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The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

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The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby RJHollins » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:31 am

Hello fellow Nebulites.

I have a bit of a conundrum that would much appreciate the views and opinions from Our Nebula Community.

I have been developing, what I've termed, a 'Virtual Controller' that is housed as a VST plugin. The reports have been positive on the beta test. It does what it has been designed to do, by providing a single GUI interface that can control up to 16 Nebulas [via MIDI] with a similar hardware look and function.

The first unit in test has been the Massive/Passive EQ [AITB]. This 'choice' results from a variety of considerations and circumstance. Like many, it is a high quality Library, has been available for some time, AND, may be considered a heavyweight ... not just sonically, but resource demand.

Although everyones computers will vary in performance capability, I had to test how this would all play. I have designed the controller [NVC-MP] to allow easier construction of any number of other EQ's that are available. We won't be 'limited' to other units, such as Preamps, compressors, or even full console strips.

Since the NVC is tailor to a specific library, there will need to be customization of the interface looks, and the nature of particular controls. There is plenty of intent to make most of information feedback and work flow ergos.

Which brings us to the 'conundrum'. :o

Those familiar with the hardware version of the MP know that the hardware provides a set of toggle switches that allow the engineer to alternate a particular eq band from CUT or BOOST mode. The Nebula library consist of 13 main presets [others are variations and/or presets [like 'smiley'].

So the question becomes....

Does 'One' prefer to have a Virtual Controller that mirrors the exact functions of a given hardware? Or is it preferred that there should be no such limitation using Nebula?

Keep in mind that each library emulation has been constructed a particular way, either due to the nature of the hardware, or the style of the Developer.

Understandably, the impact of my inquiry is to the Community at large, AND with only one person that has actually seen and worked the NVC [besides me].

I'm really asking from a core concept perspective. The full blown NVC-M/P right now is built with 13 control modules, that address the principle bands and filters of the Massive/Passive. Meaning, you have CUT and BOOST available at the flick of an ON/OFF bypass switch.

I do have certain preferences, but I'm very interested in hearing from everyone else. I would hope that you'd take the time to enlighten on your preference 8-)

This 'question' should not be restricted to only this library. But I look to this one first to help design a good working solution. As one could imagine, the screen realistate with 13 modules is .... hmmm ... massive. Anyone familiar with the Sl*te Mastering compressor will appreciate the description.

So before I delve into boring, endless possibility :roll: let me graciously turn this conversation to our Community At Large.

Please participate. I don't think there is a real right or wrong. I would hope to land on a design concept that would find consensus.

Thanks everyone! The PM comments are much appreciated. I've not contacted everyone at this point. If all goes positive, there will be plenty of opportunities ... and surprises ;)

Waiting to hear from you!
Last edited by RJHollins on Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Virtual Controller- limits of control and other vie

Postby richie43 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:48 pm

I personally think that since more is possible with this and Nebula, then I think it is silly to force limitations just for the sake of accuracy. And if you have used analog hardware, you will know that many hardware pieces may be very different if there was physical room for them. For instance; it is entirely possible that M****y would have had all 13 bands available (instead of split into cut/boosts) if it was possible. Does that make sense? Basically, I am saying that the important thing is the audio quality and sonic yumminess, but if you can enhance the "hardware" in the software realm, I say YAY!
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Re: The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby dagovitsj » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:16 pm

Hi!
Surprisingly few of the Nebulites have responded so far. Perhaps most agree with richie43?

So the question becomes....

Does 'One' prefer to have a Virtual Controller that mirrors the exact functions of a given hardware? Or is it preferred that there should be no such limitation using Nebula?


I'm with richie43. I think it's no big point to mimic the original hardware 100% if we can have a more flexible and even better solution in software.

But at the same time: I like the idea that your virtual controller is quite similar to the hardware - especially knowing what great skins JayFathom can make! Hope you talk together ;)

Cheers and good luck with your very important work!
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Re: The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby SWAN » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:39 pm

dont worry about mimicing the hardware - no need to IMO...

still cant work out how 13 instances of Nebula can work in one plugin with the latency...must be a few seconds?
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Re: The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby RJHollins » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:32 pm

SWAN wrote:dont worry about mimicing the hardware - no need to IMO...

still cant work out how 13 instances of Nebula can work in one plugin with the latency...must be a few seconds?


Hi SWAN,

Just to clarify ... the NVC has no inherent latency with respect to the audio stream. It's function is purely MIDI communication to a NEBULA chain.

The number of NEBULA's installed AND active in a chain, will determine the latency.

The NVC does have individual 'ByPass' for each NEBULA, along with a 'state aware' master bypass.

In REAPER, I personal have these 'ByPasses' linked to the 'disconnect [ON/OFF]' parameter per Nebula instance. Only the active NEBULAs are in the audio stream [along with their inherent latency].

The NVC will allow you to easily control as many, and ONLY, the NEBs you need/want. The current Massive/Passive versions has all 13 main presets available. You pick and choose which bands you need directly from the NVC.

Basically ... the Nebula instances can go into the background of your mind. All functions that can access Nebula [via MIDI] happen from this Controller.
8-)
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Re: The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby SWAN » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:44 pm

RJHollins wrote:
SWAN wrote:dont worry about mimicing the hardware - no need to IMO...

still cant work out how 13 instances of Nebula can work in one plugin with the latency...must be a few seconds?


Hi SWAN,

Just to clarify ... the NVC has no inherent latency with respect to the audio stream. It's function is purely MIDI communication to a NEBULA chain.

The number of NEBULA's installed AND active in a chain, will determine the latency.

The NVC does have individual 'ByPass' for each NEBULA, along with a 'state aware' master bypass.

In REAPER, I personal have these 'ByPasses' linked to the 'disconnect [ON/OFF]' parameter per Nebula instance. Only the active NEBULAs are in the audio stream [along with their inherent latency].

The NVC will allow you to easily control as many, and ONLY, the NEBs you need/want. The current Massive/Passive versions has all 13 main presets available. You pick and choose which bands you need directly from the NVC.

Basically ... the Nebula instances can go into the background of your mind. All functions that can access Nebula [via MIDI] happen from this Controller.
8-)


hi dude - that sounds cool! But do the hosts need to reload the plug in order to address the correct latency of the switched in Nebulae?
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Re: The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby RJHollins » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:01 am

Hi Swan,

I've not experience the question you raise.

If you Load in a NEB, and then bypass it ... or even delete it from the chain, have you had to reload the previous chain ? If so ... what DAW is that?
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Re: The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby richie43 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:13 am

To respond with my own selfish interest (what else do I know better? lol), I do not care how bad latency with Nebula is since I already have adapted my work-flow to not bother with nebula during the tracking (low latency) phase. It's not worth the CPU hit, and I have never seen even a monster (Nuclear) DAW able to use more than 1 or 2 Nebula instances accurately at low latency. In my experiences testing this first phase of this cool creation from RJ, I have to be honest that I didn't even attempt to measure latency, I didn't even think of it. I will say that the idea is brilliant and even better, it's fun to use.And for all of us that have gotten used to the bland GUI of Nebula, it's an awesome change of pace. I get the same feeling using one of Michael's or AITB's Aqua plugin. I suppose sometime RJ will want to consider making (or finding someone to make....) a universal loader shell that users could load any nebula preset into. I think it would be fun to have this loaded with presets from DIFFERENT libraries, like a big hardware chain with one big set of controls.... Hmmm......
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Re: The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby SWAN » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:03 am

RJHollins wrote:Hi Swan,

I've not experience the question you raise.

If you Load in a NEB, and then bypass it ... or even delete it from the chain, have you had to reload the previous chain ? If so ... what DAW is that?


Im just curious how the wrapper works. Because I understand that when you load a plugin - it reports its latency to the host which is then compensated. However I assume with this wrapper - if you switch different nebulae on and off - the latency of the wrapper plugin is variable. I remember this may have been an issue with the guy who made the S*L wrapper...some hosts only hear the latency when you load the plugin I think?

Also re latency. What I mean is when you have say 4 nebula reverb in a row - at 2048 samples each - there is 4x that latency which can mean there is a time lag between moving the control - and the change in sound...Im wondering if anyone has found this a problem - or are people adjusting the nebula reverb buffer to make it a bit smaller?

Sorry if I keep going on about this - just trying to understand. I love the concept - would love to see a video of it in action! PS and an A*I wrapper 8-)
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Re: The NEBULA Virtual Controller- limit control ??

Postby RJHollins » Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:06 am

Hi SWAN, ok ... now I better understand the source of your question. I do recall the plugin that you mentioned.

First. the NVC is not a 'wrapper'. It may be easier to think of the NVC akin to a 'Controller Keyboard'. Using MIDI, an external keyboard is linked to a virtual instrument. Although the Controller makes no sounds of its' own, the outputted MIDI data directed at the VSTi can trigger an endless variety.

The NVC is not hardware. It is a VST plugin that generates MIDI data. It can 'speak' across 16 discreet Channels that each address a single NEBULA.
Within that single Channel are 8 [C]ontinuous [C]ontroller [CC 1-127], that are assigned to the 8 Nebula faders/knobs. We have ProgramChange commands available, that allow the NVC to send 'user defined' PrgChng numbers directly to a specified Nebula. These, combined with the particular parameter controls [knobs or faders], allow absolute setting of gain, freq or Q. [personally, I find adjusting Nebula to a specific setting to be 'finicky' at times. The NVC has 'detented' knobs for precision and includes readout].

[note: I'm looking at adding direct 'Numerical Input' if that would be of interest].

The intent of the 'built-in flexibility' is to allow for variations in the Developers Library layout, AND to also provide for any 'User' modification [such as Drive, etc].

Regardless of the NVCs' GUI look, it needed to account for all these possibilities. There is a 'User Configuration' section that is currently being fine-tuned and readied for testing. I would like to have this accessible from within NVC, and also as a 'Stand Alone' app [thus allowing one to configure the controller without having to be inside their DAW. This configuration module has been a bit of a challenge in trying to minimize possible 'user input' error. ['user friendly' as best I can]. ;)

Although some of this flexibility won't be needed in many cases, there are certain libraries that will benefit. For example, the HO 'AIR' library consist of snapshots of 4 main groups, each with 8 presets. Rather than loading up 32 NEBULA's to handle this, The NVC-Klarity uses 4 Nebulas. The 'gain' control on the NVC is wired to PrgChng commands, covering the 'Min, +2, +4, .... +12, MAX presets from a single knob on the NVC. Through the use of 'toggle switches', I have now reduced the needed NEBULA's to only 2 :o When I look at future controllers, say a full channel EQ, we may find it necessary to keep the required Nebula count to a minimum so as to allow for as many 'tracks' possible. It is these scenarios that staying true to the hardware may be warranted ... [just a thought]

Anyway ... hope this helped. I do appreciate any questions. I know that none of this means much until one actually gets to play with this NVC. I am trying to get the foundation 'right', so that it enhances work flow with confidence. We are also having to work around engineer/ music schedules. Thanks for your interest!
Sincerely.
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