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Korg SoundLink 168RC Mixer

Tips & Tricks

Robert Schulze Lutum

I think the world might benefit from my research into the Korg 168RC Digital Mixer. Admittedly, it's not a very "sexy thaang" viewed superficially. I think that that must be the reason why it didn't sell so well.

But under the hood, there is a delectable smorgasbord of features that make it a very tasty tool for anybody working with an ADAT Recorder sync'ed up to Steinberg's Cubase or Cubase Audio sequencer software with a Steinberg ACI ADAT synchronizer.

It is very handy, if not essential to have a MIDI output expander like SoundPool's MO4 on your computer. This device provides 4 extra MIDI outputs in addition to the Atari's own MIDI out port.

If you want to record MIDI data from a keyboard while the ADAT recorder is syncing to Cubase, you will also need a "MIDI merger" that can merge MIDI time code (MTC) from the synchronizer with the MIDI data coming from the keyboard.

I have "knitted" a couple of Cubase mixermaps that control the Korg 168RC via standard MIDI controllers. The way the maps are programmed, you need to reserve the first 7 MIDI channels of the MIDI out port the Korg 168RC is connected to for the mixer automation.

Assigning the Korg 168RC mixermaps to alternative MIDI out ports.

If the Korg 168RC is not connected to the Atari MIDI out, but to MO4 output 1, for example, open the mixermap you wish to work with and press the right mouse button and select the arrow from the tool box. With the arrow, double click on any mixer object. A frighteningly big dialog window will appear.

While holding down the "alternate" key on the computer's keyboard, select the MIDI output you want to assign the mixer object to. This pop up menu you will find in the lower left side of the dialog window. It will probably be set to "Atari". Keep holding down the "alternate" key and select "MO4 1". While you are still holding down the "alternate" key click "OK" in the lower right corner. Cubase now asks you if you want to copy the changed values to all objects. Click on ALL and the dialog window closes. Yes, you can let go of the "alternate" key now.

Now all mixermap objects in that mixermap are assigned to MO4 1. If you also want to assign the other Korg mixermap objects to MO4 1 (which makes a lot of sense), you will have to repeat this procedure in all those mixermaps.

Input Matrix

If you have only one ADAT and no audio sequencer, you will probably know this scenario: All 8 tracks are full, but you still want to record a guitar solo. There is room on the lead vocal track, because there is no singing during the solo. So on ADAT track 1, we have vocals first, then the guitar solo, and then vocals again.

Now when you mix the recordings, you are confronted with the problem that the settings for the lead vocal don't work for the guitar. You need another track. This is where the programmable input matrix comes to the rescue.

Two mixer channels are fed by one ADAT track and are muted and unmuted as required.

Call up the I/O mixermap. Let's say that the lead vocal and guitar is coming from ADAT track 1 and therefore from Digital Input A1. Wind the tape to the beginning of the song. Set the mixermap to "write" mode. Set the value for Digi A1 (i.e. "3") in the boxes marked "Channel 1" and "Channel 9". Call up the "Channels" mixermap. While there is no guitar playing, mute channel 9. When the guitar starts playing, UNmute channel 9 and mute channel 1. When the vocals come back, mute channel 9 and UNmute channel 1. On mixer channel 1 set EQ and FX for the lead vocal. On channel 9, set EQ and FX for guitar. In this way, you have routed a single ADAT track to two mixer channels and have thereby obtained more "track mileage" from the ADAT.

The Ex I/O Button

My ADAT Recorder is hooked up the Korg mixer's ADAT Output A and the Falcon running Cubase Audio to Digital output B.

To record onto the Adat is quite simple. The group outputs are hard-wired to the mixer's ADAT output A. So if you want to rout an incoming signal to an Adat track, simply select the input channel, press the "Bus" button and then select the group you want to rout the signal to. Don´t forget to turn up the group master level (you get there by pressing the "BUS Master" Button on the right side of the mixer)!

But how the blazes can you rout the signal to the mixer´s Adat output B? Well, that´s where the Mixer´s "Ex I/O" button comes in. Press it, then press the UP/DOWN buttons until the display shows "output B" routing. By default it shows MSTR L routed to output B1, MSTR R to B2, etc. If you set "GRP 1" underneath B1, this means that Group 1 will be routed to output B1 as well as A1.

Invoke "Hardware Setup" in Cubase Audio and set "ADAT 1&2 as input source. If the mixer is word clock master, as it should be, Cubase will sync to the external word clock and display "48000" as sampling rate. Note the missing "."!

If Cubase displays "48.000", this means that the ADAT interface quartz is master. This means trouble, because there can only be one master in this digital setup. To make sure that Cubase is the slave, simply select "44.100" as sample rate in "Hardware Setup". Cubase will automatically change to word clock slave mode and after a short pause will display "48000", which is what you wnat to see!

Playing a Cubase Audio track through the Korg's onboard FX and recording the result at the same time.

Everybody knows it can be done, but how exactly?

This is a very nice feature. It's something like "Extended High Speed Cubase Offline". And while the process is running, you can even control the FX parameters in real time and directly monitor the result. All in the digital domain!

Don't forget that Cubase can record stereo files only on the Falcon's audio channels 1 & 2. So make sure that Cubase is not trying to play back audio on these channels while you are doing what I am describing here.

Let's say you want to add a Darth Vader-type (Darth Vader is the asthmatic Asshole in Star Wars who always wears a black helmet) pitch shift effect to a vocal recording that is playing back on the ADAT interface's Output 7 (this I do daily).

On the Korg mixer, select channel 9 and assign Digital Input B7 as its input. Check that you are actually getting signal by pressing the "meters" button and checking the display. Set mixer channel 9's volume fader up to 0 dB. Select channel 9 again and press the "Bus" button. Press "Master" ON if it is not ON already. Can you hear the signal? Yes? Cool. Switch "Master" OFF again. Press I/S/P and turn Effects 1 Send up all the way. Keep it set to "Post (fader)" Press "SND Master" and switch "Effect 1" ON and turn up "Send Master" all the way. Press "Effect 1" button. With the up/down arrow buttons step through the pages until one shows a display similar to the channel's "Bus" display.

Switch "Effect 1" ON, "Master" ON and "Grp 1/2" ON. You should be hearing something now. Press the up/down arrow buttons until you find a parameter called "Effect type". Set it to "Pitch Shift". You now hear the Chipmunks (the vocal recording will be pitch shifted upwards due to the Pitch shifer's default setting).

Set the effect parameter values as you need them. Darth Vader starts at "Pitch Coarse" values of -2. King Kong comes in at around -7. Make sure you are feeding the Korg's effects processor enough signal. You can set the input level with channle 9's fader. If you´re happy with the setting, press EX I/O and assign GRP 1 to Output B1 and GRP 2 to Output B2.

In CAF, select an audio track and set it to "ANY". Call up "Hardware settings" and set everything as described above. Call up "monitor" in Cubase to see if everything is doing what it should be doing. Now record. I do this in the following way:

  • First I select the part with the audio I want to process.
  • Then I press "Alternate + P". The locators jump to the beginning and the end of the selected part.
  • Then I press "1" on the number keypad. The songposition line jumps to the left locator.
  • Then I wind back a little bit.
  • Then I click on "play" with the mouse.
  • When I see the song position line move, I click on "record" with the mouse.

    I have found that Cubase has problems with "Auto Punch" for audio recordings, especially if the monitor function is on. In the way I just described, everything USUALLY works just as it should.

    I hope you can profit from these tips. If you have any suggestions or tips of your own, mail them to SoundPool and Matthias will gladly publish them on these pages. Imagine: YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS!

    Never give up!

    From Berlin with love,

    Robert Schulze Lutum.


    Autor: Robert Schulze Lutum
    Info vom: 19.01.1998
    Vertrieb: SoundPool GmbH, Postfach 1112, D-74373 Zaberfeld
    Tel.: 07046-90215
    Fax: 07046-90315
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