Archives July 2020

Multisampler-Zones_C1

Create Tracktion Waveform Multisampler Drums With Audio Sample Files

In this post, we’ll be learning how to create Tracktion Waveform Multisampler drums with audio sample files. Whether you want to make a quick set of drums, or delve deeper into using multi-velocity drum hits, Waveform’s Multisampler will help you make your own re-usable drum kit for your productions. Let’s get started making a custom starter drum kit now in Tracktion Waveform 11 Pro.

29 July 2020 – Written by Michael R. Myers #mykmyrs

Skill Level: Advanced

Creating Your Own Sampled Custom Drum Kit

You may have asked yourself if it is worth the time and effort to create a drum kit in a software sampler. I know I did. Looking at the cost of the big virtual drum plug-in developers’ products, I decided it was better for me and my budget to learn how to use the Multisampler component available in Tracktion Waveform 11 Pro to make use of the tons of drum kit audio samples I already own.

In all fairness, follow this tutorial’s steps with some confidence, but be open to change. There is not a lot of documentation or other information about Waveform’s Multisampler tool. I pieced together what I considered to be the “right way” based on other samplers I have used, but I may have done things inefficiently. Or maybe I was misguided and there’s a better, faster and more correct way. In any event, if there’s something you find that makes it better for us all, please let me know in the comments.

I’m using Tracktion Waveform 11 Pro as my DAW. This tutorial is a basic approach to creating a starter Multisampler instrument. Feel free to use whatever drum kit samples you have on-hand. If you need samples, do a web search to find some free ones that can help you learn. Hopefully at the end of the tutorial, you’ll have a custom Waveform 11 Pro drum kit that you can use over and over again.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

Steps to Create Tracktion Waveform Multisampler Drums

  1. Create a new project in Waveform 11 Pro.
  2. On an empty track, drag a plug-in instance and choose Waveform Plugins>Instruments>Multi Sampler. The Multisampler window will appear on the SOUND tab.Multisampler-Initial_Window
  3. We’ll add some kick drum samples and assign them to key C1, the MIDI default for a kick drum instrument. From your storage location, drag your kick drum samples into the left-hand side pane.Multisampler-Dropped_Samples
  4. Let’s adjust the duration of all of the samples’ playback next. Select all samples by clicking your first sample, hold the Shift key, and click the last sample. Then in the center of the screen, where the box shows some lines with circles and squares, drag the topmost square all the way to the right as far as it will go. Repeat this action for the bottom rightmost square.Multisampler-Samples_Playback_Duration
  5. Now let’s assign the samples to their key and velocity ranges. Click the “ZONES” heading in the top center of the screen. The zone editor will appear and show a large keyboard with the range the samples are initially assigned. Looking at the image, the range of the mapping is large and not correct since it spans multiple octaves on the keyboard. We’re going to limit these four (4) samples I have to one (1) key, C1. In addition, these samples represent four (4) ranges of hit velocities, so we’ll end up stacking them vertically on the C1 key.Multisampler-Zones_Initial
  6. Let’s limit the range to one key, the C1. At the top of the screen, change all letter and number combinations to “C1”. Leave the zero (0) and One Hundred Twenty Seven (127) as is for now. If you click on the C1 key, highlighted in blue color, you should hear your sample play.Multisampler-Zones_C1
  7. Now that we’ve limited the samples to the correct keyboard key, we need to adjust the MIDI velocities to respond to differing key press intensities, known as velocities. These values help to give the MIDI playback a more human feel and will play louder at higher values and softer at lower values. Since I have four (4) samples, my velocity ranges will be as follows: 0-31, 32-64, 65-97 and 98-127. Note that the range for MIDI velocities is zero (0) to one hundred and twenty seven (127), giving us one hundred and twenty eight (128) possible values.
  8. I’ll select my first sample, which needs to be mapped to C1, range zero (0) to thirty one (31). See the image for the updated values and the change in the samples’ display. The region at the bottom of the samples’ stack is brighter blue now to represent the 0 – 31 mapping. I’ll repeat this step for each sample, assigning it to the ranges I previously specified.Multisampler-Zones_First_Map
  9. Here is my completed mapping with the four (4) sample layers mapped to their velocity ranges. You should be able to see the division lines between the samples and recognize that this C1 key has multiple samples assigned to it. Verify your mapping by clicking the C1 key with your mouse. You should hear your hardest velocity sample play.Multisampler-Zones_C1_Complete
  10. Before we map any other drum kit pieces, let’s make a MIDI clip on our track and make sure the kick drum is responding properly to multiple velocities. Save your Edit and close the Multisampler screen for now.
  11. Drag a new clip from the red Plus button onto the track and chooce Insert New MIDI Clip. You should get a one-bar clip by default, which is enough for our velocity test. Double-click the clip and the piano roll editor will appear. Scroll down to the C1 range and click the C1 key with your mouse. You’ll hear your kick drum sample play.Multisampler-Piano_Roll
  12. Now add some sixteenth notes to the clip on key C1 and press the spacebar. You should hear your kick drum playing, but all notes are playing at the same velocity, which is what we want to vary since we added multiple samples. For each beat’s notes, change them to fall into the four (4) velocity ranges you set up. My first group of notes are set to twenty-two (22) for the velocity. The lines under the piano roll represent the velocity values. You can see that my first group is low, the second beat’s notes are higher, and so on up to the fourth beat. Set your velocities and press the spacebar again. Now you should hear variations in the loudness and intensities of the notes while they are playing. Note that you can also click the C1 key from left to right, and as you move in either direction, the sample played back will represent the mapped velocity layers. Clicking far right equals the maximum velocity, clicking far left equals the minimum velocity.Multisampler-Piano_Roll_Velocities_Set
  13. Save your kit and continue mapping each drum kit instrument, one at a time, and verify they are working before moving to the next piece. I recommend referring to the general MIDI standard specification for mapping your drum kits so that playback is expected and correct when playing MIDI files created by others.
  14. After you get your entire kit working properly, and you’ve saved your sampler instrument, make it into a Waveform preset. The preset will be stored at “C:\Users\{YOUR_USER_NAME_HERE}\AppData\Roaming\Tracktion\Waveform\Presets” in Windows 10.

Summary

Now that you have a basic kit with a few various hit velocities per instrument, you’ll probably want to set up several Tracktion Waveform Multisampler drums to use in different projects or styles of music. You can look into buying more one-hits or multi-velocity hits as well to try to get your acoustic drums sounding like a human player versus a software sequencer’s output.

If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.

Similar Drum Sampler Articles I’ve Written

Config-Filter

Create Custom Impulse Responses with Audio Assault aIR Impulse Rack

If you’ve ever wanted to create your own impulse response for a unique guitar tone, Audio Assault has released a plug-in that allows you to sculpt your own IRs from the ground up. You can use other IRs as a starting point, or for the adventurous, start fresh at step one and fiddle with knobs until your heart’s content. In this post, we’re going to make a brand new IR for a metal guitar sound. Follow the steps later in this tutorial to create custom Impulse Responses with Audio Assault aIR Impluse Rack.

28 July 2020 – Written by Michael R. Myers #mykmyrs

Skill Level: Intermediate

What Are We Doing With aIR Impulse Loader?

We’re going to generate and export a custom impulse response (IR) file with air Impulse Rack. To keep this tutorial brief, I will assume that you have an understanding of what an IR is and how you apply them within your DAW. If you don’t understand IRs just yet, go do some research and come back to continue.

There is not much documentation on the aIR Impulse Rack, so until that becomes available, the steps here are going to be similar to other information and videos I have seen for this product. There’s also the risk that the information presented will be incomplete or incorrect, so make sure you save your preset in a safe place in the event we find out updated information from the Audio Assault team.

What You’ll Need to Create Custom Impulse Responses with Audio Assault aIR Impluse Rack

  • A Digital Audio Workstation. I’m using an evaluation of Reaper v5.
  • An amplifier simulation plug-in that allows for its cabinet section to be turned off so that IRs can be used for speaker cabinets.
  • Paid version of Audio Assault’s aIR Impulse Rack plug-in
  • An alternate IR loader, such as STL Tones’ NAD IR. It’s free and part of the Emissary Plug-In Bundle.

Some Remarks Before We Continue

  • One of the Audio Assault developers posted a video tutorial about aIR Impluse Rack on 25 June 2020 on the Audio Assault User Group on Facebook. In the video, he demonstrated how to blend several different IRs to create a new IR. In addition, he added several components, one at a time, to show how to make your own amp and cabinet simulation. Based upon the latter topic, I wanted to show how he did his steps while tweaking the settings to make my own IR.
  • Audio Assault runs regular promotions on their products, and they are insanely affordable during these promotions. You can pick up aIR Impulse Rack for around $10 USD while it’s on promotional pricing. The best way to be notified of sales is to join their email list and also the Facebook group. Joining other VST/Plug-in groups on Facebook may also allow you to see what others post for sale pricing as well.
  • This link is where you can find this tutorial’s finished IR file if you just want a sample IR without doing the configuration steps in this tutorial.

Steps to Create Custom Impulse Responses with Audio Assault aIR Impluse Rack

  1. Record a dry guitar track 4 bars in length to be used for playback during the IR development process.
  2. Add the aIR Impulse Rack plugin to the dry guitar’s track effects. Set up looping in your DAW for the dry guitar track so that you’ll be able to hear the changes to the IR as we build it.
  3. Add your desired amp simulation to the guitar track. Ensure that you disable its cabinet so that we can use our own impulse response that we are builidng as the cabinet. Here I am using Audio Assault’s Sigma virtual amplifier.Disable Amp Cabinet
  4. Add the aIR Impulse Rack plug-in to the guitar track, after the amp simulation.Load AIR rack
  5. Click the Modules tab in the pane on the right-hand side. The available tools are presented, starting with “IR Module”. Scroll the list until you find “Phase Delay”. Drag in three (3) instances of this module.Config Delays
  6. The delays are going to act as the speaker cabinet. By adjusting their delay knobs, we’re simulating the sound bouncing around inside the cabinet. Set them with the following values, starting from the top instance and working down. Instance 1 – HP 89.1 LP 9996.4 Mix 50 Delay 1.1 Feedback 55.7 Parallel ON Phase ON Power ON. Instance 2 – HP 101.3 LP 8827.1 Mix 60 Delay 2.7 Feedback 24.7 Parallel ON Phase ON Power ON. Instance 3 – HP 410.4 LP 8704.4 Mix 37 Delay 8.6 Feedback 60.6 Parallel ON Phase ON Power ON.
  7. Now let’s add our speaker simulator by dragging a FILTER module from the list and placing it under the last DELAY module. Set its values as follows. LOW CUT – 91.4 HIGH CUT – 9434.4Config-Filter
  8. Add a HIGHSHELF module next, directly under the FILTER module. Set its values to the following: FREQ – 5092.2 Q – 0.3 GAIN – 2.0Config-HIGHSHELF
  9. Add a FOCUS module with a setting of 69.7Config-Focus-1
  10. Add a FOCUS module with a setting of 33.3Config-Focus-2
  11. Add a NORMALISER module with a setting of -4.0Config-normaliser
  12. Finally, add a VISUALISER as the last module. I added two instances here only to show both the Impulse and the Frequency representations of the impulse response. You only should add one instance of the VISUALISER to your chain of modules.Config-Visualiser
  13. Now that we have finished the initial impulse response, let’s save it as a preset with aIR Impulse Rack. Click the “Presets” tab on the right-hand side of the screen. At the bottom of the pane, click “Save Preset” and select a folder of your choice.Save-Preset
  14. Now let’s export the impulse response into a *.wav file so that it can be used within an impulse loader application as an amplifier cabinet. Click the Export button at the top right-hand side of the screen, set your options and click the Export To button to choose a folder to store the *.wav impulse response file. I used standard export values of 44100, Mono and 24 Bit as parameters for my impulse file.Export-IR
  15. Alternatively, instead of using aIR Impulse Rack to handle providing your impulse response to your signal chain, you can use a different impulse loader, like STL Tones’ NAD IR, to act as your amplifier’s speaker cabinet. If you want to use NADIR, uncheck aIR from your FX chain, add STL NADIR and within NADIR, choose the *.wav file you exported. I also changed my routing in NADIR from MONO to DUAL MONO.Config-NADIR

Summary

Now that you have made a custom IR from scratch in aIR Impulse Rack, you can tweak the preset you’ve stored to your own liking. There’s no right or wrong and the key is experimentation and finding tones that work great for your equipment and ears.

You can also load existing impulse response files, one or more, to blend and tweak and design your own new impulse. The results are really endless. I hope you found this tutorial useful and if you make any IRs, please send them to me so I can try them out.

If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.

Mix Minus MagicJack Main

MagicJack Mix Minus With Audio Mixer

In this post, I’ll show you how I configured a MagicJack mix minus on a computer with my analog audio mixer, microphone and a few other components, so that I could take live calls. This configuration is useful for podcasters who would like to take live calls during their shows, and also for recording phone calls (make sure you have the other party’s consent before recording!).

If you want to try this method of Mix Minus using an iPhone, see my previous post for further instructions. I also wrote a similar post on this topic using Google Voice.

09 July 2020 – Written by Michael R. Myers #mykmyrs

Tags: #mixminus #mixer #audiomixer #cell #phone #call #magicjack #microphone #podcast #callmenow

Skill Level: Intermediate

What is Mix Minus?

Simply put, mix minus allows an audio configuration where the sound of the phone is played to the caller through an audio mixer’s output, but their voice input is “minused” out so that they don’t hear themselves through the output’s signal. If you don’t remove their vocal input from the signal chain, a feedback loop would be generated and they’d sound like they’re in an an echo tunnel. Unless you explicitly tell someone, they probably wouldn’t even know that you are processing the call’s audio.

You can read much more in depth here if you are interested in more usages and details regarding phone mix minus.

What You’ll Need to Create MagicJack Mix Minus

  • A computer running MacOS or Windows10 connected to the internet
  • A current MagicJack device with an active calling plan
  • An audio mixer with an FX Loop connected to your computer, either analog or USB. I use a Behringer Xenyx 1002 analog mixer in my studio.
  • A microphone connected to the mixer. I use a Pyle PDMIC78 in my studio.
  • A 3.5 mm auxiliary audio cable, preferably with a 1/4” jack on one side. Here’s an example I found on Amazon.com. You can also buy a 3.5mm to 1/4” adapter plug.
  • A 3.5mm stereo audio cable with 2 separate 1/4” TRS plugs on the other end. I use the Pyle PCBL43FT6 in my studio.
  • Studio headphones connected to the mixer’s 1/4” jack
  • Optional
    • A boom arm with a shock mount and pop filter to hold your studio microphone so the call can be hands-free
    • An external recording device to allow for saving the conversation to disk
    • A USB audio interface to connect the mixer to your computer

Some Remarks Before We Continue

  • Your computer has to have a headphone jack AND a line in jack for this configuration to function. I am using a 2011 iMac which has both ports available. If you don’t have those jacks, you may be able to find a USB adapter of some sort, but I do not have any experience with them to recommend one.
  • Your audio mixer has to have an effects loop (FX Loop) or auxiliary send capability. Mix Minus will not work without this mixer feature.
  • Use a good-quality studio microphone with your mixer. Connect it via XLR if possible, and set the gain appropriately so that you input level is not clipping. Adjust any EQ knobs you like to shape your voice’s output sound. Condenser microphones would work great for voice. If yours requires phantom power, your mixer can provide it easily.
  • You can find the 3.5mm to dual 1/4” TRS cable to connect to the mixer to the stereo inputs of your mixer at electronics stores or online.
  • You can find the 3.5mm to TRS cable to connect to the FX Loop jack of the mixer at electronics stores or online.
  • I am assuming that you already have your MagicJack device set up and connected via USB directly to your computer and that you have it working properly. You must have your MagicJack activated and have a current calling plan so that you have telephone service.

Steps to Connect the MagicJack Mix Minus Cabling

  1. Connect your microphone to an available channel strip on your mixer. Try to use an XLR input if possible because they usually have a small gain knob to help you set your input to a strong level. Set its FX channel knob to the 12:00 position. Set its volume level knob all the way to the left to disable any audio output at this time.
  2. Connect the 1/4” TRS plug of the aux cable cable to the FX Loop output jack of the mixer. Connect the 3.5mm stereo end to the computer’s line in jack.
  3. Connect the 3.5mm to dual 1/4” TRS connectors cable to the headphone jack of your computer.
  4. Use the 1/4” TRS dual connectors side of the cable and insert them into a channel on your mixer. Use the red cable as the “right” side of the stereo signal. Set its FX channel knob all the way to the left to disable it. LEAVE it disabled at all times, or the caller will receive a feedback loop. Set its level knob all the way to the left to disable any audio output at this time.Connect TRS to Mixer
  5. Connect your MagicJack unit to an available USB port on your computer. When its application loads, it will show you its start screen.Mix Minus MagicJack Main
  6. Connect your studio headphones to the mixer’s headphone jack to monitor the call. Try not to use speakers/studio monitors if possible.
  7. In the MagicJack application, you’ll need to configure some settings for calling. Set the inputs and outputs as required for your computer. I have selected my line in and headphone options so that the audio is coming from and going to my audio mixer.Mix Minus MagicJack Audio
  8. In the main MagicJack screen, dial a number to make a test call. Verify that you can hear the caller and that they can hear you. Use the level knob on the mixer to adjust the mixer input channel where your computer is plugged in. Usually around 12:00 will provide a strong signal to be able to hear the caller through your mixer.

At this point, your configuration should work for hearing and speaking through the MagicJack software. You may want to tweak your microphone channel strip’s EQs to enhance your voice, if desired.

With an optional boom arm to hold your microphone, you may be able to leave your microphone set up so that you can do hands-free calling. The beauty of a mixer is that any audio you don’t want to pick up or broadcast can be muted on the channel strip with the level knob for that channel.

Summary

Using a MagicJack mix minus with an audio mixer is a great way to take live telephone calls for podcasters or to record telephone conversations. Using a MagicJack phone number allows you to keep your personal phone number(s) private. This method only requires two audio cables, a mixer and a microphone to be able to make and receive phone calls via MagicJack.

If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.

Mix Minus Google Voice

Google Voice Mix Minus on Google Hangouts

In this post, I’ll show you how I configured a Google Voice mix minus on Google Hangouts with my analog audio mixer, microphone and a few other components, to integrate my Google Voice number so that I could take live calls. This configuration is useful for podcasters who would like to take live calls during their shows, and also for recording phone calls (make sure you have the other party’s consent before recording!).

If you want to try this method of Mix Minus using an iPhone, see my previous post for further instructions.

09 July 2020 – Written by Michael R. Myers #mykmyrs

Skill Level: Intermediate

What is Mix Minus?

Simply put, mix minus allows an audio configuration where the sound of the phone is played to the caller through an audio mixer’s output, but their voice input is “minused” out so that they don’t hear themselves through the output’s signal. If you don’t remove their vocal input from the signal chain, a feedback loop would be generated and they’d sound like they’re in an an echo tunnel. Unless you explicitly tell someone, they probably wouldn’t even know that you are processing the call’s audio.

You can read much more in depth here if you are interested in more usages and details regarding phone mix minus.

What You’ll Need to Create Google Voice Mix Minus

  • A computer running MacOS or Windows10 connected to the internet
  • A Google Voice account and phone number. They are free to obtain.
  • Google Hangouts installed on your computer
  • An audio mixer with an FX Loop connected to your computer, either analog or USB. I use a Behringer Xenyx 1002 analog mixer in my studio.
  • A microphone connected to the mixer. I use a Pyle PDMIC78 in my studio.
  • A 3.5 mm auxiliary audio cable, preferably with a 1/4” jack on one side. Here’s an example I found on Amazon.com. You can also buy a 3.5mm to 1/4” adapter plug.
  • A 3.5mm stereo audio cable with 2 separate 1/4” TRS plugs on the other end. I use the Pyle PCBL43FT6 in my studio.
  • Studio headphones connected to the mixer’s 1/4” jack
  • Optional
    • A boom arm with a shock mount and pop filter to hold your studio microphone so the call can be hands-free
    • An external recording device to allow for saving the conversation to disk
    • A USB audio interface to connect the mixer to your computer

Some Remarks Before We Continue

  • Your computer has to have a headphone jack AND a line in jack for this configuration to function. I am using a 2011 iMac which has both ports available. If you don’t have those jacks, you may be able to find a USB adapter of some sort, but I do not have any experience with them to recommend one.
  • Your audio mixer has to have an effects loop (FX Loop) or auxiliary send capability. Mix Minus will not work without this mixer feature.
  • Use a good-quality studio microphone with your mixer. Connect it via XLR if possible, and set the gain appropriately so that you input level is not clipping. Adjust any EQ knobs you like to shape your voice’s output sound. Condenser microphones would work great for voice. If yours requires phantom power, your mixer can provide it easily.
  • You can find the 3.5mm to dual 1/4” TRS cable to connect to the mixer to the stereo inputs of your mixer at electronics stores or online.
  • You can find the 3.5mm to TRS cable to connect to the FX Loop jack of the mixer at electronics stores or online.

Steps to Connect the Google Voice Mix Minus Cabling

  1. Connect your microphone to an available channel strip on your mixer. Try to use an XLR input if possible because they usually have a small gain knob to help you set your input to a strong level. Set its FX channel knob to the 12:00 position. Set its volume level knob all the way to the left to disable any audio output at this time.
  2. Connect the 1/4” TRS plug of the aux cable cable to the FX Loop output jack of the mixer. Connect the 3.5mm stereo end to the computer’s line out jack.
  3. Connect the 3.5mm to dual 1/4” TRS connectors cable to the headphone jack of your computer.
  4. Use the 1/4” TRS dual connectors side of the cable and insert them into a channel on your mixer. Use the red cable as the “right” side of the stereo signal. Set its FX channel knob all the way to the left to disable it. LEAVE it disabled at all times, or the caller will receive a feedback loop. Set its level knob all the way to the left to disable any audio output at this time.Connect TRS to Mixer
  5. Connect your studio headphones to the mixer’s headphone jack to monitor the call. Try not to use speakers/studio monitors if possible.
  6. Open Google Hangouts. Create a new conversation and enter a telephone number. Call someone on their phone and verify that you can hear them and that they can hear you. Use the level knob on the mixer to adjust the mixer input channel where your computer is plugged in. Usually around 12:00 will provide a strong signal to be able to hear the caller through your mixer.

At this point, your configuration should work for hearing and speaking through Google Hangouts. You may want to tweak your microphone channel strip’s EQs to enhance your voice, if desired.

With an optional boom arm to hold your microphone, you may be able to leave your microphone set up so that you can do hands-free calling. The beauty of a mixer is that any audio you don’t want to pick up or broadcast can be muted on the channel strip with the level knob for that channel.

Summary

Using a Google Voice mix minus with an audio mixer is a great way to take live telephone calls for podcasters or to record telephone conversations. Using a Google Voice telephone number is free and allows you to keep your personal phone number(s) private. This method only requires two audio cables, a mixer and a microphone to be able to make and receive phone calls via Google Voice.

If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.

Mix Minus with iRig 1

Cell Phone Mix Minus on Audio Mixer

In this post, I’ll show you how I made a very affordable cell phone mix minus setup with my analog audio mixer, and a few other components, to integrate my iPhone 8+ so that I could take live calls and use my studio microphone instead of the phone’s built-in microphone. This configuration is useful for podcasters who would like to take live calls during their shows, and also for recording phone calls (make sure you have the other party’s consent before recording!).

08 July 2020 – Written by Michael R. Myers #mykmyrs

Skill Level: Intermediate

What is Mix Minus?

Simply put, mix minus allows an audio configuration where the sound of the cell phone is played to the caller through an audio mixer’s output, but their voice input is “minused” out so that they don’t hear themselves through the output’s signal. If you don’t remove their vocal input from the signal chain, a feedback loop would be generated and they’d sound like they’re in an an echo tunnel. Unless you explicitly tell someone, they probably wouldn’t even know that you are processing the call’s audio.

You can read much more in depth here if you are interested in more usages and details regarding for cell phone mix minus.

What You’ll Need to Create Cell Phone Mix Minus

  • A older cell phone with a 3.5mm headphone jack, or a lightning port
  • An audio mixer with an FX Loop connected to your computer, either analog or USB. I use a Behringer Xenyx 1002 analog mixer in my studio.
  • A microphone connected to the mixer. I use a Pyle PDMIC78 in my studio.
  • An original iRig 1 guitar interface, or an iRig 2 guitar interface
  • For lightning phones, an official Apple 3.5mm to Lightning adapter
  • A mono 1/4″ TS guitar cable
  • A 3.5mm stereo audio cable with 2 separate 1/4” TRS plugs on the other end. I use the Pyle PCBL43FT6 in my studio.
  • Studio headphones connected to the mixer’s 1/4” jack. You may need a 3.5mm to 1/4″ TRS adapter
  • Optional
    • A boom arm with a shock mount and pop filter to hold your studio microphone so the call can be hands-free
    • An external recording device to allow for saving the conversation to disk
    • A USB audio interface to connect the mixer to your computer

Some Remarks Before We Continue

  • Newer cell phones, such as iPhones, only have a lightning port. You must have an official Apple 3.5mm to Lightning adapter. You can get these adapters for around $9 USD at Target, or buy online. DO NOT USE a cheap adapter because the cheap adapters only send stereo audio out. They DO NOT allow the microphone to be used, and you need to be able to use the microphone input of the cell phone.
  • While the 3.5mm to Lightning adapter is connected to your phone, you cannot charge or supply power to the phone. Make sure your battery is fully charged before starting a caller session.
  • When using an old Samsung Galaxy S4 cell phone, I can directly plug the iRig1 into the phone’s headphone jack it works perfectly for hearing and speaking.
  • Your audio mixer has to have an effects loop (FX Loop) or auxiliary send capability. Mix Minus will not work without this mixer feature.
  • Use a good-quality studio microphone with your mixer. Connect it via XLR if possible, and set the gain appropriately so that you input level is not clipping. Adjust any EQ knobs you like to shape your voice’s output sound. Condenser microphones would work great for voice. If yours requires phantom power, your mixer can provide it easily.
  • Most YouTube videos and online articles I read use the IK Multimedia iRig 2 guitar interface due to its TRRS audio cable (2 rings for stereo audio and one ring for microphone) and a built-in gain control knob. As of this writing’s date, IK Multimedia sells them for $39.99 USD. I had an original iRig guitar interface laying around and tested it and it works great for mix minus. It is missing the gain control knob that is present on the iRig 2, but you can use your mixer/USB audio interface to help with the gain. Check Amazon or eBay for the iRig 1 which is cylindrical in shape and offers a TS guitar cable input, 3.5mm aux cable out and a TRRS 3-ring cable.
  • You can find the 3.5mm to dual 1/4” TRS cable to connect to the headphone jack of the iRig to the stereo inputs of your mixer at electronics stores or online.

Steps to Connect the Cell Phone Mix Minus Cabling

  1. Connect your microphone to an available channel strip on your mixer. Try to use an XLR input if possible because they usually have a small gain knob to help you set your input to a strong level. Set its FX channel knob to the 12:00 position to enable sending its output to the mixer. Set its volume level knob all the way to the left to disable any audio output at this time. I pan my microphone audio 100% to the left.
  2. Connect one end of the guitar TS cable to the FX Loop output jack of the mixer. Connect the other end to the iRig interface’s 1/4” guitar input jack.Connect FX Loop to iRig
  3. Connect the 3.5mm to dual TRS cable to the headphone out of the iRig interface.Connect 1/4" to iRig
  4. Use the dual connector side of the cable and insert them into a channel on your mixer. Use the red cable as the “right” side of the stereo signal. Set its FX channel knob all the way to the left to disable it. LEAVE it disabled at all times, or the caller will receive a feedback loop. Set its level knob all the way to the left to disable any audio output at this time.Connect TRS to Mixer
  5. Connect the iRig’s 3-ring cable plug to the 3.5mm to Lightning adapter. If using a phone with a headphone jack, connect the iRig1 directly into the phone’s headphone jack.Connect lightning to iRig
  6. For phones that need a lightning adapter, connect the lightning adapter to the lightning port of the cell phone.
  7. Connect your studio headphones to the mixer’s headphone jack to monitor the call. Try not to use speakers/studio monitors if possible.
  8. Since I am sending my analog mixer’s output to two (2) input jacks on a USB audio interface for left and right audio channels, I have to enable the “2-TR TO MIX” button on my mixer so that the audio is sent from the computer back into the mixer while recording. If I do not enable this feature, I cannot record the call’s audio.
  9. I also have to pan the mixer’s audio input channel for the phone hard right so that I can boost the gain on my USB audio interface’s input 2 to get a nice, solid signal from the caller’s phone.
  10. My USB audio interface’s gain knobs are set at about 10:00 for channel 1 and 2:00 for channel 2. Understandably this is subjective information, but this produces a nice blend of my microphone and the caller’s audio.
  11. After recording, I have to disengage the “2-TR TO MIXER” and enable “2-TR TO CTRL ROOM” to hear the playback from my DAW where I recorded the call.
  12. Test the setup with a phone call to your cell phone from another person’s phone. Adjust your phone’s audio output level with the buttons on the phone. Speak into your microphone and verify your levels are strong and not clipping on the mixer’s signal meter. Use the level knob on the mixer to adjust the cell phone input channel. Usually around 12:00 will provide a strong signal to be able to hear the caller through your mixer.
  13. If you recorded the audio, it will end up being a stereo file, with your microphone on the left channel and the caller’s voice on the right channel. Using this method, you have distinct audio sources and you can separate and apply processing on the channels individually if necessary.

With an optional boom arm to hold your microphone, you may be able to leave your microphone set up so that you can do hands-free calling whenever you want.

Summary

Using a cell phone mix minus with an audio mixer is a great way to take live telephone calls for podcasters or to record telephone conversations. With a few more steps, you can integrate the mixer’s audio stream into a computer recording application, or an external recording device, and make permanent recordings of the phone calls.

If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.