Weird Control Room Behaviour with MOTU PCI

Hey Gang. We recently sold off our analog desk and have gone completely in-the-box for our main room. I’ve played around with the control room stuff for a while and have it down pretty solid, but am having some very weird monitoring issues that I can’t seem to figure out.

It’s a PC-based (Win 8.1) with MOTU PCI-424 and a 1296 interface. It’s a 5.1 room, but for these sessions I have my session setup as plain stereo. With control room enabled I have the following settings: talkback in on HW channel 2, stereo outputs disabled (since I’m working only in-the-box and want to use Monitors as level managment), Cue 1 out on 11/12, and Monitoring on 1/2. Mic input is coming in on 1296 input 1. I have channel set up and cue send enabled on the VO track. I’m also using direct monitoring (but same thing happens without).

But all this is just details. The weirdness is when I record enable the track I can get signal on either the cue send or the monitors, but not both at the same time most of the time. If I use the talkback the send sends to the cue, but I lose my control room feed unless I move the control room level fader, in which it switches back to the control room monitors and loses the cue feed.

It basically boils down to that I can have only audio going to the control room or the cue, but not both at the same time… most of the time. Every once in a while it works as it should, but if I use the TB, things get messed up again.

I feel like the setup and the logic is relatively straight forward but it’s simply not behaving as it should. I’m wondering if it’s either my setup that’s wrong or something with the MOTU PCI stuff. We tried working in the box a while ago with Nuendo 5.5, different computer, PCI-424, and interfaces (2x24 I/O) and had similar/same issues so we abandoned a complete in-the-box workflow but are now in need of this.

Could this be a MOTU compatibility thing or am I doing something fundamentally wrong? Any help would be hugely appreciated! Thanks!

Jeff Merkel

OK. So after a ton of testing I’ve concluded that it is indeed a compatibility issue with MOTUs direct monitoring, which is a bummer since it typically works so well, just not with the control room routing in Nuendo/Cubase I dropped in a borrowed 828 MKIII to see if it was a PCI 424 issue and found the exact same issues with the firewire interface as I did with the PCI stuff.

I switched over to Mac to see if it was a PC/Mac thing and discovered that you can’t do direct monitoring in Mac (it’s a Core Audio thing). That’s a pretty big bummer that you have to monitor with latency on a Mac or use Cue Mix, which is a crummy workaround. Granted working with a buffer of 64 isn’t too bad it’s still sucks to have to deal with latency at all.

I guess I never realized how easy we had it for so many years with rock solid, zero latency, tape machine-stye monitoring integrated with an analog desk/monitoring section. I think the Studio section in Nuendo is brilliant if it would work with direct monitoring, so I’ll have to come up with something else. I teach audio production at our university and am finding it harder and harder to explain and demonstrate how “normal” tape-machine style monitoring is supposed to be set up since most people start at home with low-end interfaces with the “blend” type monitoring or simply deal with latency. I totally understand that it’s not an easy problem to tackle. I just wish it was easier.

If someone has found a way to get this working I’d love to hear it! Thanks!