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 new USB Loop insert on the Sixty Eight.
Note: We do not recommend running Serato DJ and the 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. Its best to have a dedicated computer for these types of effects.
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 the Sixty Eight, 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 the Sixty Eight 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). 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.
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 1. You will need to map one effect at a time.
Once your mapping is done your screen should look like this:
13. Once your done mapping click the 'Map Mode' button to get out of Map Mode.
Now we're ready to midi map some controls on the Sixty Eight to control the effects in Ableton.
14. Open Ableton's preference window and click on the 'Midi/Sync' tab.
15. Turn on 'Track' and 'Remote' in the 'input' section for the Sixty Eight 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 the Sixty Eight to map that parameter to the knob. I suggest mapping it to the level/depth knob in the effects section of the mixer.
18. Click on the on/off tab for each effect and map them to a button on the Sixty Eight. I prefer to use the Mic 1 and 2 on/off buttons. 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'.
Now that the midi mapping are done we are ready to start affecting the audio playing into the Sixty Eight. First, run some audio into a channel on the mixer.
Note: You can run audio from Serato DJ but we do not recommend running both programs on the same computer. If your using two laptops, run Serato DJ on one and Ableton on the other. You can then play audio from the computer running Serato DJ into the Sixty Eight. If you only have one computer, play audio from a regular record or cd player into the Sixty Eight.
20. Click on the 'USB 5 Insert' and Flex FX On buttons to route the effected audio to the master output. Also make sure that the Flex FX Level knob in the front of the mixer is turned all the way up.
Note: You will not hear the effected audio yet.
21. Now your ready to apply the effects to the audio playing into the mixer. To do this your going to first turn on whatever effect your wanting to use in Ableton using the buttons on the Sixty Eight you mapped the on/off of the effects to.
Since I mapped the on/off of the Filter Delay to my Mic 1 on/off button on my Sixty Eight I'm going to want to press the Mic 1 on/off button to turn On the Filter Delay.
22. Now press the Flex FX button on whatever channel your wanting to apply the effect to.
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.