Updated: Nov 1
So a lot happening.
Mostly just life. Freelance gigs, summer vacation, kids, their return to full time school, birthdays, anniversaries, elder parents and care management, etc.
In the midst of it all, not a lot of time to write new pieces.
But a helluva lot of time to think.
So, I re-arranged the focus of my studio space. I've re-organized it almost completely around the idea of external FX processing. I have 8 external pedals/efx plugged into a Neutrik patchbay, and the patchbay is wired into my MOTU 1248 and 16A interfaces. I also have an Expert Sleepers ES-8 that provides another 12 in / 16 out to my system (though that is focused mostly on the modular stuff).
Patching the pedals into my system through the patchbay enables two things.
Physical flexibility. It's easy to repatch and reconnect things as necessary if needed.
More importantly, I don't even have to deal with #1 and physically change any connections as I can set up the external efx/pedals as plugins within my DAWs. The HUGE advantage here is that I can drag and drop the pedals in whatever order I want in my DAW as easy as using a VST plugin.
This is HUUUGE. The ability to easily modify the combination and order of the pedals (without re-cabling) is liberating. The chances for "happy accidents"- and I like happy accidents - are plentiful.
Some things I've learned along the way...
Probably the number one thing: Take the time to learn WTF a patchbay is and how to use it. It's a little painful at first, but once you get it I guarantee you will never go back to crawling behind your desk to hook up things to your audio interface again. There are a lot of resources available on the web, and I'll put a few links at the end of this post.
The biggest difference to my quality of sound when working with pedals and synths was the purchase of relatively inexpensive re-amp boxes for the pedals that required it. You see, some pedals accept line and and mic level signals. Alot don't. If you try to run a line level signal into a pedal looking for mic level input, you'll get frustrated quick. Just accept that you need to spend the money on a re-amp box for the best results. (You can screw around with trying to adjust the output levels from your source or the input gain of the pedals, but that solution will be brittle and prone to problems.) I'll link below to the model I bought.
Figure out how to use the Hardware EFX plugins of your DAW.
Don't watch Loopop, Ricky Tinez, OoraMusic, Red Means Recording, The Mid-Life Synthesist, or any of those other YouTubers because you will spend money.
So in the next post, I'll talk more about what I bought, why, and how it's hooked up. Until then, stay safe!
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