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The Scarlett Mix Control software can be a little confusing at first glance. Let me break it down for ya.
Above is a video of me walking you through the software, but I also wanted to write an article on it in case you are not able to watch a video at the moment.
Lets first talk about why you would need the Scarlet Mix Control software to set up custom monitor mixes, instead of just using your DAW, in my case, Protools.
Latency is the time it takes for the audio signal you are recording to travel travel through the audio interface (mine is a Focusrite 18i20), into your DAW of choice, and back out of your speakers or headphones for you to hear.
There is a small millisecond “delay” in the signal because of this. If you have any experience recording, you’ve probably encountered this while trying to record vocals for instance.
Even if you set your buffer size in your DAW settings to very low, you will still hear a small delay in the signal, which sounds like a double of your voice and can be quite annoying.
What the Focusrite interfaces have to combat this issue is a DSP chip, and the Scarlett Mix Control software that allows you to monitor with NO latency. Pretty bad ass.
The only problem is that this software can be very confusing, especially if you’re new to this type of thing. That’s OK, because I got you covered!
The top section of the software is just a simple virtual mixing console with inputs and faders.
This is also where you build your separate custom headphone mixes.
On my Focusrite 18i20, I have essentially 8 separate mono mixes, or 4 stereo mixes.
At the top of each fader you have input options, which tells the software what audio source you want assigned to that particular fader.
In the picture above I have the 1st input set to analogue 1, which is my physical input 1 on the frot of my Focustite 18i20.
So anything plugged into channel 1 on my interface will come through the channel on the Scarlett Mix Control set to “anlg in 1”
If you had “kick” and “snare” plugged into channels 2 & 3 on your interface, then you would set the next 2 channels on the mix control to “anlg 2” & “anlg 3”.
This is how you would build up your mixer with the correct inputs you are recording.
Make sure you watch the video above as well because this can get a little confusing.
To the far right of the top section of the Scarlett Mix Control, you have 2 faders that are like “Master” faders.
Make sure if you want stereo, to click the two sideways figure 8 buttons at the bottom of each master fader. (oo highlighted in blue in the above pic)
If you look at the pic above, I’ve set the inputs of the left fader to “DAW 1 & 2″”. That way, anything already recorded coming out of my main DAW outputs 1 & 2, will come through this fader, and I have a master volume control for it.
So if in “angl 1” you have a vocal you are recording that day, and you want to record along with tracks that were already recorded in a previous session, you could use the 1 st fader in your mix control for your vocal level, and the 1st “master” fader for the pre recorded tracks coming out of DAW 1 & 2 , and blend to taste for that custom headphone mix.
The right “master” fader in the pic above is the over all volume control of the pre recored tracks, and the vocal track you are recording that day.
I hope that makes sense. Again, watch the video.
The Routing Section
The bottom section is where you route the custom headphone mixes you created up top, so that each player can hear their custom mix.
The top where it says “routing preset” is where you can switch between “Daw Tracking” (by passes the Scarlet Mix Control), “Zero Latency tracking” (uses the mix control), or “mixing”.
If you are using the mix control, set it to “Zero Latency Tracking”.
If you are in the control room as the engineer, and you want to hear the DAW mix, set the monitor outputs 1 & 2 to “DAW 1 & 2”
Or you can set it to whatever mix you want to hear. For example, if you want to hear the same vocal mix you set up for the vocalist, set it to “Vocal (L)” and “Vocal (R)”
Again watch the video and I go further into depth with the rest of the routing options.
On my routing section for the Scarlet Mix Control, you can see 2 head phone symbols that correspond to the 2 headphone jacks on the front of my audio interface. This may be different if you have another interface.
The 1st headphone jack on my interface is automatically routed in the software to outputs 7 & 8, and the 2nd headphone jack is routed to outputs 9 & 10.
So if the vocalist is using the 1st headphone jack, then you would go on the Scarlett Mix Control, where the 1st headphone symbol is, which should also say “Line output 7” and “line ouput 8”, and select “Vocal (L)” and “Vocal (R)”.
I go into further detail in the video for the rest of the headphone routing.
Not Using The Software
If you want to use your DAW, and never use the Scarlet Mix Control when tracking, simpley set the “routing Preset” mentioned above to “DAW Tracking”, and then go to “File” and hit “Save to Hardware”.
This way when you fire up your DAW it wont automatically switch you over to the Scarlett Mix Control.
I hope this helps you out and I explained it well enough. Don’t feel stupid for not understanding these kinds of things. It took me a while to figure out, and I STILL get confused with it.
This is the way I use the software, but not the only way I’m sure.
Please feel free to comment below and let me know if this helps, or if I need to improve a part of the training. Again watch the video to fill in the gaps. – Scott
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