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Running FM3 into Studio Monitors While Still Using PC

AngryGoldfish

New Member
I just ordered an FM3 and was planning on using it with my studio monitors, but I now realise that I'd have to keep swapping the XLR cables from the FM3 to the speakers with the RCA cables coming from my PC to the speakers. It would also mean that I couldn't play audio via my PC while playing guitar via the FM3; so no jamming to backing tracks.

Are there any cost-effective solutions to this?

Knut from G66 suggested a MOTU M2, where I assume you connect the stereo outputs of the FM3 to the stereo inputs of the audio interface, and then the audio interface to the computer via USB as well as the FM3 to the PC via USB. But the MOTU M2 is €200. Knut also suggested the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD, which is a lot cheaper, but I don't know how the audio of the Behringer will compare to my PC's motherboard audio for everything else I do on my PC like listening to music and watching films.

Are there are any other solutions that can allow me to connect my FM3 to my speakers without interfering with my PC's normal audio?
 

iwearvansshoes

Inspired
I currently use the MOTU M4. I'm able to connect my FM3 in stereo with the unbalanced inputs located in the back. Monitors on the outputs. I use the balanced inputs in the front of the M4 for a microphone, which I usually use for chatting online. There's a mix knob which blends your PC audio and FM3 (zero latency, directly from the unit). I use this all the time to jam to Spotify or backing tracks on youtube. Also has loopback recording which is fun for a variety of reasons. Love that thing. Being able to see the volume meters on a small LCD screen rather than an led light blinking is very helpful for getting a good input gain especially recording. Highly recommend it.

I used the Behringer umc204HD prior to the M4. I had no issues with it. Did the exact same thing as the M4 except no LCD screen level monitoring and no loopback. Just wanted to upgrade for those additional features.

As for DI audio fidelity between the two units, I haven't noticed a difference between the two. Both sounded great to my ears. I'm just a bedroom rocker however so perhaps a professional might have different opinions on the audio quality. I think both units are great. Just depends on what features you want.
 
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AngryGoldfish

New Member
Thanks for the reply. I ended up going with the perennial Scarlett 2i2 Gen3. I wanted to get the MOTU M4. In reviews it consistently topped everything else in its price range, and even had a better headphone amp. But I couldn't find any in stock and decided that the €50 price premium over the Scarlett 2i2 Gen3 here in Europe wasn't worth waiting and paying extra for. It doesn't have a mix control like the MOTU, but it has everything else that I want, including dual mono monitoring.
 

wulftone

Member
Pretty sure this is possible. If I am reading your description right, I do this every day with my Axe-FX III. (Goes to read FM3 documentation). If you use the FM3 as your computer's default audio output, connected via USB, you can play guitar and listen to music on your speakers connected to output 1. See the USB section of the FM3 manual. Is this not the scenario?

Screenshot_20210405-190128.png

Note the "NOTE" at the bottom.
 

AngryGoldfish

New Member
But the issue of using the FM3 for that is that my volume control for my system would be 1m away from my computer on the floor. I could use app-specific volume controls, but I've done that before and found it very annoying. If I could map my keyboard physical volume dial to the FM3-Edit output control, that would work, but I don't think that's possible.
 

GlennO

Power User
But the issue of using the FM3 for that is that my volume control for my system would be 1m away from my computer on the floor. I could use app-specific volume controls, but I've done that before and found it very annoying. If I could map my keyboard physical volume dial to the FM3-Edit output control, that would work, but I don't think that's possible.
The audio volume function key on your keyboard isn't working? If not, get a Mackie Big Knob:
Amazon product
 

wulftone

Member
But the issue of using the FM3 for that is that my volume control for my system would be 1m away from my computer on the floor. I could use app-specific volume controls, but I've done that before and found it very annoying. If I could map my keyboard physical volume dial to the FM3-Edit output control, that would work, but I don't think that's possible.
I'm sure you have a valid reason for that concern, but why not try it out before optimising? Most people's arms are almost 1m long, so.... You can probably reach it. Also, are you going to be adjusting volume every minute? Probably you will touch it once or twice and be done with it for hours at a time. Just trying to help you save a couple of bucks. 🙃
 

AngryGoldfish

New Member
The audio volume function key on your keyboard isn't working? If not, get a Mackie Big Knob:
My volume control on my keyboard can only function through internal audio. If I were to use the FM3 as an audio interface, I would be bypassing the internal audio and the volume control on my keyboard would stop functioning, because the FM3 is now controlling the volume. As far as I know, a USB device cannot interact with another USB device directly without software coding to allow it, like button mapping.
I'm sure you have a valid reason for that concern, but why not try it out before optimising? Most people's arms are almost 1m long, so.... You can probably reach it. Also, are you going to be adjusting volume every minute? Probably you will touch it once or twice and be done with it for hours at a time. Just trying to help you save a couple of bucks. 🙃
I know what you mean totally, but I change volume throughout the day multiple times. I live in a built up area of a town with a flat mate who I don't want to disturb. Audio levels from different sources varies, and if I use many different sources throughout the day I have to make micro adjustments so as not to disturb anyone. I know it sounds petty, but regular Zoom meetings alone force me to change the volume dozens of times throughout the session. A person could be super quiet one minute and I have to increase the level, and then someone will share screen and that signal will be so loud that I will have to quickly turn it down.
You could keep a volume control at arm's length by running your XLR cables through one of these:
Are there any benefits to this and the FM3 as the interface over using a dedicated audio interface? I know you can't do simultaneous recording without going directly from FM3 to DAW, but I don't have any plans on doing that. Plus, the mixers are only marginally cheaper than the interface I bought. With the interface, I could down the line use it to record my acoustic without a pickup or record vocals.
 

wulftone

Member
A person could be super quiet one minute and I have to increase the level, and then someone will share screen and that signal will be so loud that I will have to quickly turn it down.
That sucks. I bet you could route the computer audio through the grid on the FM3 and compress/excite it before it gets out your speakers to keep your zoom levels more consistent.
 
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