I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and I kind of feel like I’m in a similar place to @sellanraa in terms of having the instruments I want on hand but looking at the signal chain.
Having just spent some time getting a simple DIY “patchbay” into my rack, I can patch easily from my modular (or other hardware) into 8 channels of a Soundcraft EP8, and also send and return 2 stereo channels if I want to use Euro effects (like Clouds or send stuff into a Morphagene), pedals etc. I’ve really been enjoying building pieces completely through that setup, but the question is how best to capture them as either a final stereo mix or ideally, with stems so I can adjust things a bit after the fact.
Right now, I can take direct feeds from the 8 mono channels into my MOTU Ultralite Mk3 via inserts on the channels, so I can record stems pre-fader directly into the computer.
The one part that I’ve not yet sorted out is that I’d also like to take the stereo mix from the desk into the MOTU as well, in order to capture the live performance as such, or to make it easier to send stems back out to the desk and capture effects separately if I want to mix in the box.
However, I’m out of inputs on the Ultralight, so I’ve been looking for a A/D converter that I could use with the S/PDIF input on the Ultralight, or possibly something with both A/D and D/A if I wanted to send a mix out of the box for some kind of finalising process.
The idea of having some kind of mastering converter seems to fit in here, and the option of getting something that can be nicely driven to get some colour does appeal, as oppose to something that is just clean but could potentially get nasty if it clips.
While I’ve got reasonable monitoring (Dynaudio BM6As), it seems out of line with the rest of my setup (in terms of the quality of the room, the actual desk etc) to be dropping in a really “serious” converter (I guess the likes of Mytek, Burl, API). A second hand Apogee Rosetta might be an option, but I wonder about whether there are other “interesting” options for the same kind of spend give or take a bit (a TC Finalizer - seems like a wild alternative but maybe…?) 500 series is also interesting (had no idea there was a DIY scene there) but I’d still need to solve the A/D D/A converter if I want to keep the other channels free for tracking.
I’m not sure about going for something older and cheaper like a dbx 386 (probably with replacement tubes) if it is going to sit in that “mastering” position but I’m probably more interested in having something can can have character than something that is just brutally clinical, so maybe that’s worth a try.
Will definitely have a look at some of the pointers above. If anyone has additional suggestions I’m all ears.