Tracking with parallel channels

Tracking with parallel channels
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I am working out the bugs on my new setup. I have been tracking a project for the last two days and My new setup lets me experiment easier. Everything is on a patchbay as opposed to hardwired like I had it before. I hate patchbays but I’ve learned that I hate being tied down to one workflow even more.

Here is what I did today. One of the things we tracked was lead vocals. I ran my Wunder cm7 into the Left side of my Manley vari mu. I set this channel to just take the peaks off of the dynamics. I also Multed the signal out of this channel into the one beside it and had the second channel use the right side of the vari mu. This one I set to squash heavily so that quiet parts were dynamically where I wanted them to be. I recorded both of these channels into a stereo channel in logic where I summed them. This makes a very fat track that doesn’t sound super compressed. I know a lot of engineers track this way but this is the first time i’ve done it this way. I can’t imagine tracking any other way now. For anything:)


Did you sum them down to a mono channel or print them as a stereo channel? That’s not summing anything, its just recording it, unless you take the stereo channel then toggle it to mono mode, which would then be the same as leaving your panners at 12:00.
Even if that’s the case, what’s the point of printing to a stereo channel since you can’t process both sides independently?

This seems like it would be a lot easier to leave the Vari Mu perminately patched to your physical patchbay then move it around using your insert points in Logic. If you want it on a drum bus, then move it in Logic. If you want it on a 2 bus, then move it in Logic. If you want it on every single backup vocal, put it on 10 backup vocals and print…If you’re gonna be changing your routing to that unit that much, I’d try and figure out a way to patch in the box.

What interface are you using, and what’s your I/O situation. I think there’s an easier way to do this.


They were not summed in the analog realm. They were printed on a stereo channel.

Correct, I toggled it into mono mode. which is digital summing.

On one track it is easier to edit multiple take lanes. I can split them later if need be.

I hate patch bays. I hate phase problems even more. I have found the i/o plugin to not be phase coherent. When I send a signal out of one converter and then split phase stays far more locked than if I split anything ITB. When it comes to phase, sample accurate is still a pretty gross measurement when compared to almost the speed of light in the realm of copper and analog signal. The i/o plug rounds to the nearest sample. .5 samples of time shift are noticeable.

I am using the Motu AVB system. I have a 16a as the master with an apogee and a Behringer converter hooked up through ADAT to the 16a. (The Behringer is only used for cue purposes) The 16a is hooked up via AVB to a Motu 24a/i that has 3 RME converter interfaces hooked up via ADAT. The whole system gives me 56 DAC’s and 80 ADC’s.

I am very careful to only put drums, for example, on the same type of converters as I record or mix to keep things locked together.


2 questions…what happens when you ping the send and return?

If you can see the offset causing the phase coherency problem on your daw when you zoom for hi-res, why not simply adjust the latency offset?

Are you certain the problem is phase coherency and that the i/o plugin is the cause? How did you determine this?

So your saying the i/o plugin screws up the phase but the sends and returns don’t? Or are you saying the sends screw up the phase but the returns don’t?

Is your signal this?
Source -> Console -> Patchbay (split) -> Manley (stereo) -> Converter -> DAW?

The reason that I ask is I think it would save you hours to plaster i/o modules which feed the Manley all over your template then enable/disable them on an as-needed basis using a Eucon or Slate controller than it would be to physically push and pull TT cables in and out of a physical matrix. One problem though is that if you’re double printing and summing a lot of your takes, you only have 28 channels to work with (56 divided by 2). Double print a stereo source, and you chewed though four of them.


I think I have a pretty good handle on your overall signal flow and I see the main problem: You’re printing parallel to avoid having to re-print parallel later anyway. I get that. You’re extending the i/o of your console by using the patchbay as a splitter. I get that too.

The more I think about this, its making me change my mind. I too would bite the bullet and just deal with the fucking patchbay. The only true way around this is to buy 10 more Vari-Mus or do something bat-shit crazy that would make no financial sense lol. Anything else I can think of (barring simply solving the I/O phase issue) would begin to impede the workflow.

Huh. I’ve never heard of someone tracking parallel channels. Everyone else I know that works an analog-emphasized hybrid process commit in the tracking phase then re-patches in a separate mix down phase. Or they use half of their SSL/Neve/API to track, and the other half to mix. CLA and others used to fold PT sessions to their 48 track reel-to-reels and then mix in a different room, but this workflow has nearly disappeared in the last 4 years.


Yep, you are definitely understanding the situation. Here is a sample of the vocal I recorded. No eq or post-processing. To me, when you hear the combined track, it sounds like a person doing fader rides.

Slight Compression

Hard Limiting



Me likes the sound of hardware :slight_smile: Particularly that Vari-Mu. Gotta tell you, if I could choose one free bus compressor from any store in the world, that’d be the one I pick. Hell, I’d probably even use it!!

Wait…that was the vari-mu…right? Sounds just like the plugin does in relation to the FairChild, EMI and Chandler. A modernized version of all 3.


I agree. It was a heck of a pill to swallow when I bought it but it makes me smile every time I use it.


I’m digging this!! :beerbanger: