Saffire and Scarlett MixControl tutorial

Applies to: Saffire Pro 40, 26, 24, 24DSP, 14, Scarlett 18i20 (1st gen), 18i8 (1st gen), 6i6 (1st gen) and LS56 

Saffire MixControl is the control software that is used to control the output routing and settings for the Saffire interface range. Scarlett Mix Control is the control software that is used to control the output routing and settings for the Scarlett interface range. This tutorial will explain the features and settings of MixControl to allow the greatest amount of control over your interface.

The Mixer Channel
The Master Channel
The Routing Section
The Monitor Section
The Control Section
The Input Section

The Mixer Channel

Each mix allows analogue and digital inputs to be blended together with software outputs before being routed to a physical output. Each mixer channel consists of the following.

Mixer channel input - This controls the input for the respective input channel.This can be a physical input or a DAW output and can be changed by clicking on the current input name.
Pan control - This controls the amount of the signal sent to the left and right channels of the mix. Double-clicking on this control will centre the control and send an equal amount of the signal to the left and right channels.
Fader - The controls the level of the signal in that particular mix.
Graphic meter - This displays the level of the signal in dBFS before the fader. This can be a useful way to monitor the input signal. If the signal has clipped it will display a red bar at the top of the meter. To remedy this, lower the gain and click on the red bar.
Channel mono/stereo toggle switch - This will switch the channel between one stereo channel and two stereo channels.
Level meter - From left to right: Gain applied by fader (dB); Maximum level (dBFS); Current level (dBFS).
PFL button - This routes only the selected channel to the monitor outputs until it is pushed again.
Solo button - This solos the selected channel in the mix.
Mute button - This mutes the selected channel in the mix.
Channel name - This is the name of the channel. This can be changed by clicking on it.

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The Master Channel

The master channel is the channel of the very right hand side of the mixer and behaves similarly to each mixer channel in the corresponding mix. The controls that differ from the mixer channel are outlined below.

Mix destination - This is one of the methods to route the mix to a physical output. Clicking on this button reveals a list of possible outputs and the mix can be routed to each output by clicking on the output.
Copy Mix settings - This copies the settings of the selected mix to another mix. This might be useful if a basic mix only needed to be tweaked to make it appropriate for other musicians.

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The Routing Section

This section controls what is sent to each physical output. The outputs for the interface are listed as well as the source for each output.

Routing preset button - This changes the routing to a convenient preset that might be useful. 'DAW tracking' routes DAW 1 and 2 to all analogue output pairs and is useful if you like to monitor through your DAW. 'Zero Latency Tracking' routes Mix 1 to all analogue output pairs and is useful if you wish to blend between DAW outputs and inputs to your Saffire/Scarlett.
Output source - This is the output source for the destination to its right. Clicking on this allows the output to be switched between analogue inputs, DAW outputs or mixes which can blend the two and are controlled using the mixer section.
Output destination - This lists all of the available output destinations for your Saffire/Scarlett. Outputs with a headphone icon indicate headphone outputs.

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The Monitor Section

This section controls the monitoring options on the Saffire/Scarlett.

Output Status - This displays the current output status of an analogue output. If the output is blue, this means that the output is switched on and its level will be dependent on the level attenuator, and the dim and mute buttons. This is suitable for monitor outputs. If the output is red, this means that the output is switched off. If the output is silver, this means that the output is switched on and its level will not be dependent on the level attenuator, and the dim and mute buttons.This is suitable for headphone outputs and external processors. The output is switched between red and blue by clicking on it, and is turned silver by shift-clicking on it. Various monitor presets can be selected using the Monitor Preset button.

Output level attenuator - The attenuates all of the outputs that are coloured blue before the D/A converter. This can either be control within the application or through the units monitor control by clicking "H/W Control"

Mute button - This mutes all of the outputs that are coloured blue.

Dim - Clicking the 'Dim' button will slightly attenuate the outputted signal.

Mono - Clicking this will combine the two stereo signals into an interleaved mono signal.

Left/Right Mute - This mutes the left and right channels respectively.

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The Control Section

This section allows control over some of the global settings of the Saffire/Scarlett.

Sample rate selection - This changes the sample rate that the Saffire/Scarlett is operating at.
Sync source selection - This changes the sync source. If there are no units connected digitally to the Saffire, this should be left at 'Internal'. If the device is to be slaved to another digital clock for a connected device then this can be changed to 'S/PDIF' or 'ADAT' respectively.
Sync status - This displays whether the Saffire is locked to a valid digital clock.
Firewire Driver status - This displays the status of the driver.
Device name - This displays the name of the device.
Settings menu - This allows the ASIO buffer size to be changed on PCs.

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The Input Section

The first two inputs on the Saffire Pro 14, 24 and 24DSP and the Scarlett 6i6/18i8 feature combo jacks which can accept microphone, instrument or line level signals. If an XLR cable is inserted, it will expect a microphone level signal. If a jack is inserted, it will expect a level based on this section of Saffire/Scarlett MixControl. 

On the Saffire Pro 40/Scarlett 18i20, this selection is made using a button on the front panel.

On the Liquid Saffire 56 there are separate Instrument input 1/4 inch jacks on the front panel. The source for all inputs can be selected from the 'Preamps' section of Saffire Mix Control.

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