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Need HELP/advise using protools

Discussion board for Mackie's d8b Digital Console users.

Need HELP/advise using protools

Postby jdodge01 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:49 am

I want to be able to utilize my d8b with my protools. How would I go about doing this? What equipment do I need?
I have been using my HDR but not really diggin it any more.

What do you use and if you can post photos that would be great.
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Re: Need HELP/advise using protools

Postby Crash » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:34 pm

I am still quite happy running an HDR rig at the moment so I am not of much help but I am guessing you would need some sort of converter box to take the I/O type you are using with the d8b, be it optical, Tdif, AES, etc. and whatever you need to feed your DAW that will run PT. The question is a bit oepn ended as there are a lot of variables to consider. I would look at from your I/O needs and go from there.
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Re: Need HELP/advise using protools

Postby Y-my-R » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:09 pm

I’m no Pro Tools expert (I use Logic... but that's similar), and have never used an HDR, but the logical “general” setup if you still want to use the d8b’s pre-amps would be something like this:

- Sound Sources go into the d8b’s Mic and Line inputs
- You route these to the direct outputs on the d8b, just like you did with the HDR
- You connect these outputs, to the inputs on the interface you use for Pro Tools
- You configure Pro Tools, so d8b direct out 1 goes to Pro Tools input channel 1… 2 to 2, 3 to 3… for as many inputs as you have
- You then configure Pro Tools, to have those same channels go back out to individual outputs in the same fashion… Track 1 to Audio Interface Out one, 2 to 2, 3 to 3, etc.
- You connect those outputs from your Pro Tools interface, to the Return inputs on your d8b.
- You configure Pro Tools to send SMPTE or MIDI Clock to a MIDI port that you connect to your d8b’s MIDI input.
- You set the tempo appropriately in the d8b, or export a MIDI file from your Pro Tools project and load it into the d8b, if you’re using Tempo changes, etc.

It of course all depends on what type of cards you have installed in your d8b and what inputs and outputs your Pro Tools audio interface has.

In my example, I have 3 DIO-8 cards (4, when counting the Alt I/O), and would get an Audio Interface with 3 ADAT or TDIF inputs/outputs, and connect them as described above.

You could then switch between the Mic/Line inputs and the Returns on the d8b, in the way the d8b was designed to work. As far as monitoring goes, you’d want to have Input Monitoring in Pro Tools on… which can introduce some latency, and is not truly the recorded signal. The whole “monitoring while recording” setup, would be a separate post in itself, IMO, and depends on the hardware (e.g. via a built-in DSP and monitoring/routing software) and software monitoring options you have available on your audio interface. If you have a full-blown Pro Tools HDX setup or similar, then you can monitor like with an analog tape machine (hearing the returns as recorded with all effects applied in real-time, etc.). For smaller Pro Tools interfaces without DSP, or 3rd party audio interfaces, it really depends what’s possible.

If you hook up your I/O digitally (or even make a single digital connection between your audio interface and the d8b), then you need to configure either Pro Tools or the d8b as Word Clock Master, and the other as Word Clock slave. You can only use the d8b in word clock slave mode, if you have the Apogee Clock card. If you have the stock Mackie clock card, then the d8b HAS to be master, since it doesn’t accept external clock. With the Apogee Clock card, you can do master OR slave on the d8b… but at the example of my d8b, it runs a lot more stable if the d8b is Master.

Another thought is, that you’ll be limited to 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz when working with the d8b - even if your Pro Tools interface can handle higher sample rates. At least when connecting digitally. But it would make no sense to use higher sample rates even if connecting the I/O analog between the d8b and Pro Tools, since there would be no benefit from using the higher sample rate in Pro Tools, since the sound originates from the d8b, and is limited through it’s capabilities (in fact, I’d find it a bad idea to connect analog, since you’d then convert the signal 4 times… on the way into the d8b, again on the way out of the d8b, on the way into Pro Tools, and again on the way out of Pro Tools. Baaaaad baaad idea).

Anyway, as you can see, there’s a lot of things that need to be considered… and I assume if you worked with the d8b and HDR combo for a while, you’re already familiar with the concept. You’re basically just swapping out the HDR for Pro Tools.

When it comes to the actual configuration steps necessary in Pro Tools, or every little detail that would need to get configured to make all of this work, that’s way beyond the scope of a forum post, IMO. It’s not rocket science, though, and fairly straight forward once you wrapped your head around the options in Pro Tools and on your audio interface. But there are too many factors that could be different and require different settings depending on the gear involved, and how exactly you want it to work, to give all possible scenarios in a forum answer… I’m afraid this will require to invest some significant alone-time, figuring it all out.

I still hope the above was a little bit helpful… and I hope I didn’t forget anything essential.
Dual d8b w/ 2x ProBox for control of 48 DAW channels

Both d8b's fully working as mixers, equipped with Apogee Clock, FX and IO cards

Only one working CPU/PSU (Mackie OS 5.1 hack w/ all PlugIns).
Second CPU is "PSU-only" for ProBox operation.
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