Using direct monitoring - how to?


this might be a silly question… But I have to say I have no clue about direct monitoring.

I am monitoring via RME totalmix, having 32 channels of audio connected to the Raydat card…
From time to time I am using software monitoring with 64 samples - for instance when I use software amps for recording and/or need certain processing for the musician, for example a trigger plugin for the drums.

I plan to add a second RME card (the AES card) because I want to be able to use my audio-interfaces in 96khz without loosing 50% of my inputs… Now I have the problem that I will have 2 Total Mix-Mixer which are not capable to have interaction/internal connections… so it will be not possible to monitor a track which is connected to RME card 2 via the monitors on RME card 1. This is confirmed by RME.

I never used Direct Monitoring. What is happening here?

I need latency free monitoring, similar to Total Mix hardware monitoring, but I need at least volume and pan…
Can I do this with direct monitoring ? As I guess it will be possible to route across all in Nuendo activated in and outputs - so this could be the solution for my problem…

I dislike the idea (happens with software monitoring) that I loose connection to the musician (and vice versa) when closing a project - that’s why I prefer solid hardware monitoring…

So I would be happy to read a bit more about direct monitoring… Is someone using that?

Hi Brandy,
It’s quite simple, when you use direct monitoring the input of the interface is sent directly to its output bypassing the computer. You can run your buffers at 2048 and it won’t make any difference. The down side is that you can’t hear any of your digital processing, plug-ins, reverbs etc. so you may need an analog reverb to record vocals for example.

What’s about pan & volume?

I only need that, but this is elemental…

Regarding Reverb - I use a Lecicon Hardware for that since ages, but because a slight delay is not an issue here I can use Software as well, using “regular Software Monitoring” for that track (setting up a monitor track for the vox for example which has a prefader send to a reverb plugin, track is pulled down completely, buffer @ 128 samples or something…

That way I could use direct monitoring for the “pure” tracks and software monitoring for some reverbiation. But only when I am able to manipulate the direct monitor signal regarding level and pan…

What do you mean exactly?

I am using Totalmix since years, but want to install a second RME Card - and then I would have to deal with two Total Mixes which are not capable to internally connect…

So I want to try direct monitoring…

Until yesterday, that is what I thought as well - direct monitoring bypasses the computer.

But yesterday I noticed something that made me question that idea: With direct monitoring on, the panning of the live tracked vocals followed the pan control of the audio channel in Cubase it was routed to.

In other words - even though direct monitoring was on, a setting WITHIN CUBASE affected the signal.

Does that mean direct monitoring actually DOESN’T bypass the computer entirely, just ALMOST entirely?

Thanks for any clarification …

PS I’m using a Steinberg UR28M … does it’s “great integration with Cubase” mean that it changes how direct monitoring usually works?

There is a setting -not in front of a machine now- which makes that the routing & panning in Nuendo is linked to the “mixer” within the hardware. If you switch it off, it won’t happen anymore. So Cubase/Nuendo remote controls the mixer within the hardware. I think it’s called “ADM” (ASIO Direct Monitoring) on/off. (Unless that has been taking out)

Which is (or was) a different setting than the Direct Monitoring in the device settings Direct Monitoring flag.
Only when you disable “Direct Monitoring”, the signal will actually pass through the software.


Thank you for the reply Fredo. I looked at the block diagram for the UR28M. I’m not QUITE sure if the diagram applies to direct monitoring or not (page 38), but it does show a signal being affected by an initial “Mute, Level and Pan” and then split directly to the outputs. The same signal passes on to “Mute, Master, Balance” before exiting as a Mix 1, 2, or 3.

So though I’m not entirely sure, it seems that engaging Direct Monitoring while using the UR28M does allow Cubase to control the output - but only partly - via the channel fader/pan/mute, and also the Master fader/pan … perhaps similar to your Nuendo setting.

Though - different to what you are saying in your post, as far as I can see this is “hardwired” into the interface, with no on/off control as you describe (you’re saying Nuendo has that on/off control, or it’s in the hardware?).


(PS - all this comes from a Rev-X routing question I am trying to figure out (to get the Rev-X panned off center) … if you would be interested, and know about that, please drop in here! ).