Photo by takomabibelot

Photo by takomabibelot

I had a nice handful of questions this week. Three to be exact. Let’s dive on in.

Question #1

Shawn wrote:

Hi Joe,
I am recording a instrumental jazz/bossa nova piece with classical guitar.  I have a mbox2, AT 4033, MXLV69, AKG C1000S, and a Universal Audio 2610.  Should I rent a mic or a to d conv and go digital in on the mbox.  I have no space and like the acoustics of my bathroom.  What would be the best option for the limited budget.  A U87 is $30 a day.  The rosetta I think 800 is $100 per day.
Thank you so much for your time.

Great question, Shawn. First of all, kudos on the Universal Audio 2610!! That’s a great preamp. While you have some nice microphones, I think it would make more sense to rent a really nice mic to go along with that really nice preamp. At $30/day, it wouldn’t be too hard to rent a pair of U87s and get a phenomenal recording.

I have to admit, I’m drooling a little at the thought of the U87 matched up with the 610 preamp. Great combination.

While there are better converters out there than what’s on the Mbox2, the Mbox converters aren’t bad. If it was me, I’d get the better microphone(s) first, then move my attention to converters.

Question #2

Krem Osle wrote:

Hello Joe,
I’m looking for a good pair of monitors based on what you recommend on your 12 studio necessities guide. However, as I was searching for a good brand and reviews and all that, I found out about passive and active monitors. I read that with passive I would need an AMP but actives do not need that since they supply their own power. Multiple sites mentioned that both are the “schnitzel” and I just gave up researching. Joe, what is YOUR recommendation?

Thanks Krem. Originally, all studio monitors were passive. You would buy a nice power amp, and run wires from the back of that into a pair of passive monitors.

Now, you’ll only find a handful of passive monitors. The overwhelming majority of studio monitors out there today are active, meaning (like you said) they have the power amp built in.

I prefer active monitors for three reasons:

  1. Since almost all of the studio monitors are active, you have plenty of choices.
  2. Since the amp is built-in, you know that it is matched perfectly with that speaker. You don’t have to worry about matching a power amp to a set of speakers.
  3. They’re just easier to use – no need for an amp, speakers, and all the cables to connect them all to your recording equipment.

There’s nothing wrong with passive monitors. Pair them up with a good amp, and you’re in great shape. However, there just aren’t that many options. I can count on one hand the various passive models out there that I am aware of. However, I could go on for days listing out all the different active monitors.

Good luck, Krem!

Question #3

Gregory Marquez wrote:

I have a question about a set in protools.  I have a track that I have been working on and I feel the track is progressing well.  For the most part I have been successful introducing instrument tracks to the session and then selecting the RTAS to play. To be more efficient I convert the RTAS over to a wave file by creating a new audio track and then placing the instrument and audio track on solo and record the .wav version of the instrument thus saving computer cycles.  For reason that are beyond my comprehension and for everything that is holy and good in the world my audio track will not pick up any of the instrument track even when putting them on solo.  To add to this twisted mystery is the fact that when I select the audio track it plays the first instrument on the session however it will not record it.  Either way ,, it is clear just by reviewing the session that what ever audio track I put in it will not pick up any internal RTAS players … it has no problem picking up my Korg Triton when i hit the local
control. To check my systems I opened a new session to check to see if the problem would resolve itself and it did. This tells me the set somewhere is wrong however I am unable to locate it.  I have a finite amount of hair upstairs and this problem is putting me over budget.  Any advice?????


Hi Gregory. That sounds like a headache for sure. To summarize, you’re trying to record an instrument track to an audio track, so you can then deactivate the instrument track and save on the extra computer processing it takes to play back the instrument. Am I right? If not, leave a comment, and we’ll discuss it further. Otherwise, I’ll go ahead and answer, since this is a great topic.

Not all computers are created equal. Some of us can play back seemingly endless tracks with hundreds of plugins. Some of us can’t get more than 4 instruments playing at once.

For those of us with slower computers, you’ll need to “print” your instruments and effects. In other words, you need to record these instruments and effects to a new audio track. That way you can turn off the processor-intensive plugins and simply play back the audio (which is much easier on your computer).

To do this, simply set the output of the first track to a bus, something like “Bus 1” or “Bus 17-18.” Then, set the input of your new audio track to the same bus. Record-enable the new track and start recording! That’s it.

Gregory, I’m not sure why you’re soloing the track. I think perhaps you don’t have things routed properly. If you route it like I described above, you won’t need to solo anything, because only one track will be feeding that bus, and only one audio track will be “listening to” that bus.

As always, thank you all for your questions. If you have a question, you can submit it via the Ask Joe form. Also, if you have additional suggestions, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

  • Wow Joe, that was really easy to understand. It was incredible to find long posts on the Internet talking wonders of passive as well as active monitors. Not to offend anybody, but I guess those who like passive are more into the school ways. Nothing wrong with that, but then the true message gets distorted.

    Thank you Joe!

  • Cool, that worked. Going through and EQ-ing things, now that it doesn’t cause smoke to come pouring out of my tower…

  • So, if I’m running out of RTAS memory but still haven’t EQ’d or compressed, I could do what you suggested in question #3 (thereby eliminating my need for the guitar effect plug ins) then run the EQ’s and Compressions?

    That’s a pretty sweet deal, I’m going to go try that now. Call me and stop me if I’m misunderstanding 🙂

    • Yeah. Basically you want to get rid of any processing that you don’t need to constantly be tweaking. So if you’re using a guitar amp plugin, once you get it how you want it, go ahead and record it to a separate track. Then you can EQ and compress at will. To keep things organized, you can use playlists to keep things organized.