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Dwf2008

Helix and other equipment

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I’m still trying to figure out how to connect all my equipment. I have a pc running cakewalk, band in a box, itunes, etc. There is a usb midi interface attached to the pc via a four port hub. Also attached to the hub is the helix, and a focusrite Scarlett 2i2. The output of the helix is plugged into the guitar input of a katana 50 amp. The output of the Scarlett is plugged into an 8 channel mixer. The output of the mixer is plugged into the aux input of the amp. A Roland drum machine is also plugged into the mixer.

 

Cakewalk will record and play the helix properly. The inputs of the Scarlett pass through to the mixer ok but no sound comes out of the amp. Recording from the Scarlett was working but not now after I added the helix. The Scarlett shows up as a device in the cakewalk preferences but it is grayed out and cannot be selected. So I was wondering, can the Scarlett’s outputs be connected to the helix so its inputs can be captured by the daw and also be passed thru to the amp without being processed? Or, bottom line, what is the best way to hook all this up?

 

There is also a midi keyboard and emu synth in the mix but they seem to be working ok.

 

Thanks

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Are you trying to monitor everything (drums, synths, etc) through the Katana? That's gonna sound like boiled crap... it's a guitar amp. You can't mix multitrack recordings with it. Even trying to play along with songs or backing tracks will sound awful. You need a pair of studio monitors and/or decent studio reference headphones. And you can ditch the mixer and interface... they aren't necessary at all. Helix is a fully functional interface all by itself. You've got way too many moving parts that you don't need, and you're missing the one thing that's genuinely necessary...a clean, flat response way to monitor everything. 

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As cruisinon2 says, sell the interface, the mixer, the USB hub, and the katana and buy a good pair of studio monitors.  Hook the Helix up to the PC direct into one USB port and connect everything through the Helix through the different inputs or use the returns for things like the drums.  Create different patches for each instrument.  When you want to record an instrument, select the patch for it, enable the track in Cakewalk, and press record.  That's pretty much exactly how I have my Helix set up in my studio.

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Ok guys, I get it that this is way too complicated. The katana is just being used until I can afford some monitors or a PA. Now, assume I have multiple players (a band) and I want to play a backing track that all can hear (hence no headphones) and record each instrument separately (on a different track at the same time). Where on the helix do you plug in the second guitar and how do you assign a different preset to it? We’ll deal with these different inputs one at a time.

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43 minutes ago, Dwf2008 said:

Ok guys, I get it that this is way too complicated. The katana is just being used until I can afford some monitors or a PA. Now, assume I have multiple players (a band) and I want to play a backing track that all can hear (hence no headphones) and record each instrument separately (on a different track at the same time). Where on the helix do you plug in the second guitar and how do you assign a different preset to it? We’ll deal with these different inputs one at a time.

 

If you are determined to record more than one instrument simultaneously (though I'd advise against it) use the aux input. However, you can only have one preset loaded at any given time. What you can do is keep signal paths A and B isolated in whatever patch you're using, and their input/output blocks and signal chains assigned accordingly.... but the whole mess will be contained within one preset. 

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Well, now perhaps you see why the mixer is in the mix. I could do as you suggest but that only accounts for two instruments. What about the others? My setup is actually more about jamming than recording although I want to do both without rearranging the connections each time I switch from one to the other.

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2 hours ago, Dwf2008 said:

Where on the helix do you plug in the second guitar and how do you assign a different preset to it?

 

This was the question you asked, so that's what I answered. 

 

2 hours ago, Dwf2008 said:

Well, now perhaps you see why the mixer is in the mix. I could do as you suggest but that only accounts for two instruments. What about the others? My setup is actually more about jamming than recording although I want to do both without rearranging the connections each time I switch from one to the other.

 

Now you're posing a different question entirely... none of us are mind readers. Giving out bits and pieces of what you're trying to accomplish will make it very difficult for anyone to help you, nevermind the fact that what you're trying to do is beyond cumbersome. Recording an entire band live, with no headphones, and nothing to monitor through except a 1x12 combo guitar amp is simply not feasible...

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1 hour ago, Dwf2008 said:

Well, now perhaps you see why the mixer is in the mix. I could do as you suggest but that only accounts for two instruments. What about the others? My setup is actually more about jamming than recording although I want to do both without rearranging the connections each time I switch from one to the other.

 

You are starting to come across as one of those people, you know the ones  I mean - "all the gear and no idea".

 

What "cruisinon2" stated is correct - you could simultaneously use both A and B signal paths in Helix and utilise the 8 USB channels to record into your DAW. The set up you are describing is complete chaos and impractical. Having multiple players without headphone and/or a proper monitor system is lunacy.

 

You really haven't thought this through. You need to sit down a draw a diagram of all the equipment you want to use and figure out a flow chart for how it could all work. Initially when I read your first post, I actually though about creating a rough guide chart for you to use to include your drum machine and Emulator, but after seeing you responses to the comments here, I thought no! I don't particularly like to say this, best thing you could do is  is go and RTFM.

 

Oh, yeah! Helix into a 4 port USB hub!

 

MEDIC!!!!!!!

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I'm late to the party, but here's what I think you should do.

 

27 minutes ago, datacommando said:

The set up you are describing is complete chaos and impractical. Having multiple players without headphone and/or a proper monitor system is lunacy.

 

First, you're setting up a home studio, and have grand aspirations but no grand design.

Dump the 2i2 and the mixer. Get an 18i20. This replaces the mixer and the 212. There are other brands, but that's what I'm familiar with, and what the following suggestions are based on.

You don't need the MIDI interface either. If you need a boatload of MIDI ports, get a MIDI Solutions MIDI Hub.

Don't try to mix everything thru the Katana.

Why do you even need a Katana, you have a Helix! For straight guitar, any modern FRFR speaker will sound better with the Helix than the Katana. I had one. I sold it.

Get some studio monitors, at least 6". Even if you run everything thru a home stereo system it's better than the Katana.

 

With the above configuration, you can record EVERYBODY, from separate inputs, on separate tracks, including the members you haven't hired yet.

EVERYBODY can have their own CUSTOM headphone mix (yes, that's EASY to set up with the 18i20).

 

Now to the computer. You need AT LEAST a current gen i5 with 16gb memory and ssd drives.

Plug the Helix and the 18i20 into the COMPUTER, NOT A HUB!!!!! If it's a desktop, use the REAR USB PORTS! The front ports are most likely a HUB!

Dump Sonar, it sucks. It was my first DAW, and it pains me to say that, but Bandlab hasn't fixed it's core problems.

Get Reaper. For 65 bucks it'll allow you to fully maximize ALL of the above equipment, it's very dependable and does pretty much everything any modern DAW does, and better than many much more expensive DAWs.

"But it's not ProTools!" ProTools sucks. Expensively. Get Reaper.

 

Lastly, save us all a lot of time. Don't just say "I have a car!" Tell us if it's a Prius or a Lotus. It makes a difference when we try to make suggestions.

 

I'm cranky today. My coffee hasn't kicked in yet. I need to go chase some kids off my lawn......

 

 

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Hey guys, I’m sorry if my last response seemed a little cheeky. It certainly was not my intent but in retrospect I can see why it might seem to be. I also apologize if my original post was lacking in detail. And long term yes, there is more/different equipment to buy, but funds are not unlimited and going out and spending a couple grand on more stuff right now is not possible. So, maybe the first question right now is how can I make the best use of the equipment I have which by the way has been accumulated over more than 20 years. My original thought was maybe the helix (which I just purchased last week) could also do the work of the 2i2 for the second guitar.

 

Thank you for all your longer term suggestions.

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30 minutes ago, Dwf2008 said:

Hey guys, I’m sorry if my last response seemed a little cheeky. It certainly was not my intent but in retrospect I can see why it might seem to be. I also apologize if my original post was lacking in detail. And long term yes, there is more/different equipment to buy, but funds are not unlimited and going out and spending a couple grand on more stuff right now is not possible. So, maybe the first question right now is how can I make the best use of the equipment I have which by the way has been accumulated over more than 20 years. My original thought was maybe the helix (which I just purchased last week) could also do the work of the 2i2 for the second guitar.

 

Thank you for all your longer term suggestions.

 

Your biggest hurdle is monitoring. The Katana is a dead end. You cannot run an entire band through a single 12" guitar speaker and expect anything but mud. For starters, it lacks sufficient frequency response for bass, keys, synths, etc. Nobody will be able to hear themselves, or much of anything else... it'll just be discordant noise. 

 

If you can't fund everything at once, then at the very least get the other interface suggested above, and the rest of the band can be responsible for showing up with their own headphones. That way everyone can dial in the mix they need...if you can't hear, you can't play, and everything is over before it starts.

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We still don't know what model of Katana you have, but they're easy to sell.

We still don't know what kind of board you have, but you should sell it soon - they're getting harder to unload.

We still don't know if your computer is even up to the task.

 

1 hour ago, cruisinon2 said:

Your biggest hurdle is monitoring. The Katana is a dead end. You cannot run an entire band through a single 12" guitar speaker and expect anything but mud. For starters, it lacks sufficient frequency response for bass, keys, synths, etc. Nobody will be able to hear themselves, or much of anything else... it'll just be discordant noise. 

 

You can get a decent set of monitors for $500. Better/cheaper if you can find a good used pair. As I said, your home stereo is probably better than the Katana for monitoring. Pay for your monitors by selling the Katana and 2i2.

 

The Helix can be used as a basic interface. Run your other analog instruments (guitar?) from the guitar player's pedalboard or DI (or the Katana Line OUT - unless you've got the K50, which has no line out - in which case SELL IT NOW!) to the Helix AUX in, and put that on a separate path from the 1st guitar so you can add amp cab and effects. The AUX in is NOT 1M impedence, which is the reason for something between the guitar and Helix AUX. You could (if the Katana is the 50) also use the Katana's Headphone out. Either use a stereo to mono adapter to the AUX in or use a pair of Helix returns instead of the AUX in.

 

If you must record the whole rest of the band at once, run the mixer out to the Helix AUX in (or returns) on a separate path. If you're using a Drum Machine and synths, you can save analog inputs by using the MIDI drum machine and synths that come bundled with Sonar.

 

Your DAW can only use one ASIO driver at a time. It's either the 2i2 or the Helix. Sell the 2i2. For your purposes it's no better than the Helix (if it's first gen, not as good as the Helix). In any case, you want an interface that can double as a mixer, and that's why I suggested the 18i20. They run around $600 (2nd gen), less if you get a GC discount (15% off = $510 and tax).

If you spent $1000 on the 18i20 and monitors and got $400-500 for the Katana, 2i2 and mixer, that would be an investment of $500-600.

 

In the meantime, if you want to use the 2i2, in Sonar, to select a different driver you need to first DESELECT the current driver's inputs and outputs. You can then select the other driver.

 

Other questions? BE SPECIFIC!

 

 

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7 hours ago, Dwf2008 said:

Well, now perhaps you see why the mixer is in the mix. I could do as you suggest but that only accounts for two instruments. What about the others? My setup is actually more about jamming than recording although I want to do both without rearranging the connections each time I switch from one to the other.

 

I think you're letting your gear drive your approach to a problem rather than your problem defining the solution you need.

There is no simpler way in the world nowadays to accomplish what you're wanting to do as far as jamming and capturing the jam session with the technology that's available now.  But if you try and kludge a bunch of stuff together you'll have a constant battle of getting it to do what you want it to do.

The simple approach is get a digital mixer which will have all the capabilities you need to capture the performance in a multitrack session on a simple digital disk drive.  Import that into your Cakewalk and mix and polish it to your heart's delight.  Run your backing track through the stereo channels of the digital mixer and jam with them, capture the jam session and import it.  All you need is a couple of monitors and you're good to go.  If you want two guitars going through the Helix, follow the instructions laid out.  If you want to add drums, plug them into the mixer.  Same with bass, same with keyboard.  The session will be captured on the disk drive. It's even possible with some digital mixers to direct the output directly into your Cakewalk.

 

The answer you want isn't in the Helix because that's not what the Helix was designed to do.  It's a guitar modeler and processor.  It's a good piece of the puzzle, but it's not the whole solution.  But the simple solution is out there and it's not complex at all.  It's a turnkey system nowadays.

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Hey Dragon, you hit the nail on the head. This is the mixer I am currently targeting. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/L12--zoom-livetrak-l-12-12-channel-digital-mixer-recorder but having just bought the helix its going to be a while before I can get it. I am also agonizing over speakers. I checked out all the studio monitors at GC and didn't like any of them. Currently I am thinking I will get larger PA speakers instead. That way I can use them for gigging if the opportunity arises. Perhaps 10 or 12 inch Yamahas. Realistically it will take me a year or more to acquire all that and I am NOT going to sell the existing gear. 

 

So in the meantime the question is how to make the best use of what I have, even if it doesn't satisfy all my wants.

 

Thanks for your input.

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1 hour ago, Dwf2008 said:

 

THANKS A LOT!

Here I am, trying to help, and what do you do? GIVE ME G.A.S., that's what!

I don't NEED that recorder. It doesn't really do anything my current setup doesn't allow me to do. I haven't looked at hardware recorders in years.

BUT I WANT IT!

It's cute, and portable, and all the controls for everything, tracks, monitor mixes, EVERYTHING, are RIGHT THERE!

I HATE YOU!

 

OK, I'm calmer now. Where were we? Oh, yeah - "...how to make the best use of what I have, even if it doesn't satisfy all my wants."

 

As EVERYBODY has so far said, your biggest problem is monitors. The Katana just ain't gonna cut it for that. I get that you don't want to sell it, but you CAN dump the 2i2. That should get you $100. Along with all the other things we don't know about you is where you live. Are you near a large city, or out in the sticks somewhere? Check Craigslist, you may be able to find a deal on a cheap power amp and small unpowered speakers - 8/10 inch - or a decent home stereo amp with largish speakers. Just to get you through till your ship comes in and you can afford proper monitors or modern powered speakers and that cute little recorder......DOH! There I go again. I HATE YOU!

 

But seriously, we can get you up and functioning with what you've got, but you NEED a decent monitoring system. I've got a  Sony bookshelf system, 6" speakers with a 10" sub, cost a couple hundred, 700w, sounds decent. Not as good as my studio monitors, but functional. All sorts of similar stuff on Craigslist and ebay.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, rd2rk said:

 

THANKS A LOT!

Here I am, trying to help, and what do you do? GIVE ME G.A.S., that's what!

I don't NEED that recorder. It doesn't really do anything my current setup doesn't allow me to do. I haven't looked at hardware recorders in years.

BUT I WANT IT!

It's cute, and portable, and all the controls for everything, tracks, monitor mixes, EVERYTHING, are RIGHT THERE!

I HATE YOU!

 

rd2rk - glad you like my choice in mixer/ recorder. Note that it records each channel separately and plugs into your DAW via usb. They also have a 20 channel version if you need/want something bigger. Thanks for your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

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"Note that it records each channel separately and plugs into your DAW via usb. "

 

I know, I read through the manual looking for some reason not to like it. Couldn't find a one.

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10 hours ago, Dwf2008 said:

Hey Dragon, you hit the nail on the head. This is the mixer I am currently targeting. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/L12--zoom-livetrak-l-12-12-channel-digital-mixer-recorder but having just bought the helix its going to be a while before I can get it. I am also agonizing over speakers. I checked out all the studio monitors at GC and didn't like any of them. Currently I am thinking I will get larger PA speakers instead. That way I can use them for gigging if the opportunity arises. Perhaps 10 or 12 inch Yamahas. Realistically it will take me a year or more to acquire all that and I am NOT going to sell the existing gear. 

 

So in the meantime the question is how to make the best use of what I have, even if it doesn't satisfy all my wants.

 

Thanks for your input.

 

Yeah, that's much more appropriate for what you're wanting to accomplish.  I've owned a couple of Zoom products over the years and they're pretty decent.  Another consideration you might want to look at in that same (or even less) price range that's one of the most popular solutions for what you want to do are the Behringer X Air series mixers if you don't mind using a tablet or pc as your physical mixing board rather than a hardware mixing board.  In live performance this allows you to leave the main wireless unit on stage and then manage your mix wirelessly from a tablet either on stage or out in the audience.  These are probably the most popular and widely selling units in this space.  The XR18 which is an 18 channel unit which is the one reviewed in the attached link, prices in at 499.99.  A little less for the units with fewer channels.  Of course you'd need a tablet (android or ios) or Mac or PC if you don't have one.

Behringer XR18 Product Walkthrough Video

 

Personally, if I were in your situation I'd probably opt for standard PA type speakers maybe like the QSC CP12 or Yamaha DBR12's simply because they'd work better with a jam session than would studio monitors, plus be a viable solution if you wanted to play live.

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10 hours ago, Dwf2008 said:

I checked out all the studio monitors at GC and didn't like any of them. Currently I am thinking I will get larger PA speakers instead. That way I can use them for gigging if the opportunity arises. Perhaps 10 or 12 inch Yamahas. Realistically it will take me a year or more to acquire all that and I am NOT going to sell the existing gear. 

 

I really do despair!

 

The main thing that contributors on this thread have told you is - get some decent monitors or FRFR speakers to use with your Helix otherwise it will sound like a sack of $hit. Big problem - you didn’t like any that you checked out! Did you listen to them - properly, or did you just not like the colour. One more time, get some monitors and no, PA speakers are not the same. Loud yes, but not the same!

 

Furthermore, if you don’t intend to dispose of any of your current gear, even the unnecessary items - well, this band thing is gonna be a long time coming! A year? Yeah, right! Also, how come nobody else in this band is contributing to the equipment pool? That could speed things up a bit!

 

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7 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

.

Personally, if I were in your situation I'd probably opt for standard PA type speakers maybe like the QSC CP12 or Yamaha DBR12's simply because they'd work better with a jam session than would studio monitors, plus be a viable solution if you wanted to play live.

 

Dragon -

You seem to be the only one who gets it. Thanks. The DBR 12s or maybe the 10s are my current target.  I was shopping for speakers when I decided to buy the Helix instead. I am puzzled as to why everyone is so intent on telling me to get monitors, get monitors. My original question had nothing to do with sound quality. I can deal with that later. One of the problems with a forum post like this is its difficult to get the whole story out without writing a book, and that’s difficult when you are typing on a tablet one finger at a time late at night half asleep lying in bed.  In actuality I have a lot of stuff plugged into the katana. Its a K50 btw, (I mentioned that in the original post for the guy who took me to task for not identifying it). BUT I currently never have more than two inputs going at the same time, maybe a backing track and my guitar through the helix. That is in fact what the katana was designed to do, ie play a clean signal thru the aux in from a phone or tablet while the guitarist plays thru both the preamp and power amp sections. And it sounds just fine. The other players are connected to their own separate amps and are not plugged into my system.

 

Now, my original question was about connections, not sound quality. Here is the scenario. The pc is playing a backing track which has been loaded into cakewalk. I am playing the guitar thru the helix. The others are playing thru their own amps. Then someone asks to listen to the original recording on youtube or itunes. Then someone says ok lets try it with a different rhythm from the drum machine. So you see what I really need (at the moment) is a way to utilize all this stuff without rearranging cables all the time. Sorry if that wasn't clear in the original post, but I think it was.

 

For the guys who want me to dump the 2i2, well, it was a Christmas from my wife just this last Christmas. So no, I’m not going to sell it anytime soon. The “mixer” is actually a Yamaha 8 track recorder that is more than 25 years old and probably worth $25 if that. So no, thats not gonna be sold either. The katana is 2 years old and worth maybe $100 as a trade in but I use it as a pa for parties at church. So no its not going either. I really don't mind suggestions that I cant use, but it is a bit hard to shoulder the negativity when they don't hit the mark. 

 

Just my rant. Thanks for listening.

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Since you've once again failed to provide useful details (what MODEL Yamaha recorder - IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!) I'm making assumptions, but, assuming that you've described your needs completely and don't move the goal posts again, here goes nothing - 

 

Run EVERYTHING - mics, Helix ANALOG Outs (1/4 or XLR), guitar amp line outs/headphone out/mics, drum mics - EVERYTHING - into the "mixer".

Use the PAN controls on the "mixer" to determine what gets recorded to which of the 2 available tracks.

Take the stereo outs from the "mixer" into the 2i2.

Connect your Katana AUX input to the 2i2 outputs.

Take the USB from the 2i2 into Sonar (2i2 is your soundcard - forget using the Helix for this. It's too complicated to explain without writing a book).

Use the MONITOR button on the Sonar tracks to determine what you hear thru the speakers.

Record and playback with Sonar.

In Windows Sound Panel, select the 2i2 as the Windows soundcard. That'll get you streaming from YT, Amazon, Spotify, mars,  whatever, through the 2i2 alongside the output from Sonar.

No cables to move, quality playback through the Katana.

 

Done!

 

I'm sorry if my tone seems negative. The only one here who truly "gets it" has offered excellent and very expensive solutions that you won't be able to even consider for at least a year.

This solution is workable with your existing equipment, experience and knowledge level.

 

Good Luck and Have Fun!

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1 hour ago, Dwf2008 said:

 

Now, my original question was about connections, not sound quality. Here is the scenario. The pc is playing a backing track which has been loaded into cakewalk. I am playing the guitar thru the helix. The others are playing thru their own amps. Then someone asks to listen to the original recording on youtube or itunes. Then someone says ok lets try it with a different rhythm from the drum machine. So you see what I really need (at the moment) is a way to utilize all this stuff without rearranging cables all the time. Sorry if that wasn't clear in the original post, but I think it was.

 

Probably you're simply going to have to put up with some of the cable switching for the time being given what you're describing.  You might be able to save a little bit of complexity by just connecting the Helix direct to the PC so you can play tracks from any source whether it's Cakewalk or YouTube.  It does get a little more hairy if you're wanting to record the jam session in which case you're probably going to have to do some cable switching and use the 2i2, or you might just be better of in that case using the 8 track recorder to capture the session rather than Cakewalk.  That's just going to be the situation until you can get over to a better system.

Be patient...we've all been there at one time or another.  If you think this is bad, you should see some of the crap we used to kludge together back in the 60's.

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Thanks rd2rk. That is exactly the kind of input I was looking for. Sorry it took so long to get there. The mixer/recorder is a Yamaha MT2X that I inherited when a good friend died. Another reason I’m not going to get rid of it. I will try your connection scheme right now.

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2 hours ago, Dwf2008 said:

Thanks rd2rk. That is exactly the kind of input I was looking for. Sorry it took so long to get there. The mixer/recorder is a Yamaha MT2X that I inherited when a good friend died. Another reason I’m not going to get rid of it. I will try your connection scheme right now.

 


Next level:

 

Guitar to Helix Guitar In
Mic to Helix Mic In
Take the 2i2 out of the chain. Take the Helix 1/4" outs to the Katana AUX In. Helix Big Knob controls level.
Mixer Stereo Outs to Helix Returns 1 and 2 (bass, analog drums (mic'd w/submixer), drum machine, analog keyboards).
Helix USB to Computer. Helix ASIO Driver in Sonar, Helix Driver in Windows Sound Panel.

 

The attached Demo Helix preset has:
Path 1 = Guitar In - TS, Twin, Trem, Delay, Reverb, Compressor - Sonar Track Input 1/2

Path 2 - Input from Mixer - Compressor - Sonar Track Input 3/4

Path 3 - Mic In - Delay, Reverb, Compressor - Sonar Track Input 5/6


 

Max Mixer.hlx

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Rd2rk- thanks again. I was able to get your first suggestion to work as intended except I have to buy another stereo breakout cable. I also could not figure out how to define the 2i2 as the soundcard so I instead told cakewalk to use the MME driver. Everything seems to work as intended.

 

Next we tried to connect a mic to the helix xlr mic in (I dont have the right cables to connect it directly to the mixer) but there appears to be a new learning curve associated with connecting a mic to the helix. It looks like the preset has to be modified to include a signal chain for the mic. Is that correct? I have not tried your second suggestion yet as the first one seems to be working ok. Do you think there would be a significant advantage to the second scheme?

 

btw- did you order that zoom mixer yet? ;) My son-in-law is in the business and he likes this one better. 

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Sig12MT--soundcraft-signature-12-mtk-mixer-and-audio-interface-with-effects

thoughts?

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1 hour ago, Dwf2008 said:

I also could not figure out how to define the 2i2 as the soundcard so I instead told cakewalk to use the MME driver.

 

You'll need to install the ASIO drivers from the Focusrite website. Remember that to change ASIO drivers in Sonar you first need to disable the inputs and outputs assigned to the old driver.

 

1 hour ago, Dwf2008 said:

Next we tried to connect a mic to the helix xlr mic in (I dont have the right cables to connect it directly to the mixer) but there appears to be a new learning curve associated with connecting a mic to the helix. It looks like the preset has to be modified to include a signal chain for the mic. Is that correct? I have not tried your second suggestion yet as the first one seems to be working ok. Do you think there would be a significant advantage to the second scheme?

 

The first solution allows you to record two tracks in Sonar. You could have one track be a specific instrument (guitar? vocals?) panned all the way left, and the other track be a mix of everything else you have running thru the mixer panned right (using the mixer's level controls to emphasize different instruments). OR two tracks with emphasis on different instruments in each (using the PAN and level controls on the mixer). A simple live jam recording setup. And you can always add overdubs later on separate Sonar tracks.

 

The second solution allows you to record TWO specific instruments, say, Vocals and Guitar, on separate tracks, and a THIRD track with a mix of the remaining instruments from the mixer with differing stereo placements and levels of the instruments. A much more interesting mix with emphasis on the Lead instruments.

 

The preset I attached (save it as a template) demonstrates the second solution and, of course, if you wanted to do an instrumental with second guitar or keyboards (or?) you could use a DI Box to take the instrument to the mic input (set the mic input to LINE or INSTRUMENT as necessary). You could then overdub vocals by setting a fourth track (or as many tracks as you want) to the same inputs you used for the earlier tracks. It's not perfect, but until you get your ZOOM it's pretty darn flexible with the equipment you have.

 

Also, keep in mind that the effects that I used on the three Paths were purely for demonstration purposes. You could bypass any of them and use the tools available in Sonar (or aftermarket VSTs such as the FREE Blue Cat Audio package or very affordable WAVES VSTs) for mixdown. The more Instruments you can record on separate tracks the more options you have at mixdown.

 

EDIT: The path I set up for guitar uses the first processor, since you likely want more effects for guitar. The second and third paths share the second processor, since there are less effects to use up DSP.

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The ASIO driver was/is installed. Perhaps I misunderstood. When you said set it as the soundcard, did you mean just within cakewalk? Because that’s how I had it originally.

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42 minutes ago, Dwf2008 said:

The ASIO driver was/is installed. Perhaps I misunderstood. When you said set it as the soundcard, did you mean just within cakewalk? Because that’s how I had it originally.

 

I try to differentiate by saying "soundcard" when referring to the Windows Sound Panel setting (which gets streaming audio sources to your mix), and ASIO Driver when I mean the soundcard that your DAW uses, but it can be confusing.

 

In solution 1 you're using the 2i2 for both streaming (Windows Sound Panel) and DAW (Sonar ASIO Driver).

In Solution 2 you've physically removed the 2i2 from the setup, and you're using the Helix for both.

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Comparing the Soundcraft and Zoom mixers:

 

The Soundcraft is a more professional grade LIVE MIXER - better preamps, sliders/rotaries and effects, and the "Grouping" capability is handy for controlling overall levels of sub-mixes, such as when you're mixing a fully mic'd drum kit, a horn section, or multiple backup singers. But you're not doing that, and it's NOT a RECORDER.

 

The Zoom is a RECORDER, and more convenient/portable than a computer for live recording*. It might not have as good pre-amps, sliders/rotaries or effects, but they're certainly good enough for your needs. The additional feature of being able to setup 5 custom monitor/headphone mixes is WAY more important in your scenario than the sub-mix capability. I understand your financial reasons for discounting the importance of a decent monitoring solution, but looking forward, the Zoom's features will serve you better than the Soundcraft. If everybody brings their own headphones, you don't NEED the expensive Yamaha (or whatever) monitors, you can start with just the mixer/recorder and get those later. Baby steps, YMMV, etc.

 

* My setup, to accomplish pretty much the same thing as the Zoom, requires a computer, a midi controller for tactile control of DAW track functions, and the 18i20 for mixing, and I still only get the same 5 custom monitor mixes. And that requires a mouse to configure. I'm SERIOUSLY considering taking my 18i20 down to GC and seeing what they'll give me in trade for that Zoom!

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2 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

* My setup, to accomplish pretty much the same thing as the Zoom, requires a computer, a midi controller for tactile control of DAW track functions, and the 18i20 for mixing, and I still only get the same 5 custom monitor mixes. And that requires a mouse to configure. I'm SERIOUSLY considering taking my 18i20 down to GC and seeing what they'll give me in trade for that Zoom!

 

The Zoom was on sale last month at Sweetwater for $100 off. You should be able to get at least that deal.

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