Configuring the X-USB card for use in the console
The console will automatically detect the X-USB card during the regular boot cycle, and it will display the card’s presence in several instances.
The green square in front of “C: X-USB” indicates that the card is installed and working properly.
After the console has fully booted up, you can access the Setup/Card screen to view the current channel count configuration. Depending on your application, you may want to select an option other than the maximum 32 x 32 channel count to preserve system resources.
32 in / 32 out
This mode obviously allows the full potential of the interface to be tapped. Note that the computer needs to be able to handle that amount of concurrent I/O stream without any glitches. Depending on its speed and memory configuration, some optimization for audio recording might be required.
It is also possible to run a virtual sound check of all 32 input channels by recording them directly to a computer during a brief line check. The performers can leave the stage while you play back the recorded instruments from the hard drive and tweak the sound accordingly.
Generally, the Card outputs may use any of the available signal sources in the console (local or AES50) for recording independently. When the X32 console is used in a quasi in-line mode, the card with connected computer represents a classic tape machine. In this case, the X32 console mic inputs would be selected to feed the card outputs (see graphic), and all signals are run from the mixer’s preamps directly to the multi-track recording machine (PC) and from there 1:1 back into the console’s input channels.
When the console channel inputs are set to Card, the channel Gain control will be a +/- 12 dB digital trim for the interface card signal, without direct access to any head amp - which is great for mixdown but would be an issue for recording. So, mixing and monitoring can be done using the X32 input channel controls, but the actual mic preamps must now be controlled from the Setup/preamps page, which gives remote control to every one of the available preamps in the system. Use the Setup/preamps page to make sure that phantom power is set as needed, and that there is a reasonable amount of headroom for recording the preamp signals.
TIP: Sometimes it is more convenient to run the sound check while the preamps are still connected to the X32 input channels. Once you are confident about the fundamental settings, you can switch the channel inputs to the X-USB Card inputs for laying the tracks and monitoring the DAW outputs. If you wish to switch back and forth between the two modes more frequently, you could consider storing 2 routing scenes, ’DAW’ and ’preamps’. Make sure Scene Safes are set in a way that all other parameters remain unchanged.
16 in / 16 out
If you don’t actually need more than 16 concurrent input and output tracks to be exchanged between the console and your PC, then this mode might be more appropriate for you. First, it will slow the required bandwidth on the interface down. Second, there will be no excessive I/O tracks in your DAW configuration that might clutter your setup. Third, it allows you to run a fully-featured zero-latency overdub setup, which would be impossible if signals were run through the computer. In this case, the 16 input signals are put on channels 1-16, while the tape (card) returns are put on channels 17-32. The monitoring is directly fed from Ch1-16 as usual, including all processing and effects. It remains independent from any computer audio latency, even though you can hear back all the recorded tracks without any repatching.
32 in / 8 out
This mode is tailored to suit a typical studio and overdub recording situation, with many input channels but only a few output channels for monitoring of previously recorded takes.
8 in / 8 out and 2 in / 2 out
For very small recording sessions or overdubs with single sources like vocals, reducing the channel I/O frees up more processing power and ensures stable operation with small latency settings.
8 in / 32 out This is a useful mode for utilizing the excellent audio engine and effects processing of the console during final mixdown of your project. All 32 tracks would be fed from your DAW into the console where all the magic happens. Then only 2-8 tracks of the complete mixdown would be sent back to the DAW.