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CueMix FX

CueMix FX software

CueMix FX gives you comprehensive graphic control over your mix. CueMix FX is a completely new software front-end with attractive graphic mixing, graphic editing of parametric EQ and a convenient tabbed interface for quick access to all mixing features, digitally controlled trims and other settings in your MOTU FireWire audio interface.

CueMix FX can be operated side by side with any host audio software for Mac or Windows, and it can be controlled from the Mackie Control Universal Pro automated worksurface.

One window with convenient tabs

Three separate tabs show inputs, mix busses and outputs. Click the "Focus" button on any channel or bus to edit its settings in the area on the right-hand side, which provides separate tabs for graphic editing of parametric EQ, compression and other effects. Each channel strip displays a graphic thumbnail of EQ curves, compressor settings and other channel specific parameters. There is also a section for talkback and listenback.

Eight stereo buses

Your MOTU FireWire audio interface supports up to eight separate stereo mixes (seven for the UltraLite-mk3) assigned to any digital or analog output pairs. For example, you could set up separate monitor mixes for the main outs and headphone outs, while two additional stereo buses could be used for send/return loops to reverb units or other outboard gear. Each mix can support all inputs (analog and digital).

DSP resources for mixing and effects

The CueMix FX flexible effects architecture allows you to apply EQ and compression on every input and output (up to 58 channels, depending on your interface), with enough DSP resources for at least one band of parametric EQ and compression on every channel at 48 kHz. However, DSP resources are allocated dynamically and a DSP meter allows you to keep tabs on your interface's CueMix FX processing resources.

Each input, output and mix bus provides a send to the Classic Reverb processor, which then feeds reverb returns to mix buses and outputs, with a selectable split point between them to prevent send/return feedback loops.

Talkback and Listenback

CueMix FX provides Talkback and Listenback features. Talkback allows an engineer in the control room to temporarily dim all audio and talk to musicians in the live room. Conversely, Listenback allows musicians to talk to the control room. For Talkback, you can set up a dedicated mic in your control room and connect it to a mic input on your interface. For Listenback, you can use one of the recording mics in the live room or you can set up a dedicated listenback mic for the musicians and connect it to a spare mic input.

Stereo operation

Two channels can be grouped to a single fader for stereo operation. Two stereo panning modes are available: balance and width. Balance mode works much like a normal stereo balance control, one channel fades in and the other fades out. Width mode collapses the stereo image to mono by adjusting the relative pans of each channel gradually to center.

For stereo inputs, an optional M/S (mid-side) decoder can be enabled with adjustable width control and software-swappable inputs.

Software metering

Signal activity of all inputs, busses and outputs can be monitored via the meters pane. In addition to the meters present on individual channels, a high-resolution meter and output bus activity associated with that channel can be displayed in the primary status window.

Effects programming

The EQ, compression and reverb tabs give you complete access to CueMix FX on-board effects, and because they are driven by hardware DSP inside the interface itself, they won't tax your host computer's CPU. You can even use the effects without a computer connected.

The tabs shown above let you focus on one channel at a time and edit its settings using the high-resolution graphic display. But EQ and dynamics settings can also be edited on all channels in line (within each channel strip), where you can compare critical settings side-by-side, as shown below.

Advanced real-time signal analysis

CueMix FX provides an optional real-time FFT display super-imposed on top of the graphic EQ curve so you can see as well as hear the effect of your equalization adjustments.

CueMix FX also provides real-time spectrogram "waterfall" display that provides rich, detailed visual information about the frequency content of any signal or mix. You can expand the spectrogram to fill the entire resizable CueMix FX on-screen window. You can also combine the spectrogram with the FFT display and EQ curve in the same display, or separate them to view them individually but simultaneously.


The new CueMix FX Oscilloscope graphs the amplitude of an audio signal in real time, just like a real hardware oscilloscope. It opens in a separate window that can positioned anywhere on screen and adjusted to any size. With many features found on conventional oscilloscopes, the CueMix FX oscilloscope will feel easy and familiar to expert users, and it will be an ideal way for beginners to learn the basics of how to use one. But innovative features are also provided, including Waveform Recognition, which searches through new audio data looking for a waveform which most resembles that which was previously displayed. The result is a highly stablized, easy-to-view waveform on screen that transforms its shape based on important changes to the incoming signal.

The new oscilloscope can be used in many ways during the routine operation of your recording studio. For example, you can:

  • Analyze and compare harmonic content
  • View transients such as drum hits when tweaking signal processing settings (such as compression)
  • Perform accurate clip detection
  • Build synthesizer patches with live, real-time visual feedback as you make changes
  • Build guitar tones while visually observing the effects of pedals, processing, etc.

X-Y Plot

The X-Y Plot window graphs a stereo signal on a standard grid with left-channel amplitude on the x-axis and right-channel amplitude on the y-axis. Stereo material that is said to be "in polarity" (i.e., phase aligned) appears along the x = y axis:

Stereo material that has phase problems will appear along the x = -y axis meaning the signal will appear predominantly in the upper left and lower right of the display. A signal with an extremely wide stereo field will appear much more randomly (not along either axis).

Phase Analysis

The Phase Analysis window graphs frequency versus phase difference versus amplitude of a stereo signal on either rectangular or polar coordinates. In the rectangular view, the vertical axis represents frequency, and the horizontal axis represents the phase of the left channel minus the phase of the right channel. Stereo audio that is predominantly in polarity will appear centered along the center vertical axis:

Frequencies that would be canceled by summing to mono are those that touch the -1.0 or +1.0 lines on the left and right.

In the polar view, the radius represents frequency and the angle (theta) from the +y vertical axis represents the phase difference of left channel minus the right channel. Stereo audio that is generally in phase will appear along the +y axis (above the center point). The more the audio signal "tips" to the left or right, the more out of polarity it is. If it is completely out of phase, it will point downwards from the center point and hover around the -y axis (the part of the y axis below the center point):


Phase analysis can be used for a broad range of applications in the studio and on the stage. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Recording with multiple mics — the Phase Analysis window lets you compare multiple mic sources with each other to check for potential phase cancellation caused by varying distances in mic placement from the recorded source.
  • Checking the overall polarity of a stereo mix — quickly check for phase issues in your stereo mix.
  • Summing to mono — if your stereo material needs to be summed to mono, Phase Analysis lets you see what frequencies will be canceled out when summed.
  • Tuning and checking PAs or sound reinforcement — place mics in strategic locations in your venue to check for critical phase issues in the listening environment.

Audio as visual art

The X-Y Plot and Phase Analysis displays make for some seriously freaky visual results, depending on the audio signal you run through them. If you do any visual effects work on the side, take note:

Front-panel LCD access to all mix settings

All of the mixing features described on these pages (except for the signal analysis tools mentioned above) are available during stand-alone operation, and all of them can be accessed from the front panel LCD. This means you can program your mixes with the CueMix FX software in the studio and then take your MOTU interface on the road as a stand-alone digital mixer. Tweak your mix on location from the front panel.