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AUDIO INPUT MONITORING

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I use Windows 10 with Cakewalk by bandlab.  My sound card is M-Audio Delta 66, which has a hardware breakout box.  I record audio via a microphone and a single-channel mic pre-amp which has phantom power.  I use an old Sony consumer reciever to play back through speakers or earphones.  I formerly used Sonar 4 Producer Edition, and I have Scott Garrigus' book.  I recently downloaded the current version of Cakewalk by Bandlab.

I use aux sends to allow my vocalist to hear previously recorded tracks in her earphones while recording new harmonizing vocal tracks.  But I also want the vocalist to hear her voice in the eaphones as it is being recorded, as she lays down the harmony tracks.

I have read the section on input monitoring in the documentation, but I can't make it work.  Part of my confusion is that there are settings for the soud card, other settings for audio in Windows, and sound card-related settings in Cakewalk.

How can I set up this recording input monitoring?

It will be best to answer my question as though I know nothing about sound recording or the software.  It's prety close to the truth.

Thanks in advance.

John

 

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Posted (edited)

Your audio interface needs to have direct monitoring I don’t think those do. So then you will need a mixer with a headphones jack. I’m surprised a Delta card would even have a driver for W10 

Edited by John Vere

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Did you set the "Input Echo" button of the recording track in Cakewalk to "On"?
That's necessary for input monitoring (inside Cakewalk).

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That won’t work unless the op has very low Round Trip Latency. They will hear a delay which is annoying 

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Thanks for your answers.

What is W10?

Yes, I do set input echo to ON.

What is and OP?

What audio interface would you recommend for me to be able to do input monitoring?

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W10 = Windows 10

OP = original post or original poster

 

If input echo is enabled on the track being recorded, the signal coming from the audio interface should part of the return signal from the DAW. The downside of monitoring this way is the delay caused by converting the DAW signal back to analog and any delay added for the plug-ins to keep everything in sync. The amount of delay depends on the audio buffer settings and the plug-ins used in the project.

To avoid this delay, most interfaces provide a way to mix the input signal from the audio interface directly with the DAW signal. This is often referred to as direct monitoring, hardware monitoring or zero latency monitoring. Using this method, input echo is not enabled on the tracks being recorded in the DAW.

I took a quick look at the Delta 66 documentation and could not tell if the software mixer supplied with the interface could be setup for direct monitoring. If the interface is capable of direct monitoring, it will be done using the software provided by M-Audio.

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This video has some great tips for audio monitoring for recording vocals:

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Well that certainly is a very old card and possibly you are not using W10 but Windows 7 

A new interface is definitely worth thinking about 

They all have direct monitoring but they also need a blend controller which the cheaper ones are missing. 

This is a Blurb I made on the topic- 

Shopping for an Audio Interface?

There is a lot of choices.     Make a list of your requirements first..

What kind of connectivity do you require? and how many of each. This is the most important determining factor. Most of us only need a few in/outs. It’s nice to not have to unplug and plug stuff in.

It’s false economy to short change yourself on this feature. You end up having to purchase a mixer as example.

These are some of the options:

XLR,  or 1/4",  Combi jacks,  RCA,   ¼” line level, ¼” Instrument level ,   MIDI,   SPDIF,   ADAT,   MADI

How many ins and outs do you think you'll need now and in the future?

Are they accessible?  Front or rear panel?

Are the outputs all ¼” jacks Balanced?  Some have RCA jacks in Parallel with main outputs which is nice. 

Is there a true stereo input pair? Some don’t have a matched set of inputs which sucks for recording stereo devices like hardware synths and drum machines.

Are there peak level meters or just a little LED for each input? Do all inputs have a peak indicator?

Channel Insert jacks are rare but a must have for those with Hardware compressors. 

Are there separate controls for Speaker Monitor level and headphone level?

Is there a blend control for mixing Input Source with Computer ( DAW) ? A lot of cheaper interfaces are missing this important feature and only have a on/off toggle. They might use Software but having it on the front is defiantly the best option. 

How many Headphone jacks? A level for each? This is also important if you work with other musicians. This will save you purchasing additional hardware. 

Are the input pads or line / Instrument toggle switches on the front, back or software controlled?

Is it a metal box or cheap plastic? Is it light and portable or large and bulky, Rack mountable?

Does it have an on / off switch? Seems like a no brainer but you would be surprised how many don't. 

Does it use Buss power or a power supply?  

 Buss power can have issues with noise and Phantom power and some need a dedicated USB 3 buss. Look for at least an optional power supply.  

Does it have DSP effects built in?

Does it use a GUI mixer? Having a software (GUI) mixer adds more options.

Can it be used as stand alone? Some interfaces are also handy as a small mixer.

Does it have a Loop back function. This is a newer feature that is real important if you do screen captures or wish to record any playback from outside your DAW. Like using a stand alone VST. 

Round Trip Latency (RTL) specs are hard to find.  Do you need low RTL for real time processing like Guitar Sims?  Low RTL is going to be at a higher price point. A $200 interface will have hidden buffers etc. 

Zero latency  is just marketing hype for monitoring directly from the interface.  All interfaces have latency and the amount will depend on your buffer settings. Most under $500 interfaces run about 10- 18 ms RTL at 256 buffers.  

And most important of all, Does it have top notch ASIO drivers for your OS. 

What is the word on support from the company? Visit the web site and try creating an Account before you purchase. Pretend you just bought the device and see if the drivers and manuals are easy to get at and are kept up to date. 

Does it come with free software, Example Focusrite interfaces seem to come with a lot of good stuff. This has added value to the purchase price. 

Everyone will recommend the interface they have chosen, that doesn't mean it is the right one for you.

Make your list starting with the input /output specs. Example you determine you need a 4x4 interface. That just narrowed down the search by a lot! You might find only 10 models. Now compare those to get the most features needed.

Edited by John Vere

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