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Automatic Gain Compensation

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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby RJHollins » Tue Jan 05, 2016 6:15 am

apologies ...

as soon as I get off my death bed, I try to share my ideas/solutions.

man ... this flu thing SUCKS :twisted:
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby RJHollins » Tue Jan 05, 2016 6:17 am

wagz wrote:RJHollins, are you saying that you do or do not try to maintain 0 VU when going from one part of the chain to the other? I try to maintain it not matter how many programs I run in the chain.

Hi wagz ... I'm heavily medicated at the moment :roll: so not really following your question.
help me better understanding ?
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby wagz » Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:41 pm

RJHollins wrote:
wagz wrote:RJHollins, are you saying that you do or do not try to maintain 0 VU when going from one part of the chain to the other? I try to maintain it not matter how many programs I run in the chain.

Hi wagz ... I'm heavily medicated at the moment :roll: so not really following your question.
help me better understanding ?


No problem. I hope that you feel better soon. I was only asking if you try to ensure than every part of the chain will maintain -18dbfs RMS (or peak levels) on input and output.

For instance, when I got into the first Nebula processor @ 0VU, I balance the output level of Nebula to make sure that I hit all of the following processor with the same level. I re-balance the levels after each plugin in the chain...in order to make sure that my processed vs unprocessed levels are the same. I was asking if you do that, too. Or, am I going overboard? Anyway there is no need to rush to answer this. Get well soon.
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby basaristudios@gmail.com » Tue Jan 05, 2016 6:39 pm

Yes Wags, as a general rule you should do that, hit each processor
with the same Level. Of course ,,if it sounds good it is good'' its true
too but as a general rule keep at 0dbvu. Now, when it comes to
meters, peak and rms its a different story, you can not measure
drums with the same meter as other things, they have really fast
spikes that can not be captured with a vu meter, you can use a
Peak Meter for that. You see, Drums on a VU meter will read at
about -2,3 dbvu but if you look at a Peak Mater they will peak
at almost 0 dbfs or maybe -2,3dbfs. Now, the compressor after
also depends what it is, PEAK or RMS compressor.
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby wagz » Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:38 am

basaristudios@gmail.com wrote:Yes Wags, as a general rule you should do that, hit each processor
with the same Level. Of course ,,if it sounds good it is good'' its true
too but as a general rule keep at 0dbvu.


Cool. I have been trying to do that. Thank you!
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby basaristudios@gmail.com » Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:51 am

An easy tip would be, if you do not have buy some VU Meter, they are usually like 5 bucks. A good one is PSPs Triple Meter because it also has a PPM and RMS Meter in it. Put it as first in the Chain, fix it at 0dbvu and remove it, place another plugin there whatever you need next. Right after it place it again and mess with the plugin whatever. Use the main out of the plugin until you hit 0dbvu on the VU Meter then remove it again...and so on...
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby RJHollins » Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:47 am

Hi wagz .... and GANG.
... try to ensure than every part of the chain will maintain -18dbfs RMS (or peak levels) on input and output.

Basically .... Yes.

.... and for several reasons.

I've used -18dbfs as a digital mark since the arrival of the digital format to the analogue-based studio. A common unit was the RDat format, which would run concurrent with the 1/4 or 1/2" mastering deck during mixdown [basically a digital backup/archive].
Since the RDat was 16-bit initially ... we had to 'kiss' the top, but never exceed.

Ok ... so this goes back some time. Next.

If ya want to lose your mind and have chaos in your FX rack ... then DON'T do proper [unity] gain staging. Talking about the chaos and the calamity that ensues can be fun around the coffee bar ... not so much when on the clock, or delivering the package to the 'next' engineer.

To drive the point ... there use to be the title, 'Balancing Engineer'. A term started back in the Neanderthal studios, I've been told. Could be folklore .... could be all this cough medicine I'm taking :lol:

I make fun ... why, because I read too many questioning 'Is proper gain staging the right thing to do ?'. Does this mean I'm Following The Rules !!! OH NO ... that can't be good ... only the breaker of the rules are right.

ah ... no.

What you are doing is
1. maintaining your sanity.
2. allowing flexibility in your chain order ... which helps sanity.
3. bend, twist, mutilate, half-nelson, a signal ANY which way you want INTERNALLY to the plugin .... HOWEVER ... the output maintains UNITY. Whatever went IN = OUT.
This allows you to move 'The Mangler' anywhere in the FX list desired. Freedom ... sanity.

So .... each and every plug in the chain gets the same INPUT gain, and outputs this same level. Within the plugin, we need/want/must have the ability to run HOT/COLD/NEUTRAL within this plugin as we look to affect harmonic character, envelopment, color ... what have ya. But when that signal EXISTs that plugin, it is back to reference [-18db].

4. Now you can break ALL the Rules .... and maintain sanity.

Next Up ....

We got 15+ plugs running in a chain on a single track.

What is the most efficient, predictable, USEFUL way to 'Unity balance' each of these chains.

caveat.
I also am going to make changes within this chain. maybe many changes. no limit.

What I DON'T want is random levels between plugins altering the harmonic color, saturation, in ways that I don't specifically call for ... OR, paint myself into a harmonic corner. The 'Engineer' must have that decision.

Therefore ... rapid re-balancing approach/technique is what I'd like to discuss next.
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby basaristudios@gmail.com » Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:32 am

RJHollins wrote:rapid re-balancing approach/technique is what I'd like to discuss next.


That is possible but the problem is most plugins do not have correct meters especially Nebula. Mixing with Waves and Slate is a pleasure when it comes to that but don't wanna use them anymore....well Slate yes but not Waves. I can actually make a Video of how i go about Mixing and Gain Staging if it helps someone.
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby RJHollins » Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:47 am

Hi basari, I would say welcome to share techniques.

As to meters ... well, since finding KlanHelm VU meters [VST plugin], I no longer wait for any plugin to get it right. And I do hope that AA will address this.

Think of it ... a nice GUI is a nice GUI. It should compliment the workflow. Meters can be an elegant statement of this.

More important, many of us grew up on analogue VU meters. With proper balistics, they tells us important visual guides to what we are hearing.
This does NOT exclude 'using Ears only' ... it compliments what we hear, so that we can make faster decisions. Otherwise ... the meters are just a visual distraction and are meaningless. For me, the Klangs respond like I always remember the high end gear/consoles. Important tools ... try to purchase hi-end VU's. $$$ for a reason. [Klang's for 9-bucks ... no brainer].

... ahhh back to the NyQuil :evil:
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Re: Automatic Gain Compensation

Postby RJHollins » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:29 am

ok .... for those following along. Got my NyQuil buzz and feelin' lousy. :twisted:

thank-you.

Alright ... we all know the problem. If we have to play a track in its entirety, JUST to get a measure of it levels across the FXChain ... we have to leave the 'creative' mode and move into the mundane. It's even more 'fun' the longer that FX chain grows. hardly. It can get to a point where, IF I make a settings change ... do I really want to go back and re-balance the entire chain again ?

This is a rhetorical question :lol:

I like to listen to music. If something does NOT sound 'musical', I try to apply some 'fix' to get it to a 'I like to listen' point. That IS kinda Our Job. Hopefully others appreciate HOW we hear things ... and like listening to it.

2nd. Something sounding ACCIDENTALLY great can be a wonderful thing ... but as an Engineer, I don't hope for this as a career goal.

If we HAVE to break some Rules to get to a desired point ... well, we first HAD to know the Rule ... so that we knew we broke it.

now put all that aside.

Most times, we have very clear things we need to accomplish. We have a good handle of the tools and their working, and some experience picking the one that will get us to we we want.

What's different.

Having left the world of total hardware and entered this virtual world of 'plugins' ... I know what I lost....

.... but then found.

Nebula.

ACQUA.
8-)

candy for the ears that could be shaped and presented by the engineer.

Let's forgo whether we have achieved ultimate hardware nirvana. That can be another topic. But we do have the ability to craft a sonic envelope in a dynamic way. great.

We have DAW's running on multi-core CPU's with GIG's of RAM that offer new levels of NON-commitment. No judgement call here ... everyone has freedom or CPU restrictions to aid that decision.

Alright ... so we got our track, with a arm long list of Nebulas, Acquas, whatevers in the FXChain.

We need a plan to maintain sanity AND be able to make quality decisions from the very start.

Here's is my example.
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