Logic, instead, goes directly to the interface outputs, this way having imperceptible latency and making the recording process more comfortable.

Well, the audio goes to Logic too, of course, otherwise you couldn't record, but the monitoring is made just using your Firestudio.

 

If you have a computer powerful enough (and a very good audio interface driver), you can try to use software monitoring lowering the I/O Buffer in order to achieve lower latency, to a point that it is comfortable to record.

Some people can go as low as 32 samples.

Others, 128.

 

You'll use Firecontrol to control the volumes of all inputs of the interface.

But ONLY the monitoring volume controls.

Nothing to do with recording levels, input levels or track volume in Logic.

 

It's just to monitor the inputs of Firestudio without using software monitoring.

 

Sometimes you can use both software monitoring and direct monitoring.

 

Experiment with all of this and find out what works better for you.

 

This is the same in all DAWs.

And almost all audio interfaces have virtual mixers.

Just have different names for the same thing.

 

In Logic, you can turn on or off software monitoring using a button In The Transport or in the Audio Preferences.

 

 

Got it?

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The book i'm reading says that you should turn software monitoring off if you are using a hardware mixer or if your interface has a software mixer.

Almost all native DAWs allows you to use a software mixer with their drivers (Except Apple's built in drivers - if you for some reason use your Mac with built in audio, there's no extra mixer app coming with it). On a fast Mac Pro, you can actually get a lot of work done with software monitoring - because these computers are so powerful that you can keep using the 32 buffer a lot longer than you could before. I wouldn't expect too much realtime DSP power from a Mac Book...

 

...if it proves to be too annoying to listen to, turn it off and use the Firecontrol software exclusively for live monitoring.
I'd like to add 'if you have tried to lower the I/O buffer settings, tried the Low Latency Mode and disabled the Safety I/O buffer'...

 

Sometimes you can use both software monitoring and direct monitoring.

 

Experiment with all of this and find out what works better for you.

 

This is the same in all DAWs.

 

Yes - that's true in all so called 'native' DAWs. Pro Tools TDM systems (which cost a lot more, and IMHO are based on technology that is slightly outdated and definitely overpriced) are set up in a different way.

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I have tried both Software Monitoring in Logic 8 and right off of my Metric Halo 2882's. For software monitoring I was able to get my buffer size down to 128 and latency wasn't really much of an issue for anyone but I did notice something strange. During playback, I noticed little "pops" or dropped samples. If I zoomed in enough I could see the issue and either draw it out or use the comp feature to find another take that didn't have the dropped sample as it never occurred in the same spot. I noticed it more when tracking a band and not just myself for instance. So I've gone back to hardware monitoring with a buffer size of 1024 which is working fine (no pops/dropped samples) but honestly I'd rather just be able to dial up a headphone mix right in Logic rather than having to open up my Metric Halo Console and do it there. Just another step you know....

 

I have been wondering if anyone else here has experienced the same thing.

 

Al

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but honestly I'd rather just be able to dial up a headphone mix right in Logic rather than having to open up my Metric Halo Console and do it there. Just another step you know....

 

Well, you can easily do that.

Using Sends, send the signals of the tracks you want to have on your headphone mix to an Aux track and route its output to a discrete output of your Metric Halo.

Then cable this MH output to a headphone amplifier of any kind.

 

Now you have a headphone mix controlled in Logic.

 

Pretty easy. You can then make a template to use this all the time.

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Thanks, Denhammat, for asking this question, as I never fully understood what this button does! These responses have cleared things up considerably.

 

The big problem with monitoring directly from the interface--for me, at least--comes with vocals. Those of us who are, well, challenged in the vocal department can find it very sobering indeed to hear our voices coming back dry from the interface. For my own psychological well-being, I need to monitor my voice drenched in delicious, falut-concealing reverb and/or delay. :shock: :P

 

One of the virtues of the Line 6 Toneport series is that its gearbox software allows you to hear effects (both amp modeling and vocal processing) while monitoring from the interface.

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The big problem with monitoring directly from the interface--for me, at least--comes with vocals. Those of us who are, well, challenged in the vocal department can find it very sobering indeed to hear our voices coming back dry from the interface. For my own psychological well-being, I need to monitor my voice drenched in delicious, falut-concealing reverb and/or delay.

 

.

 

You can also do that with software monitoring off.

Search the forum with a post explaining it in details.

Here's one post I found searching now. There are others.

http://www.logicprohelp.com/viewtopic.php?t=24674&highlight=monitoring+reverb

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but honestly I'd rather just be able to dial up a headphone mix right in Logic rather than having to open up my Metric Halo Console and do it there. Just another step you know....

 

Well, you can easily do that.

Using Sends, send the signals of the tracks you want to have on your headphone mix to an Aux track and route its output to a discrete output of your Metric Halo.

Then cable this MH output to a headphone amplifier of any kind.

 

Now you have a headphone mix controlled in Logic.

 

Pretty easy. You can then make a template to use this all the time.

 

Yeah I got that but this isn't any different than just using the faders in record mode to dial in the mix. I would still have to lower the buffer size which seems to trigger the audio problem on the recording end of things with the "pops".

 

I'm not really bummed out about my headphone system as it is now but just I was just wondering why I would be getting these pops with a lower buffer size, especially since I'm rocking a really nice Macpro.

 

Later,

 

Al

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I am running Logic Express 8 on my macbook with a Presonus Firestudio Project as my interface. Right now I am learning about recording audio and am unsure if I should use software monitoring or not, and what exactly it is. When I have my tracked record enabled and software monitoring is off, I can hear my voice, and when I turn it on, I can hear my voice, only its significantly louder.

 

My interface does have a software mixer called "Firecontrol", and i'm not sure what purpose it serves as the actual interface itself has volume faders right on it. The book i'm reading says that you should turn software monitoring off if you are using a hardware mixer or if your interface has a software mixer. So what purpose does this "Firecontrol" serve and what should I do about software monitoring? Thanks.

 

I leave my software monitoring 'ON'

 

Presonus supplied you with information about your Interface and what your 'Firecontrol' does. You really should read it, a few times.

 

This interface serves the purpose of doing different Monitoring (headphone) mixes for the different musicians recording or performing. The software mixer will aid in selecting what channel goes out to any specific output. I won't go into any great depth about it since you own one and have a manual to read.

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When I was first messin with the new macbook and SaffireLE interface I got, I was a bit perturbed that I was getting two signals into my headphones of what instrument I happen to be recording.

One signal that came directly from my interface and into the phones, as well the same signal that was going through the software..at a slight delay.

 

Then I figured out how to turn that directly monitored signal off on the LE's software control panel. You shoiuld be able to do that same on your interface software also.

 

As far as the difference in volume, that probably is due also to how you balance the levels, again, within your interface control panel.

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Yes - that's true in all so called 'native' DAWs. Pro Tools TDM systems (which cost a lot more, and IMHO are based on technology that is slightly outdated and definitely overpriced) are set up in a different way.

 

It's not limited to TDM. I've been using the 002R - I have yet to find the software mixer for the unit using it with Logic. Perhaps I've missed something....

 

Do any of the PT LE boxes come with a software mixer? I don't think so.

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Thanks to all of you, I now understand it.. and I think I'm going to turn software monitoring off for now, to reduce latency. I may turn it back on sometime though, if I want to hear certain plugins while recording... Thanks again for clearing this up for me! :-)
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