Jump to content

STEINBERG MR816csx Interface and CC121 Controller - now with conclusions


Anderton
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 160
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Members

Excellent question - yes, you can very definitely do direct monitoring, in fact that's one of the interface's strengths. First, you need to enable direct monitoring within Cubase, as shown in the first attached image.

 

Then, there's a channel strip created for the MR816 cx interface channel. The MR816csx-specific controls are outlined in red in the second attached image. The "DM" toward the lower middle of the strip stands for direct monitoring. You'll note the phase and low cut filters toward the top; there are also indicators for the pad and phantom power above the "input" block.

 

Because the effects are in DSP and inside the interface, the effects are direct as well and add no delay. The little slider on the right gives you the option to have no effects, send effects only to the monitor but not Cubase (i.e., the singer wants to hear reverb in the headphones, but you don't want to commit to recording that sound), or to both the monitor and Cubase.

 

The screen shot shows both the compressor and reverb active. The reverb is normalized to a send, rather than as an insert effect for a channel (makes sense).

 

So yes, there's direct monitoring and you can add the effects in the MR816csx. Of course, if you want to add (for example) an amp plug-in, you've now left "real-time land." But you can always be old school, and put a distortion box in front of the MR816csx input.

 

I had originally intended to upload the last of the morph-related posts and examples tonight, but figured that since you asked, we'd do the direct monitoring instead. Tomorrow, I'll post the morph stuph, including a short video.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Let's take a deeper look at the whole morph thing before moving on to the reverb.

I wanted to create an audio example that could be automated to sweep through the Morph knob, as well as a short video that showed the Morph changing while you could hear the processed sound. So...Example 1 is the dry drum loop I used; it's from the Discrete Drums sample library. Example 2 is the sound of the loop with the Morph control starting out fully counter-clockwise, and ending up fully clockwise. The video (Windows Media Video or QuickTime, your choice) shows the morphing in action.

Interestingly, though, when automating with a smooth, linear sweep, the morph control setting was "quantized" into 11 distinct steps. This implies to me that the morph control has 11 basic settings, and getting the "in-between" settings is something that has to happen with a manual adjustment; I couldn't find any way to automate the morph knob so it moved completely smoothly from one extreme to the other, as you'll see when you look at the video. I'm not sure that really matters in a practical context - I assume most users will set the morph knob for whichever setting they like best, and leave it at that.

BTW the Morph also sounds really good with guitar. We'll get to that later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I decided to take a screen shot of the settings for each position of the Morph knob for a couple reasons. First, this way you can see the variations among Morph positions. Second, these are good points of departure regardless of what kind of EQ or dynamics you use - the parameters have real values, (e.g., milliseconds, Hertz, etc.) that you can translate to what you use, even if you don't have an MR816csx. So...thanks, Yamaha engineers, for the free applications ideas!

The forum is currently configured for a maximum of five attachments per post, and as there are 11 morph shots, I'll do four with this post, four with the next post, and the final three in the next post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Let's listen to how the Morphing affects electric guitar.

Example 3 runs a dry electric guitar signal (Gibson Dark Fire, both pickups) through only the channel strip; like the example with drums, the Morph control once again sweeps linearly from the fully counter-clockwise to the fully clockwise position.

Example 4 is the same, with the exception of the Cubase amp sim inserted prior to the channel strip. The attached image shows a screen shot of the amp sim and channel strip in action.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I didn't read the entire thread so forgive me if I rehash some things...

 

Good:

- The preamp sound quality is excellent.

- The reverb quality is excellent.

 

Bad:

- Not enough I/O. If you use all the effects you lose all the digital I/O. Deal-breaker for me having a digital console. Compared to (for instance) a MOTU device the MRCSX is way short of usable I/O *if* you also plan to use any FX and even then compared to the MOTU devices which also have AES I/O and the like.

 

Apparently the digital I/O is used internally as FX busses also and they can only do one thing at a time.

 

Conclusion:

If it works for you and you don't need the digital I/O when using all of the FX, it's a great sounding unit. The one I had died and - be very careful and UNINSTALL the MR drivers before hooking up any other FW devices - also killed my MOTU Traveler.

 

That's right. I plugged in my Traveler after the MR died to get back to work and it saw it as an MR and did something to the internal rom making it unusable on any computer. I never sent it in for repair, I just use it for field audio now (for video shoots) as it still works fine standalone, just not as a firewire device on any computer I own. It would cost me $150 to repair it.

 

As to the comps and EQ? I didn't find them that good or bad, usable, but not at the expense of losing pairs of digital I/O as opposed to just using plugins.

 

Great sounding unit for tracking/mixing through but I ignored the advice of many - no disrespect to Steinberg intended, longtime Cubase user - who warned me beforehand to avoid Steinberg hardware. I won't be doing that again.

 

I do miss those preamps though... I hope they make another mic pre product with just the pres, not the firewire.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
That's right. I plugged in my Traveler after the MR died to get back to work and it saw it as an MR and did something to the internal rom making it unusable on any computer. I never sent it in for repair, I just use it for field audio now (for video shoots) as it still works fine standalone, just not as a firewire device on any computer I own. It would cost me $150 to repair it.



Wow...that seems really bizarre, maybe someone from Steinberg could comment? The Steinberg drivers just sit in my computer, they're around on startup and I haven't bothered to delete them from the startup menu. I've used a bunch of FireWire devices and haven't experienced any problems. Hmmm...

Are you sure it's not a case of the FireWire port itself being fried if you hot-swapped? While rare, hot swapping can destroy ports. This is why I always say in articles to make FireWire connections with power off to all units, and failing that, with power removed from at least the peripheral.

Haven't tried the digital I/O yet, been fixated on the processing and pres, but will investigate that aspect further.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Maybe it was an anomaly but no, the firewire port is fine. When I plugged the Traveler in it interacted with the Steiny driver instead of the MOTU driver - I saw the ballon come up in XP lower right corner as if I'd plugged in a MR816 "Audio device detected MR816" - and it did something to the MOTU rom.

 

The MOTU LCD screen went all wacky showing symbols I'd never seen before... and then nothing.

 

I've used other firewire devices since uninstalling the drivers and all is well. But the Traveler no longer shows up as audio hardware on any computer. MOTU said I'd have to send it in to fix it.

 

Again, I'm not trying to disparage Steiny in any way. I'm a loyal fan of Steiny. It's a great unit and I'm certainly in the vast and small minority % that had any serious issue with that unit.

 

It could have been the driver or driver install got corrupted somehow and killed the MR816 and my MOTU. I sent it back (the MR816) but I never heard back what was wrong with it exactly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Just received one and did some initial testings. My plan is to use this as an ADAT device with my Pro Tools HD system and a Digi 192. After installation which went completely smooth I fired up the rig with optical cables in place and set up the system. After a few hours of trying to configure the system and try to understand how to use the MR Editor to get my signals in and out of Pro Tools I finally temporarily gave up and called Steinberg. The tech seemed puzzled that I was using the MR 816 with the 192 and made the comment that I should just use it with Cubase. He then said he would call me right back because he had to go to the lab and fire the MR up to walk me through it. He never called back... I went on ahead with trying to figure the whole thing out (manual does not go in depth with this use) and made some head way. I figured out how to use the hardware channel strips going into Pro Tools and thought I had it figured out. The problem I am stuck at is I can not monitor Adat 1/2 into Pro Tools while simultaneously monitoring the out of Pro Tools via Adat 1/2 into the MR (I would love to use the MR as the monitoring device.) To complicate even further I could only get the headphone feed from Adat out 1/2 in the MR Editor. I was sending the signal out of analog 1/2 to my mains but chooosing the headphone select in analog 1/2 sent no signal to the headphones. I really want this to work because I love the sound and complements my system but if I cant figure this out I will have to send it back.

To sum this up...

The sound is great but the MR Editor is confusing me to mental agony. Since Steinberg didnt call back, Im hoping somebody can help me before I have to send this thing back!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Due to inventory/fiscal year issues, I've had to send the MR816csx and CC121 back to Steinberg. They will return sometime in mid-April, and the review will resume then.


Meanwhile, feel free to discuss the products amongst yourselves
:)

just my luck!:confused:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Members

Craig, thanks for the in-depth review! I've been planning to get one of these for a while (just waiting for my semester to end). I've had problems with Firepods on my computer (Vista loaded HP). Hopefully the MR816 works out!

 

As far as the whole 'monitoring vs. playback with reverb' problem goes, couldn't you record an input to two different Cubase tracks? Record the reverb (that's also being monitored) to one track, and leave the other track clean. Then when you play back for the artist, play the track with the recorded reverb on it. When you mix, you have the option to use the reverb from tracking or a clean track.

 

Or does it not work that way?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

My experience has been poor. I've got an MR816CSX daisy chained with an MR816X into a 3ghz core duo 2 running XP servue pack 3.

Everything installed as described above and we recorded some live test tracks and everything looked and felt fine.... then we could not get playback anywhere anyhow. Then we tried to use headphones while recording a vocal track and got nothing out of the headphones while recording.

We started to look around in the device set up menu and the system crashed. Now all we get is this.

I've entered 5 tickets with MySteinberg and received one response -- "there is likely a problem with your audio interface... contact your hardware manufacturer" WTF??? Isn't that Steinberg?

Would kill for (or just pay cash) for somebody with a clue (because I have not a one) to help stting up this rig.

-Straightman
Simi Valley CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Straightman

 

Sorry for your frustrations. If you write me a PM with a number to call you, I or one of my techs will walk you through your MR set up. Or, you can call them at 714.228.3301.

 

The error message you show is not a Steinberg message, but rather an OS message.

 

I am confident we will figure this out.

 

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • Members

So I really enjoyed the review and am seriously thinking of going out and getting one, but how does it compare to say, the RME Fireface 400? I'm currently using a Presonus Firebox, and I'm more interested in getting a better A/D conversion, but also decent pres.

In a nutshell, how does the MR816 sound (yeah, I know it's subjective).

Thx,
Max

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Craig, wouldn't it be a good idea to come up with some sort of subjective sound quality grading system ? Hotels have a grading system, so do high end restuarants (if that isn't subjetive then.....), so does Consumer Reports. CR grades everything and tell you why.

If say Lavry Gold's are 95 out of 100 with current SOA technology and JoeShmo convertors are a 50 out of 100, surely we can quantify the sound quality of every other convertors out there. Even if they all end up being betwen 70-80 at least we know, O.K. yes, these convertors are right up ther with "A-B-C" convertors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
  • Members
Hi Craig,


Did you get the unit back in April for further testing or has there been a planning issue preventing this Pro Review to continue?

Very much interested in seing this come to a conclusion!


Cheers,


Mats N




It took a bit longer to get it back than expected, and it missed the "window" I had allocated to working on this review...then came Summer NAMM, and trade shows basically take a month out of everything else.

However, I have everything set up again and am recording examples of the reverb right now :) Also we'll get into the CC121.

Sorry for the delay, things are very busy here at Harmony Central!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
However, I have everything set up again and am recording examples of the reverb right now
:)
Also we'll get into the CC121.



I presume that it is the latest and greatest version of software being tested, i.e. the version announced at HC yesterday?

Very much looking forward to your findings Craig.

Cheers,

Mats N

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share




×
×
  • Create New...