Patching a stereo compressor into Cubase via Patchbay "hardware as insert" issue

Hey all, I am successfully using a patchbay as a front end for my audio hardware for both tracking and mixing. Using patch cables, I can pull the Wes Audio Mimas (a mono hardware compressor) and my Warm Audio WA2A as “hardware inserts” using patch cables, and once I drop those onto a track, so long as I have the patch cables inserted, the units come to life. But the Wes Audio Dionne won’t play in a mixing scenario as a “hardware insert.”. Strangely, I can track with the Dionne using either input, and it lights up like a Christmas tree, and is recording the compression on the way in, which I’m hoping is telling me everything is patched correctly and cables are fully functional. I routed the output of the Mic Pre to both inputs of the Dionne while tracking (one at a time) and the Dionne jumps all over the place in both scenarios. But when I try to setup the hardware insert on Cubase, then drop the “hardware plugin” into a track, all the audio goes dark (all audio is disrupted and I hear nothing). I do not have this problem with my mono hardware, and I’m pretty confident about the patching in the back considering I can route audio through the stereo compressor when tracking.

I have gone to the back of my rack and made sure everything was fully inserted into the patch bay. I have tracked with the Dionne using both inputs on the patch bay. When trying to use the Dionne as a hardware insert, I’m putting patch cables into the Dionne for both the inputs and outputs in “normal” mode on the patch bay. I am attaching a few pics. One is the patching I’m using for the Dionne when trying to instantiate it as a plugin. The second is the Cubase External Effects configuration that routes the hardware. For the life of me, I can’t figure out where to kick the door in on this. Looking for the hopefully-obvious thing I’m doing wrong so I can get this compressor hot in a mixing environments. Works perfectly when tracking. Please also note the PDF file attached, which shows the front end of my patchbay.

Patchbay Ex Mixing.pdf (143.4 KB)

I’ll start with the obvious: Are you sure the outputs “Analog3” and “Analog4” are connected to the inputs of your patchbay at the jacks you think they are?

Hey Johnny, definitely a reasonable thing to ask. I checked that yesterday, but yes, I am tracing the output 3 and output four of my audio interface to the corresponding outputs on the patchbay. Everything checks out on both the inputs and the outputs. As mentioned, I’m able to use the patch cable coming out of my mic pre into either input on the compressor and it works. But to your questions, outputs are ok. When I put the hardware as insert on the track, it kills all the audio. If I turn on the THD on the compressor, the levels on the 2 buss jump a little bit, so in some way, shape or form, Cubase “knows” the compressor is there…

Shouldn’t outputs from your audio interface go to inputs of your patchbay?

I am insisting on this point as this connection is exactly the part that is not used in the scenario that you describe as working well.

Outputs of the 500 series coming from the chassis are going to patchbay outputs (on top) slots 7 and 8 if you’re looking at the front of the patchbay. I traced the cables from the chassis to the patchbay and those are correct. Right below the outputs of the patchbay are inputs 1 and 2 of my audio interface.

On the left side of the patchbay, the first two slots on top are actually outputs 3 and 4 of my audio interface. Right below that are the inputs of the Dionne, which I also successfully traced in the back of the rack. I am actually wondering if there is a bad cable or something (i’ll try that shortly) but for the life of me this is wired right! As mentioned, I’m already doing this same setup with other mono gear in the patchbay and it’s working fine. Just was hoping it was something obvious. Please see attached for the front of my patchbay and you’ll see how I have it setup.
Gino Patchbay EX Tracking.pdf (169.0 KB)

So have you tried without the patchbay to rule that out. So audio interface output to compressor input and compressor output the audio interface input. It’s always a good idea to go simplest route first when fault finding.

I have not tried to go directly from the chassis to the audio interface, not yet. But that is certainly a step I will need to try if I come up empty on any other steps! It will involve a whole lotta unplugging, which I am trying to avoid until all other steps can be ruled out! Good call, though!

Restarted Total Mix FX…go figure. Everything worked upon restart. UGH!

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