While almost everyone is working in a computer based studio setup these days, this does not exclude you from using these wonderful old hardware effects units in your workflow.
Hardware effects units require no license fees, or software upgrades to keep it working with your current operating system and offer some fabulous opportunities during mix down. So, if you have a multi-channel audio interface then you’re good to go with this DAW Integration guide..
In the example pictured we have the excellent Universal Audio Apollo audio interface which has 16 channels of analogue audio in and out, or eight stereo pairs. The outputs can be used to send audio out of your DAW to the external effects, and use the inputs to return the effected audio back into your DAW. Or, as I prefer to do, sum the outputs of all effects into a summing mixer along with the non effected outs from your DAW for final recording to an external master recorder. (As Shown)
By setting your DAW integration in this fashion, you will be utilising your audio interface far more than ever before. Now, you may well be thinking to yourself: “what about all the DA and AD conversion in this setup, doesn’t that affect the sound quality?” Short answer is yes, but with a quality interface like the Apollo, the impact on quality is very minimal, and far out weighed by the stelar advantages that such a setup can provide.
It will require some setup in your DAW to enable the effects send and return functions, in MOTU Digital Performer that I use, it is setup in Bundles, check with your DAW manual to configure your setup. When DAW Integration is complete, you will have one of the best setups you can, featuring both plugins and hardware based effects. No more arguments over which is best, both are great, both have their place.