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  1. Ryan
  2. MOXF Series Music Production Synthesizers
  3. Friday, 30 September 2016
I am setting up a home recording studio and bought a Focusrite 6i6 (2nd gen) interface. I plugged the line outs from my MOXF into the line-in jacks on the back of the 6i6. The signal barely registers a quarter of a meter blip on the interface, even with the master cranked up and the gain is set to +6db in the utility menu. The only workaround seems to be that I have to plug it into the front panel jacks of the interface where you can set the gain with knobs and crank the gain.

This is a less than elegant solution because I wanted to plug the keyboard into the rear jacks (non variable gain) so I can keep a guitar plugged into the front jack. Plus, I don't want to have to switch back and forth between plugging the MOXF line outs from the interface and directly to the monitors (just to get a stronger signal) when I just want mess around and play the MOXF.

Anything I am overlooking? I get a decent signal when I use the MOXF sound card to record in Cubase via USB, but would like to stick to using the 6i6 and keep from switching drivers in the middle of the project.
Responses (3)
Bad Mister
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
"...crank the gain."
Is a phrase you want to try to eliminate from your home studio experience. You, as engineer, want to live on the "adjust the gain" side of things. :)

You only need to understand that the overall 0dB and +6dB output adjustments represent the overall gain when 16 Parts are happening simultaneously. Gain increase logarithmically, but that another discussion. Briefly, if you have one instance of a sound playing, playing two does not double the output, it takes ten instances to double the output level. Plus all instruments in music rarely play simultaneously so level is a very amorphous thing. Learn to use your meters to help you.

The main channel volume (the volume setting that allows you to adjust the output level of each Part) is the equivalent to the channel fader on a recording studio console. The thing that I want to point out to you is that in the MOXF you have another control that affects the overall output level of the Part.

This will be the same when using the MOXF as your audio interface or when using an external audio interface.

If in a recording studio the engineer is not getting enough signal from, say, the incoming electric bass, the engineer would ask the musician to turn their instrument up louder. This would give them more to play/work with at the console.

The control you've been "cranking" is the studio mixer level control
You want to adjust the individual "musician's" output level. The output level of the source... "at the source"

Here's how:
From your Song/Pattern
Press [MIXING]
at [F1] Vol/Pan you can view your channel faders. These are your artistic balance controls.

Press the Track Select button [1]-[16] to select the Part you wish to adjust
Press [F5] VCE EDIT - this will drop you into the instrument edit itself ( the instrument source)
Press [COMMON]
Press [F2] OUTPUT
This is the output level of the instrument itself. The equivalent of the musician turning up the volume "at the source"

This, as most musician's do... You can crank.

Use the Fader to adjust the level as necessary for proper recording.

If you now press [STORE] you will be offered a MIX VOICE location that will store this edit with the Song/Pattern Mixing setup.

Did you know that level meters don't have to reach 0, please avoid that. Leave what is called "headroom" - that is a significant amount of level before reaching maximum

A meter reading dancing between -20 through -10 is typically plenty of record level!
It is not a race, to get as close to 0 as you can.

Use the channel faders (notice they are called "faders" and not "boosters";) is reserved for balancing and artistic changes like fading out, or fading in. The output level "at the source" should be used as the main level setting mechanism when recording audio output.

Today's tip for better recordings. Hope that helps.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Thanks yet again Badmister...but I am confused how will this not sound quiet compared to a recording where the levels are much hotter. I would have to pull down the guitars quite a bit if I can't boost the keyboard up. Won't I get a very low level mix compared to something you would hear professionally produced?
Bad Mister
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
"Professionally produced" - if by this phrase you are talking really professionally produced, then (IMHO) the really silly trend of what I call "stick of butter" mixes (which are not "professionally produced";) are devoid of dynamics and then mostly devoid of interest to the ear... This should be avoided. Yes they are loud, but so what?

Stick of butter: when your mix has everything slammed to the top end of the allowable amplitude so that when you see a graphic waveform instead looking like a wave, it looks like a "stick of butter" - a block from start to end. (Fine for thrash metal industrial noise, but most music genres benefit from dynamics). I know this is very subjective, and clearly an opinion laden discussion...( Please take with salt).

Headroom is a difficult thing to learn to use properly. If you are going to "master" the final product yourself that's one thing - do what you think best but if you're going to have it "professionally produced", which to me is having it professionally mastered!!! and you leave nothing for the mastering engineer to do, you'll find out this lesson the hard way. Which in the big picture, is quite okay, because you'll learn from it. As with all things there is no shortcut to experience.

Mastering engineers, are professional sound people responsible for finalizing the music project; the good ones are worth every penny they are paid. Their role in all of this is they bring "experienced ears" to your product. They listen to more music, more kinds of music, and are like the arbiters of current music trends. They are professional ears. And they bring your music to what they refer to as "up to ear level".

You pay a lot more to have your project professionally mastered. They can take tracks recorded at different studios by different engineers, and turn it into a cohesive program to where the listeners is hardly aware at all that the tracks entire weren't done in one place. They work on your stereo mixdown - but they cannot undo all mistakes... Read up on "mastering" as a process.

If you are playing, recording, mixing and mastering your own project. Likely your expertise follows that of most musicians. Your expertise declines in each step...as you go forward

You probably are a killer player, you probably are a little out of your realm when it comes to recording audio, you are farther away from your comfort zone when mixing, and you probably may not even be aware of what/who the 'mastering engineer' is and what they do for "professionally produced" projects you hear on the radio by world class acts.

Setting levels, when recording, is not so much a race to get as close to zero without going over, as it is to minimize noise while capturing the dynamic movement of the musical part. But mess up here (at the initial recording) and often that mistake cannot be undone.

But much of this is subjective. One of the things I really dislike about today's commercially available music, is the absence of the credit listings of the folks behind the recording talent (which you used to get on record albums and even CDs... Namely the studio, the record engineer, the mix engineer, the mastering engineer. Nowadays, you can't even find out who played bass (sigh).

Bernie Grundman, Bob Ludwig, are a couple of names of premier Mastering engineers back-in-the-day, listening to records that they mastered is like fundamental things everyone should study, simply for the learning experience.

Is it possible to be a genius player, record engineer, mixdown engineer, and master engineer...? Sure, but I'm just saying - it doesn't happen by accident. And no luck is involved. Respect these different tasks. Just because you can do all this with your computer, doesn't mean you are immediately great. You have to recognize each of these roles has people who are legitimate experts at just that one thing. I just suggest that while on your path to greater success, you take the time to consult and learn from those with expertise in each area. (It can't hurt)!

The Mastering engineer may use WaveLab as their mastering software. Anyone can buy it and learn to use it. It does not mean you will be a Bob Ludwig or a Bernie Grundman overnight.
An author may use Microsoft Word as their word processing software. Anyone can buy it and learn to use it. It does not mean you will be Hemingway overnight.

Once you experience a situation where two mixes have a very similar, almost identical meter reading, yet one of them sounds so much more full and present than the other, you start to realize there is much more to this music mix / music production thing. You can make something appreciably louder in the mix without adversely impacting the overall level! I'm not saying you need to learn logarithms, but if you are totally unaware of how sound behaves logarithmically, you have work to do.

End... all this is subjective, and is just based on my experience with music production... Which I've been involved with for too many years to count. Hope it helps some pause and think.
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