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Nebula Signal Chain

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Nebula Signal Chain

Postby schismatic » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:44 pm

All,

I have wondered for a while about the "correct" order to be using different types of nebula programs on my work and I'm keen to understand more about the signal chain order that people use at each point in their production.

Could you please help me by listing what signal chain order you might use at each of the following production stages?:

Tracking Itself

Individual Tracks

Groups/Busses

Master/2 Buss

so e.g.:

Individual Tracks
1. Preamp
2. Console Line-In
3. EQ
4. Tape

etc etc

I realise that there it's possible to have different orders, but I'm generally looking to try to emulate the analog process that would have been taken in the past using hardware-only systems. I need to know how to use these tools properly!

Thanks in advance! :D
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby botus99 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:56 pm

Hopefully I get this "right"...


TRACKING
1 - Console MIC input
2 - Preamp (Don't do both 1&2 unless you're going for a highly colored sound. Make your first insert #1 OR #2, but ignore the other. Hope that made sense :mrgreen: )
3 - Tape
4 - Tapebooster +
5 - VTM-M2
6 - Equalizer
7 - Compressor
8 - Console LINE input

Now, this order is MY preference, but even then I mix it up if I think the track calls for it. Not all tracks need tape saturation (3, 4, 5 are out the window in that case).

Also, you don't need to EQ and compress every track. Although, consider yourself working in the analog domain and imagine how you would want to work. Would you EQ or compress to tape? If so, then put them before the tape saturation, there's nothing wrong with that approach. To me it would make sense to put tracks to tape in their original form, but even still that is NEVER a given for every track.

You can probably figure out with a little common sense how this chain could apply to you. Also experiment with the order to see how things affect each other. I'm sure others will chime in with some different and worthwhile ideas as well!

I would detail more about busses and the master fader, but I've been procrastinating getting some car work done.
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby schismatic » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:27 pm

botus99 wrote:Hopefully I get this "right"...


TRACKING
1 - Console MIC input
2 - Preamp (Don't do both 1&2 unless you're going for a highly colored sound. Make your first insert #1 OR #2, but ignore the other. Hope that made sense :mrgreen: )
3 - Tape
4 - Tapebooster +
5 - VTM-M2
6 - Equalizer
7 - Compressor
8 - Console LINE input

Now, this order is MY preference, but even then I mix it up if I think the track calls for it. Not all tracks need tape saturation (3, 4, 5 are out the window in that case).

Also, you don't need to EQ and compress every track. Although, consider yourself working in the analog domain and imagine how you would want to work. Would you EQ or compress to tape? If so, then put them before the tape saturation, there's nothing wrong with that approach. To me it would make sense to put tracks to tape in their original form, but even still that is NEVER a given for every track.

You can probably figure out with a little common sense how this chain could apply to you. Also experiment with the order to see how things affect each other. I'm sure others will chime in with some different and worthwhile ideas as well!

I would detail more about busses and the master fader, but I've been procrastinating getting some car work done.


SERIOUSLY useful! Thanks for taking the time to write this for me. I will try to have a think about busses with your comments in mind.
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby botus99 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:26 pm

Ok got my new catalytic converter, oxygen sensor, and brake pads in :mrgreen:

Back OT! I wanted to lay out my workflow for busses for you. First: GAIN-STAGING IS KEY! If you are using a library calibrated for 0VU/-18dbfs (the AlexB libraries for example), then make sure your busses are also calibrated in that fashion. PSP's Vintage Meter plugin (http://www.pspaudioware.com/plugins/too ... tagemeter/) is free and is a BIG help in setting your levels. Ideally, it's best to use the input knob in Nebula for this, however, if you need more control, then I would recommend the Sonalksis Free-G plugin (http://www.sonalksis.com/freeg.htm).

Once your levels for each buss are properly set, the fun begins...

BUSS

1 - Console BUSS program
2 - ???

Honestly, as long as you set the first insert as your console buss program then you have the buss area of console emulation complete. The "???" on number 2 is up to you. I've heard of people putting tape programs on each buss, which I don't do, but just a thought of something to try out. Other than that, do whatever you feel like haha.

Lastly...
MASTER FADER

Very similar ideology here compared to the busses. Calibrate your level accordingly with which library you are using. Then...

1 - Console Mixbuss Program
2 - Tape
3 - Tapebooster+ (optional)
4 - VTM-M2
5 - ???

I've found that driving the Mixbuss Programs can have an enormous effect on the mix's transients, glue factor, etc. So ESPECIALLY with the Mixbuss Program, it is great to get in the practice of "stretching it out" and finding the desired amount of glue and transient handling that will best serve your mix. I personally LOVE the sound of tape saturation over the entire mix! It adds another layer of glue to thicken things up when done correctly, along with other subtle nice-itys :D BUT, it's not everyone's cup of tea. It's absolutely worth a shot IMO, so if it doesn't work well for you and what you're striving for... then don't use it

Just some final notes

- Make sure to not overload each program (which if everything is gain-staged correctly then you should be golden).
- Aux sends are a different story than buss programs, but not by much. Simply replace a BUSS program with a SEND/RETURN program. Shizam!
- As with anything else audio: if it sounds good, it is good. Don't be afraid to swap around the orders, use 4 instances of console inputs to get more color, drop out programs that may "compromise authenticity", etc.

This is merely MY workflow. I may be wrong about the orders of the chains in relation to the real world. Regardless if that is the case or not, I have found this order to work best for ME. I'm glad to share my ideas, but I'll close my comment in saying "Your mileage may vary" :lol:
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby SWAN » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:40 pm

do many people use chains that long in realtime?
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby botus99 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:43 pm

I can :mrgreen:

... on 5 or 6 channels maybe :cry:
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby ngarjuna » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:19 am

SWAN: I'm a compulsive bouncer/freezer so no, not real time.

To the OP:
Tracking:
I don't use any Nebula due to the latency and generally try not to use effects. I'd prefer to never track through effects; I'd rather have something uncompressed/un-EQ'd that I can adjust in the context of the mix. Of course in the real world things aren't always so tidy.

Tracks
1. If I'm looking for a particular preamp color that would go here.
2. Console Mic/Line/DI. Many of the console manuals have recommended using the console programs first in the chain so I usually have. In my fake little Nebula console the signal goes from the mic to the "preamp" into my "board".
3. Whatever effects. I don't have rules about filter/EQ/compression order, different sounds call for different orders though it's often beneficial to EQ/filter for the compression. Occasionally I'll swap #1 and #2 when it sounds better. Modulation effects might go in the middle here although they might go before the console so as to feed the effect into the console program.
4. Sometimes I'll put an additional console line input here "going to tape".
5. Tape/Tapebooster/VTM-M2. The last thing I do on every track is print to "tape".

Busses pretty much the same:
Console
Filter/EQ/Compression
Tape/VTM

2-buss for me is usually just:
Console
Compressor
Tape/VTM

I don't really think there's a right or wrong way to do it. This particular order makes sense to me because I'm gradually passing my signal through this imaginary chain one step at a time, knowing that my final step is to tape.
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby schismatic » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:34 am

Both of you guys, thanks again for the input. It's really valuable as somebody who has never set foot amongst hardware - really helps the bedroom warriors learn how to get the best from the ITB experiences!
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby RJHollins » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:10 am

of course ...

After printing to tape ... you then have the return from 'tape' BACK into a console, eq's, compressors, efx, that go out to your busses and your master buss.

AND ... you can always reprint onto 1/4" or 1/2" tape master.

.... the long and winding 'chain' that, hopefully leads to sonic bliss 8-)
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Re: Nebula Signal Chain

Postby SWANG » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:36 pm

from michael's (cd soundmaster) "tride-n-tru" console manual (my fave console at the moment):

For those looking for the maximum in analog authenticity and using maximum resources, we recommend operating the console in full emulated analog mode, turning the DAW into a virtual studio as originally inspired in the "RASS" library. We highly recommend placing an instance like the "TRD-EQIN-ALL-K11" on your channel, followed by an instance of R2R (and TB+ if extra tape volume/saturation is desired) followed by a second instance of "TRD-EQIN-ALL-K11". This gives you the entire effect of sending your sound through the console channel direct out, to the tape for recording, and back to the console for mixing. You can group mix sections together in a group buss using the "TRG" as a single instance. Place a single instance of a "TRM" program on your master out section of your DAW. For the best analog effect, place the "TRM" program of choice in your chain ahead of your final limiting and other choices. If you use an R2R machine for mastering, place it just after the "TRM".
ok, bye!!!
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