PT9 Mix Via Firewire In DM4800 V PT9 Mix In The Box


New Member
Oct 25, 2012
Gear owned
Hi Everyone,
Great the site is Back!!
I have recently been comparing PT9 mix's via DM4800 Firewire card and mixing all tracks in the DM4800, compared to Using DM4800 Remote layer for PT9 in the box mixes(ITB).I find the DM4800 mixes have a poor stereo image and sound quality compared to ITB Mixes.Has anyone else noticed this??.I also have ADAT Cards which i used to use with a 24track Harddisc recorder and the mixes always sounded great,so the converters should not be the issue.I am also using a 1.5MT FW cable which connects to an external drive and 1MT FW cable into IMAC.
I am using a new IMAC with PT9 and i would have thought the mixes thru the DM4800 should be better as i have been mixing with it now for a few years and have only been using PT9 for 6 months.Any replies would be appreciated. :?: Cheers GHOOK
I'm curious myself as I was going to setup my 3200 exactly how you are describing via the FW 32 channels out. Perhaps it's a clocking issue as that could exhibit the same poor audio symptoms you are hearing. Just a thought.
I mix strictly out of the box, and experience no perceivable sound degradation with PT10. On the contrary, the sonics with the DM3200 feature solid imaging, clarity, headroom and stability. Though I've yet to compare an OTB mix with one done on PT in the box, I'd be quite surprised if an ITB mix would sound better.

I use plenty of PT's plugs - compressors, imagers, channel strips, etc - along with the DM's EQ & efx. To me, it's a marriage made in heaven. If I could find a way to have the rig compose music for me, it would be even better. But alas, some things I still have to do myself. :)

Perhaps, as Turnstile suggested, there's something unsatisfactory with the signal flow. Or - maybe - as sometimes happens - certain mixes just don't cut it for whatever performance or arrangement reason, and the ears lead one to believe it's a technical issue with the mixer pathway.

Either way, I'd encourage you to delve into this further, and if you haven't already done so, do both an ITB and OTB mix of the same material, with and without efx.
If it's clocking or something of that sort, it should be quite obvious if you have a comparative basis to judge from.

Thanks for your reply CaptDan. Your comments confirm my initial expectations that OTB mix should have better imaging than ITB. I will experiment further.Just wondering which way you clock between DM4800 and computer as i was using DM4800 INTERNAL Also do you use any automation with DM4800 or computer,as i tried using each and had issues locking using DM4800 automation.
Well, the OTB mixes should be at least as good as ITB. 'Better' may not be the case, depending on how you mix, where the pan trajectories are set, etc etc.

DM Automation with PT is another matter entirely; took me several days to get it going after having jumped from Cubase. Long story short, it works great (I use a DM3200, so it's essentially the same setup), but there are some things which need to happen in both PT and in the DM. Not in front of my desk right now, but I'll make some notes later, and post them tomorrow.

I agree with CaptDan!!
I use 16 stereo stems out of Pro Tools in to the DM3200 and clients have commented on the difference in quality and clarity.

As for the clocking, I clock everything to an external clock with fantastic results. But if I did not have the external clock I would use the DM as the master. The clock on the DM is stable and doesn't make the converters sound that bad at all.

For automation I strictly use Pro Tools for automation. I am very visual and being able to see the automation on the screen in PT is a real help for me.

Hope that helps!
One thing worth mentioning when mixing OTB while relying soley on DAW automation: there are some DAW (ITB) auto fader maneuvers that may prove less than satisfactory.

One example is when a DM channel's reverb/delay effect is set to PRE-Fader. A reduction in the DAW's fader will decrease the output volume, but cause an audible change in the reverb character on that DM channel. This is a case where DM automation would solve that, because the DM fader is further upstream to the DM's stereo bus. Additionally, the channel's Aux send can also be automated for even more effect trimming accuracy.

Of course, if the channel effect is POST fader, this is a non-issue.

Yes it does.
I posted this on another thread, so here's a repeat:
As promised, here are the steps for setting up automated mixing with PT9/10:

First, you'll need to add a separate config in the DM's MMC menu: Generate Internal TC. This is added to the 'HUI/Mackie control' selection which has the Transport Record option. Essentially, you switch between HUI and Generate Internal; the former for routine tracking when PT is set to GENerate timecode; the latter for automated mixing. (This can also be done using Snapshots.) Protools requires that it be FED timecode from the master device - ie - the DM - when performing lockstep tasks like auto-mixing. Otherwise you'll get nasty contentions like 'YOU'RE RUNNING OUT OF RAM! Or: DAE IS OVERSTRESSED! Neither of these warnings is true, but the moment they pop up, everything stops.

The downside workflow-wise is, when Generate Internal is selected, you don't have the RECord key available on the transport Icon. But that shouldn't matter, because you've already completed tracking prior to mixing anyway.

Next, you have to DISable GENerate Time code in PT. Then go to the Devices menu, and enable External MMC by ticking that box.

Finally, on the DM's Automated mixing menu, tick the box that states: 'Internal Time Code.' You should now be set up to write automated mixing moves with minimal lock up time. If you experience any issues in that regard, there's a feature in Protools where you can adjust the 'freewheel,'.

Also: Protools is chasing to the DM's timecode. Therefore you need to ZERO OUT the DM's timecode counter. Otherwise, if you have -say - 00:10:10:23 on the DM, Protools will immediately jump to that number on the time line. This can be very frustrating, so zero out, and start from the beginning of the project.

When you return to tracking mode, you'll need to invoke HUI/Mackie, disable internal timecode on the DM, disable MMC in ProTools, and choose the GENerate TC on PT's transport menu. This gives you back your entire DM control surface, including the RECord key. A bit of a hassle, but not that big a deal.

I hope I didn't leave anything out. If so, just holler if you run into trouble, and I'll retrace my steps.

PS: I wouldn't have figured out any of this without the able and patient assistance of the great Jamsire - Ernie Jackson - who spent untold hours with me on the phone last year. Thanks again, Ernie!!!

Hi and thanks to everyone for your replies and especially Captdan for the info about setting up DM4800 automation in PT9-10.I have alot of experimenting to do and it will take awhile but i wil post the outcome of my setup.Thanks again.
Cheers GHOOK :D
I mix EVERYTHING out the box in Cubase and PTHD10. I may stem a track with effects for some things, but ALWAYS use the board EQ's and Dynamics, in addition to my external rack effects that I have hooked up to my three analog cards.

Cubase automation is simple to setup. PT automation is useless, so just look at the edit screen the whole time and forget the mix window. I mix NOTHING in the box.

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