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Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChains

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Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChains

Postby franky4fingers » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:48 pm

(this technique is for Reaper DAW)

Hi guys!
I’d like to share my personal experiences and reflections about a technique I guess many Reaper users will already know, that is Reaper’s Parameter Modulation applied to control Nebula instances with another plugin.

Premise: some personal thoughts on workflow’s impact
I’m not an expert mixer. I love the real-world-sound coming out of Nebula, but I realize that, when eq-ing, the “add one instance, load a program, tweak, repeat for more bands” workflow, has sometimes a negative impact on my final work. I’m still not able to do that correctly without distracting myself from the song, and I need to quickly check different settings. And so goes with preamps, console inputs and tape programs too: program change approach doesn’t help me much.
I believe AlexB is right when he says, about his libraries, that choosing the right preamp program for each track leads to a better mix, that’s what I saw myself assisting some respected engineers. But, if that is true, wouldn’t it also be true that wrong preamp choices could lead to a more difficult mix?
I would like to learn by experience, still, many times, I find kidding myself and just choose programs “by feel” (because it’s one that I use often, or guessing by the freq response graph) and check a different one only in case I’m not liking the result in context. This way I’m learning much slowly how to best use them.
What I’m trying to say is that, for not expert engineers, Nebula’s workflow can be not just a “complication”, but, sometimes, something that can get people to give up and not use this wonderful technology.


So what?
One day one of the guys of a studio told me: “Look, there’s this Reaper’s parameter modulation thing, please look if there’s a way to comfortably manage Nebula Eqs with it”. Goal would have been, for example, to open a Waves Scheps73 eq plugin, tweak that, but have the sound coming from AlexB’s 73eQ library instead, at those same settings.
Found Vernon’s old topic in this forum, where he showed this technique combined with Plogue Bidule plugin - thank you again Vernon! - and started with my experimentation.

Results
Made several Reaper’s FXChains doing this EQ thing for various libraries/algo-plugins. Must say, in my case, these help me getting better results in less time, and, as I feel more comfortable using Nebula EQs this way, I end up using them more often than I did before.
Worked on different applications too, like “Console Input Selectors” (or Preamp or Tape), where I can quickly audition several Input Channels and select the one I like for each track in the project; then a sort of hybrid Nebula/Algo-plug EQ; and an application for a compressor.
There are limitations, obviously, still I believe this method deserves being given a chance.

As action does explain better than words, if you’re interested in this I made some Youtube videos and shared some RfxChains, so you can see this technique in practice and eventually try it yourself.

Videos and FXChains (clickable links)
First video is a sort of basic tutorial on how you can do by yourself that 73eQ thing using Reaper’s parameter modulation, plus an example of a library I couldn’t get to manage that way.
Other Videos are examples of some applications I did with the help of Bidule plugin.

If you want to try these 4 RfxChains , you need to have Reaper, the algo-plugin and the library I used (you can still try to load a similar library instead of it, maybe it could work). Those are:
• AlexB_73eQ + Waves Scheps73
• AlexB_PoolTeQ + Waves PuigTec EqP1A
• AnalogInTheBox_APEq + Waves API550B
• Cupwise_Smooth609 + T-Racks Precision Comp/Lim
(please read “Instructions.txt” file)
If you also have Plogue Bidule 64bit, these 3 “Console Input Selector” FXChains are:
• AlexB_VintageBlue, ModernBlack and ModernTube Consoles + Waves NLS


If some of you guys have ideas on different applications or techniques, I will be very glad to discuss them with you (as well as answer eventual questions on things I did on videos).
Hope this can be somehow useful to someone.

Marco
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About managing compressors Ratio

Postby franky4fingers » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:05 pm

Hi all!
Was talking with a guy about controlling Ratio in libraries where this is done via program change, like some AlexB or Gemini ones.
I’m reporting here the talk (in the form of a crazy soliloquy :cry: ) for those who are interested.

In my case, I’d do that the same way I did for Tape Selector chains:
Load a Neb instance for each ratio, then use a Bidule’s output selector to link the Controller’s ratio to the various Nebulas bypass.
I know this is far from being a good solution, but it’s the only thing that has come to my mind to have a fast and consistent “program change” while tweaking. Good it is almost instantaneous, no matter how heavy the program is - and that’s very important to me - but also so very inefficient to load all those instances just for having one of them active.
Others could prefer to act on Nebula’s program change directly, maybe someone here managed to do this (Mr RJHollins, perhaps?), don’t know. Anyway I’m guessing this could be the solution with Nebula4 if faster program change will be possible (or maybe… we’ll have something even better?...ok, just a bit of dreaming for a better future now…)
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Re: Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChai

Postby botus99 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:03 am

Just throwing it out there that I'm new to these Reaper/Nebula concoctions myself, but find the whole concept very intriguing. You know more than I do, but the few that I've run have been incredible!

Edit: Just watched your video, and that made me want to attempt making one of these. Thanks for the putting that video together!
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Re: Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChai

Postby franky4fingers » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:43 pm

botus99 wrote: the few that I've run have been incredible!

Agree! I’m kinda new to forums - not much of a web guy at all, honestly - and looking for solutions about this I’ve been surprised to see so many people doing their own and sharing their results!

Some are providing ready-to-use tools everybody can easily plug&use, I can see a lot of work and dedication there, really impressed. Other guys more on sharing knowledge acquired with their work, and that’s where I found a use for me. No chance to find a ready to use tool for my needs, but I had more: the fundamentals to build my own!
Vernon with Bidule gave me a go, it worked for me and really felt I had taken something from this community and wanted to payback. So started opening forum accounts and making videos (it’s the first time I’m doing this).
botus99 wrote:Edit: Just watched your video, and that made me want to attempt making one of these. Thanks for the putting that video together!

so you can guess I’m happy for this, I suppose this was my goal: try and build your own ones!

Guess there’s not much to say about the basic technique, but if you go with bidule results are consistent and there’s room for creative uses, I’m feeling I explored maybe a 0.1% of possible applications. In my case I used a little of math and logics, but it can be approached in different ways.
Anyway, I’m warning that bidule requires its time to be learned… to help in this I can share some presets and blocks if someone asks!
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Re: Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChai

Postby botus99 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:37 pm

franky4fingers wrote:if you go with bidule results are consistent and there’s room for creative uses, I’m feeling I explored maybe a 0.1% of possible applications...

Anyway, I’m warning that bidule requires its time to be learned… to help in this I can share some presets and blocks if someone asks!


I believe that! I haven't picked up bidule, and yes it does seem daunting, but extremely powerful. I just got the parameter modulated ones going for now.

I'm curious, what benefits does using bidule for creating Nebula fxchains/guis have over basic parameter modulation in Reaper? Maybe you answered this already and I just didn't interpret it correctly, but yeah, definitely curious!
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Re: Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChai

Postby franky4fingers » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:23 am

For example on the “First Video” link (I suppose you watched this one), in the second half, I couldn’t get the frequency working for the Black Master Eq without bidule. Then, in “Other Videos” link, there are more examples of things you’ll find out you cannot do (or can only partially do) with parameter modulation alone.
Summing up, benefits coming to mind at moment can be these:

You can link more than one parameter to a single target
Example: on a compressor, let’s say you first want Nebula’s Output gain to compensate Input (ie GDrive). Then, you also want to use it for the Makeup gain. So you’re linking Nebula’s Output gain from 2 different parameters, you can’t do it in Reaper. As you can see in videos, I found this very useful for the Bypass parameter.
You can link parameters coming from other tracks
• You can handle dB scales

Unfortunately, Nebula’s Input&Output gains are logarithmic scaled, going from -inf to +6dB, with 0 in the halfway. If you need precise control on them, let’s say for a GDrive again, you won’t get it with Reaper’s PM.
Consistency
You should always find a way (more or less tricky) to catch the right values out of weirdly scaled parameters. With Reaper alone, you have to be lucky…
Flexibility
You can use logic paths, like “if this happens, then do this, else do that”. For CDSM Nice Eq (on 3rd video), I made it do this: check if current Freq&Q setting has been sampled in Nebula, if so, go on with it, else bypass Nebula’s band and turn on a different plugin.

I’ll be posting some last information later.

About using or not Bidule :?
In general, my suggestion is: try with parameter modulation first (as you’re doing), it’s quite easy to use and it may suite your needs.
Then, if that’s too much of a compromise, or you’re thinking of wider workflow uses than the usual Eq thing, go try with bidule (again, you’re accepting to spend time to learn). Imo - depending on what you’re doing - that time should be gained back when working with those “wider range” Chains in your arsenal, but beginning can be hard, no lie.
Still, if I can use my little experience to save you some time...
Last edited by franky4fingers on Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChai

Postby Andyyager10 » Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:21 am

@frankie, thanks for the info. I have looked at bidule,but was totally confused. If you were to share some setup info, blocks?...that might shed some light for me and others.
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Re: Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChai

Postby franky4fingers » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:33 pm

As a general overview I’ll mention a list of some other applications, not much for their own scope itself, more as examples that could inspire different solutions. You know, like “Hey, I remember a guy making tape selectors, I could use that for changing ratio on compressors” and so on.

Being aware that Bidule users are a minority of the already few people who are interested in this, still they deserve full information on what has been done by others (especially because it’s not so easy to use).
So here’s what I’ll do: make one more post, just naming applications and bidule things I dealt with, which I suppose cannot be done inside Reaper (or with MIDI) without additional tools.
Then, if someone will ask, I’ll be happy to discuss or share the material!

PS: I said one more post, actually wish they were two, but I’m not the right guy for this:
I think it would be nice for newcomers if someone - more experienced than me - started a new topic resuming and listing links to the relevant threads that have been posted here in years about this subject. Me I got completely lost in this research…
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Other applications with Bidule

Postby franky4fingers » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:38 pm

Reminding this is just an overview (no links). Please also refer to both video links in first post, and just ask if you want more info!

A multitrack application: Full-Consoles Previewer

(it is different from the "Console Input Selector")
This is my latest one, afaik the inter-track thing could also be new in Nebula applications (not sure about it).

This template has one single Controller plugin changing parameters on several tracks of the project. In this case, the purpose is to “preview” the sound that three different consoles will have on that project, and choose the one that suites best.
It is made of 3 interlinked FXchains: one for tracks, one for groups, one for the mixbus. This last has the Controller, which does this:

• One parameter changes Console model - affects all tracks, groups and mixbus
• One selects different Mixbus programs for current console
• One affects colour on Groups, changing from neutral program (GC) to the eq-ed variants

Using Controller plugin’s features
Another example: Eqs moved by a completely different Controller plug, that has a graph display. This graph is being used to show what Nebula’s doing. One of my first Chains: AITB’s N.mannW492 + Bx Hybrid Eq, has freq in the graph display becoming stepped.

I also used this approach to make a mastering “Air Machine”, where I’m controlling several libraries for HF boosts, always with a graph displaying what Nebula’s doing.

Small things you can do with Bidule
(I can share the blocks for these)

1. COMP: Ratio Knob activates different Nebula instances
for libraries where you can’t adjust ratio inside the single program (like some Gemini or AlexB ones). You can also use this to quickly switch to HQ programs before rendering, for things like preamp or tape selectors, or similar
2. COMP: Nebula’s DryFader lowers OutputGain
3. EQ: BandBypass+Peak/ShelfSwitch+GlobalBypass parameters controlling the same NebulaBypass
4. EQ: BandGain=0 bypasses the Nebula instance
5. GAIN: Nebula’s Output compensates Input (like the GDrive)
6. GAIN: classic linear-scaled parameter controlling Nebula’s Output
7. Combination (+,-,*,/ or supported functions) of 3 parameters, controlling a single one
8. Re-scale: finer resolution for lower values


If you want I can also share a
starting preset with many Bidule’s parameters already linked,
the one I suggested in the bidule video. Saved me much time, I always started with this when building new chains.

Just 2 of the big things I haven’t dealt with
MIDI: maybe it is possible to do similar things with MIDI parameters (just guessing!). If so, this technique could also be used in other DAWs than Reaper.
Audio Signal: of course you can also process audio while doing the parameter thing, there are many factory blocks for FX (I think they share some on their forum too) and you can build your own. For example you could put a clean limiter before a Nebula preamp, or an eq or whatever, without need to add more plugins in the chain. The good thing is that they’re “open”, meaning you can edit or build their structure and behaviour at your like (I guess this is usually what Bidule is used for? who knows, the guy at the studio used it for synth things… :? ).


I’m really hoping all this will help the braves who are attempting this technique, and maybe inspire some new ideas.
Last edited by franky4fingers on Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Managing full-band NebEQs: Reflections, Videos & RfxChai

Postby franky4fingers » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:05 pm

Andyyager10 wrote:@frankie, thanks for the info. I have looked at bidule,but was totally confused. If you were to share some setup info, blocks?...that might shed some light for me and others.

Yes of course!
In your case, what bidule blocks would you find useful? Some of the ones listed on previous post or something different?

About setup, you may look if you find answers here:
http://www.acustica-audio.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=25997

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b12PEmKfEo0 (first minutes)

Plogue's site has some info too:
http://www.plogue.com/products/bidule/

Bidule's manual:
http://www.plogue.com/bidule/help/index.html

if you don't, i can try to answer your questions, it's hard for me to give a clear information on this, so questions would help me...
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