Being able to apply VST, AU, and other DAW effects to audio coming from a typical mixer has been a dream for many ever since hearing the amazing sounds such effects can create. This is now possible with the USB Loop insert on the Rane Sixty-One, Sixty-Two, and Sixty-Eight mixers.
Note: We do not recommend running Scratch Live and a DAW program (Ableton, Cubase, Logic, etc) off of the same computer. Not only may you experience driver issues, but using VST, AU, and other DAW effects in this way requires very low latency settings to avoid delay in the audio. It’s best to have a dedicated computer for this function.
I'm going to be using Ableton for this article but know this is possible using any DAW (digital audio workstation) and setting it up should generally be the same. Assuming you have all the correct drivers installed, and your computer is seeing your Rane mixer, the first thing you want to do is set up your routing options in Ableton.
1. Open Ableton's preference panel by clicking on the Live tab and then 'Preferences' (Mac) or by clicking on the Option tab - Preferences (PC), click the Audio tab, and choose your Rane Mixer as your Input and Output sound device.
2. Click the 'Input Config' tab and turn on 9/10 (Stereo). Press 'OK'.
3. Click the 'Output Config' tab and turn on 9/10 (Stereo) if you’re using a Sixty-Eight or 7/8 if you’re using a Sixty-One or Sixty-Two. Press 'OK'.
4. From here we'll want to create and setup and Audio track. If you don't already see an Audio track, click on the 'Create' column and choose 'Insert Audio Track'.
5. If the I/O section of the audio track isn't visible click the I/O tab to show the ins and outs of the audio track.
6. Select 'EXT In' in the 'Audio From' area of the audio track you created and then select '9/10' for your external input.
7. Change the 'Audio To' option to 'EXT Out' and select '9/10' for your external output if you’re using a Sixty-Eight or ‘7/8’ if you’re using a Sixty-One or Sixty-Two.
8. Press 'IN' for your Monitor setting.
9. Now that our routing options are set on our audio track we'll now add the effect plugins we're wanting to use to the audio track and group them together in an Audio Rack. I'm going to select Ableton's Frequency Shifter and a Filter Delay.
10. Now group the effects together in an Audio Effects Rack by highlighting the effects (hold down the shift key and click on each effect to highlight them at the same time), clicking on the 'Edit' tab, and choosing 'Group'.
11. Click on the show/hide Macro controls tab to open the Macro and then click on the 'map mode' tab.
12. Now locate and click on the wet/dry knobs for each effect and then click on the 'Map' button below Macro 1 to map the wet/dry of each effect to Macro
13. Once you're done mapping click the 'Map Mode' button to get out of Map Mode.
14. Open Ableton's preference window and click on the 'Midi/Sync' tab.
15. Turn on 'Track' and 'Remote' in the 'input' section for your Rane Mixer or MIDI controller and then close the preference window.
16. Click the MIDI tab to put Ableton in 'Midi Mode'.
17. Click on the Macro 1 knob and then move a knob on your Rane Mixer or MIDI controller to map that parameter to the knob. I suggest mapping it to the level/depth knob in the effects section of the mixer if you are using a Sixty-Two or Sixty-Eight. If you are using a Sixty-One I would map on of the knobs in the Mic section.
18. Click on the on/off tab for each effect and map them to a button on the mixer or separate MIDI controller. I prefer to use the Mic 1 and 2 on/off buttons if I’m using the Sixty-Eight, Cue Triggers in a different MIDI layer when using the Sixty-Two, or map them to a separate MIDI controller when using the Sixty-One. This will allow you to turn on/off the different effects in your Effects Rack.
19. Once done, click the MIDI tab again to get out of 'MIDI Mode'.
Note: You can run audio from Scratch Live but we do not recommend running both programs on the same computer unless it is a top of the line machine. If you’re using a Sixty-Two or Sixty-Eight and have two laptops, we would suggest running Scratch Live on one computer and Ableton on the other. You can then play audio from the computer running Scratch Live into your mixer. If you only have one computer, or are using a Sixty-One, go ahead and play audio from Scratch Live into the mixer.
20. Turn on the 'USB Insert' on your Rane Mixer. When using a Sixty-Two or Sixty-Eight, you will also need to turn on the Flex FX On buttons to route the effected audio to the master output.
Note: If you are using a Sixty-Eight, make sure that the Flex FX Level knob in the front of the mixer is turned all the way up otherwise you won’t hear any audio when you engage the Flex FX buttons.
Note: You will not hear the effected audio yet.
21. Now you’re ready to apply the effects to the audio playing into the mixer. To do this you’re going to first turn on whatever effect you’re wanting to use in Ableton using the buttons on the Rane Mixer or MIDI controller you mapped the on/off of the effects to.
22. Now, press the Flex FX button on what ever channel your wanting to apply the effect.
Note: If you hear a delay/pop in the audio open Ableton's Audio preferences and lower the Latency Buffer Size.
23. Now turn the knob you mapped Macro 1 to (Level/Depth knob in the FX section) to turn up/down the wet/dry of the effect.