Focusrite Saffire MixControl Tutorial [Video]

| Pro Tools, Tips, Video

If you use any one of the Saffire audio interfaces from Focusrite and are trying to setup headphone mixes, this video is for you. Coming from the Pro Tools world where we never used an in between software mixer with our interfaces, I was more than confused when I first opened up the Saffire MixControl with my Liquid Saffire 56. I’ve since figured out a solid workflow between the interface and my DAW. This video will explain how to setup zero-latency headphone mixes. Let’s dig in…

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135 Responses to “Focusrite Saffire MixControl Tutorial [Video]”

  1. Puneet

    I think this software is only supported/available for Saffire PRO range of interfaces and not all Saffire interfaces (e.g. USB 6)

    Reply
  2. Simon

    Great video graham! The Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP is the first thing on my christmas wishlist so this was awesome to watch!
    One question though, are there any effects to use on this saffire mix control, like reverb?

    Reply
  3. bolenti

    Great video, thanks. But I thought by watching it I would discover a way to get for example a reverb on a vocal only for tracking purpose with zero/minimal latency.

    Reply
  4. Esteban

    Thanks for another great video! I recently bought a Liquid Saffire 56 (loving it) and took it for its first in-field use at a live gig. It took some getting used to but I think i’m starting to get how to use that SaffireMix. This video is exactly what I needed though and I appreciate you posting this.

    Reply
  5. Carlos

    Great video… I was always a little intimidated by the safire mix control. How about that main volume knob at the bottom right hand. I’ve been turning it to about 75%, is that too much? What should be the rule of thumb as far as that goes?

    Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Graham

      Carlos – I don’t know how much is too much. It depends on how loud your studio monitors are set. Mine is usually at 50% or quieter.

      Reply
  6. Brooks

    My question actually refers to the Liquid Sapphire 56, I noticed that you had the headphone outputs linked with LO 7/8 and 9/10 respectively, is that the way that the hardware is setup, and cannot be changed, or is that a preferential setup that you have for the way you work?

    Thanks for the great blog, I keep coming back and I always end up with a different perspective on things, and this video, and just seeing the capabilities of the software ‘in action’ really helped solidify my choice of what I want to replace my firebox with (love the little thing but the preamps just suck..)

    Reply
    • Graham

      Brooks – From what I understand, those two front headphone outputs mirror outputs 7/8 and 9/10. Now you can send WHATEVER you want to those headphone outs (your DAW 1/2, a custom headphone mix etc,.)

      Reply
  7. Brooks

    but just to clarify, what gets sent (whatever you choose it to be) to the first headphone out will also be sent to outs 7/8 and same for the 2nd HP out except with outs 9/10.

    Reply
  8. Jeff

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!! Ive had the Saffire DSP 24 for over a year and have ALWAYS struggled with the Mix Control. The RTAS Mix Control plug in just confused me more. What an awesome well thoughyt out, well explained video! One question though…..what if the singer needs reverb to perform? I know the DSP has reverb built in, but for whatever reason, I cant hear it. IS there a way to use an aux track in Pro Tools so as to not print to tape and just for the sake of the performance?

    Reply
  9. Jeff

    Nevermind, I got the reverb to work on Saffire 24. But what about those that do not have reverb. How do you give the vocalist verb?

    Reply
  10. Jed Wunderli

    Graham – thanks for the video. I recently sold my ProFire 2626 to buy a used Liquid Saffire 56 and was having a hard time getting my arms around the Saffire Mix Control. You did a great job of explaining it and I really appreciate it. By the way, what software do you use to record these tutorials? Thanks again for your time and sharing your expertise.

    Reply
  11. mark

    Hey Graham
    Do you have any problems with your MixControl lately? I updated mine(it was beta version for Lion) with the recent stable version and now it’s glitching like hell. The support service said it might occur because I have firewire HDD working in parallel with my Pro40. But I had it like that all along before it started to glitch. Any idea what it might be?

    Reply
    • Graham

      I had problems with my daisy chained FW drive also. Moved to running the USB drive. No more problems.

      Reply
      • Gabriel Ribeiro

        So I can`t have a FW drive and this interface running at the same time?
        I wanted to save my sessions to a external FW drive to run things smoother… I cannot do it?

        Reply
        • Graham

          If you have a second FW port you can. This would be ideal. Or you could use a USB 2.0 hard drive or second internal drive as the audio drive. It just doesn’t daisy chain well from my experience.

          Reply
  12. tommy

    Great vid. again Graham, but this time I’m completely lost!!! I have the M- box pro with it’s software and nobody on u-tube or anywhere explains it. The manual is very vague and uncompromising, at least to me. Do ya think you can clear this up for me and others please, whenever u have a moment. I know you’re busy and I’m sorry to hound you but you seem to be ,[ besides Joe Gilger] the only ones I trust in all this web of info. I’m told I have to make a headphone mix in P.T.,or I need a H.P. amp. La di dada, I’m going bananas! Save me from the rubber room.
    Thanks and take care,
    TOMMY

    Reply
  13. Angel

    Dude! GRAHAM! That’s me yelling! lol! I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I sold my Digi 003 after I saw your tutorial on the Saffire 56 and ordered the Saffire on the spot. It arrived today and I have to say that I felt like a pro from the first minute I opened the box! I graduated from SAE in N.Y as a Recording Engineer back in 02′ and I have to say that I have learned more with your tutorials and your vids for sale, which by the way are awesome, than the 18 months I spent there, oh, and all the money I spent on tuition but that’s another story! lol! I almost gave up on the Music Industry after I moved to FL but than I started to google and found your site! Man, you could open up a Recording Engineering school and make tons of cash and also get the satisfaction that I’m sure you get when you teach someone how to Mix, or use Plugins, etc…. You have that teaching ability that many big time Recording Engineers teachers, LACK! I kinda got off topic but yeah, the Saffire 56 rocks and I wanted to thank you for teaching me how to get started!

    Miguel Angel
    N-Xendio Records

    Reply
    • Graham

      Angel – So glad you found my site and it has helped and encouraged you my friend. Keep making music!

      Reply
  14. Brian

    Hey Graham quick question. I have pt10 and a Saffire 56 and seem to always get an ‘asio device properties have been changed’ error. Did you come across this ever? If so, how do I get it to stop?

    Reply
    • Graham

      Haven’t run into this issue Brian. I would post it (or look it up) on the Avid Support forum (duc.avid.com)

      Reply
  15. bolenti

    Hello,
    Is there a way to define and save other routing presets to ease the switching? I haven’t found anything in the manual nor while searching through the interface.

    Thanks in advance for response.

    Reply
  16. French Nick

    Hi Graham !
    Great video, clear explanations, but one thing I don’t understand in your setup is how you (or me…), in the control room, can monitor the recording or performance of your, say, singer as you’ve muted it in Pro Tools ? Do you have to build a “speaker Mix” for the control room ?
    Thanks in advance for helping again, and thanks a lot for all what you do (and hope my english was correct…)

    Reply
    • Graham

      Yep. In that case what I do is create a mix using sends in Pro Tools. I send a copy of every track (PRE FADER) to the talent’s headphone out, and I would MUTE their vocal track in that Pro Tools SEND.

      Reply
      • Ed

        Hello Graham, can you post a screen shot or better yet a video on that? Thanks in advance, and you do a great service!

        Reply
  17. Craig

    Hi Graham. That is one hell of an informative vid. Thank you so much. I am still at entry level and have been using Garageband to record. Do you know if its possible to configure individual DAW channels out and back into Mixcontrol and the Saffire? I only seem to be able to get a composite of all tracks. If I select a DAW other than 1+2 in I don’t get a signal. I assumed that Garageband would return the signal out on the corresponding DAW channel. Do I need to move up to Logic? Thanks

    Reply
    • Graham

      Craig, you would then have to change the output of that individual channel in Garageband to match the output on your Saffire. Not sure if GB lets you do that.

      Reply
      • Craig

        Thanks for the prompt response. I don’t think Garageband will let you route individual outputs. I think its a case of treating the GB stereo output as two monos. By panning hard left and hard right I can get two separate outs. Your neat tip about muting the tracks will then let me get a guitar monitor out that has passed thru the Garageband amp modelling software and back into Mixcontrol. Hope that makes sense? Where theres a will, there’s a way. Really falling in love with my Saffire 56. Cheers Craig

        Reply
  18. Chuck

    Good video, thank you for that. Several people have saked but I still don’t see an answer: I have a saffire pro 40, how can I add a reverb for a singer in the headphones without recordng it? How could I add a compressor to the input on say a bass guitar track so it WOULD record with that compression on? I haven’t been able to find the answers to this anywhere?

    Reply
    • Graham

      The only Saffire that has built in effects is the Saffire Pro 24 DSP. The others can’t do that. What you CAN do for reverb is have your vocal track in your DAW sent to a bus with a PRE-FADER send to a track with reverb on it. You would hear the reverb even with the vocal track muted in your DAW (since your’e monitoring the zero-latency track from the Saffire Mix Control and not your DAW.

      If you want to “record” compression on the way in, you need to use an external compressor. Otherwise just compress in the mix.

      Reply
  19. George

    Hi Graham, greetings from Scotland! :) I’ve had the Saffire 56 for nearly 2 years and never really understood it. Just used it in the most basic way. Your video is excellent, and has made me rethink the way I use the software. I’d always wanted to know if there would be a way to give someone a cue mix with reverb from a plugin; looks like your suggestion on Jan 19 above might do the trick. I’ll get out to my project studio and give it a go! If that fails, I’ll pick up the cheapest hardware reverb and hook up a send / return loop. Your site is excellent. Keep up the good work! :)

    Reply
  20. Robert

    Hi Graham

    Firstly I must also thank you very much for your excellent video.
    I am one stage further forward than George in that I have connected an external Quadraverb effects processor to my Safire Pro 24. I used line output 3 to the Quadraverb and looped back into the Safire via line input 3. (I use line 1 in for my mic input.) On routing, if I choose Anig in 1 for Line Output 3 and Anig in 3 for Line Output 4 I get the vocals with Qverb reverb in my headphones. (I have only a single headphone option). But if I then try to add my DAW backing track to the wet vocal to use as a mix for my headphones, I just get a terrible howling feedback noise in my headphones. (If I connect my DAW plus wet vocal mix to monitor 1 and 2 it works OK.)
    Two questions
    1. How can I get to hear the wet vocals plus the DAW content in a mix for my headphones without the howling?
    2. The vocals record dry to my DAW. How could I record wet vocals to my DAW?

    Thanks very much.

    Reply
  21. Robert

    Have managed to resolve both issues through a process of trial and error. Switching leads around and trying every possible option in Mix Control can eventually bring results…sometimes!

    Reply
  22. Chad

    Excellent. Excellent Tutorial on using the Mix Control. It has mind boggled me from day one. Thank you for this!!

    Reply
  23. Greg Austin

    Graham,

    Great video. But Just curious as to how I would create seperate mixes with the saffire 56(and a OctoPre attached), with the pro tools click track being lower or have no volume at all in one mix and then the click having a lot of metronome in one mix.

    For instance, in my main monitors say I want the click track super low, but in the drummers headphones I need it to be high. How would I accomplish that? I know this is a very old post but hope to get an reply back! Thanks.

    Reply
  24. Jassoncheng

    Hello Graham…my name’s Jass .im kantonese and im now living in vietnam….i wacthed ur tutorial and getting interested in the LSF 56…i bought 2 weeks ago…and now i’m really getting trouble on it…the routing mixcontrol is too hard for me to find out the answer =(( .the audio interface i used before was the Motu 828 mk3 …and everything just fine T_T . plz help me !!! i lost my way on connecting the external hard drive to the LSF 56 .
    Step by step : here im using cubase/ LSF 56 /lexcicon pcm 91 reverb and tascam cd rw901 .
    1st in cubase i set the external effect send bus1 >line out 9 and 10 output and the return signal is 5 and 6 line input.
    get on the LSF 56 … line out 9/10 > line in pcm91 and output pcm91 come back to LSF56 in line in 5/6 . i did change the mic signal 5 and 6 to Line singal (turn on those gain on front view) . now i Shift click on 9/10 number on the 5 pairs of out monitoring. this time my pcm91 input singal in getting up but the input gain in line 5/6 i saw nothing,in cubase i did insert the external effect in 0db both in and output .
    1 more question . i connect the LSF56 to the Tascam cd rw901 by optical if it right ? cuz i also couldnt get input singal here =(( … Plz help me outttt …. more tutorial abt these trouble to help us out Mr Graham….lookin forward ur reply….thank you so much.

    Reply
  25. Bryan

    Hey man great video. Just got the pro 40. So interms of reverb for vocal tracking, I tried making an aux track and put a reverb on there and linked it to the vocal track but when I mute the vocal track for 0 latency it mutes the reverb also .

    Reply
    • Graham

      Make your send PRE fader. That way it won’t mute the send when you mute the vocal track.

      Reply
  26. Chuck

    Bryan,
    Set up your vocal track to record, mute the track, then add a send from it to A bus with a reverb on it. You will then here only the zero latency vocal in the cans with the reverb tail from the bus. Problem solved!

    Reply
    • Roddy

      Chuck,
      I have set it up as you stated as well, but, I do not achieve the zero latency vocal in the headphones. It still ends up having a bit of latency, even when lowering the buffer size in Digital Performer all the way down to 64. It is most noticeable when I snap my fingers into the microphone. Any suggestions?

      Also, after updating my Saffire Pro 40′s MixControl to version 3.0 (I’m on Mac OS X 10.7.5), under: Routing Preset> “Zero Latency Tracking” is gone. It has been replaced with “Ultra Low Latency Tracking”. Any guesses?

      Reply
    • Roddy

      As to the issue of MixControl 3.0 not having “Zero Latency” anymore, and reading as “Ultra Low”, I did receive a response from Focusrite Tech Support. I will paste in their response in case it helps anyone else experiencing this.
      *Response from Focusrite Technical Support:
      “The language was changed because the term Zero Latency was not entirely accurate. When using MixControl to monitor, the signal still has to pass through the analog to digital converters before it enters the onboard DSP mixer. This process adds some latency, but it is so little that it is indistinguishable by the human ear. The performance has not changed, ultra low latency is just a better description of what is going on.
      Best Regards,

      // Focusrite Technical Support”
      That was the response I received from Focusrite.

      Reply
  27. Bob

    Graham,
    How can I track a guitar player using a software based amp sim(Gtr rig 3 or the Line 6 POD) playing to pre-record tracks without latency issues? I’m using Sonar if that matters. Thanks for your time.

    Reply
  28. Bernardo García

    Hi Graham. Thanks a lot for this video, it clarified much to me the mix control use even to a native spanish speaker. I have a question. I have the PRO 24 DSP. How must I set up mix control and DAW (Pro Tools, Nuendo) for using external FX and return them to other chanel in the DAW, in other words, use the outs 3 to 6 like “SENDS” and the in 3 and 4 like RETURNS. I have lot of feedbak when I try to do that. Again, thank you very much. Sorry for my poor english.

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Bernardo. Glad the video helped!

      It depends on what you want to do with external effects. Can you explain your setup a bit more? What you’re trying to do?

      G

      Reply
  29. Alex Burrell

    Hi Graham,

    I am using the Saffire pro 56 with PT 10.2, I was hoping to add a Buffalo FireWire 400 External HD from the second FireWire port on the back of the unit, so the session is going straight from the pro 56 to the HD, do u know of any known issues doing this.

    THANKS, Eck

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Alex, even though it is possible to daisy chain like this Focusrite doesn’t recommend it. And I have had issues with it to be honest. I would give it a shot if you can, but sometimes I found MixControl to be delayed and un responsive when running sessions like this.

      Reply
  30. Ed

    I followed your video everything worked and I had a nice headphone mix. Then I recorded a bass track listening to existing tracks recorded through guitar rig and studio drummer. But on playback the bass is not in time with other tracks. (pro tools 10.2) The bass was direct in no mic no plugins…just doing a test. Is the bass “off” because of the plugins as you mentioned in an earlier post. I’ll have recorded guitars and bass and will have a real drummer come in to record drums listening with his headphone mix. I will be using the saffire pro 40 and probably 6 mics for the drum tracking. Do I need to record guitars/bass with mics and not use any plugins like guitar rig? I know that will sound better anyway but I want to know if I am just doing something else wrong or if it is a plugin issue with latency. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Ed, this is weird. Shouldn’t be off. Perhaps double check that your Delay Compensation in Pro Tools is set to LONG to cover for the guitar rig plugin.

      Reply
  31. Alex Burrell

    Hi Graham, it’s Alex again. Just having a wee problem with the Saffire in pro tools 10. I have my hw buffer size set to 2048 in mix control, but whenever I enter my playback engine settings in pt10, I get the “unsupported hw buffer size” error message…and can only seem to have my buffer size working at 1024 in pro tools (even though 2048 otherwise appears as an option in my play back engine settings + I used to have my sessions running at 2048 no bother yesterday (at the same samplerate I always use – 48k)…but for some reason it isn’t working today. It’s not that much of an issue at the mo…but when I want to add more plugins to my session for mixing purposes, I can’t get as much out of my CPU at the lower buffer setting (I can’t get as many plugins running simultaneously without receiving the “increase hw buffer size” error message). Are there other settings I might have changed that would interfere with my hw buffer options? (like changing my number of dedicated cpu cores, or enabling adc or anything like that?). Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated – cheers :)

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hmmm, I normally work with 1024 buffer setting. As far as CPU cores go, Avid suggests you set it to use one less than you have available. That way the OS can use the final core to run stuff in the background.

      Reply
  32. Alex Burrell

    Hey Graham

    That’s fine it does run fine at 1024, I will set my processor to run at 3 cores, I later found that the higher you set your session 88k up you get more buffer up to 4096, again thanks for the help, much appreciated

    Reply
  33. Michelle Streaumer

    Hey Graham, THANK YOU BUT NEED HELP! you are doing a wonderful job on this site! as more and more females are trying a hand at the industry i so happen to have a focusrite liquid saffire – the big one with all the “award winning mic pres” Question – how do i select these mic pres? its pretty hard to find any tutorials which teaches this audio interface. please help me

    Reply
    • Graham Cochrane

      Hi Michelle, glad to have you on the site. You select the liquid preamp emulations from the included software interface called Saffire MixControl. You install it on your computer and have it open in the background alongside your DAW. For more info, check out the support page on Focusrite’s website. Pretty good stuff there.

      http://www.focusrite.com/answerbase/en/

      Reply
  34. Michelle Streaumer

    Thank you so much for your input BUT i’m familiar with the MixControl but quite not clear on how to exactly trigger the Liquid pre amps ON. This is the issue that im having.

    Reply
    • Graham

      If you don’t see the preamp controls by default, click on the button that says ROUTER on the left middle. This will let you switch from the ROUTER view to the PREAMPS view. There you can trigger the different Liquid Pres.

      Reply
  35. qqpatriot

    Brother can you help
    i Can’t record the sound when i turn on Loopback in my logic Pro…
    in Saffire Mix Control was i set Loop Bac on DAW 1 and DAW 2…

    input should I choose in logic pro? output and which one should I choose?
    please Help thx GBU

    Reply
  36. JesperB

    Hi Graham
    Thanx for another informative video.
    1 question: how is your system set up to give you INPUT from your DAW? How is your computer and Saffire connected via Firewire only?

    A hint for you to pass on:
    I wrote you a month ago regarding using the Saffire 56 w ProTools going through Digi002 – AND being able to use MixControl for monitoring. You said that you didn’t think it was possible. It is – w an extra computer.
    I have my Digi002 (v Saffire 56 via ADAT) connected to an iMac (w Firewire) running ProTools.
    The Saffire 56 is then connected via Firewire to a MacBook running the MixControl for latencyfree monitoring.

    Keep up all your good work.
    Regards
    JesperB (DK)

    Reply
  37. Christian

    Hi,
    I noticed recently that my mix 14 & 15 are always clipping. I’ve set my master output on my computer to my LS56 however, if i’m playing itunes say, every song clips these particular channels. If i turn my itunes down by a single tick, it peaks at -0.3. Is it really clipping? Or is the ‘clip’ actually at 0.0db. I’m scared that i’ve been listening to everything at a clip level now.
    Has anybody else had this problem?
    Thanks in advanced!

    Reply
  38. J.Young

    Need some thoughts/guidance about Unity Gain between my external preamp and Focusrite Liquid 56 line input. I’ve struggled a bit to get close to “unity” gain between my external pre and the l56. Finally I just sort of went with “my ears” and settled on a setting of around 5.5 or so. I went through the process of sending a signal into the external pre, out to the line in of the L56 and adjusted the gain on the Input back from the external pre equal to the wave sound that I was sending. (clear as mud)

    So with that said , it worked out to a setting of around 3.4 on the gain knob of the L56 seemed to indicate “Unity”. However , what seems to sound more natural is moving the gain on the L56 up to 5.5 or so and reducing the pre a bit to offset. My recordings (of acoustic) peak around -8 to -10 dbfs (either way).

    My question – Is it normal to boast the input gain on audio interface (in this case L56) a bit higher than the Unity ? I just find that a couple of “ticks” hotter on L56 (offset by couple of ticks lower on external pre) and everything just gets clearer.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply
  39. Lukas

    Hello, nice video:) I would like to ask you why when I connect fireware to input.1 my Liquid 56 is unlocked and when I connect to input.2 everything is good.
    Second problem is when I record vocal I have a delay in headphones its very big delay I dont know what can I do! problem is only when I have more than 10 tracks kick, snare, bass, pads and so on I use cubase 6.5 whith mac lion 10.7.5 2.7 GHz I think PC is ok can be some problem with liquid 56? Thanks for answer.

    Reply
  40. Bruce

    Hi..wonderful information. I just bought the saffire pro 24 and upgraded to pro tools 10. I mostly use the digital world with only vocals as analogue. In terms of using virtual drums guitars etc, could I assign different outputs on pro tools (my goal) for each instrument as to be able to provide a better head phone mic for the vocalist?

    Reply
    • Graham

      Yes, you do that ideally in Pro Tools via sends. So if the talent needs more kick drum, increase the SEND on the kick drum in Pro Tools which dumps to a stereo track in Saffire Mix Control.

      Reply
  41. Bruce

    I just watched your vid on using the mix control on saffire pro 24 by focusrite. It was very helpful. However when I’m recording a vocal with the mute button on her track I can’t hear the vocalist! What am I missing here?

    thanks

    Bruce

    Reply
  42. Eddie

    Hey Graham! How do you have your LS56 connected to your computer?

    I have my LS56 connected straight into my laptop, and I also have an External HD connected to the second firewire port on the LS56. When I am using Pro tools 10, the saffire mix control is very unresponsive and just very slow and doesn’t work at all. Just wondering if you get the same problem! Please let me know!

    I’m going to try connecting the External HD, in between the LS56 and my Laptop, I’ll see how that goes!

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Eddie. I ran into this exact problem a while back. Focusrite says that MixControl doesn’t like it when multiple devices are running off the same FW bus.

      SO… I have my LS56 hooked up via FW and than an external hard drive via USB 2.0 for mobile recording. My desktop computer has two internal drives, so no problems there.

      Reply
  43. Manuel

    Hi Graham,
    cheers for the instruction; I had been twiking with this and what manual says for a bit but couldn’t get the “ultra low latency mode” to work. Could u explain your method for the workaround this solution pls?
    As well, Could u just explain a bit more on why u don’t mute the drummer (Kick, Snare,…) like u do for the vocal? Shouldn’t that create a latency in the talent’s headphone?
    Brilliant, wish all health.

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Manuel, by default if you have the inputs on the MixControl to match where you’ve plugged in your mics they should come up on the faders in that ultra low latency mode, no issues. The only issue is with the track in your DAW so you mute those. I would mute drums as well.

      Reply
  44. Ray

    Hi Graham, Excellent! Thanks for the great tutorial. Have a question for you though: How would I route the following. I have a TC Electronics Finalizer and want to use it for my final mix from my DAW and then go back to my DAW to record the output. How do I route that properly? I connected my Finalizer via the TOS Link Out and In on the Saffire Pro 40. I Hope you can help. Thanks

    Reply
    • Graham

      You would then need to route the output of the finalizer into an available pair of Line inputs on the Pro 40 and “record” that signal to a new track.

      Reply
      • Ray

        Thanks Graham,

        I tried everything possible to get the digital signal back to my DAW by routing in MixControl but I didn’t have any luck at all. Are you saying that I cannot keep the mix in the digital domain and go back to my DAW?

        Here is my setup – Out of DAW (firewire) Stereo – 1 and 2, into Saffire Pro 40, I selected DAW 1 and 2 to SPDIF 1 and 2. I can monitor the SPDIF 1 and 2 or send to Mix 1 and 2 successfully but no matter what I select in my DAW as an input to record this it does not get the signal. I even tried the Loopback feature and Imput 19 and 20 do not have any signal, but I can monitor via the Saffire Pro with no problem.

        Any help would be appreciated.
        Thanks

        Reply
        • Graham

          Ray, you have to use some cables to come OUT of the finalizer and manually BACK IN to the saffire. Do you have that set up? And which inputs are you using to come back in? Physically on the box.

          Reply
          • Ray

            Heh Graham,

            I found out how to do it in the digital domain.

            You must use the SPDIF out and in to the external processor then setup the routing as follows:

            DAW 1 & 2 into SPDIF at the bottom left in MIXControl. Then set the DAW to Saffire Pro40 out 1 and 2 to the input on the DAW. Make sure you mute monitoring or set the output of the recording channels to 3 & 4 or something other or you will get a feedback loop.

            Works great!

        • Sam

          Hey Ray, just replying as i’m wondering if you can help me – i just got a Finalizer today and am trying to do what you have successfully done…i followed the part about DAW 1 & 2 into SPDIF in MIXcontrol. Then got a bit confused where you said “Then set the DAW to Saffire Pro40 out 1 and 2 to the input on the DAW” – could you elaborate on this a bit? PS i have a Saffire pro 56 but i think it should be a similar setup…

          Reply
          • Ray

            Heh Sam,

            You must use the SPDIF out and in from the Saffire to the Finalizer.
            (use only the SPDIF RCA connections. Don’t use the optical connection, it won’t work properly)

            Setup the routing as follows:
            Set DAW 1 & 2 into SPDIF at the bottom left in MIXControl. Then set the DAW (your recording inputs on your DAW) to Saffire Pro40 out 1 and 2 (or whatever out you set as the output) to the input on the DAW channels you want to record to.

            Make sure you mute monitoring or set the output of the recording channels in your DAW to 3 & 4 or something other or you will get a feedback loop.

            Hope that helps. Let me know if you need more clarification.

  45. Jesús

    Hi Graham,

    Great post. All I need to know to start making headphone mixes for the next time I track somebody. There is a little question, in order to have extra stereo mixes will I need an headphones amp? I understand that connecting a pair of headphones directly to one of the line outputs I will just get one channel (mono) mix. Please correct me if I missing something.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Graham

      Correct.

      On the front of your saffire you’ll have at least one headphone output which can be used as a stereo mix. But using the line outs on the back you’ll only get mono mixes unless you take a stereo pair into a headphone amp first.

      Reply
  46. Haritha

    Graham,

    I think ONLY you can help me from ruining my career as I’m 24 hours away from recording the single best rock band in Sri Lanka!

    And I’m in deep shit as I’ve purchased a Liquid saffire 56 upon recommendations from your site and I feel like I’m in a major issue now.

    My liquid saffire is late! meaning, I can’t even take a small recording , the artist can hear her voice and complaining ” I’m hearing like lil echo Haritha” . This is delay of the signal when she’s receiving! Now Focusrite worked fine for a week since I purchased it but I recorded mainly on direct input guitar.

    The moment I went into mic recording it gives me delays. Like bigtime delays.

    I’m running logic and I have iMac 2.4 ghz and 4GB ram and Running os x leopard.

    also have an apogee and I have no issues whatsoever with apogee when it comes to latency. I purchased Focusrite from Singapore as my small country don’t have a dealer for audio goods and I’m feeling very stressed out and unfortunate. I purchased Focusrite on high recommendations from you whome I respect and love and I don’t need 10 mic inputs and I only record maximum 4 people on single mics each at once! And that’s also only seldom.

    This latency delay thing is killing my business and I’m really frustrated.
    I open logic latency buffer and its at 0. What does this mean?
    0 suppose to be ok right?

    Mind you, whatever records, records on time. Only issue currently I’m facing is the signal ging back to headphones of the artist is delays and there is a slight echo. I pressed the low latency button on logic also. Nope. Doesn’t work either.

    So help me out guys, I’m a beginner who’ needs some slid help if you it’s can help me out ill be forever great full.
    If you can guide me through it, like a beginner I would appreciate it.

    Reply
    • Graham

      Haritha – Have you muted the track in your DAW? You want to monitor it through the MixControl software and then mute it in the DAW so you don’t hear any delay.

      Reply
  47. Jason Weir

    Hey, Love the site, you information and attitude about recording. I just purchased a liquid saffire (based on your video and Sweetwater guidance) I’m loving it! I spend alot of time now recording vox with all the different “flavors”. I would love to know if you have some channel emulations that have become your “go to” settings and what they are. Especialy for Vox! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Jason,

      I really like the RED and the CLASS A 2A – but honestly I just flip through and pick what sounds good that day.

      Reply
  48. Wayne Crook

    how to route the monitor mix to digital speakers either through spdif or optical

    Reply
  49. Tiago

    Hi Graham, I want to start my home studio for live jamming and sometimes recording (multitrack). The musicians /vocals will only use headphones and I will use a e-drum. I notice that with the Liquid Saffire 56 I can do that.
    a) Do you know any cheaper interfaces where I could do the same thing ?
    b) I also watched your live recording video with just the 8 channel interface. Did you use anything else other than (PC + Interface + mics + instruments + headphones) ? did you use a headphone amp ? or ADA extension? PA or just phones?
    c) last question … with Liquid Saffire 56 can I setup difference input volumes for different headphones or just turn inputs on/off for a headphone output ? I mean in headphone 1 I want to hear a lot of vocals, but not so much drums … and headphone 2 I want to hear not so much vocals, but want a lot of drums … can I do that ?
    I really dont know anything about audio interfaces and DAW, but I want to buy something that fits my needs … I dont want to start with basic equipaments that wont do what I need. suggestion please :)

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Tiago… you could do the same thing with the Saffire Pro 40. Half the price.

      And yes you can create custom mixes for each band member with their own levels as they prefer. I did use a couple of headphone extension cables, but that was it.

      Reply
      • George Falconer

        Tiago – picking up on Graham’s point – I’ve found that unless you can hear the effect the liquid mic pre’s are having on the vocal in isolation (ie you aren’t in the same room as the vocalist) the mic pre’s are an unnecessary luxury. I use the 56, track in the same room as I record, so its hard over headphones to actually hear how different the different mic pre’s and harmonics actually are. Once its recorded, it recorded, you can’t (afaik) alter this after the take. All you can do is find the most appropriate mic and mic pre combo for a singer (lots of trial an error)

        Reply
  50. Mike Tuchscherer

    I just purchased the Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 and found this video very helpful to supplement the Focusrite documentation. It’s true that the user interface for MixControl could use some usability enhancements, but with your help, Graham, it has been substantially demystified for this novice user! Love your work!

    Reply
      • Emmanuel

        Great Video!

        BUT if i’m sitting in the Control Room with my DAW Output 1&2 on physical Out’s 1&2 at the backside from my Scarlett 18i20 and i mute those Channels in the DAW that i’m currently recording because of Monitor-Settings inMixControl … how do i get those muted Channels on my DAW Output 1&2 for listening them in the Control Room?

        Greets from Austria

        Reply
  51. Bruce

    Hello

    I’ve recently bought a GA project pre-73 pre amp and I was wondering what is the best way to connect this unit with my saffire pro 24? I have some hum issues and there is a level of background something on the vocal track which you can see but I haven’t actually heard it in the mix yet. The pre amp adds another level of complication to this but I feel it’s necessary for the mic I’m using to get a decent level. This tutorial is very helpful by the way!

    Reply
  52. Josh Dillard

    Graham HELP!!!! Hey bud, I have the pro 40, and for some reason I am in able to select the 40 for output. Both within protools and my Mac. I am stumped I have no idea what to do. It shows that I have the 40 selected for my input device, but I am unable to use it for output. It won’t even give me an option to. In my midi/audio options I see it listed and it says saffire 20/0. ??? Do you have any idea what I did?? Lol I went to focusrite to “unistall” it from my Mac, and then reinstalled it and its still doing the same thing. I’m about to just return it to the store. :-/ any help would be appreciated. Thanks so much!!!
    Josh

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Josh, I’m not sure what’s going on. I would contact support at Focusrite. They have helped me before.

      Reply
      • Josh Dillard

        Hey bud,
        Thanks so much for the reply, sadly I returned it already, the unit itself was a little “if-y”. Oh well, I’ll just try again another time. Thanks so much!!
        P.S. ignore the “help” emails on FB.

        Reply
  53. Jan Bos

    I use a saffire 26 i/o, can i link the line 1 input with the line 1 output, the line 2 input withe the line 2 output and so on?
    I like the do this because i think i than can use my annalog mixer to control thinks.
    am i tinking right now ore not?

    Reply
  54. Brent Godfrey

    Hi Graham,

    I just picked up a Saffire PRO 24 DSP. I am successfully recording guitar tracks thru the front combo input sockets.

    However, I have connected my Motif XF8 to the spdif digital in and cannot get it to record in my Audacity DAW.
    I can hear both the DAW and the Motif in the monitor. However, when I push record nothing is getting input into the DAW.

    I have been trying every combination in the software without results. I have tried Sync Source at both internal and SPDIF.

    Hoping you could offer some input on this. Probably something simple that I cannot figure out.

    Thanks,
    Brent

    Reply
    • Graham

      So you’re hearing it through the Saffire Mix Control probably. Do you have the right inputs set in Audacity?

      Reply
  55. Brent Godfrey

    That turned out to be the problem. I did not have the correct number of channels specified in Audacity.

    Thanks Graham.

    Reply
  56. Mark Stow

    Hi Graham

    Great video, finally bought one of these units and loving it so far. Quick question. In my DAW I am recording my guitar using an insert plug in instance of amplitube 3. Is there a way in MixControl to route that signal with amplitube 3 from DAW to MixControl and the BT to another track in MixControl so I can adjust levels and monitor in Mix Control?

    If not then I will work within the DAW as I usually do to record my guitar using Amplitube 3.

    Reply
    • Graham

      Not really. Once you’re going through Amplitube you’re past the point of getting that near zero latency, so you’ll just have to monitor through your DAW.

      Reply
  57. Carlos Moller

    Hey Graham! Your site is a life saver! Thanks for your effort :-)

    quick question (it might be a dumb one): I have a Saffire 24pro and I use Outputs 1&2 to plug my main monitors (KRK Rokits). Also I use the frontal headphone output to plug my, well, headphones. Now I’m trying to find a way to use back outputs 3&4 to connect either another pair of monitors or headphones. If use my MixControl the way it is today (default BTW) I cannot control the volume of what’s being played or recorded if I use those outputs (or 5&6 for that matter). Any ideas? I’m missing something that’s for sure!

    Thanks again!!

    Reply
    • Graham

      You could setup OUTs 3/4 to be a MIX and not a DAW pair. That way you could create a MIX that really is just your DAW 1/2 output, but have a fader to control volume.

      Reply
  58. Ben Lipscombe

    Hi Graham,

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I am actually having trouble recording my bass through my original Saffire. Do you know if the original Saffire is cqapable of achieving good results, or has the hardware moved on with the later saffire ranges? I dont know whether I need to get a new bass or a new Saffire!

    Thanks for any help
    Ben

    Reply
  59. Ruud

    For those who struggle with the loopback function to record something like sounds from a webbrowser I found that this only works when working in 48Khz or lower. I record my projects in Cubase standard in 96 KHZ but I didn’t get it to work.In 48KHZ I got the 4 extra Adat inputs available and suddenly the signal came in through the loop inputs in my DAW. Don’t forget to set the output to 3 and 4 to prevent a feedback loop.

    Reply
  60. Sergio Rossi

    Hi Graham, If you can help me, i’m having problem with my LS56 and i don’t know what to do…here we go…My knob of volume in the interface is set to zero(all way down) and i still get loud signal on the leds, that hapen in all tracks!!! have you ever see that???

    Reply
    • Graham

      If the output pair is greyed out in the little boxes in the saffire mix control then it ignores the volume knob and outputs full volume. Make sure you shift click those boxes to be blue.

      Reply
      • Sergio Rossi

        It’s all blue…but my problem is in my inputs, they go straight to my DAW and even in my DAW(Reaper)i can’t monitoring the level of the signal, i pull down the fader of the track and the signal still there…I just don’t have any kind of level monitoring from interface, or DAW, since mixcontrol is for hearing right?? I’m very frustrated with that!!!

        “Sorry for my english” and thanks for your atention.
        All Best for you!!

        Reply
        • Graham

          Hmmm. I would talk to the support folks at Focusrite. Helpful site and they’ll email you back.

          Reply
          • Sergio Rossi

            oooo that sucks man…with your LS56 is not like that??? when you close the knob the volume close??? couse if it, i’ll change my interface for another new…i’m still on warranty!!

  61. Edward

    Hey Graham!! any thoughts about why will I want to record with the “zero latency mix control thing” since I’m able to record more than 25 tracks at 32samples of latency through protools 11? I don’t think is worth it all the hassle in my case, is it? or am I missing something here?

    btw great site keep the good work, you are helping tons of people!

    Reply
  62. Paulo

    Hi, thanks for your work and your time.
    I have a Saffire Pro14, an analog Tascam 16 track mixer, and a PC with Windows XP.

    I would like to know how to set 3 & 4 Back inputs to act like the main or input source in windows, because when I try to use the windows audio mixer interface it wil only let me change the volume levels of outputs, but when I change to Input sources there are no knobs or sliders and the OK button is faded, so I think there is no possible -from windows xp- way to control the main input source.

    When I use a program not intended for professional recording (web cam recording program), its software does not have a way to switch or select the input source, normally this kind of software uses the Windows default input recording source, but Saffire always records from 1 & 2 front inputs.

    How do I switch default input source (1&2) to 3&4, from saffire mix control.

    Thanx in advance for your time and collab…

    Paulo.

    Reply
    • Graham

      I’m not sure if that’s possible. Most web cam or screen capture software just looks for inputs 1 or 2.

      Reply
      • Paulo

        Thanks Graham.
        So there’s no possible way of telling windows (using Saffire MixControl) the default input recording source are 3 & 4?
        I was trying to set a Mix turning off 1 & 2 and even Muting the channels assigned in the MixControl’s Mix (Mix1).
        and Choosing “Save to Hardware” From File menu, all theese after Reseting (Restore Factory Defaults) the MixControl.
        The thing is that I could record from 3 & 4 inputs before, when the PC was running Win7, and later when XP(sp3) was just installed. So I wonder how it worked then, and ignore the hardware/software mixer then, and what changed now.
        Anyway, thank you.

        Reply
  63. Derek

    Hello

    I have a Saffire pro 40 that I am using with Logic Pro X. Recently, purchased a TC Helicon Voiceworks Plus that I have connected to the Saffire Pro 40 through SPDIF. I want to add harmonies after recording in order to give me more latitude during the final mix. My problem is that I can barely hear any of the harmony effects. I’ve tried upping the gain but to no avail. Has anyone got a clue how to set this up or any suggestions to try? Thanks for any help you can offer.

    Reply
  64. stephen

    hi
    i have a question,been looking for an ansewer for a while.can i use a hardware reverb/multiFX unit for comfort reverb while tracking vocals and such at zero (or near zero) latency? also could i do the same with a reverb unit equiped with SPDIF and use the SPDIF I/O on my interface to keep my other two mic/line inputs free?

    love this site by the way such an opportunity to learn as im the only one of my group of friends into pro audio/music tech.love your you tube vids aswell.

    please keep up the good work,you would be missed.

    stephen.

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Stephen – You definitely use a hardware reverb to do this. The specific details though would depend on your DAW.

      Reply
  65. Jay Trujillo

    Great Video Graham
    I also was trying to figure out how to set my Saffire Pro 40 Mix to my Pro Tools 11 on Mac. As a guitar player, the only concern I had with your video was that I wanted to hear the plug-in effects from ProTools without muting the track in ProTools. But after 3 months of trial-and-error, I finally figured out how to hear the guitar with effects while using ProTools effects without latency.

    In the Mix Control, my guitar is plugged into Analog 1&2 as a stereo mix. Since DAW1&2 are the default for Pro Tools Playbacks, as i finally understand now, I had to set Analog 3&4 as DAW 3&4 in Mix Control to hear and relay the guitar effects from Pro Tools. In ProTools, the inputs were IP 1-2 and the outputs were set to Line 3-4 because that’s where the Mix Control will receive the signal in DAW 3&4.

    Lastly in Mix Control, Monitor Outputs were set to Mix 1s. Here, I muted the Analog 1&2 so that the Main Mix can only pick up DAW 3&4. Otherwise, it’ll pick up the one clean guitar sound from Analog 1&2 plus the other guitar sound with effects from DAW 3&4.

    The record button in ProTools should be enabled to hear the guitar effects in real time. After recording a track, Pro Tools in and out should be then set back to IP 1-2 and Mon 1-2. You will then hear the track from DAW1&2 from the Mix Control. Hopes this helps to anyone who wanted to hear their effects while recording.

    Thanks for all your help Graham

    Reply

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