hi all, i'm an extremely new PD user, so please pardon any very dumb questions i might be asking. i'm developing a sound art installation at the moment, and as envisioned it will require 6 channel sound. two questions: 1) i've never done anything other than 2 channel sound in PD... is this as simple as creating a dac object with 6 inputs? 2) for output, i am thinking of buying something like this (https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UMC204HD), which has 2 rca outs (so, four channels) and 2 1/4" outs ("main out", also l/r). i'd just run a USB in between the laptop and the behringer. again, i'm completely new to this kind of sound design and so i fully expect i'm oversimplifying this. will i also need a special kind of sound card or a program like soundflower that can generate multi channel sound? thanks in advance for your input.
6 channel sound
@dakota Yes you are correct...... a [dac~ 1 2 3 4 5 6] will give you 6 channel (all separate) output from Pd.
The Behringer that you are looking at will (I am almost absolutely certain) only have 4 discreet outputs.... it says 2in 4out in its title.
It seems you are using a Mac. You will not need soundflower, or anything special to generate 6 channels from Pd....... but you will I think have to search quite hard for a soundcard with 6 outputs. 8 is more usual, and the price is likely to be higher. Check for seconhand on Ebay. The ESI UDJ6 will give 6 outputs.... but no inputs. Maya (ESI again) used to make a cheap 8-in 8-out (rca) model I think.
You can use more than one card at the same time though...... the one you are looking at...... and your computer headphone jack as the other 2 outputs..... see "aggregate device" in your audio-midi setup program on the Mac..
thanks so much, guys. so, to make this idiot-proof for me... is the following chain correct?
pure data patch ending in a [dac~ 1 2 3 4 5 6]---->
audio settings on mac (and in pd) set appropriately (? see question)---->
usb to external soundcard interface (? see question)---->
8 in / 8 out (unless i can find a 6 in/out) external soundcard---->
6 cables (one from each of the first 6 outs)--->
amplifier(s) (possibly 3 with l/r stereo outs, unless using powered speakers)--->
cables (as appropriate)--->
if so, can i clarify that (1) when i install the driver (?) for the external soundcard that the option to multichannel will appear in system preferences/sound? right now, it's just a l/r option, and relatedly, (2) i'm correct that it is a usb interface between the laptop and the soundcard (that i don't need to somehow further split the input to the soundcard or use a special kind of cable), and finally (3) that i'm not conflating the idea of a soundcard with another audio interface that's needed in the chain?
thanks for helping with another installment of "multichannel sound for dummies" (i really appreciate it). hopefully this is of some use to others, not just me.
As @whale-av said, the sound card you're thinking of buying doesn't provide 6 outs. I have a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 and it does give six outputs (though 5th and 6th are digital outputs and I haven't used them yet). Its price is quite higher than the Behringer one, but the quality is much better too.
(1) Many sound cards come with a configuration software that you can use to set it up. You'll might need this to set all six outputs (with the Focusrite one it's not necessary, Pd will probably work out of the box).
(2) No special cable is required, that's what USB is for, to transfer data between devices.
(3) Audio interfaces usually appear with their names, so it's pretty hard to confuse them, and once set in a software, there's no reason why the software should confuse them either.
thanks, this is very helpful, all. really appreciate your time and expertise.