Author Topic: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand  (Read 5205 times)

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Offline john256

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Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« on: January 15, 2017, 08:16:33 pm »
I've got a Alesis 4-in-2-out USB audio interface I normally use for acoustic guitar and vox recording using Garageband. Instruments plug in, USB link to PC, speakers plug into the interface outputs.

The confusions I've got recently is that if I add FX in Garageband - say I play electric guitar or bass which really need modelling of an amp at least - I need to hear the monitored output from Garageband. I can do this and the latency is tiny BUT I still hear the original inputs from the mixer because instruments are going into the mixer -> Pc -> back to mixer. So the actual sound coming out of the speakers is a mix of the dry signal and the Garageband output.

I'm unsure what kind of setup would be normal to avoid this problem if I rely on Garageband's as a simple amp/FX modeller. Do I need 2 USB interfaces one for input and another for output?!

I did try plugging headphones directly into my Mac's built-in audio-out and redictign the monitoring to play through that device but then the latency was something like 300ms i.e. unusable

also is there a good musician community specialising more in this stuff? It's only a small sub-section of this forum

Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 08:43:09 pm »
I've run into the same problem. If you don't use direct monitoring, the DAW can compensate for the latency between the track, and the instrument track with the VI on it, but there will still be a delay between what I play, and what I hear if I have the VI on an insert - even if I reduce the latency settings as much as possible. What I do to avoid the latency is use the VI outside of the DAW as a standalone app. And record the audio in the DAW dry with the monitoring turned off. Then add the VI to the dry track for mixing and editing. I use Waves GTR, but I think you can do the same thing with Guitar Rig, Amplitude, and others. If I launch the DAW, and the VI independently instead of putting the VI on the track in the DAW and monitoring through the DAW, there doesn't seem to be a latency issue.
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Offline Cue Zephyr

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 08:51:31 pm »
It seems to me like the input signal from the interface is getting mixed in with what the DAW processes. I'm not sure which interface you have specifically (there's a few that fit the description) but there's probably a way to disable direct monitoring
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Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 09:04:03 pm »
It seems to me like the input signal from the interface is getting mixed in with what the DAW processes. I'm not sure which interface you have specifically (there's a few that fit the description) but there's probably a way to disable direct monitoring

The latency comes from the VI plugin. So when you turn the direct monitoring off, there will be latency between what you play and what you hear. Changing the ASIO settings for less latency can help, but I haven't been able to find a way to to get latency-free recording with a resource-intensive plugin on the track... other than launching the VI independently of the DAW. With acoustic instruments, or mic'd instruments it's not as bad because you don't get the latency from the plugin in the DAW. But with VIs, or if you stack plugins on the track while you're tracking, it becomes an issue.
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Offline john256

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 09:45:32 pm »
Latency through the one device is small enough not to matter IF I could only hear what's coming out of GB. With a bass or electric guitar the dry signal just sounds horrible. I can't see a way to take the input out of the overall mix, it's like the instrument inputs are getting mixed with the DAW output that returns via USB.

I suppose I could lower the input level as much as possible and up the gain in the DAW so the dry signal is lower in the mix but it just seems such an obvious issue not to have a simple fix.

My interface is a Alesis MultiMix 4 http://www.alesis.com/products/view/multimix-4-usb

It works great for just recording and I also use it as my sound output from both my PCs to hifi speakers it's just using it for monitoring without the dry instruments that is the issue. If I had a 2nd USB interface I could presumably fix it easily but that feels a bit like overkill for a really obvious use-case!

I don't actually know if the dry inputs are mixed with the USB return in the device, or my Mac is responsible and could theoretically pull the input out of the returned signal entirely. I'm just such a noob at all this A/V stuff I don't know what is normal and what to look at.

Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 10:09:54 pm »
Are your computer and DAW both using the same ASIO for playback?
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Offline m_c

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 12:12:53 am »
Looking at that link, I don't think that interface has the option of removing the dry signal from the output.

Going by the quick look I've had, it looks to me to be more a mixing panel for recording with added ASIO capability, rather than a recording interface designed to be used with the computer applying effects to the audio.

Offline john256

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2017, 12:19:13 am »
Looking at that link, I don't think that interface has the option of removing the dry signal from the output.

Going by the quick look I've had, it looks to me to be more a mixing panel for recording with added ASIO capability, rather than a recording interface designed to be used with the computer applying effects to the audio.
Could you point me at an example that does, or some keywords so I could search for such items and weed out ones like mine? Mine was bought on a tight budget so maybe that's the issue...

Offline m_c

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2017, 12:25:41 am »
Look for interfaces that have a direct monitor button. If you look at things like the Focusrite Scarlett, they have a direct monitor button, which switches between the direct (aka dry) input, and the signal being returned from the computer.

The Focusrite Scarlett is the only interface I can think of right now, but there are several other similar interfaces available.

Offline Cue Zephyr

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2017, 09:54:24 am »
Steinberg UR22 is the one I went with. It's not much more than the MultiMix 4. I sold my UR22 last year to get a bigger versio i.e. the UR44. The UR44 has (not that great) amp modelig on its software mixer (no latency). I happen to have a DI box that I run into my interface as dry signal and through the DI into an amp for monitoring. Certainly not a cheap option. :P
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Offline Majik

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2017, 11:45:07 am »
Could you point me at an example that does, or some keywords so I could search for such items and weed out ones like mine? Mine was bought on a tight budget so maybe that's the issue...

A normal, non-mixer audio interface like a behringer UM22 or Focusrite 2i2 should work for you.

The problem is that you bought an analogue mixer, instead of a conventional audio interface, and they don't really work the same way. The primary difference is that, on a conventional audio interface the inputs and outputs are normally separate and are not mixed together. On a mixer with a USB interface, the inputs and outputs are normally mixed.

Probably the only keyword that's useful is "direct monitoring". That normally applies to conventional audio interfaces (the ones that just have inputs and outputs and don't have analogue mixers). As described by others, this normally allows you to connect the recording input to the outputs locally on the audio device itself. But this is really a facility that is designed to emulate what you already have, and what you don't want.

Audio interfaces which describe this capability will also support separated inputs and outputs; the direct monitoring is an option. But pretty much any other standard audio interface without direct monitoring will work in your scenario, as long as it's not an analogue mixer. I would suggest you aim for something which does support direct monitoring though, as this will give you more options.

These USB mixers have their place (I actually have a USB mixer myself) but the primary benefit of them is as an analogue mixer. As a general rule I wouldn't recommend them as an audio interface unless you really understand how they work and how they fit into your setup. Generally speaking, they're not great as PC audio interfaces.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
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Offline john256

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2017, 03:10:07 pm »
Cheers Keith. When I was buying this I spotted the difference between mixers which had USB interfaces and those which didn't, and in my ignorance thought anything with a USB interface would do what I needed... well just for recording it does work well until I came across my current conundrum.

I also wanted something which would let me connect my PC and Mac to the same set of speakers so my 4-input mixer seemed a great idea, but in hindsight it seems I was trying to do too much :)

I actually have an iRig HD I can presumably try using as a single-channel audio interface first. Or would having two USB devices one for input and one for output introduce more lag as the sound has to go between the two? I guess we'll find out... The UM22 looks like a great-priced little unit though. The 2i2 looks great but more pricey for seemingly the same functions?

Offline Majik

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2017, 04:23:01 pm »
Generally, you can't use two separate audio interfaces at the same time.

This is because they are not synchronised and you will get sync errors between them which will result in lost bits and degradation of the audio.

I say "generally" because none of the "pro-audio" software subsystems like Asio, Jack, or Coreaudio (I think) will normally let you use more than one device at a time. There are hacks and workarounds but they don't let you do it by default for good reasons.

On a consumer device, if you want to use inputs and outputs at the same time, they really need to be on the same audio interface.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Majik

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2017, 04:34:05 pm »
Regarding the UM22 vs the 2i2, as far as 2 in, 2 out audio is concerned, yes they do perform the same function pretty much. There is, however, space for variation between such devices.

For example, the sensitivity of the inputs, and the gain setting can vary. This can make one device much easier to record a good result on than another, the USB interface may be better implemented resulting in lower latency. Note that some of these things aren't, necessarily, related to price. On equipment at this end of the spectrum, good design has a significantly lower impact on the list price than branding does.

I will say that the preamps on the Focusrite are fairly well regarded. I've not heard anything either way about the UM22 preamps.

Also, the 2i2 has MIDI in/out on it which the UM22 does not have, but this only has value if you think you may use them.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Cue Zephyr

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Re: Confusion setting up my USB interface and GarageBand
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2017, 09:31:06 pm »
Since nobody pushes the Steinberg, I will. They have very clean preamps. The UR22 has MIDI I/O and an input/monitor mix knob which I used A LOT when I still had it. With that you can determine how much of the direct input you hear vs. the sound that returns from your PC or Mac. The Focusrite 2i4 has it too, but not the 2i2. The UR44 is in a class on its own.
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