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Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby ngarjuna » Tue May 03, 2011 3:37 pm

Well to be fair, engineering has always been a self service kind of endeavor, as I'm sure you know if you've been working that long.

The whole "Nebula is too complicated" chestnut is a bit like writing an angry letter to Studer because you have to constantly calibrate and maintain their deck: "It's B.S., this is 2011, technology doesn't have to be so obfuscating!" The fact is that using engineering equipment does, at least for now, require not only some specialized skills and knowledge but also a willingness to learn new stuff, especially if you want to play with gear/software out on the bleeding edge.

Now the complaint about the documentation is somewhat legitimate: it can be hard to follow, it does tend to emphasize detail and completeness over usability, and it's insanely decentralized, all to its detriment. The problem is Acustica is small (and English is obviously not the primary language for the devs), they don't have the budgets to hire an English copy writer and we (the Nebula users) don't want them to have to spend the time constantly educating the copy writers, updating the copy with new features, etc. etc. It could quickly become a full time job!

So I propose a solution that is more in line with the economic realities of Nebula (the combination of limited resources and a very specialized small market): we need to crowdsource Nebula documentation. There are already plenty of users who are dedicated enough to the community and knowledgeable enough to be willing to contribute (and a lot of the contributions already exist they're just spread out all over the place on forums and blogs); we just need to develop some standards and practices and get a few motivated people to start collecting/composing/updating the literature and I'd be willing to bet we'd have awesome documentation in no time.

I'm personally willing volunteer my time to help organize this effort but, obviously, it's not something I'm going to be able to do alone (unless I retire as an engineer and take up Nebula documenting full time which...sorry, not this week :) ).
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby sfunk » Tue May 03, 2011 4:20 pm

Excellent posts. I think that devs need to simply state in their manuals what dBFS level relates to 0VU. I know what Alex and Michael have suggested for their libraries but i am not too sure about the others for example. Perhaps a few of those devs could post in this to clarify.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby greekpeet » Tue May 03, 2011 4:54 pm

I'm all for the developers giving us some idea of where their programs would sound best at for gain staging.

Honestly the biggest benefit I've ever had to the sound quality of my productions is learning proper gain staging. In fact years ago I had access to a great studio with a super ITB rig with over 8 grand in plugins. My stuff did not sound that great, and while there where aspects of lack of wisdom, and overall vision of the mix. Even with all that gear I still fell way way too short of where I wanted my music and mixes to go.

The reason? My levels where all over the place as far as gain staging. I'd have faders pulled down to -30 all the way to +6, and about all over the map.

Now with my own project studio rig, I have 80% less tools than I did then. In fact I'm using pretty much stock plugins for dynamics and basic digital eqing. That being said my last two mixes now sound huge compared to those days.

Whats the difference between those mixes and the ones I did in the past??

Gain staging.

One of the most critical bits to my production and work flow, even when I'm being creative. In fact out of the tens of thousands of hours I've spent I can say the best tools I've ever learned to use was gain staging.

So yes for me, I'll give a resounding plus one.
Why on earth would someone chime on here and patronize someone for 'trying to save the music industry'.

I say we're here to support each other and find out what we need.

So with that being said can we get a hard and fast rule of what each developer suggests you aim for for the best sound quality?

Thats literally a no brainier. Because if people are not hearing things the way YOU the developers hear them, your only hurting yourselves for repeat business.

We should have more of a community centered wiki type project for these kinds of issues and compile a simple PDF of the current version of the wiki to tie into the latest release/update of nebula.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby faun2500 » Tue May 03, 2011 6:52 pm

great post! :geek:
Forthcoming releases on: Black Heart Label, Hyperdrive and Transfixion. http://soundcloud.com/100mg. 6 FREE Downloads on my soundcloud page. Nebula ALL over these trax!
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby RJHollins » Tue May 03, 2011 7:10 pm

Fellow 'NEBULites'.

My apologies for several of my statements made. It is clear to me that the 'text' conversation did NOT translate with my intent. :oops:

Sincerely,
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i7-5820k, MSI X99A Plus, 16 GIG Ram, Noctua NH-D14, Win-7 Pro [64-bit], Reaper-64

NVC [Nebula Virtual Controllers]
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby apollo soul » Tue May 03, 2011 8:05 pm

It's all good, RJ. You've actually been the single most helpful chap I've come across on here. Thanks in arrears for half a dozen other things... and I do, in fact, get where you're coming from.




ngarjuna,

Agreed, but I would offer that idle complaining and suggesting solutions aren't the same thing. I would also suggest that the whether the developers or this community choose to acknowledge it or not, the reality here UNLIKE with Studer... is that the majority of users will, in fact, be hobbyists. If only from an economic standpoint, it would behoove the dev's to be clear on that fact and it's implications, and to attract rather than repel that element.




As for me:

I got someone else to use the word "obfuscating."

My work is done here.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby ngarjuna » Tue May 03, 2011 9:04 pm

apollo soul wrote:ngarjuna,

Agreed, but I would offer that idle complaining and suggesting solutions aren't the same thing. I would also suggest that the whether the developers or this community choose to acknowledge it or not, the reality here UNLIKE with Studer... is that the majority of users will, in fact, be hobbyists. If only from an economic standpoint, it would behoove the dev's to be clear on that fact and it's implications, and to attract rather than repel that element.


Right, but that's the problem: instead of claiming "hobbyist" status, people who want to mix great music need to get off their arses and learn how! Seriously, spending copious hours learning, reading, experimenting is how most of us who predate digital learned, it's quite good enough for everyone today. Making the tools continually less flexible (and, hence, easier to use) has the unintended effect of dumbing down the entire process/industry. It's not something engineers should aspire to imo. Yes, there are plenty of times when the UI/user experience is just not streamlined properly, and in all of those cases I agree, progress is good. And Nebula has plenty of places where the user experience could be streamlined (as I mentioned above). But there's a threshold at which point you're no longer improving on a design but rather limiting the user; sometimes those are synonymous (there are features in Nebula now that would probably be best off limited/hidden from the user) but that doesn't mean that the overall sentiment is inherently synonymous; it's really not. The vast majority of complexity in digital audio tools today do get used by a segment of that company's customer base even if you don't happen to be part of that segment.

And the thing is: you don't have to learn any of this stuff. Gain staging, saturation, tape emulation, I would say these things can all help a mix but none of them are actually required to produce a good mix (maybe gain staging but that's a debate for another thread). So a hobbyist can be a hobbyist OR a hobbyist can transition into a pro; the problem doesn't come in until a hobbyist wants all of the benefits of professional experience without actually having to put in the time having the experiences. And Nebula is essentially the bleeding edge in audio production tools today; so it's going to have a steeper learning curve than something like a 4-track cassette machine (which people have been writing about for...what 40 years?).

If you want to be a hobbyist, keep being one; dabble and have fun. But if you want to learn to be a pro, there are more resources than ever today (and, by extension, more free [and inexpensive] resources than anyone would have ever imagined 50 years ago), you can do it; you just have to put in the time.

Now I agree with you, there is a difference between soliciting for solutions (which should include trying to come up with some ideally) and just straight up complaining, both of which are pretty well represented in this forum. But I notice that, since my thread this morning, not a single person has stepped up to volunteer their time towards making a solution. So I would say that there is also a difference between trying to find a solution and hoping (vocally) that someone more motivated will find a solution for you.

You being the collective, plural "you" not Apollo Soul, in case that was unclear.
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby yr » Tue May 03, 2011 10:07 pm

Hi ngarjuna, I'll be more then happy to help you set-up a user-based manual/data-base. I'm not a native English speaker, but gathering information and basic editing shouldn't be a problem.

As for the whole debate, I consider efficiency to be one of the traits that separate professionals from the hobbyists. Having to gain-compensate constantly due to 3rd party developers not following the same standards is an unnecessary nuisance, not an inherent problem.

I really think that this thread has little to do with oversimplifying Nebula or putting extra demands on Acustica. Once we gather all the relevant information, it shouldn't be too complicated to provide some guidelines as to how users should set specific 3rd party libraries in a more standardized way. Hopefully, 3rd party developers would follow...
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby sfunk » Tue May 03, 2011 10:25 pm

I'll be flippant here and sum up the request which is very reasonable in a few words.

Developers-Please can you indicate when we are at optimum, in the amber, going into the red and pinning it please.

There we go end of thread :D
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Re: Gain Staging AlexB and R2R

Postby Finnish » Wed May 04, 2011 7:29 am

I've read R2R-info somewhere but I can't remember just how to get most out of it!
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