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How does the R2R tape library

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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby vicnestE » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:28 pm

Which nebula (standard or reverb) did you use to load R2R tape library??
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby vicnestE » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:48 pm

I compared the same program using vstanalyser.
It appears that the standard nebula3 has more inharmonics than nebula3 pro.
Both have the same frequency curve.
Should I use the reverb one in order to get the best possible realistic tape sound although it contradicts with "loading tape program with standard nebula"??

Somebody please light me up how to explain this sympton.
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby Yllet » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:36 pm

Grim wrote:Great post David & definitely a pointer in the right direction.

I've been batching R2R as a recorder also using the 15ips Studers along with a console & also a tape boost plus program & while it's certainly impressive in the way it makes a track bigger & easier to bring together I have been wondering how to introduce a little more subtlety & perhaps variety to the result.

Can I ask for a little more detail on what you mean by this part
and i will choose the program depending on the gain of the track, if it averages around -35 db than i will use a program of -35 db on it and be very careful not to drive it more.

Are you saying you select the program itself depending on the gain of the source (in which case how do the 0, -3, etc programs equate to this)or do you mean that you will alter your input level for each instance?

Would also love to know your thought on the tape boost plus if you've tried it?

What I love about Nebula is that after a while working with it (mostly because of the what I had read rather than what I could hear), I'm now worrying about the subtleties when in the early days I would probably have been wondering if most of these programs were working at all! :D


I am also interested in this...
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby cdsoundmaster » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:22 am

Hi there,

In general, I've edited all tape and console/preamp type programs to be compatible with the reverb version of Nebula. It is absolutely fine to use all of these in regular Nebula instance. The difference is a very small amount. I personally always end up using the reverb version personally. If this works in your situation I recommend it.

vicnestE wrote:I compared the same program using vstanalyser.
It appears that the standard nebula3 has more inharmonics than nebula3 pro.
Both have the same frequency curve.
Should I use the reverb one in order to get the best possible realistic tape sound although it contradicts with "loading tape program with standard nebula"??

Somebody please light me up how to explain this sympton.
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby cdsoundmaster » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:19 am

First,
I want to thank everyone for such wonderful comments!

Second, I want to address a couple of things to help you get the best use from the entire collection.

1. I promise, if you primarily use only the Studer and/or Otari, you should take some time and play with the Sony, Wollensak, and others with different tape stock for some of your secondary tracks, song 'breaks', alternate effect tracks, etc. These are very rich and dimensional programs that do what only tape can do with rich harmonics, and especially mixed with effects like your edited reverbs and delays, nothing helps create space and dimension more than having these support the clean primary tracks or main elements of the mix that are going through the Studer and Otari, and Revox.

2. The naming of the programs and setting levels.
This has been discussed several different times and in many different contexts, on the old forums. I want to use this as an opportunity to help make things the easiest.
When I finished the testing/analysis part of preparation for the collection, I wanted to find a naming scheme that would help me keep as much information with each program as possible. I figured that the only way to be certain that accurate data remained with the relevant program was to keep it in the name somehow.
So, every program names the machine, the IPS speed (or fast/slow), the tape used, and the level/gain of the actual machine.

The gain levels stated in the programs are an indication of the levels successfully recorded to that machine in that program. It reflects the loudest level in the series of repeated samples, as every program is a dynamic program from loud to soft.

When choosing the program(s) you wish to use in a project, you can do so by choosing the machine, tape, and speed that sounds best to you. Since the harmonic content can be subtle and hard to distinguish, there are only two hard set rules established for the collection:
1- If there is an "a" and "b" version, the "b" has been edited to give a slightly hotter signal of the same recorded range from the same program.
2- For those who want to use the hottest signals from the entire collection (as chosen by me for my favorite sound from each grouping) there is a special "DRV" program collection for higher gain programs. You can email me directly for these if you a registered R2R customer and I will send them to you. The purpose of these is for those especially who do not want to experiment with the drive function or changing input levels to adjust amount of harmonics by ear. The "DRV" programs are pre-set to the hottest accurate harmonic level upon loading without adjustment.
3- ALL levels for ALL R2R programs are set to treat Nebula as an analog calibrated hardware unit, so that the maximum +0dB full scale digital signal represents your wav files' loudest point. You don't want to go above +0dB, and Nebula with give an overload indicator light if you go over this level. This also means that you will get the most 'drive' content from hotter signals and less from lower signals, as is the nature of an accurately recorded Nebula dynamic proram. This also relates to how you set up your signal chain.
There are many different opinions, methods, and combinations of recording, mixing, and analysis styles to follow. They all have their impact on how you record, mix, and choose to set up your mixes.
Since there is a focus on a few popular methods, let me address them here real quick:
You can choose to follow something along the lines of the "K" System. This is an excellent formula for attempting to unify and regulate how mixes should be monitored and how the final dynamics of a mix should resolve in comparison to other recordings. This holds true from mixing to the final mastering.
It is my belief that the K-System relates its best especially if every source is recorded at its absolute best sounding levels as well. I find that every analog device has its signature sound, sometimes in light, medium, and heavy level scenarios, and sometimes only in certain scenarios. Tubes drive different from op-amps, transformers react different from tape, etc. I believe that the analog world does not exist only in a unity gain-optimized reality. Sometimes we need to keep things perfectly clean to get the best from our source, and sometimes we make our best signature by knowing exactly how to push things.
This is the concept that I hope people will adapt as a new age of producers in this digital age.
Think of Nebula as your one true source where analog truly can interact with your digital environment.
You can truly treat the input of Nebula as a dynamic and interactive analog level adjustment. If a program contains harmonics, they will in fact increase up to the program's maximum accurate point, and decrease down to the program's accurate lighter, cleaner setting. The "Drive" setting allows you to essentially push your analog gain level harder without having to change your volume at the same time, which is impossible in the analog realm without increasing something else ahead of the signal (the only example is increasing the source to load without adjusting actual gain.)
So, when I state that ALL R2R programs have been adjusted to a +0dB maximum, this means that if you send a wav file directly into a loaded R2R program, without adjusting anything in that program, your wav file's maximum peak volume will relate to the R2R program's maximum reaction to harmonic content at that setting. It has been adjusted so that your volume will be nearly equal going out as it was before applying the program. Depending on how much energy your file produces at what frequencies, you may have to reduce the overall Nebula level a small amount if it overloads, but in general +0dB max going in equals +0dB going out. If your average gain is -10dB with an occassional peak of -3dB, you will have an expected medium amount of harmonic content for the average material, and slightly increased harmonic content at the peaks. This is in harmony with how the machine acts. If you want to align a wave file to get the most harmonic content as possible, you just have to know the loudest peak, adjust the input of Nebula to receive that up to full scale volume at the input, and if that peak causes Nebula to overload, reduce the output gain until it does not overload.
Then, if you wish to return this track to follow the K-system for mixing, just lower the resulting track or buss group to the rule-volume.
I'm not sure if some of the comments mean that some people want to view the program names as meaning that if it says "-10" that they should use that with a -10dB file, etc. This is not any kind of requirement and is not why that level is stated in the program. There is no harm in doing so, but the gain levels are again for the sake of stating the accuracy of the volume that the series was recorded at.
I will have to review what all has been posted before, and how far I got in the permanent info on this at ClubVST.com, but I will go through and label all programs once more in a list, because there are a few specifics to each machine that I need to finalize in a table just for general information.
The other aspect of this relates to rendering tracks offline and in a chain of programs. This has come up a lot previously because of a free utility that was used for testing programs offline, and has become a time-saver application for those who like to re-use many chains of programs in full mixes. Where AlexB programs have been edited to follow a general mix rule of an average level and peak level, R2R and other programs I've created are designed to align +0dB as the max level and maximum calibrated point of the analog hardware. These are both equally good concepts and applications, but there is a chance that you may want to tweak your levels to work best with each other if you know you are rendering a certain chain in a certain order. Also, I personally find that it cannot hurt to reduce the AlexB Drive settings by a couple of dB in case you are using many instances of preamp programs in a row. This helps protect the accuracy of your loudest sustained or peak levels from any side effect artifacts when layering many programs together.
As an example that you can apply to what you are doing:
Let's say that you record all of your files in using mic preamps and direct boxes in analog. You record everything by how good it sounds and your track levels are all over the place from max -22dB to -1dB, depending on what you tracked. Now, you want to send a bunch of tracks through a render batch. Well, as you can imagine, if you just send these through an analog chain in real hardware the way they currently are, your results would be all over the place as well. You'd have loud and quiet, and your optimized levels in comparison to unity would cover the whole gamut. So, it is good practice to follow some sort of guideline for processing. If rendering batches, you need to follow some kind of rule that you know your files are being processed consistently either by max peak, average level, etc. If you use AlexB and CDS programs together, and other programs from commercial Nebula library as well, then I personally recommend that you follow either one plan or another and adjust the chain based upon that. If you want your track to be based upon a K-System comparable concept, then your track needs to have a max peak and average level consistent with this, and all tracks will need to fit this range of dynamics. As an example, if you choose to set all of your wave files to a maximum peak of -9dB, for instance, and you use an AlexB followed by an R2R, you may wish to lower the drive in the AlexB by a dB or two, and you can do one of two things: raise the output gain of Nebula from the AlexB program by a few dB for more harmonic content from the R2R that follows, or simply raise the R2R input by a few dB's and reduce the R2R gain by the same amount. If you are certain you have -9dB max peak, then in this instance you can go in the AlexB and come out the R2R at -9dB max peak, and using these suggested adjustments your file will still follow the same rule, but with an optimal amount of harmonic content from both.
To summarize the above, there are two sets of gain levels happening with Nebula. There is your digital volume level, and there is your relative gain level as it relates to analog sound. Going in and out of any AlexB or CDS program will essentially give you consistently the same volume. but, the amount of processing that happens at these levels are based on slightly different concepts. The good news is they live together very easily and chesively. If left along using "K", you will get a little bit too hot a max harmonic on some programs and perhaps less harmonic content than is possible with the others mentioned, so I personally find it is the most useful for my own work to calibrate everything I use to a max +0dB. That way, literally every settings quieter than this +0dB is accurate as it continues quieter. What we don't want to do is apply more drive than is accurate to a given machine, and this is possible if following certain formulas. The best way to be certain you aren't adding too much harmonic content is to test the boundaries a little. Take a drum loop and a few different types of tracks in your editor. Without saving the track, normalize to +0dB and load Nebula. Adjust the output gain so that Nebula doesn't overload internally. Now, raise the drive on some programs. If you don't hear a bad artifact then try loading a second Neb instance and keep your levels from overloading it. Eventually you will hear either ringing, 'poof' 'bump-bump' or something very overdone in the frequencies. This is the sound of 'going over'. This has audibly gone beyond the point where the sound of the program is accurate to the hardware. This is why establishing a +0dB Max is what I see as the best and safest way to keep the program accurate to what was recorded.

I hope this is helpful.
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby skyvalley » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:25 am

thanks CDSoundMaster! great post!

the only one question for me is now, how the drive knob alters the sound (what i read from your post that this should give more or less harmonic content).

but even when a -1db signal goes into the R2R program the sound doesn't change from the drive knob -30db to + 30db. do i have to change some other parametes in nebula 3 pro reverb to get it "work"?
(this is not only related to your programs, there are no sound changes in some programs of the comercial library when playing around with the drive knob) :?:

anyone could help me please?
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby cdsoundmaster » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:06 am

Hi there,

as long as things are working right for you (aka not a technical issue with the DAW and Nebula), then I think it is just getting familiar with the subtle nature of these programs. It shouldn't be an extremely huge change to the sound. But, to test the concept, from R2R load one of the Wollensak Sony or Akai programs. You should immediately notice a sound change. If you don't you must either be in bypass, something not working, or you may need to increase the rate cnvt in Nebula to allow changing/loading from 96kHz rates. Someone else should advise on that, as I don't know the perfect settings for this except that the minimum value will not load all programs. I have mine set to 9000ms and that is probably too high:)

But, if you loaded one of those and heard the difference, then try lowering your output fader a few dB and raising the input fader a few dB and now listen while you raise the drive. It should hit a point where it gets more extreme and obvious. If it isn't, please ask Giancarlo if there are settings to try specific to your daw.

Many of the best preamps, tapes, etc will remain very subtle to the ear until layered in a dense mix, at which point you notice the most analog effect. Items like TapeBooster+ are specifically there to add more noticeable quantifiable volume saturation on top of the subtle complex character. If you tried something like tapeBooster+ +2dB and rendered 3 times and couldn't hear a difference, then something is definitely not working.

Let me know it this helps out.
Thanks!

skyvalley wrote:thanks CDSoundMaster! great post!

the only one question for me is now, how the drive knob alters the sound (what i read from your post that this should give more or less harmonic content).

but even when a -1db signal goes into the R2R program the sound doesn't change from the drive knob -30db to + 30db. do i have to change some other parametes in nebula 3 pro reverb to get it "work"?
(this is not only related to your programs, there are no sound changes in some programs of the comercial library when playing around with the drive knob) :?:

anyone could help me please?
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby Barendse » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:11 am

Skyvalley, put on your headphones and change the drive from maximum to minimum and back to maximum a few times. This way you can hear clearly the effect of changing the drive.

I rarely touch the drive slider myself by the way.
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby skyvalley » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:24 am

thanks for your quick replay!

the sound changes immediately when loading e.g. the wollensak program.

i played around (TapeSat44 1dB program) with the input gain + pad in (lowering the output of course) then raised slowly the drive knob...and now i can hear something "wonderful" happen :D

i think this was my problem:

the pad in was too low. :mrgreen:
but it's logical to me now, when the -1dB signal comes in, the program turns it e.g. -12dB internaly down. so even the 6dB with the input gain was not enough to drive it so hard to hear the differences between -30db/+30dB.

sorry, was my fault due to lack of knowledge with nebula.
(still learning the internal settings for nebula)
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Re: How does the R2R tape library

Postby Grim » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:05 pm

Hi Michael.

Could you go into any more detail? Just 3 pages of A4 is a little lightweight. :D

Seriously good info & very very helpful...Have printed out for a re-read later to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Thanks again.
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