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Use Nebula in tracking

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Use Nebula in tracking

Postby PaulRain » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:22 pm

does anybody of you use Nebula in tracking?
I use Reaper which have the option to put an effect on input (but I guess every other DAW has the same feature)
I was thinking about recording with one or two istances... probably console and maybe tape programs.
basically programs which I don't need to set up later on in the mix.
My concern is about the latency, I'm not monitoring through the daw but right away from my Multiface, so the latency problem is not the monitoring latency but the recorded track latency.
thanks
p
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby jorismak » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:11 pm

I've never tested this myself, but official plugin-latency and interface latency should be compensated by your DAW when recording.

It's the monitoring that's an issue.

And yes, I can monitor my guitar through a real amplifier or practise combo for instance, but most of the time I want to listen with headphones to part of the track, or the drums or whatever. As long as I'm not monitoring the record-armed track through the DAW it should be fine, but as I said, I've never tested / done this.

I just record with zero-latency plugins or none at all, slam the default Nebula stuff in there after recording and bounce.. and then start mixing in another project.

Since 'a default Nebula chain' that I use that consists of preamp -> console -> tape -> console -> eq (and or mojo) -> D*x (mojo) can pretty much take up on CPU core my i7, I don't want to be running live while recording. The chance for crackles and pops and clicks is way too much, specially since I got my interface set for as low a latency as possible.
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby PaulRain » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:32 pm

thanks for the reply I will do some tests this evening.
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby jorismak » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:43 pm

Actually, I know you can turn delay-compensation of for certain plugins (it's a bit hidden away, in the FX-list (be it track, input, master-fader or monitoring FX) in the bar where you can select presets, is the lutton button to configure input/output routing. 2/4 in 2 out it will say for Nebula. Right click that, in the little menu that pops up at the bottom is 'PDC' where you can disable it, and an interesting option called 'monitorin').

So that way you can at least turn off PDC for your recording track. Since you don't listen to it while recording anyway, the rest of the song will play without having to be compensated for the Nebula instances.

But as I said, Reaper knows that the samples going through Nebula are delayed and exactly by how much, so it should be smart enough to write the data that-amount-of-samples earlier in the track to compensate it :).

That gives you a whole bunch of options to play around with and one should work for sure.


But.. once again.. why not just record it without the stuff and bounce it later on. That way you have the version without nebula effects and the one with, and you know for sure that there won't be recording-glitches or performance-hickups.
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby Hannes_F » Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:09 pm

Compensation does not work here (Reaper too), need to move the stems by hand (argh ... ).

BTW I have abandoned using FX in the insert. I now use them in the output and send them to a second track that does the actual recording. This is one click more for arming but has some advantages that I forgot.
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby PaulRain » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:18 am

as far I can see the latency is not compensated, I tried fx on the input and on the track, setting "record output latency compensated" maybe I'm missing something because theoretically it should work.
Hannes, in Reaper you should be able to do more or less the same as you do now just selecting "record output" instead than "record audio", there is no need to send to another track.. or at least theoretically should be the same.
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby jorismak » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:44 am

If you use the 'input FX', I don't know if it will be compensated for actually.

Another method is setting the output to 'record: output' and putting the plugins on the regular 'track FX'. When selecting 'record: output' you have multiple choices as to use delay compensation or not (it might actually work better without some people say, don't myself).

So there are different ways to try:
- put Nebula on 'input fx' and set reaper's record mode to the default 'record: input'
- put Nebula on the normal 'track FX' and set reaper's record mode to 'record: output'
or
- put Nebula on the normal 'track FX' and set reaper's record mode to 'record: output (latency compensated)'

It should be easy to test what happens if you put three 'Nebula Reverb' instances on there, it will quickly add up to over a second of latency which should be noticeable :).
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby PaulRain » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:58 am

I did all these tests, apparently the latency is not compensated.
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby jorismak » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:24 am

You are right. It's kinda easy to fix it yourself though.

I had to improvise something of a test, so plugged some headphones into the mic-in (not at my home at the moment) of a Steinberg USB interface. By tapping into the headphone I got spikes in the recorded input.

Put some slow drum track in another track, and tapped on the beat of the snare into the headphone, then I could see how they would line up.

No mather what I did, it's not compensated. The only compensation Reaper does is the latency as reported by the ASIO interface. Any delay you put into the recording chain yourself gets added to the track (now that I say it like that, kinda makes sense).

The 'record: output (latency compensated)' mode records the output of the track, but with the latency _of other tracks_ compensated. Not the latency the track itself creates. Not needed in this case.

So, what you can do: Set your record mode back to 'record: input', and put whatever VST's you want to be printed into the signal into the 'input FX' slot. The 'input FX' button appears on the track when you record-arm it. After you put everything on it, in the bottom of the list of plugins you put on the track, look at the status overview.

Here on my test with some plugins on it it reads "0.5% / 2.2% CPU 2/50 spls". That means the currently selected plugin uses 0.5% cpu while the whole track uses 2.2% cpu, and the selected plugin adds 2 samples of latency while the whole track adds 50 samples of latency. So after you recorded something, you select the 'Nudge' tool on the selected item (right click, and somewhere at the bottom is 'Nudge/set items') and you type in '50' and select 'samples' and press 'nudge left'. Now the track is exactly lined up the way it should be. The value stays in the 'nudge' window for a next time, so every take you do after this requires you just to select the take, press 'N' for nudge, and press 'nudge left' and done.

I'd use the 'input FX' section with 'record: input' because the latency is the absolute minimum then. Reaper doesn't round up the latency on the 'input FX' section.
In the output section of the track (regular FX list), every tiny bit of latency a plugin makes gets rounded up to the nearest buffer size.

In my example, three plugins of 16, 32 and 2 samples latency add up to 50 samples of latency input the 'input FX' section. But if my audio interface is set to 256 samples and I would put them on the output section, 16 samples would become 256, 32 would become 256 and 2 would become 256 and I have a total track latency of 768 samples. It doesn't really matter since you're not monitoring it through the DAW and you're compensating for it afterwards anyway... but still.

So you're absolutely right, Reaper does not compensate for input-FX printed into your input signal... but it's easy to do it manually afterwards since it gives you sample-accurate nudging and reports the latency of the track to the sample.


In the 'recording preferences' window, you can add a manual offset for input and output latency (in case your ASIO driver doesn't report the values correctly). If you always have the same chain (and thus the same recording latency), you could put it there to automatically adjust. But if you make one small change to your chain or you forget about it in another project, things can go wrong :P. So I would just adjust it after each take.
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Re: Use Nebula in tracking

Postby PaulRain » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:56 pm

Thanks Jorismak... nice post, and it confirms all of my tests.
I also tought about the nudge thing and I am looking for a way to set an action that moves the items (or better to move the content inside the item) by a certain amount and make a button on the toolbar... but I'm not sure I can do that.
p
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