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VST / AU Plug-ins with the Sixty-Eight Mixer

by Zach Stone, Rane

Being able to apply VST, AU, and other DAW effects to audio coming from a typical mixer has been a dream for many ever since hearing the amazing sounds such effects can create. This is now possible with the new USB Loop insert on the Sixty-Eight.

Note: We do not recommend running Scratch Live and the a DAW program (Ableton, Cubase, Logic, etc) off of the same computer. Not only may you experience driver issues, but using VST, AU, and other DAW effects in this way requires very low latency settings to avoid delay in the audio. Its best to have a dedicated computer for these types of effects.

I'm going to be using Ableton for this article, but know this is possible using any DAW (digital audio workstation) and setting it up should generally be the same.

Assuming you have all the correct drivers installed, and your computer is seeing the Sixty-Eight, the first thing you want to do is set up your routing options in Ableton.

1. Open Ableton's preference panel by clicking on the Live tab and then 'Preferences' (Mac) or by clicking on the Option tab - Preferences (PC), click the Audio tab, and choose the Sixty-Eight as your Input and Output sound device.

Choosing the Sixty-Eight as your Output Device

Choosing the Sixty Eight as your Audio device.

 

2. Click the 'Input Config' tab and turn on 9/10 (Stereo). Press 'OK'.

Choose 9/10 for Input Config

Choose 9/10 for Input Config

 

3. Click the 'Output Config' tab and turn on 9/10 (Stereo). Press 'OK'.

Choose 9/10 for Output Config

Choose 9/10 for Output Config

 

4. From here we'll want to create and setup an Audio track.

If you don't already see an Audio track click on the 'Create' column and choose 'Insert Audio Track'.

Create an Audio Track

Create an Audio track

 

5. If the I/O section of the audio track isn't visible, click the I/O tab to show the ins and outs of the audio track.

Click I/O tab to see Ins and Outs

Click I/O tab to see Ins and Outs

 

6. Select 'Ext In' in the 'Audio From' area of the audio track you created and then select '9/10' for your external input.

Select Ext In in Audio From section

Select 'Ext In' in the 'Audio From' section

 

7. Change the 'Audio To' option to 'EXT Out' and select '9/10' for your external output.

Change 'Audio To' for 'Ext Out'

Change 'Audio To' for 'Ext Out'

 

8. Press 'In' for your Monitor setting.

Press 'In' for monitor

Press 'In' for the Monitor setting

 

9. Now that our routing options are set on our audio track, we'll add the effect plug-ins we're wanting to the audio track and group them together in an Audio Rack. I'm going to select Ableton's Frequency Shifter and a Filter Delay.

Adding effect plug-ins

Adding effect plug-ins

 

10. Now group the effects together in an Audio Effects Rack by highlighting the effects (hold down the shift key and click on each effect to highlight them at the same time), clicking on the 'Edit' tab, and choosing 'Group'.

Grouping the effects into an audio rack

Grouping the effects into an Audio Rack

 

11. Click on the show/hide Macro controls tab to open the Macro and then click on the 'map mode' tab.

Show macro controls

Show macro controls

Put Ableton in Map mode

Put Ableton in Map mode

 

12. Now locate and click on the wet/dry knobs for each effect and then click on the 'Map' button below Macro 1 to map the wet/dry of each effect to Macro 1. You will need to map one effect at a time.

Map the wet/dry of each effect to Macro 1

Map the wet/dry of each effect to Macro 1

Once your mapping is done your screen should look like this:

Wet / dry parameters mapped

Wet / dry parameters mapped

 

13. Once your done mapping, click the 'Map Mode' button to get out of Map Mode.

Get out of Map Mode

Get out of Map Mode

Now we're ready to midi map some controls on the Sixty Eight to control the effects in Ableton.

14. Open Ableton's preference window and click on the 'MIDI Sync' tab.

Open MIDI / Sync tab

Open the MIDI Sync tab

 

15. Turn on 'Track' and 'Remote' in the 'input' section for the Sixty Eight and then close the preference window.

Turn on 'Track' and 'Remote' in the 'Input' section

Turn on 'Track' and 'Remote' in the 'Input' section

 

16. Click the Midi tab to put Ableton in 'Midi Mode'.

Put Ableton in MIDI Mode

Put Ableton in MIDI Mode

 

17. Click on the Macro 1 knob and then move a knob on the Sixty Eight to map that parameter to the knob. I suggest mapping it to the level/depth knob in the effects section of the mixer.

Click on Macro 1 to map it to the Sixty-Eight

Click on Macro 1 to map it to the Sixty-Eight

Move the Level/Depth knob to map Macro 1 to the Sixty-Eight

Move the Level/Depth knob to map Macro 1 to the Sixty-Eight

 

18. Click on the on/off tab for each effect and map them to a button on the Sixty-Eight. I prefer to use the Mic 1 and 2 on/off buttons. This will allow you to turn on/off the different effects in your Effects Rack.

Click the on/off tab for each efffect

Click the on/off tab for each efffect

Press a button on the Sixty-Eight to map each parameter to the mixer.

Press a button on the Sixty-Eight to map each parameter to the mixer. I suggest the Mic 1 and Mic 2 buttons.

 

19. Once done, click the MIDI tab again to get out of 'MIDI Mode'.

Press the MIDI tab again to get out of MIDI mode

Press the MIDI tab again to get out of MIDI mode

 

Now that the MIDI mapping is done we are ready to start affecting the audio playing into the Sixty-Eight. First, run some audio into a channel on the mixer.

Note: You can run audio from Scratch Live, but we do not recommend running both programs on the same computer. If your using two laptops, run Scratch Live on one, and Ableton on the other. You can then play audio from the computer running Scratch Live into the Sixty-Eight. If you only have one computer, play audio from a regular record or CD player into the Sixty-Eight.

20. Click on the 'USB 5 Insert' and Flex FX On buttons to route the effected audio to the master output. Also make sure that the Flex FX Level knob in the front of the mixer is turned all the way up.

Click the USB 5 and FlexFX On buttons

Click the USB 5 and FlexFX On buttons

Turn up the FlexFX Mix Level knob on the front panel

Turn up the FlexFX Mix Level knob on the front panel

Note: You will not hear the effected audio yet.

 

21. Now you're ready to apply the effects to the audio playing into the mixer. First, turn on whatever effect you're wanting to use in Ableton using the buttons on the Sixty-Eight you mapped the on/off of the effects to.

Since I mapped the on/off of the Filter Delay to my Mic 1 on/off button on my Sixty Eight I'm going to want to press the Mic 1 on/off button to turn On the Filter Delay.

Press Mic 1 to turn the effect on

Press Mic 1 to turn the effect on

 

22. Now press the Flex FX button on whatever channel your wanting to apply the effect to.

Press the FlexFX button for whatever channel you want to apply the effect

Press the FlexFX button for whatever channel you want to apply the effect

Note: If you hear a delay/pop in the audio open Ableton's Audio preferences and lower the Latency Buffer Size.

Lower the Buffer Size

Lower the Buffer Size

 

23. Now turn the knob you mapped Macro 1 to (Level/Depth knob in the FX section) to turn up/down the wet/dry of the effect.

That is it:)