Your First Mix

Your X32 is hooked up to your network, using a cable connection if possible, you have several files you want to mix together and make the best sound out of them. Let’s go!

For both X32ReaperAutoMate and X32XLiveAutoMate, the basic settings from the configuration files should be just fine. In the specific case of X32ReaperAutoMate, the REAPER IP address needs to be set correctly; make sure you have that set to the right values, which you’ll find in the REAPER settings tabs.

Your X32 routing table should be set to enable reading from the X32 Card interface (X-USB or X-Live), mapping card inputs to the desk input channels.

Start the application, the basic settings are loaded and the first thing you’ll notice when clicking on “Search” is the change in the User Assign Section of the X32.

If running X32ReaperAutoMate, REAPER has to properly be setup too. Make sure you have read and applied all the settings listed under the REAPER Setup section. You then start REAPER and load your REAPER project files. Each REAPER audio track [1 to 32] finds its respective X32 channel.

Time Considerations & Precision

The programs rely on REAPER or X-Live timing information, sent over OSC as audio tracks play. REAPER sends a time tick approximately every 100ms, while X-Live sends a time tick every 350ms. OK but not very precise, compared to the hundreds of OSC messages generated by the X32 on a single fader move. If we were relying only on incoming OSC time ticks, fader movements would be quite jerky at Play time. To prevent this from happening, the program builds a synchronized millisecond time between REAPER or X-Live time ticks. It should be noted that variations are possible in the millisecond time the programs build, essentially due to network performance variations, Windows occupation level and the invisible actions that take place within the program, such as autosaving.

Mix Preparation Steps

As with any audio Mix job, it is of most importance the overall settings (EQ, effects, etc.) for all used channels are prepared to their starting settings. In X32 language, this is called a scene. Before mixing your audio channels together, each of them should have its settings prepared. You will then save this [i.e. the current state of the desk] as your starting Mix file. Windows UI “Save” Mix with option “S” selected, or pressing the X32 UI “Save Scene” button will perform this first, crucial save of your starting parameters. Using the Windows UI will enable you to re-use these settings for other possible Mix sessions in the future, while using the X32 UI is faster at saving data, but that will be lost when powering off your X32.

We show below a typical workflow taking place over several days (just for the example) to help you visualize what does what during these first steps. Do take the time to prepare your work, it will pay down the line as well as during your Mix, helping you build a coherent and well-balanced Mix.

In this example, days 1 and 2 are essentially the setup of the recording environment, ensuring your tones and sound balance between instruments are right, and all tracks are placed where they should. Notice the saving of the work is done using the “S” option, this ensures the latest changes brought to the X32 desk are recorded, part of an empty Mix.

At some point in time, day “n”, you decide it’s time for action and having those dynamic changes in faders, mutes, EQ or others, part of the automation you want to record in order to be able to “replay” and incrementally create your final Mix. You then turn automation ON, and most likely “Read/Write” too. Your real Mix takes shape until you are satisfied with the result.

There are of course many other elements of importance to Mix preparation. Many of them are exposed and explained in tutorials, articles and videos on the net, some of them are great and really worth being followed.

Record Your Mix!

One of the nice things with X32ReaperAutoMate or X32XLiveAutoMate is you most likely will not look that much at your computer! Indeed, a large set of functionalities are available at the Mix desk, right under your fingers. The X/M32 UI offers a full set of transport functions, several Jog methods, and much more such as “SoloInPlace” which enables you to focus on a single track for super-fine adjustments.

Recording changes (data sent by X/M32 as you change settings on the desk) are time-stamped and saved as long as “Read/Write” is enabled and “Play” or “Pause” are active. You do not want to record absolutely everything from X/M32 (you probably do not want input bank changes be part of your Mix for example). To limit the recorded data to what you want/need, the configuration files include a specific list of OSC messages not to be recorded.

Instantaneous Changes

There are times when it may be of interest to have several changes executed “all at once”. In the old days, you would have to use several hands to ensure all changes take place rapidly. Automation is a great addition as you can suspend time, perform the adjustments you need, and restore the normal workflow. Each time you pass over that special section, all changes take place instantaneously. X32ReaperAutoMate and X32XLiveAutoMate support this functionality. Note that “AutomationON” and “Read/Write” must be enabled. You suspend time by entering the “Pause” state (“Play” is not lit; Do not press “Stop”!). Many change types can take place while in “Pause”: fader moves, EQ changes, etc., including internal scene loading. Press “Play” again and your time flow continues as normal. Next time you pass on the section where you previously pause, all recorded changes will take place at once.

Note that care should be taken when using this feature as there can be a significant amount of changes executed at once. As a result, some events may be dropped or incompletely executed; This cannot be corrected as it is an inherent part of the network protocol (UDP) used by X/M32.

 

Transport Controls and Functions
Advanced Automation Writing