Using the X32 in recording and production studio environments
While the X32 is primarily targeted at a live sound environment, it also can work as an extremely full-featured and powerful studio console as well.
The console contains extremely clean and detailed microphone preamps, allowing you to capture up to 32 separate microphones for recording even a very large ensemble.
• High-end analog to digital converters for each channel preserve the audio quality as it is recorded to assorted DAW software.
• With the X32’s built-in X-USB card, individual channels of audio can be sent, in the digital domain, to a studio DAW computer, using USB 2.0. With this card, the X32 becomes the “world’s biggest computer audio interface” allowing up to 32 channels of microphones to be sent into the DAW software, while at the same time allowing up to 32 individual channels of DAW tracks to return back to the console for mixing “out of the box”.
• With the X32’s full recall of all preamp and monitor settings, the console makes a great solution for the modern home and project studio, where multiple projects are worked on in “stages” and previous settings need to be quickly and easily recalled. For example, if a band returns the following week to pick up where they left off, a single “load project” command can return the console to exactly where it left off, in terms of mic gain settings for the different instruments, as well as various different monitor mixes for the different performers.
• With its onboard MIDI ports, the X32 console can work as a large-format control surface for many popular DAW platforms. The X32’s motorized faders can control the onscreen DAW faders, while each channel’s mute and solo buttons can control their onscreen counterparts. This makes it possible to quickly work with the finer nuances of a DAW mix, much better than adjusting channel levels one at a time with the mouse.
• Since the X32 console works with the affordable S16 digital stagebox, the combined system makes a great solution for routing audio signals between a separate studio and control room. The S16 and various Ultranet personal monitor mixers can be set up in the studio, while the console itself is set up in the control room. A single shielded Cat5-e Ethernet cable is all that is needed to connect the 16-32 channels of audio from 1-2 S16 boxes and all of the Ultranet mixers, a much better alternative than a thick, noisy, and expensive analog snake. In more modern homes and apartments that have Cat-5 cabling running through the walls as part of a pre-built “structured wiring” package, the S16/Ultranet mixers and X32 console can even be set up in different rooms, with no need to run a long cable or leave any doors partially open!
• The various X-USB card modes to be selected on the Setup/card page can be used to reduce the traffic over USB, just in case your computer has difficulty handling the full 32x32 channel capacity. See Chapter 6 for details.
• When running a 32 track live recording from your FOH desk, you can simply assign the card outputs to the mic inputs (local or stage box), using the ’Routing/card out’ page. Note however, that the mic preamp gain (also for recording) will be controlled from the FOH console, and Gain changes during the show can be heard in the recording.
• When recording track by track into a DAW, you will need to pass all audio from the mic preamp of the console directly into the PC, and then back into the console for monitoring. In this case, the DAW track’s record-ready status will determine which direct and which previously recorded signal will be audible on the console.
• This configuration can also be used in a live setup where additional FX processing using native plug-ins is required. Your PC (provided it has the capacity to do so) could perform as a 32 channel outboard effects processor, allowing you to apply your favorite production processing in a live environment to every single channel. You should however, consider that plug-in effects have inherent latencies that add up with the PC I/O latency. So, make sure that there are no adverse effects when applying outboard processing. The internal latencies of the console are typically 10-15 times less than the the latency introduced by external processing.
Please also note that in both cases, you need to adjust the physical preamp parameters, Gain and Phantom power, from the ’Setup/preamps’ page on the console. See details in Chapter 6.