Interfaces with Software Similar to TotalMix

Discussion in 'GEAR Talk Forum' started by Gerhard Westphalen, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    I've been looking around at other interfaces that might suite my needs to simplify my setup a bit. Right now I'm using a Fireface UC plus an ADI-8 DD to split out the toslink to multiple AES outs. I'd like to find a single unit with at least 8 AES (or SPDIF) I/O and USB.

    I was looking into getting a Merging Hapi but it turned out that it has absolutely no mixer type control program. I could get the new RME Dante interface to connect to the Hapi and have TotalMix but that just makes my setup more complicated with no benefits. I use the TotalMix sort of as a monitor controller with various different levels and calibration presets. It seems that RME is the only company that has the amount of routing/mixing/preset flexibility I need for me setup. Are they any others I'm missing?
     
  2. DAW PLUS

    DAW PLUS Active Member

    Lync Aurora comes to mind: here is a video explaining the software. The cue mixing is explained around 12".
    Not as much features as RME units though.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    That seems pretty similar but it doesn't look like it can group faders or easily switch between presets (you have to go to File>Open...).
     
  4. wst3

    wst3 my office these days

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    Near as I can tell, TotalMix is a one-of-a-kind solution, no one else seems interested in competing. It has been a while since I used TotalMix, and I have this sense that I have to work a little harder with the Apollo software, but in reality it is not getting in my way at all. That doesn't address your desire for multiple AES outputs, but then I'm not sure there is anything outside RME that will.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    Ya, what I really want is something identical to my Fireface UC but with a DB25 of AES outs add to it. They don't have anything other than the PCIe card with just AES or other things like madi which I'd then need another box to split it out to AES.

    MiniDSP has a USB interface which is nothing but a DB25 of AES for only $300 but of course it doesn't have the TotalMix. With some of the changes I'm making in my studio I'll not longer need to do a lot of routing all over the place (like running all audio through Nuendo in order to time align speakers as I'll now have DSP built into each speaker to do that) so I won't need such a flexible controller but I'll still need basic routing and level control (with the ability to group faders).

    No one else seems to really need all of the features that I do. I know that a lot of people use separate monitor controllers like the Grace in order to do some of these things but when it comes to having multiple calibrations and all of that, I'm not really sure what other studios are using for that. Maybe there are some Dolby boxes that handle all of that. I know there's the new JBL Intonato but that's just been released. I'm not so familiar with those products geared specifically towards theatres and dubbing stages.
     
  6. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon KSP Wizard

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    UFX, UFX+ and UFX II have AES. Sure, more expensive than UC (and full rack width), but there you have it. Not 8 of them, tho...
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    Ya, I need 8 channels. The problem (aside from me not wanting to have to use an external splitting box) is that at 192kHz adat only gives me 2 channels so it doesn't work for me. The new Digiface USB could give 4 sets of optical outputs at 192 but then it would be maxed out and I couldn't add any more channels so something with a few more digital or analogue I/O (like if there existed any of those interfaces but just with more separate digital outs instead of adat or madi).

    One potential solution would be to get the new RME Dante interface and then a separate Dante to AES adapter for each of my speakers but that's really expensive right now (each adapter is +$400) and I think Dante only handles up to 96kHz. With this I could then just add more adapters if I ever need more channels. I think it's an interesting solution but too expensive right now considering that my system already suits my needs and I'm just trying to simplify it. I'd really like to move to audio over IP at some point.
     
  8. D Halgren

    D Halgren Senior Member

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    I might be way off, as I don't know TotalMix, but have you looked at MOTU and it's CueMix? I guess now it's called something else with the AVB interfaces.

    Looks like the 112D might do it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  9. OP
    OP
    Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    It seems somewhat similar but more simplified.
     
  10. D Halgren

    D Halgren Senior Member

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    Shot in the dark:2thumbs:
     
  11. wst3

    wst3 my office these days

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    you do have a unique, and interesting set of requirements!

    AVB and/or Dante will be the answer one day - in my day job we are using Dante almost exclusively for audio transport already. But the prices for Dante equipped gear are high, and AVB has yet to really get any traction. Audio over the network (IP or Ethernet) is certainly the future though.

    Cool stuff
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    Funny story.. I ended up discovering that the OctaMic XTC does have a DB25 AES I/O (and is the only RME USB interface which does). Guess which RME interface is the only one which doesn't have TotalMix... :grin: You can choose the routing of the channels from the USB but that's about all you can do so it's pretty much the same are the control on other interfaces.
     
  13. Nathanael Iversen

    Nathanael Iversen Senior Member

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    It not an easy situation. TotalMix is very handy. I got to the point that I outgrew a RME UFX - every port and expander was used. At that time, TotalMix was the studio mixer and I regularly used it to route audio, do cue mixes, etc.

    I moved to Focusrite Dante as my expansion choice. I am very happy with it. My latency is lower, it is rock solid, and I can expand it almost without limit. I pulled a whole stack of analog cables out. Audio distribution is Ethernet: one network for Dante, one for VEP, and one for Internet. So what did I do for signal routing? Focusrite has a patching matrix (think of it as a digital patchbay), but nothing that approaches TotalMix.

    I bought a Midas M32 digital mixer and stuffed a Dante card it in. This probably won't work for mastering as it is a 48khz solution. But fine for my purposes - the samples set the studio sample rate for the most part. With this in the network, I can once again get anything from anywhere to anywhere - even goofy places like an RCA jack. I do all the cue mixes on the M32 (love the Dante AM2 headphone amps).

    If you needed 96kHz, the new Allen & Heath SQ5/6 mixers run at 96K, but they may be limited to 48khz with Dante - I don't recall. We are clearly in a transitional zone to Ethernet audio, but all the pieces aren't there yet for high-resolution work across an ecosystem. Possible if you stay within one vendor, or are just recording (analog cue mix or cue mix from DAW).

    TotalMix is a bargain - a special and useful piece of software/hardware integration. It isn't easy or cheap to replace it with other gear, though it is possible. My Midas M32 is much easier to use than TotalMix (its a hardware surface), and has other benefits - 16 more preamps for odds and ends, etc. But that mixer cost more than a UFX!!! But, I would not happily go back from a full Dante setup - it is very, very nice compared to USB.
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    I'm trying to get down to as little gear as possible and there seems to be a few options to go with once the new RME Dante interface is released but Dante is still really expensive to go with. Would be great for a facility with multiple rooms but not really justifiable for my studio where it's just me with nothing but my monitoring. I want to be able to do 192kHz. Right now I could but the only thing is that I'd have to run my surrounds with an analog out of my Fireface UC rather than direct with AES.

    I'm thinking of getting one of the new Digiface USB to use in my studio and then have the Firface UC for an on-location recording rig which I could just plug in if I need any inputs in the studio. The thing is that at 192kHz it would only have 5 pairs of channels in Totalmix so I can't run multiple surround busses from different programs so I'm still on the fence about getting it.
     
  15. Nathanael Iversen

    Nathanael Iversen Senior Member

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    I came to the conclusion that if I wanted dense AES/EBU digital interfaces, I was essentially signalling the interface manufacturers that I was a fully scaled professional facility, and was prepared to spend accordingly. I don't think there's a lot of call outside relatively "serious" facilities for dense AES, and that is a very small portion of the market.

    I feed my Genelec surround setup digitally through a 16ch Dante interface. Thankfully, I was able to find one in mint condition used for close to 50% off. I'm a big fan of digital straight to a DSP'd active monitor.

    That said, would it really change results meaningfully to have your surrounds fed analog? You could still control them from the RME volume knob/TotalMix panel. I know mastering is all about maximum signal purity and perfection, but would it be unworkable, or just "not quite as perfect as it might be"?
     
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  16. chimuelo

    chimuelo Star Of Stage & Screen

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    Yeah, but it’s expensive.
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    I’ve used one live for 9 years now. Best sounding DSP Mixers around.
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    It still has excellent Gigastudio drivers I use just for a certain drum kit I cant find a replacement for.
    I run my AES/EBU Outs into a TC Finalizer, then out to FOH.
    I route discrete Audio Analog synths into it, DSP hardware FX, Digital Effects, etc.

    http://scope.zone/index.php?id=1334&lg=en
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
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  17. OP
    OP
    Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    I'm a man of principle :grin: If it be done better, I gotta do it. One of the only reasons I upgraded my surrounds was to be able to feed them digitally but ya, at the end of the day it probably doesn't really matter.

    I've planned everything out and I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the Digiface USB. Only 10 I/O at 192kHz but that should be enough for me. I ended up finding out the my DEQX's only work up to 96kHz with optical while the USB, RCA SPDIF, BNC SPDIF, and AES inputs all work at 192kHz (no idea why) so I'll need to get a couple of toslink to RCA SPDIF adapters and then an additional SPDIF to AES impedance adapter for my surrounds. A few more parts than I anticipated but should get me fully digital to my speakers at up to 192kHz with something smaller than a half rack 1U (Digiface + adapters). The more bulky gear like preamps and the Fireface UC will go to my on-location rig.

    I'll be gone from my studio for the next 2 months but I'm looking forward to getting this all hooked up in the fall.
     
  18. Nathanael Iversen

    Nathanael Iversen Senior Member

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    Well.... that's exactly how I felt about it and what I did. So, I can't exactly cast shade on the "audio committed". My finding was that feeding the monitors digitally dropped the noise floor, improved stereo imaging, and provided a "clearer" sound. I was monitoring through a Grace monitor controller, so it wasn't a bad analog front end by any means. Its just the removal of a lot of electronics and wire. I noticed it clearly.

    Sounds like you've got it worked out in a way that will work well for you. Once you get it all hooked up and calibrated, you'll forget about the adapters and whatnot and just use it.

    I think your experience with Hi-Res digital is typical. Even when stuff supports it, there are often weird caveats and exceptions. I think at least in part because some of the physical interface specifications are old, and bandwidth limited. So newer ports (or simpler ones) work, but older ones with limited protocols don't.

    My Dante network is 48khz limited by the Midas M32, but the Focusrite units are not limited at all - they will all run 192 no problem. At some point, I'll upgrade the mixer, but it isn't a priority when the project itself is a 48khz project.
     
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  19. edgar_hsu

    edgar_hsu Member

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    Avid MTRX has 16 mono via two D25 connectors and Dante. It seems can be used in standalone mode. However, It will be a very expensive solution.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    Ya but it only has basic patching just like the Merging interfaces. The Merging are pretty much the same in terms of possible I/O and expandability except that the Hapi is less than half the cost. I'd love to get one of those but it would just be useless for me without any control software.
     

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