Your Outboard FX workflow

Those with outboard gear such as compressors, reverbs, etc. please share your Cubase workflow here.

I have some channels in which hardware inserts are in the middle. How would I future proof these channels or render them for mixing? Do you render the stereo mix solo’ed (with sends, etc.) into a new track, or do you just render right after the insert and retain the other inserts/sends/settings?

How do you do this quickly if you have outboard gear? What is the most efficient workflow?

I use all my hardware at tracking stage. I rearly use them as hardware inserts. I prefer to do the mix down on my mix consol if I want to use my hardware. But doing the pre mix at tracking usualy makes no need for more hardware in the mix prossess. I find it better to just stick to one format at a time and dont start mixing them up.

Anyways if I do use a hardware insert. I will set it up as external fx and use it like any other plugin.

Just set them up as external fx, and use them as any other insert or send plugin.
It helps that I have 32 in/out, I use 8 of these to permanently have external hardware hooked up to the same I/O’s
So really nothing different than mixing with plugins except they need to be rendered in real time.

The problem with using them as external fx within cubase is that you could be converting the same piece of audio back and forth between analogue and digital several times if you have a number of pieces of outboard.

You would have to do da/ad conversions more than several times to have any audible degradation. The noise from the analog gear would probably be a problem long before that.

I’ve pared down to the point where the only stuff in the racks these days are mic pres and the obligatory pair of Distressors. There was a time when I had them set up as external effects, which worked fine, but of course that means we’re back to the old days of taking Polaroids of the settings to stash somewhere with mix notes.

Ultimately, I mostly use them for tracking anyway, particularly on vocals. And the way I solved the mix recall problem was to buy their new Arouser plugin. :slight_smile:

Yea I think you’re probably right.

The only reason to render them would be to free up the external inset for something else.

I use so many that rendering all of them would be seriously time consuming.However,I still render a good number of tracks.

I’ve noticed strange results when rendering from the channel,so usually just set it to the stereo out, solo it and render it.

You can also render several tracks at the same time if you decide to render through the channels.

If I have a chain of plugin effects with a hardware effect in the middle, I would render the entire effect chain, and import the audio to a different audio track - and then just turn off all of the software effects (use the power off button, not bypass, and they will not take up any CPU power) and mute the original channel. This way, I play back from the newly rendered track, but I still have all of the effects and settings on the original channel - they’re all just disabled temporarily - but I can easily re-enable them, and redo the render at any time.

I’ve had some other troubles with external effects though:

  1. The “ping” function (delay compensation) doesn’t work correctly for me. It ALWAYS reports 0ms delay. This can be quite a problem - especially when trying to process drums with external hardware:

  2. For some reason, the “Audio Process History” does not work with external effects. This would make processing external hardware SO much easier, but it currently does not work in Cubase: