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#66: Software Configuration Explained – How To Set Up Your DAW

#66: Software Configuration Explained – How To Set Up Your DAW

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Have you ever wondered whether you chose the right settings in your recording software? Do you fully understand what they all mean? 


  • Which sample rate is recommended? 
  • What about the bit depth?
  • How do you make sure the signal flow and routing are correct?
  • And of course, how do you achieve the lowest latency while recording without killing your CPU?

We've answered all of those questions and a couple more for you in this episode. And we tried to keep it simple and not confuse you even further. Did we succeed? You decide.

Listen now and learn how to set up your DAW correctly, once and for all!


This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB Podcast 066 - Software Configuration Explained - How To Set Up Your DAW

[00:00:00] Benedikt: [00:00:00] A lot of people are pretty confused about all those things and we're trying to demystify it and make it a little simpler for you because it's really not that hard. It's just a couple of things to keep in mind. And we're going to walk you through that. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:00:12] This can be more importantly than you would know.

Benedikt: [00:00:16] This is the self recording band podcast, the show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are, DIY stuff. Let's go.

Hello and welcome to. The self recording band podcast. I'm your host Ben at a time and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm flat. Hello, Malcolm. How are you? Hello? I'm good, man. How are you? I'm good as well. Great. You're in there. Jam space again, recording. Yeah. Right back in 

Malcom: [00:00:46] the grass. Last jam space recording studio conversion for a van Voke, villains recording an album.

We are on the second batch of songs finishing up. Essentially all the beds will be done by the time I leave here in a couple of [00:01:00] days. And then it'll just be a vocals left and some keys and stuff. So we're close. Be great. 

Benedikt: [00:01:04] Awesome. Very cool. Very cool. I didn't realize you do it in like chunks. I thought it was like one session and it's done, 

Malcom: [00:01:11] right, right.

Yeah. We decided to. I mean, the plant changed a bunch of times, but essentially we plan to do like half the album in one trip up here and then half the album on the next trip up here. Um, just let us focus more on those, like do pre-pro and on like a batch of songs to remove moving pretty quick from MCAD and send them to recording them so I could load them all in and make sure scratch tracks are good and pitching the ideas, workshop them.

It was just too hard to focus across 12 songs kind of thing. So this kind of solve 

Benedikt: [00:01:41] that problem for us. Yep. Makes sense. Totally. Well, um, before we get to today's episode, I want to ask you a question on com ready? Um, Or, yeah, everyone want to hear your opinion on this because, uh, as you know, I've mentioned it before in the podcast, I've been doing a daily blog [00:02:00] since the couple of days, or like almost two weeks, I think now, um, which has been fun.

And it's like a fun, little exercise from your writing exercise and on Friday, May 7th. So if you want to check that blog post it's the post from Friday, May 7th on self recording, band.com/blog. Um, I wrote about something that I've heard in a book and, um, it was the following year. I've read Tim Ferriss's tools of Titans.

I don't know if you read that book or listen to some of it. Yeah. It's an amazing book. Lots of super inspiring people in there and their habits and routines and everything. And, um, Rick Rubin is also in that book, legendary music producer. And he said, and like work, Tim Ferriss quoted him and he would say he was saying something along the lines of, um, You should learn from the best instead of your competition and what he means by that is that he listens only, or not only, but he thinks it's better to listen to the best songs ever [00:03:00] written and the best recordings ever made.

And the all-time like classics that are considered the best to this day. He thinks that is a better way to find your own voice and get inspiration than listening to what's on the radio now. And. Trying to compete with that because the more you listen to current stuff, the more you're going to eventually sound like that, but it's better to be like unique.

And so he's just studying the best, getting inspiration, and then finding your own version of what's current, you know? And I was, yeah, I thought it's interesting as well. And I was thinking about like, there are people who do the exact opposite, like Jesse Cannon, who you had on the podcast on the, your, your band sucks at business.

As a guest who I've heard, say a couple of times, I think that he only listens to new music. He doesn't listen to old music at all. So the complete opposite, and it works for him. And he's always on the lookout for like new releases. He studies what gets people excited. He wants to. Um, see trends he wants to, he's excited about new music more than he is about old stuff or classics.

[00:04:00] And I'm just, yeah, I thought it's just an interesting thing to discuss because today's episode is going to be very technical. So I wanted to have this little creative conversation in the bigger. Okay. Um, yeah, I was just curious, you stand on that. Like what, what do you do? What, what do you listen for, to, for inspiration and what would you suggest, um, you should do like, do you listen to the all time?

Fast ever, or current stuff more. 

Malcom: [00:04:24] That is almost more so a songwriting position he's got there, right? Where he's listening to the songs because with production and recording, I think that we've come a long way. I think that the best recordings are happening right now, um, in, in. Okay. High fidelity, amazing full productions, right?

Um, not to say that old ones. Aren't cool. You know, I'm going down an Elton jet kick for a couple months now and Benny and the jets has like a Flemmi delay and the drums or something that's like truly awful, but somehow awesome. I don't know. [00:05:00] But, uh, so for me, I'm, I'm usually listening to new music, I think.

Um, but that is more so for like, I'm trying to keep an eye on like how things are. Continually sounding better and better than they did before. And figuring that out for songwriting. I could see his point more. I think I could see recruitment's point where there's truly some amazing song writers that have been out in the past.

And I think maybe, maybe the lack of, um, Like globalize radio, or I guess Spotify in this case where everybody's just needed the same hits, not necessarily, but more or less, you know, with black eye piece at the scene, everybody knew who they were. That was less in your face, back in the day. So I wonder if that led to more original songwriting.

I can't really say definitively of course, but I'm curious now. 

Benedikt: [00:05:52] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Could be the case. Um, yeah, I, I'm not really sure where I. I am on this, like [00:06:00] where, what I believe here, because I do a bit of both, I guess. Um, but it just got me thinking maybe I should do more of one or the other and I'm not, I'm not really sure, but, um, I can totally see both, both points and I was just, yeah.

Um, I mean, people, if you're listening right now and you thinking about this, let us know what you do. I'm just curious what people are actually actually listening to, because I know I can't really tell from my clients or from people I'm. Talking to, I don't really know what the majority does because there are, it always seems to be the extremes.

There are these people who only like, like the classic rock records and never listened to anything current. And then there are other people who only do the current stuff just as like those two examples that I've mentioned. But, um, I don't know what most people do and I don't know what's better actually.

And your point is interesting because I hadn't really thought about it in terms of songwriting and production. I hadn't worked in a general sense, so. Interesting. Well, um, yeah, but I, I think it's a cool idea to not try [00:07:00] or to be aware that you might start to sound like whatever you're listening to constantly in that, keep that in mind, because that is really, I think he has a point there that if you are constantly listening to your quote unquote competition, you might start just sounding just like them, which is not unique.

And. Um, you should do your own thing. Probably 

Malcom: [00:07:20] it will definitely creep into your musical tastes and sensibilities without a doubt. Yeah. Cool. And just have a, something to see if you've, I'm going to butcher it, but I just saw a video, I think, yesterday of these mini gloves. Have you seen those things? No.

Pretty interesting. Uh, they are, yeah. These gloves you wear and I'll come back next week with artist's name. Cause I totally blanking now, but, um, She wore these gloves that interfaced with software on our computer, and she could have different hand gestures going and, uh, you can program different like hand movements to do different things.

So she was [00:08:00] controlling her own delay. Thoreau's panning the facts around her stereo field. Um, creating loops, Ashley saying with her hands and then changing the pitch of them and creating like harmonies and stuff like that. It was okay. Truly wild. So it was like, okay, that's a, that could transform how vocalists express themselves on onstage.

It could be pretty cool. You could, you could actually have all those cool effects that are in your recording in the live show, potentially. It was, it was fascinating. That sounds 

Benedikt: [00:08:30] pretty fascinating. I immediately think of all the things that could go wrong. Like if I don't know how accurate attracts the gestures and stuff, because it could be all over the place, but, 

Malcom: [00:08:39] well, they told me, but she did a live performance of a, like an original song and it was, it seemed perfect.

Um, I was totally impressed by how well it seemed to work. But, uh, I'll, I'll find the video and I'll post it in the self recording, bad Facebook community, do it, and people can check it out. It's definitely fascinating. It would be a lot of fun. I feel like. 

Benedikt: [00:08:58] Absolutely. Yeah. Interesting. I've never [00:09:00] heard of that.

I have to, I have to watch that as well. Yeah. I posted in the community, by the way, if you're not in there, it's the surf recording band.com/community, or just search it on Facebook. Um, and you're going to see that video. I'm curious to see it as well. That sounds way. Like crazy. 

Malcom: [00:09:16] It's crazy. Yeah, for sure.

Benedikt: [00:09:18] Cool. Now we actually start now I promise, but one more thing. Um, if you haven't downloaded it yet, go to the self recording band.com/ten step guide. It's a free, almost like a mini ebook free PDF guide that walks you through. 10 steps from like planning the whole project and like songwriting arrangement of that all the way through pre-pro recording, mixing mastering to the final product, like it outlines the whole process and gives you sort of a roadmap.

Um, so if you want to download that, it's completely free. The self recording band.com/ten step guide. And yeah, there we go. Awesome. Okay. So today's topic is one [00:10:00] that is necessary because a lot of people are asking for it. It's not necessarily the most creative episode, but it's, uh, absolutely a must. No. So if you don't know about this stuff, um, This is, this is the episode it's about configuring your software, your doll setting, separate but depth, um, basic settings that you do once, like when you buy an interface and a dye and you connect them for the first time, like how you set that up and then also how to set up your sessions so that you're recording in the right format and stuff like that.

So it's a, um, a basic configuration episode, but we realized that. A lot of people are pretty confused about all those things. They don't really understand the terms or they are not sure what sample rate might be the best. And we're trying to demystify it and make it a little simpler for you because it's really not that hard.

It's just a couple of things to keep in mind. And we're going to walk you through that now. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:10:57] This can be more important than you would [00:11:00] know. Uh, I've definitely had. Folks send me tracks thinking that it's as tight as they can get it. And I'm just, I'm hearing it. And I'm like, okay, this is really bad.

They're really loose. Something's wrong. I'm pretty sure. They are trying to record through this like crazy latency or something. And they just think that's how it is because they didn't know you could change it. Um, and that turned out to be the case at at least one of those situations. So this could make recording so much more fun for you.

It'll actually feel like you're playing your instrument again, which is great. Um, And obviously it's, it's essential to a good result as well. Um, so I guess we should start right at the beginning. Just you get an interface, you pull it out of the box. First thing you got to do is figure out how to plug it into your computer.

Exactly. That's usually pretty simple. Figure out if it's a Thunderbolt three that are two interface or whatever, make sure it comes with the cord, which a lot of them don't, you'll have to get that. Um, but then generally you're in, sometimes you will [00:12:00] have to install drivers to make it work with your device.

Some seem to just have that figured out without I have no idea how that works, but yeah. Make sure you do what it recommends. Um, yeah, read the 

Benedikt: [00:12:10] manual. It's always advice. Read the manual 

Malcom: [00:12:13] twice. Um, now that I think the real first important thing is realizing that a lot of interfaces come with software of their own, um, that will run kind of imply parallel to your doll.

So in, not all of them though, there's a couple that don't, but in the case of my universal audio staff, there's a program called console that I opened and it controls my interfaces before it hits. My pro tools in this case, um, I know focus right, has one called I think it's called control or remote or something.

I don't know. But, um, and then RMS, like total mix, I think. Right. Um, so a lot of them have that and those are really important, um, and very helpful as well. [00:13:00] So make sure that is installed and then read the manual on that, because that is, what's going to make recording smooth for you is understanding how to operate that.

Yeah, 

Benedikt: [00:13:11] you can think of it as like a digital mixer. It's just like a, um, yeah, like a, a mixing desk it's inside your computer, but it's basically your, your interface. If it has a software like that, it's like a digital mixing board. Basically it has inputs and outputs and faders, and you can re route audio from one point to another.

You can, yeah. It's a mixer that is separate from your door and controlled stuff before it hits the door and also control stuff after it leaves the door before it comes out of your speakers again. So. Um, it's just the, uh, software control for your interface, because otherwise you would have all the, like a thousand knobs on your interface and it would be a desk essentially.

And now in this case, it's a, it's a software version of that. Now one basic thing that people need to understand, I think is that your interface, what we call an interface here in this episode is [00:14:00] basically. Replacing your sound card and your computer. So it's not that that's a concept that some people don't understand.

I think it's you have you, have, you already have an interface in your computer, a very simple one. You have a phone check and maybe a built in microphone. These are in and out devices and there is a converter in there and it's basically a built in audio interface. That connects the outside world to your computer and the outside audio world to your computer.

And if you buy an recording interface, it's just an advanced version of that. It just replaces the sound card and your computer. It's just an external sound card, basically. Um, yeah. And now when you open up your door, Which is the recording program that you use. You now have to, first of all, select that new sound card in most of the time.

So there is probably a preferences menu or something like that. And you can select audio devices it's called differently in every dial. But, um, you select the audio device that the daughter should communicate with [00:15:00] and you should, instead of the internal sound cord, you should choose your interface now.

So that dominoes, the inputs come from that interface and the outputs go to that interface. That's step number one. 

Malcom: [00:15:11] So how you know that isn't working is if you plug in your new interface and the sound is still coming out of your laptop speakers. Yeah. That is because it's using the wrong sound card.

It's using your internal sound card in that situation. So once you switch it, it's just start routing audio to your new sound card, your new interface. Um, and then ideally audio would be coming out of the speaker out. So that, or the headphone out of that box. 

Benedikt: [00:15:32] Yeah, exactly. Now, um, next thing is you got to assign the inputs and outputs.

In some cases, sometimes th this is automatically done if it's just one or two, but sometimes you have to actually tell the, the software, the door that there are now eight inputs, and they're coming in on, I don't know, the eight XLR inputs on your interface and that there are, I don't know, four outputs and they are going out the main left and right.

And maybe a headphone or whatever. [00:16:00] So you have to tell the door, the actual physical outputs and inputs. And assign them to software outputs and inputs in your doll. Yes. 

Malcom: [00:16:08] Sometimes there's like automatic solutions to this. Um, so open up your door and just like click default on the IO. And sometimes it just maps to whatever the current sound card is and you'll be up and running.

You might not be that lucky and you'll have some Googling to do, um, to figure it out. But, uh, in either case. Learning to do this stuff is just going to be a helpful kind of like trick to having your bag of tricks. Um, because if something, you go to a friend's house to record another song or whatever, and something comes up, you just knowing this stuff, keeps things moving.

It's a it's it's worth kind of getting confused with for a bit. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:16:45] And once you've done that, once you've assigned the inputs and outputs, when you now create a Trek in the doll, like an audio track, then you can. Assign an input and an output to that audio track. And it should like [00:17:00] what should show up is the inputs and outputs that you've created and like configure it before.

So now you can, let's say for this podcast, I have an empty session. I create a track called Benedict my voice. And, um, I click on that and I select, I dunno, XLR one on my interface and that's where my mic is plugged in. And if I configured the interface correctly and assigned the right inputs, I should now be able to get.

Signal in a level on that track. If I select input one and I have no signal than input, one is not properly configured. It's not connected to my actual physical input. 

Malcom: [00:17:34] Your IO is not mapped correctly, IO, meaning ins and outs. Um, so yeah, that's a good thing. We didn't even have that on our outline here, but it is definitely important.

And misdefined sometimes when you can't figure out why it's not working. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:17:49] Yeah, totally. Same with the output. Like your master output should is probably, I don't know, one and two. Probably I'll put one and two could be whatever, but, um, let's say your master is set to output one and [00:18:00] two. And if you're getting no sound you to go to the preferences, audio device, settings, whatever it's called in your door and see if software output one and two is actually going to your physical output one and two.

Malcom: [00:18:10] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Um, good news. If is you generally only have to do this once you can save your settings and lock it in and then your studio kind of becomes routed. You're done. So that's great. Sure. Um, maybe we should jump to our sample rate and bit depth then. Yeah. Um, yeah. Uh, without getting too technical, you do need to be aware that these are settings that you have to set every single time.

You make a new session, um, and you can control it on your interface. Uh, so generally through that external software that we mentioned will come with your interface, um, open that up, your con it's the, you know, your digital mixer, you should be able to set the sample rate. In there for, for what your sound card is running at.

So that'd be 44, one or 48 K or 96, and so on. [00:19:00] Um, and, and we'll talk about what we recommend in a second, but you also have to do that with your dog, with your session. So when our approach was to make a new session, it asks me what sample rate or what bit depths I want to make that individual session at.

Um, it's really important to. Think about that and get it right. 

Benedikt: [00:19:21] And it's not, it's not always the same for every dollar because Cubase, for example, if I open up a new session, if I create a new session, it doesn't ask me that. So I need to double-check I need to go to the preferences menu or, um, there's a bar like in the, like a tool bar at the top where it shows me the sample rate and the bit depth, but I have to check that it doesn't ask me to, uh, what I want to do and with, I think with most.

Um, like yeah, most interfaces that people use, like the all-in-one interfaces. Typically, if you set a sample rate in your door, the interface will automatically change to that sample rate. It's not always [00:20:00] the case, so it's always worth double checking and for some interfaces is different, but usually when you change, like with my portable all in one interface, when I set a different separate sample rate in Cubase, the interface will just match that there's no control on the, on that small interface.

Um, with my converters in the studio, however, they don't do that. So if I set a different separating Cubase, I have to also set it on the, at the converter. If I don't do it, I get an error message or I see like the color changes and it, it shows me that it's not sinked, but I just still have to do that manually.

And I have to double check it. 

Malcom: [00:20:33] Right. Yeah. Uh, yeah, it is much more important that you got to write with the DOB, because like you said, your, your interface, you can just change it. It's um, that's, that's fine. But if you're listening back to audio and it seems slowed down or sped up, you probably got the step wrong.

Um, so you'll want to set that. Um, I like to set it in the door and then double check that it is the same on the interface sound card, just for. Keeping my brain happy to see the same [00:21:00] numbers now, should we talk about what settings we recommend? 

Benedikt: [00:21:06] Yeah. One more thing. Um, if you are using, uh, an additional preempt and ADA preempt like something with, um, a built in converter to get more inputs and outputs that has a converter in it as well.

If you connect an addition to lead through eight ad, for example, And in that case, you got to check that device as well. And it's usually sinked to your main interface, but it's worth checking. And also in that case, whenever you have more than one digital device together in your setup, you need to define a master clock.

Only one device can be the clock. So, um, that's, you don't need to really know what that is or how it works. It's just one. One device is that, that determines the sync, the timing, whenever we want to call it, like, but you have a master clock and everything else is called a slave in that situation. And that's, um, configuration and it's important [00:22:00] because a typical error, um, that people.

Get his, the recording works fine and it seems to be the right it's the right sample rate and everything. But you get like weird clicks and pops in the audio that just appear randomly or seem to appear randomly. And that can be the case. If, for example, your interface, both the interface and the external preamp are both.

Set to master, for example. So using two clocks, they're not sinked and you get this audio dropout thing, these were clicks. So make sure that one is the master of everything else is a slave to that. And, um, you have the same sample rate set and then you get to go. Yes, 

Malcom: [00:22:34] exactly. Um, so, so yeah, what, what settings do you actually use is the question then?

Um, I remember when I was learning the pro tools or to record, even in general, I would just like make a new session and then read through anything. And if I didn't understand it, I would just ignore it. I want to talk about this a little bit to a degree. I feel like I still do that. 

[00:23:00] Benedikt: [00:23:01] Yeah. Yeah. I can relate.

Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:23:04] I feel like now I just find out if it's dangerous, if I don't know it, and then I wasn't feel safe that I can continue without caring about it. I just continue. Yeah, 

Benedikt: [00:23:12] exactly. Pretty much what I do as well. So, yeah. Um, so what are you use Malcolm? I'm curious, 

Malcom: [00:23:17] 24 bit 48. K. So 24 bit being the bit depth, um, and 48 K P and my sample, right.

Almost exclusively. Um, And that is because it's what I was first shown. Uh, it seems to be the most popular by a landslide. And then it, um, is also what the film world uses. So that just kind of like, just like, okay, I don't have to think about it anymore if I just use this, that removes 99% of the conversations about that rate and sample rate in my life.

Benedikt: [00:23:48] Yep. Same, absolutely. Same. Um, like let's start with Sempra right before we get to D stupid depth. Um, I think there is no reason to use 44 one [00:24:00] because 48 is not a lot, like with increased, separate the file size increases and the CPU load increases. But from 40 41 to 48, it's not a big change. So to this, there's really no reason to use 44, one it's like sessions will run just as smooth at 48 and.

Yeah, I, in my head, I might be wrong, but to me it's more logical and it, I think it sounds better to have the 48 K version for video, for example, because that, as you said, it's the video format. So also if you're doing music videos, that's just the format that you can upload that to whatever do most, like, I think video video platforms, and it's better to have that in the original sample rate and not having to convert.

That and to just create a 44 one version, if you need that, then starting with the 44 one and having to ups sample it to 48. So I think starting in the, the higher sample rate and then, um, yeah. Creating a 44, one version from that makes more sense to me. And [00:25:00] I think it sounds better, but there's no letters.

Yeah. Yeah. That's 

Malcom: [00:25:03] essentially what we're doing as recording people, musicians and engineers is we're recording at a very high fidelity and then eventually it's an MP3 on Spotify, you know, it's like, so we're, we're purposely choosing to work at a high quality, um, so that we can reduce it. In the best form possible to whatever it needs to be to get to consumer.

Now, of course there are higher sample rates, um, and resolutions, which in theory would sound better, but we've just surpassed what the human ear is capable of, essentially. Um, so I mean, there's definitely the, the jury is out on this. There's definitely people that think you should go higher for sure. Um, but in general, most people don't and 24 bit 48 K is how a lot of your favorite records have been made for years and years 

Benedikt: [00:25:51] now.

Yeah, even 44, one in some cases. But as you said, like really no reason to go for 44 one, but everything higher than 48 [00:26:00] depends on so many. Like you can't give general advice here because. It depends on whether or not you use outdoor gear. It depends on which converters you use. Some converters sound better at a certain sample rate than others.

Um, it's, it has to do with the filters that are built in there and like a lot of technical stuff and why we can't give general advice here, but. I think it's very rare that it makes sense to go in a, usually in a typical home recording scenario. It's very rare that it makes sense to go above 48 kilohertz.

It will just make the sess sessions unnecessarily large. And, um, yeah, it gives, you will give your CPU, um, hard time and, yep. So now stick with 48 it's I think it's, it's a good advice. Um, and I also would say when in doubt as always just do a test. Just see what happens like recorded 40. They do a test recording at 48 and then do one at 96 and see if it's really sounds better.

And if you find it really does then [00:27:00] more power to you do it, but told her, we S we think it's unlikely that it will. 

Malcom: [00:27:06] Yeah, I did a few. And like you said, the CPU was just struggling harder on, in the mix sessions with it. So it was like, okay, this is just slowing us down. So there's no advantage to this. Um, and then I've done 44, one as well, just on a whim.

And a client was very happy with how that turned out to it's not going to make or break your record. Um, so I would say 48 is kind of what, what I want it to be the standard, what the goal of this podcast is no, I'm joking. Um, but. Honestly, you're going to be fine, no matter what you choose, choose, what's going to work on your computer.

If you have a computer and you think that little, slightly bit less 40, 41 is going to help it get the job done then. Sure. You'll, there'll be 

Benedikt: [00:27:45] fine. Go ahead. Absolutely. Exactly. Cite note, if you are seeing or listening to, or watching like content or posts from like, for example, mastering engineers who work at higher sample rates.

They do it for different reasons, maybe. So I know some [00:28:00] mastering engineers who will get like a 40, 41 mix or 48 K mix. And they will upset people at first, then work on the master and then down sample again. And that could be for a number of reasons. It could be their converters. It could be that they.

Prefer upsampling it versus using oversampling and a plugin that might sound differently. It's just a very technical thing now, but I'm just saying this because I know that some people will be like, well, I saw this one guy. He always like up sample stuff and he always works in 96. K. That doesn't mean it's better to record at 96.

K it can be kind of different reasons. So there's that? Um, yeah. Stick with 48. Now there is an exception. And we've already mentioned that in a previous episode where you could have an advantage where the higher separate could have an advantage to it. And that is if you do some editing tasks, time stretching in particular higher sample rates could give you better results.

Because if you think about it, 48 kilohertz means [00:29:00] there's 48,000 samples per second in like. In the digital audio. So you have 44, like a better term, 48,000 steps, um, per second. And if you have 96, it's double that. And if you now stretch that audio, um, you have like, in theory, it's hard to describe, but in theory, you should get a more precise result that way, because you have just more, um, What's that.

Can you, can you try to explain that it's really hard to explain? Um, it's like, I wouldn't know how I would explain it in German, but maybe it's easier for you. 

Malcom: [00:29:39] Uh, yeah, I mean, It is kind of a hard thing to explain. I like the steps analogy where you, you picture the wave form chopped up into little steps.

Benedikt: [00:29:50] Right? Um, it's an analogy by the way. It's not really the stairsteps thing. I need to say that because that is wrong. It's like points more than steps. It looks like 

Malcom: [00:29:57] steps. Yep. Yep. Um, but if you [00:30:00] picture having 48,000 or 96,000, you've got little, a way more little anchor points to, to control as it is spread out.

Um, yeah. And, and that should in theory, make a more complete photo or picture of your audio once it has been stretched. And in that case, especially on the stress stretched rather than shortened, um, situation. Yep. So you should have a little more power in what you're able to pull off with time stretching stuff.

Um, if you use a higher resolution. 

Benedikt: [00:30:31] Yeah. What that means for you is if you think your audio needs some heavy editing, like you have really like. You're having, um, timing issues. You are working on a vocal. That's supposed to sound very natural, but needs some, yeah, pretty, pretty heavy editing moves to, to make it work.

If that's the case and you are afraid that you're going to end up with artifacts that you don't want in your audio. Then it might be worth trying a higher sample rate. 

[00:31:00] Malcom: [00:30:59] Yes. Yep. Exactly. Um, now bit depth. What 

Benedikt: [00:31:04] do you use? 24? Um, it's most interfaces can do 16 or 24. There are converters who can actually, like, what do you actually record in 32 float, I think, but it's not a standard and yeah, I don't even want to talk about it.

20 record in 24. What you need to know is internally because you might come across that it's always a bit confusing. You might find in the setting somewhere that your dial works with 32 or even four 64 bits. What that means is like internally the, the, um, signal flow internally in your doll. Works at 34 or six, uh, 32 or 64 bits.

Um, but you are still recording 24 bit wave files. Yes. That's two different things. So there's one setting where you set the form, the recording format. That's that should be set to 24 and then internally it should be set to 32 or 65, um, four. Yeah, those are two different things [00:32:00] with 16 bit. I need to say that because a lot of people think, or they compare bit depth to, for example, a resolution in an image in a, in a, um, the JPEG or whatever image file, which is not a great analogy to me, in my opinion, because a 16 bit recording will not sound worse or less detailed than a 24 bit recording.

What it does is it reduces the dynamic range so that the, the quietest stuff and the loudest stuff will not be as far apart, if you will. So the noise floor will be higher. Um, you would have to be more careful with levels. So back in the day, when there were only 16 bit converters records sounded just as fine, but people needed to.

Use higher gain settings and the compress and limit on the way in. So, because if you will record it, if you were recording really quietly, the noise floor could become really annoying. And with 24 bets, the dynamic range is drastically increased and noise is not an issue anymore. [00:33:00] So, but it's not that a 16 bit recording sounds a lot worse or more distorted or whatever.

It's just that that's not, that's just not the case. So if you accidentally recorded in 16 bit, and it sounds fine and there's no annoying noise, you're going to be fine. Probably you should still record in 24, but it doesn't mean that you absolutely have to redo everything. If there is no issue. I just want to say that six, 16 bit is not, not a real problem, but still.

Now that you know, it recording 24 bit. Yup, 

Malcom: [00:33:31] absolutely. 24 bit is the way to go. Um, yeah. Again, if you choose 24 bit 48, K you'll just have to talk about this lesson in your life. And that's a good enough reason. 

Benedikt: [00:33:41] Yeah. And also with 24 bit, you don't have to crank the input gain. Not at all. You can record very, very quietly because the noise floor will be very, very low.

Yeah. And depending on your premiums and everything, of course, but it's like when in doubt, record a little quieter and just avoid clipping. Whereas with 16 bit, you would have [00:34:00] to get as, as close to the zero DB, uh, point as possible, but you don't have to do that with 24. Not at all. 

Malcom: [00:34:07] That's what I should have done with this podcast.

You might notice a clip earlier in this way for me, because I was rushing my setup in this new room. 

Benedikt: [00:34:16] Yeah, so 24 bit 48 K, write that down, use that. And you'll be fine. They will, it will be the, be the right setting and 99% of all projects. So cool. Now with that out of the way, there is one more thing you can set probably in your doll.

You should know how to set this, right. And that is the buffer size. Now what is buffer size? It's another nice thing to explain on a podcast. 

Malcom: [00:34:44] Yeah. Buffer size is the it buffers your audio so that it can play it all back at the same time. Um, so if you have a bunch of software processing on your drum bus, um, but not on [00:35:00] your vocal and, and then there's a reverb or a sampler doing something else on a different track that has its own latency.

The playback buffer. It gives the computer time to think and align all of those things and then spit them back to you in time so that you hear it as you intended. 

Benedikt: [00:35:17] Yeah, the lower, the buffer sizes, the more real-time processing you're hearing, basically in the more buffer size you have, the, the easier it is on your CPU, because it's a measured in samples.

Usually it's like sample blocks. So you can set, I don't know, 1,024 or 2048, which are the biggest usually blocks that you're a sizes that you can choose and you can use very small buffer sizes, like 32 samples or something like that, which is almost real time. And. Yeah, you can basically decide how hard you CPU has to work in real time.

That's basically what it is. So lower buffer size, less latency, almost real-time processing. Tougher on the CPU, larger buffer [00:36:00] size, um, more latency because your computer like looks ahead and does some, does all the math before you actually hear it, which results in more latency, but it will be more stable, less CPU usage.

Um, so typically in a mix we use higher buffer size. I said to the max most of the time when I mix agreed and when I track, I use this and I monitor through the door, I use the smallest buffer size I can without my computer. Um, Yeah, exactly. Cause, uh, dying. 

Malcom: [00:36:36] Yeah. You have to think when you record audio into your interface and then get sent to your doll and then for you to hear it out of your dot has to get sent back to the sound card again and then to your speakers and to your ears.

Right. And that is called like the round trip latency, how long that takes. So if you have that buffer cranked up. It takes a long time and you'll notice you'll pluck your guitar string and you'll hear it [00:37:00] slap back a second later or whatever. Um, and that is a problem if you're trying to perform through that.

Um, so by lowering the buffer as much as we can, you can make it sound pretty much real time. And, um, and hopefully not even be able to notice that it's happening, it's so quick. And, uh, we should quickly add that in some doors they can pro tools. There is a button for delay compensation. Um, that needs to be turned on it.

Uh, By default is for me always, but I've heard horror stories of people not being able to figure out what's going on with their tracks. And it's just been somehow turned off. So make sure delay compensation is enabled in your doll, um, or else all hell will break loose. 

Benedikt: [00:37:44] Do that. If it's, uh, it's required, it might even be required or there might even be a button in Cubase.

I just don't remember because I never have to use it. It just does it automatically, but there might be some checkbox that I want to check and forgot about it. I don't know. So. Yeah. Um, delay [00:38:00] compensation is, is absolutely critical. Now in some doors, you also see not only the buffer size in samples, but once you set the buffer size, you'll see a latency value around trip latency value, for example, or an input and output latency value in milliseconds.

Um, just as a basic like guideline too. Yeah. To help you, um, get an idea of what is, what is usable or good or not, or my cost problems, everything in the single digits is, will probably work like the lower, the better, but like up on to, I dunno, seven, eight, nine milliseconds. It should sound close to real time.

You might get some phasing maybe, but it shouldn't sound like an echo and everything like for 10 milliseconds and more will sound like a delay usually. So like it's. You know, rule of thumb, it's not really accurate, but if you're way below 10 milliseconds, um, it should be good if you're above 10 milliseconds, it's too much to, to really have proper monitoring.

Malcom: [00:38:59] Yeah. [00:39:00] All right. Now there is one more workaround we should discuss. Um, and it's how to get around that roundtrip of having to send into your door and then back out of it. Um, and that is with low latency monitoring options that are built into your interface. Um, and what that means is instead of having say my voice right now, going from my microphone, into my interface, into my door, back to my interface, back to me, which would create that, that round trip, what you can do is have it go from the microphone to the interface and then directly to me.

So it's getting sent before it even goes to the dock to my years via headphones in this case, uh, I'm literally using it right now, actually. Uh, and that is. Marginally shorter, but very immediate, um, And that's going to be a lower latency monitoring option, which is great. So you can have pretty much instantaneous monitoring by using the S these low latency built in options with your, uh, with your interface.

Um, [00:40:00] they require you to understand how to use that. Included software with your interface, of course, because that's what you're using to monitor through and it is still recording into the door. So it is still getting sent to the doll. We're just not listening to it there. That is the key difference that track could be muted or, uh, most does have some kind of low latency option where, um, it knows that it's been recorded on to that file.

So it just automatically doesn't play back audio from that. That channel. Um, and that has been really cool. I've been using that a lot lately with, with my interface and it's just low latency every time. It's fantastic. 

Benedikt: [00:40:35] Yep. Two things to add to that, because the downside of that, that's the one thing, the first thing, the downside of that is that you have to check after the fact, if the recording went well, basically it usually does, but you have no real time control over that.

So, um, as you're hearing the signal before it hits the doll, You don't actually know what it sounds like coming back from the doll. That's the downside. [00:41:00] So I, whenever possible, I like to monitor through the dots because then I know that what I'm recording is what I'm hearing and it's good. I made that mistake once in a podcast where I was interviewed and I had my phone next to me because I was, I was on the telephone with the person interviewing me and I was also recording to my doll and I didn't listen.

To what was coming out of the door and just had the person on the phone and record it. And then I hung up and I wanted to export my audio. And I found out that I had all these like phone interference. Artifacts weird noises in my recording. And it was basically ruined and I had to fix it, which was not easy.

So had I listened to my own voice through the door that would not have happened. 

Malcom: [00:41:46] Yes. I mean, in theory it should be the same, but there's definitely it's the shit goes wrong. I agree. Um, yeah. I don't know why that is, but, uh, yeah, we actually have a. On our checklist for this [00:42:00] podcast, we have a turn stuff on stair play mode because of that.

Benedikt: [00:42:02] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So that's the first thing I wanted to add, like the downside of not really listening to what you're recording. Um, but the other thing is that now you, you mentioned doing that with the software mixer or software that comes with the interface, the low latency mode. So you're still having the conversion.

You're still converting to digital. You're routing it right back to the output and it's almost real-time so that's that works. And that's a solution that most interfaces give you. There is however, another way of doing it with some interfaces and with my little portable interface here, I can, I have a hardware knob that says wet and dry.

And what that does is if I set it to wet, I'm hearing whatever comes back from the computer. If I said it all the way to dry, I hear the input without any conversion, like the analog path, right. From the mic to the output, to the [00:43:00] headphones. And it's really like, it is real-time monitoring, it's like an analog mixing desk with a headphone, right.

So that is also an option, which is the ultimate low-latency mode. And if you have that, I just, I just say that because it's so confusing and I understand that it is confusing. So if you use that. You gotta make a decision. You gotta. Um, with any of those low latency modes or the wet ride novel, whatever you get to choose.

Do I want to monitor through the door or do I want to use the diamond monitoring? If so, do I want to use the software or even the hardware? Um, thing that like my interface has, because it don't want to hear yourself twice. They don't want to get that weird slap back. So let's say you ha you overlook that wet dry knob and it's like 50% or so.

So you're going to hear a little bit off your voice. With in real time, but you also got to hear what's coming back from the computer. And if you have software monitoring engaged in the computer, you're going to hear your voice twice and it will sound weird in phases. So you got to make a decision there and you got to make sure you've said everything correctly.

So [00:44:00] if you want to monitor through the doll, set that knob to all the way wet. So you don't hear any analog signal then. Activate like arm, the channel, activate the monitoring on that channel. So you actually hear that and you're monitoring through the DAS at the buffer size as low as possible. So you're not getting any latency, any audible latency.

And you're good to go if that doesn't work because your CPU can take it. Or the latency is just too much turn off the monitoring in the door, make sure there's no sound coming out of your doll when you talk into the microphone and then, or when you record whatever you want to record and then turn on the low latency mode or the direct monitoring or whatever it is called, or turn that mix now to the right and only use the direct monitoring one or the other basically.

Malcom: [00:44:45] Yes. Yeah. You don't want to be hearing any kind of phlegmy phasey stuff. If you're hearing your source twice. I think you can improve on that situation without a doubt. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:44:56] If you're using a digital desk or even an analog desk [00:45:00] before your converters or interface, which some people still do, some have, like, you might have a, an analog desk in your jam space that you use for recording for you as your preamps or whatever, or maybe you have a digital desk that you use, you can create monitor mixes.

Before the interface, even on that desk, which is absolutely real time, no latency, not at all. You have like probably good routing options. So you can totally do that. Just check your recordings. If you really, if what you're recording is really sounding good, but that's like the luxury of having an analog desk.

Even if it's just a small one, you can create multiple, um, yeah. Headphone mixes on that desk without any latency without causing your CPU any trouble. And, um, you should, you could try that if, if software and monitoring doesn't work for some reason, 

Malcom: [00:45:43] Definitely. Um, can't stress enough. How important getting your latency and monitoring is to getting a good recording.

Um, you just simply can't play. If you're playing to too high of a latency and it's sloppy and delayed sounding, um, it'll, it'll throw you right off and you'll [00:46:00] be trying to catch up and slow down and your performance will be terrible. So this should not be overlooked. If it seems weird, it is weird. 

Benedikt: [00:46:08] Yes, totally.

Yeah. Yeah. I think we've pretty much covered it. Um, but yeah, one thing comes to mind. I had this with a, um, an Academy student of mine and also a couple of other people since then we had a discussion about how to actually make multiple monitor mixes. If you just use a standard, like all in one small interface, um, and.

The problem with that is, and it's, it's part of software configuration. If your interface has, let's say, I don't know, four inputs, but only one headphone out and one left and right. Main out you can't do multiple monitor mixes. You have all you have is that main out in the headphone. And if you're lucky, it lets you do two different mixes.

If you're not lucky, they are like playing back the same mix. So you might be able to do one mix and that's it. And it doesn't matter if you add a headphone amp with more channels or [00:47:00] anything, it will still be the same source, the same mix. So you cannot create four different headphone mixes in your Dar.

If your interface only has one headphone out or one main out. So, if you want to do that, you either have to connect, uh, an external, um, extension to your interface, like a preempt with more inputs and outputs, like outputs in that case through aid, for example, or you have to upgrade to a bigger interface.

There's no way around that. So yeah, I've, I've had a couple of people. Tried to make it work, but it just doesn't work. You need physical outputs to do that. And you need the option to assign different software mixes to those different outputs in order to make that 

Malcom: [00:47:37] work. Yeah, that is unfortunately, one of the more limiting things in the really entry-level mixers or interfaces generally is they, they don't give you a lot of output options.

Benedikt: [00:47:47] Yep. Yep. And if you have an eight channel interface, for example, and still only have one or two headphone outputs, you might have line outputs in the back and you can assign them as outputs in your door. Just as we described inputs and outputs can be [00:48:00] assigned to the actual physical outputs. And those you then have to do is connect the headphone amp to those line outputs.

And you can use them as headphone mixes. So exactly if you think I only have one headphone output, so I can only do one headphone mix. Look at the back. If there are line outs, you can use those precisely. Yeah. Awesome. I think that's more than enough on that topic. Uh, it's not the most fun thing to talk about, but it's very essential.

And I know for a fact that people will find this helpful because I got a lot of questions about all that stuff. Yeah. Thank 

Malcom: [00:48:29] you for sticking through it with us. Um, I think this was my first ever podcast episode, 50 or 66, right? 66. Uh, my first episode ever without a cup of coffee before or during it. So thank you for if I didn't fall asleep without noticing, but, 

Benedikt: [00:48:45] and you guys can't steam out come of course, but I can see him and I can tell that he didn't have coffee.

So I think, I think it's not as, I think it's not as bad if you only listen to it, but if you see him and like, I have a hard time not getting tired as [00:49:00] well, 

Malcom: [00:49:00] but this isn't. Yeah. YouTube video format podcast, for sure. Yes, exactly. 

Benedikt: [00:49:07] Um, yeah, we should definitely start with that. No, um, yeah. Uh, that's it, a couple of cool things are coming up that we can't really talk about right now, but we have been planning, um, some stuff and we'll be back next week with another episode and thank you for listening.

Bye. For sure. Bye .



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