Clever routing options for the Midas Venice F series mixers

I'm using a Midas Venice F32 in my home studio. The board has some pretty flexible routing options.
With the very good conversion quality and the super low latencies of the builtin firewire interface (32 samples = 1ms per conversion!) I can easily afford to have multiple conversions. This allows to use some of the channels as master and group inserts.
I mainly use a digital DAW insert on each channel + a digital DAW insert on my master channels. That's four conversions in total. I don't hear any latency!

Here I'd like to summarize some of the options I found. Some are obvious, others are not.

 

Mono Channel as A/D (without EQ)

It's the most straight-forward configuration. Plug in a microphone or line level source and record straight to the DAW.

Mono Channel as A/D (with EQ)

Switch off the "Firewire input" button. Depress the "Firewire/DirectOut Post EQ" button. Enable the EQ. Plug in a microphone or line level source and record the EQ'ed signal straight to the DAW.
Do not enable the green "Firewire input" button when you feed back the recorded signal from your DAW! This will create a feedback loop that can destroy your speakers (and ears)!

Mono Channel with digital insert FX

Switch on the "Firewire input" button. Set the "Firewire/DirectOut Post EQ" button to the "Pre EQ" position. Now the signal goes through the Preamps, into the computer, through your digital FX in your DAW, back into the console, through the analog gear on the insert jack, through the EQ to the main mix.
Do never set the "Firewire/DirectOut Post EQ" button to the "Post EQ" position! This will create a feedback loop that can destroy your speakers (and ears)!

When the computer's not on, simply release the "Firewire input" button and use the channel without your digital inserts. Nice!

Mono Channel as fixed volume A/D-D/A (or as an "analog insert" for DAW)


Short: Taking a mono channel out of the mix and using it as a independent line input and output.

Usefull for:
  • Including analog outboard FX into your DAW.
  • creating many headphone mixes to feed into external headphone amps.
  • any situation where you might want to have a simple line output that doesn't go into the main mix.

Problems:
  • the consoles preamp and line in jacks can't be used. You can feed line signals from outboard preamps into the console to work around this.

How you do it:
 
First we take the channel out of the mix:
  • take the fader down
  • press the mute button
  • disable all the group and master sends
  • turn down all the Aux-Sends

then:

  • enable the insert ("ins" button)
  • switch the "Firewire/DirectOut" button to the "Post EQ" position (depressed)
  • enable the "Firewire input" button
  • plug a Y-cable into the insert jack.

The tip of the insert cable is your line output. The ring of the insert cable is your line input.

You can enable the EQ to feed your line input signal through the EQ prior to recording.

This image illustrates the routing:
AD_DA.png

Mono Channel as "analog EQ insert" effect for DAW


Short: Taking a mono channel out of the mix and using it as a analog EQ insert for your DAW.

Usefull for:
  • Giving juicy analog EQ to your digital mixing

Problems:
  • the whole channel strip must be sacrificed and can't be used for analog mixing anymore (but this is useful for mixing ITB anyway)

How you do it:

This is very similar to the "fixed volume A/D-D/A" routing above. We just don't use the insert jack.
 
First we take the channel out of the mix:
  • take the fader down
  • press the mute button
  • disable all the group and master sends
  • turn down all the Aux-Sends

then:

  • disable the insert ("ins" button)
  • switch the "Firewire/DirectOut" button to the "Post EQ" position (depressed)
  • enable the "Firewire input" button
  • enable the EQ

Be careful with latency compensation: Feeding a signal out of the DAW and back in adds some latency which can destroy your timing or even create phasing effects when mixed with the dry signal. Cockos Reaper has a neat little plugin (ReaInsert) which you can use just like a regular VST plugin. It even allows for automatic latency compensation. Neat!

This image illustrates the routing:
analogEQPlugin.png

Mono Channel as digital insert for Groups/Masters


Short: Taking a mono channel out of the mix and using it as an analog EQ and firewire insert for your master or group channels.

Usefull for:
  • Adding VST plugins to a master or group insert when mixing analog (in addition to the per-channel firewire-inserts!)
  • adding digital compression and analog EQ to groups and masters

Problems:
  • the whole channel strip must be sacrificed and can't be used for analog mixing anymore.
  • the analog EQ is always before the VST plugins
  • when the computer is not on, this doesn't work. You simply can't use the EQ as an insert without the signal going through the computer. Sorry.

How you do it:

Basically we use the channel as a simple A/D-D/A (just like above). But this time, we plug it straight into the insert jack of a group or master channel.
First we take the channel out of the mix:
  • take the fader down
  • press the mute button
  • disable all the group and master sends
  • turn down all the Aux-Sends

then:

  • enable the insert ("ins" button)
  • switch the "Firewire/DirectOut" button to the "Post EQ" position (depressed)
  • enable the "Firewire input" button
  • now we must use a special cable to connect the master/group insert jack to the channels' insert jack. The tips must connect to the rings, as shown in this image:
    twistedChannelCable.png

You can either directly build such a cable. Or you can use some adapters: Stereo 1/4"-to-XLR => XLR "phase flip adapter" => XLR-to-1/4". Or you can use two Y-Cables as shown below:
YCable.png


You can use the EQ or bypass it. The EQ will always be before the VST plugins.

This image illustrates the routing:
masterGroupInsert.png


When you want to record the master/group channels: Don't do so via the "override 31-32" button - that records the signal before your digital FX chain. Instead, record from the DAW channels which hold your digital insert effects.

Mono Channel as digital insert for Groups/Masters (including regular analog inserts)


Short: Taking a mono channel out of the mix and using it as an analog EQ and firewire insert for your master or group channels while still using analog inserts in the master/group.

Usefull for:
  • Adding digital VST FX and analog outboard FX to a master or group channel.
  • outboard FX can be pre or post the digital FX.

Problems:
  • the whole channel strip must be sacrificed and can't be used for analog mixing anymore.
  • the analog EQ is always before the VST plugins

How you do it:

Basically we use the channel as a simple A/D-D/A (just like above). But this time, we use Y-cables to create an insert FX chain consisting of analog outboard and digital DAW effects.
 
First we take the channel out of the mix:
  • take the fader down
  • press the mute button
  • disable all the group and master sends
  • turn down all the Aux-Sends
then:
  • enable the insert ("ins" button)
  • switch the "Firewire/DirectOut" button to the "Post EQ" position (depressed)
  • enable the "Firewire input" button
  • now we plug a Y cable into the insert of the channel and into the master/group insert. This image illustrates how to patch everything up:
    YCableAndOutboardGear.png


You can use the EQ or bypass it. The EQ will always be between the pre-VST outboard FX and the VST plugins.

When you want to record the master/group channels: Don't do so via the "override 31-32" button - that records the signal before your FX chain. Instead, record from the DAW channels which hold your digital insert effects. That way you record all FX except the "post FW" outboard FX. If you really want to record everything, you could use another mono channel as a digital input and record the signal from the very end of the chain.

 

Conclusion

There are some pretty versatile routing options on the Midas Venice F32. Exploiting the insert jack allows for even more useful routing possibilities. With the low latency and great conversion quality it's possible to use the computer as a digital effects rack on the channels, groups and masters without noticing too much delay.

Did I miss anything? Any errors anywhere? Let me know!