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Old April 9th, 2006, 03:58 AM   #1
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Multitrack Recording Software with Effects and Plug-ins in Realtime

Hi,

Does anyone know of software of some or the other description that will allow me to record up to 24 (minimum 8) simultaneous tracks from a firewire mixer at 48,000kHz, 16 Bits, applying DirectX plug-ins or effects in realtime to the recorded track.

I am looking specifically for software that will monitor the input tracks, apply a compressor / limiter or enhancer and then record the tracks to .WAV files in realtime coming from the mixer.

Alternatively this software could monitor the inputs, apply the DirectX plug-ins and effects and then pass them to Sony Vegas where the actual recording could take place.

I did find something called 'Graphic Equalizer Studio' but although this does allow live input and compression / limiting in realtime, it does not appear to be able to record and also does not appear to have multitrack capabilities.

Regards,

Dale.

Last edited by Dale Paterson; April 9th, 2006 at 03:58 AM. Reason: Edit title spelling mistake
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Old April 9th, 2006, 06:45 AM   #2
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Nuendo.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 07:18 AM   #3
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Sorry - I don't mean to come across as stupid but does the following quote mean that you can actually record the tracks 'with real-time track effect DSP' (Sony Acid Pro 6) or only monitor the preferred end result (after applying the effect in post):

"The new multitrack workflow provides users with the ability to monitor audio signals with real-time track effect DSP during recording sessions."

Regards,

Dale.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 07:26 AM   #4
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Just read your other thread. It looks like Acid Pro 6 works the same way, it's non-destructive. If I understand correctly, you want to record with the effects already applied to the recording?

ProTools has a destructive recording option and GarageBand only does destructive recording, but you might still have to pre-process the audio before it gets to those programs.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #5
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An SOS article that may be helpful and I've heard good things about Universal Audio's multiband compressor.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 08:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Paterson
Sorry - I don't mean to come across as stupid but does the following quote mean that you can actually record the tracks 'with real-time track effect DSP' (Sony Acid Pro 6) or only monitor the preferred end result (after applying the effect in post):

"The new multitrack workflow provides users with the ability to monitor audio signals with real-time track effect DSP during recording sessions."

Regards,

Dale.
As I understand it, ACID allowd you to hear the tracks with effects as they are recorded but the track is actually saved to disk "dry."

I have to ask why you want to record with effects already applied? If you were to do that, there's no turning back - if you later decide it doesn't sound right you're toast. Usually it's a better strategy to record dry and work on the mix later when you can really focus on the sound itself without all of the other distractions of a recording session. Now a limiter to avoid clipping on the peaks - digital having zero headroom - I can understand but even there, that's usually better accomplished in the analog realm before the signal gets to the audio interface in order to prevent running out of bits during digitization.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 08:54 AM   #7
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Might be a really stupid question here but why would you want to record with FX applied?
Limiters OK, compression maybe, anything else, no way in my book.
In fact I've gone so far as to complain about gear that'll let you do this, just in case some dummy engages an FX by mistake cause once you record with an FX applied there's no way to get rid of it. Doing it in post you can play around to your hearts content.

Aside from my concerns as to what you're trying to do, recording 24 tracks is a fair amount of work for a PC, adding FXs in RT to 24 tracks I suspect is going to be a hefty CPU load, I'd be anticipating a lot of latency.

Alesis do a cheap 16 channel mixer with firewire recording capability, it does have an FX unit but it's only a single FX unit, all channels routed through it get the same FX applied and end up in the one mix. Overll I'm suspecting that to achieve what you want in a computer solution you'd need some serious external DSP grunt to keep up.

If I faced what I think your problem is I'd be recording all channels clean at 24/48K to allow enough headroom and then fix it in post. There's just too much possibility of things going wrong, trusting that amount of processing to a computer based system is asking for trouble. Even high end gear that attempts this is far from glitch free. Down here they lost 11 minutes of an international OB when a Euphonics desk hickuped, not nice.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 09:24 AM   #8
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To further emphasize the wisdom of recording original tracks dry, most NLE's other than Nuendo and perhaps Audacity that I'm aware of don't even have recording level controls of their own, much less effects inserts, relying instead on the audio interface's console drivers or the Windows mixer utility to control levels. The input level controls on the console that comes with my interface, the Echo Audiofire 8 and also its big brother, the Audiofire12, only affect the mix sent to the output ports for direct monitoring and do not the signal sent to the A/D converters or the data sent to the recording software. The console's WDM drivers as well as its ASIO drivers completely ignore the Windows mixer for both input and output - in fact, the mixer/volume control doesn't even recognize that the device is present on the system. When I wrote Echo to make sure I hadn't screwed up anything with the install, they replied that both of those behaviors were by design - for best dynamic range all level adjustments should be done with a mixer or preamplifier connected upstream of the interface's inputs and everything between the A/D converters and the target file on disk should be completely clean. If the input signal goes so high that the converter runs out of bits, it's already too late for anything later in the chain to help. OTOH, feeding too low a signal to the converter hurts the S/N ratio and adding gain in the digital realm later simply increases both signal and noise equally.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 10:03 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Paterson
Hi,

Does anyone know of software of some or the other description that will allow me to record up to 24 (minimum 8) simultaneous tracks from a firewire mixer at 48,000kHz, 16 Bits, applying DirectX plug-ins or effects in realtime to the recorded track.

Alternatively this software could monitor the inputs, apply the DirectX plug-ins and effects and then pass them to Sony Vegas where the actual recording could take place.
Dale.
Vegas. Nuendo. Logic. ProTools. SONAR. Musicator.
As others have mentioned here and in the other thread, most DAWs record dry to disk because it's the "right" way to do something.
It's like breakfast. D'you want to be the chicken or the pig? The pig is very committed to breakfast, but the chicken isn't. Can't undo live processing.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 11:23 AM   #10
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Gee whiz - I did not expect all these responses - but thanks a lot!!!

I don't want to apply FX in real-time as such i.e. I don't want to apply things like Reverb, Delay, etc. etc. - I just want to be able to limit input signals if they are too high or 'boost' them if they are too low - that's all.

I have downloaded the demo version of Acid Pro 6 and there is much talk of 'rewiring'. Does anybody know if I can 'rewire' Acid Pro 6 to itself or Vegas 6?

Regards,

Dale.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 11:55 AM   #11
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Vegas does not support rewire.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #12
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Just thought that I should expand on my problem and requirements.

For the most part I shoot presentations. Each presentation may have a number of guest speakers. I purchased an Alesis FireWire 16 Mixer and a notebook for this purpose. The idea was to provide mics for each guest / speaker and record the audio from each mic to an individual track on the notebook using Vegas. This idea worked perfectly last week except for the fact that you cannot at setup time know the type of voice that a speaker will have i.e. some will be 'soft' and some will be 'loud' and although I have someone to check the sound levels on the mixer in real-time I have noticed that the controls on the Alesis mixer (particularly the gain controls for each channel) are very, very, sensitive.

Basically - in laymans terms - I would like to know if it is possible to do this:

Simultaneously record up to 16 mono channels

At the beginning of the event approximate the levels for each mic or channel on the mixer

During the event - should a speaker have a 'loud' voice - compress or limit the recorded input - should a speaker have a soft voice - expand the recorded input.

The idea being that the software would compress / limit / expand the input as necessary in real-time thus eliminating the need for each channel on the mixer to be set up 'exact' and to avoid clipping etc. etc. etc. In other words you could set the input / gain levels on the mixer to a sort of 'sweet spot' but should the actual live input deviate from this 'sweet spot' the software would take care of this.

I can't think of another / better way to describe this.

Regards,

Dale.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 12:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Paterson
Gee whiz - I did not expect all these responses - but thanks a lot!!!

I don't want to apply FX in real-time as such i.e. I don't want to apply things like Reverb, Delay, etc. etc. - I just want to be able to limit input signals if they are too high or 'boost' them if they are too low - that's all.

...
See my comments above - limiting must occur BEFORE the signal is converted from analog to digital to prevent clipping. Once it's digitized it's too late.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 12:27 PM   #14
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Hey Steve, thanks for the input.

I do understand what you are saying - and my inputs were not clipped or anything like that - but the recorded inputs on some tracks were too high - and the recorded inputs on some tracks were too low - even although the gain / input level on the mixer was set uniformely for each mic / input - as one would expect.

In post I went through each track / vocal passage within a track / and normalized the passage - this took some time - and then you never know if you missed something out or not.

Basically - I am asking for software - that does the same as hardware that can be purchased i.e. I know from my band / guitar days that you can purchase a compressor / limiter or expander - but I want software that can do this (working with the Sony products).

Something else I have not touched on - what about a 'gate'. In my last scenario I had 6 mics all on at the same time. Needless to say - whatever was not coming through the 'main' mic - i.e. let's say that the speaker (person) was at the podium - the other 5 mics were picking up the audio from the person as well as the public address system albeit at lower levels. I believe that a 'gate' would counteract / squelch any input levels below a certain amount and thus eliminate any crosstalk etc. etc. that may occur. I believe that such a 'hardware gate' can be purchased for a huge amount of $$$. I was hoping that there would be some software out there that could accomplish this in real-time.

Regards,

Dale.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 12:33 PM   #15
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You've described what a recording engineer does during a multitrack recording session.

Seems like you're trying to accomplish some sort of auto-gain without a person at the audio mixer?

Simple answer - staff the position!

Not as good - set up compression/limiting on each input channel of the mixer and be conservative with the input trims. This would require a mixer with channel inserts.

But even this might not do the trick for you. You generally have to be so conservative with gain structure when you don't have a person there that the quiet speaker will be very, very low and the loud person may be hitting the compressor or limiter so hard they'll be distorted anyways. Maybe a little better than what you have now, but still the same problems.

Simple answer - staff the position! Or is there a way to get the mixer/recorder next to where you're shooting?
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